News Notes

Zip Dobyns

One of the ads I get periodically from a financial newsletter includes a variety of typical “doom and gloom” forecasts. The stock appeal of these expensive newsletters is to fear and greed. The current one devotes a lot of space to predicting an attempt by China to conquer all of Asia and, eventually, the rest of the world. But, more relevant to Californians, it claims that the weight of the extra water from rain in El Niño years is a trigger for big earthquakes. A killer quake is predicted in 1998 or 1999 in California or up the coast.

The March 21, 1998 issue of Science News offers a contrasting view. A panel of seismologists concluded in 1995 that California had experienced too few earthquakes since 1850 to relieve all the energy that had accumulated in the crust, so there was a quake deficit. Two teams of researchers are now disputing this previous study, claiming that the rate of observed earthquakes since 1903 is 40 to 50 % higher than that since 1850, reducing the apparent deficit. Seismologists still expect large quakes on the faults around metropolitan Los Angeles, but when experts and statistics differ, who knows? According to most of the psychics, we should have had a 10 point quake already.

The same issue of Science News describes studies of the brains of adult monkeys that contradicted the previous belief that neurons in the brain continued to die over time and they were not replaced once an animal reached adulthood. The new studies showed the creation of new neurons in the adult primate brain in an area linked to learning and memory. However, a single highly stressful event could interfere with the production of neurons in monkeys for at least 3 weeks. Previous work had shown similar results in rats and tree shrews, and it seems highly likely that humans are also capable of learning throughout life but can have their mental effectiveness temporarily impaired by stress. We have all experienced “test anxiety,” which can block memory, but new learning was previously attributed to new connections between existing neurons rather than the creation of new neurons.

The evidence continues to mount that the areas of the body associated with the fire element in astrology do have the creative, rejuvenating capacity traditionally attributed to fire. It has been known for many years that the liver can repair itself. More recently, research has demonstrated the heart’s ability to recover if destructive life actions are stopped, and the brain’s ability to keep on growing throughout life is finally being acknowledged. The astrological correlates are Jupiter for the liver, the Sun for the heart, and Mars for the brain. The fire emotions include eagerness, enthusiasm, excitement, joy. These are the emotions of healing and, especially, the life urge to do more than we have done before.

Another article in the same issue of Science News describes activity connected to astrology’s element of water. Pharmaceutical drugs are being discovered in water supplies. Swiss chemists looking for pesticide contamination in local lakes were astonished to find a cholesterol-lowering drug which is not even manufactured in Switzerland. About 7 years earlier, environmental chemists in Germany had found the same drug and several others at a sewage treatment farm near Berlin. Ingested materials that are not absorbed by the body are eliminated and end up in the local ground water. Health departments test water for pesticides and industrial chemicals, but they have not been checking for pharmaceuticals as potential pollutants even though as much as 90% of a delivered drug may be eliminated by the body in urine and feces. At this point, no one knows the long term effects such drugs might have on people who drink the water containing the residues of drugs they did not consciously choose to take. So far, the residues in drinking water seem to be small, but as drug use grows, those of us who choose not to use any type of drug, legal or illegal, may need to invest in a personal water filter. I don’t know the percentage of ads which are devoted to drugs as cure-alls for every physical or emotional problem, but a shocking amount of our resources seem to be devoted to promoting and paying for legal drugs while fighting illegal ones and paying the cost of keeping venders and users in jail. We are clearly still in the Pisces Age, but not expressing a very positive side of its potential.

The February 28, 1998 issue of Science News has an article which will not be a surprise to our readers except for the fact that mainline science is finally waking up. The article is titled “Valuable Vices” and subtitled “Researchers uncover the healthful side of hedonism.” A more accurate description than “hedonism” would be “moderate pleasures.” For years, the battle against fat has made it sound as if it is the primary enemy of health and life. As I have written repeatedly, we cannot survive without fat and mounting evidence demonstrates that sugar and starchy carbohydrates cause more obesity and illness than natural fats. It is the chemically altered fats, the hydrogenated fats, the transfatty acids, and a lack of Omega 3 fats, which are most implicated in cancer, and it is sugars and starchy carbohydrates which produce Type II diabetes and obesity.

The first sentence in the Science News article states “sex, alcohol, and high-fat foods may help people live longer.” Several studies are cited which correlated longer lives with increased sex, moderate alcoholic intake, and more fat in the diet. Since official science is still almost totally materialistic, the researchers ignored the possibility that the increased ability to enjoy life might have contributed to the longevity. Researcher Frankel actually said “It’s quite unusual to have a finding which actually suggests that what men like to do is actually good for them.” !?! Another commented on the danger of telling the public that sex and alcohol and fat were not major threats for fear that people would then indulge too much.

A short item in the March 7, 1998 issue of Science News provides scientific support for another of the correlations found in traditional astrology: the association of Mars with both muscles and with bone marrow which produces the red blood cells that provide iron to the system. Recent work has found that the marrow in the bones of mice includes cells capable of forming new muscles. Astrology associates the metal iron, blood and blood shed, and muscles with Mars as a psychological key to our ability to defend and assert ourselves. Another Mars correlate is the ability to maintain an adequate body temperature. Too much or too little of anything becomes a problem. Traditional astrology did not know about testosterone, but I am confident that it is another of the many physical level correlates of Mars. Each of our 12 basic psychological drives/desires is associated with and can be manifested in a huge variety of physical potentials.

An increasing number of counselors are quietly using astrology as a diagnostic tool, but not many risk their professional standing by going public. I learned about one man who has done so from a newspaper clipping from the March 11, 1998 Arizona Republic that was sent to me by a sister-in-law. The paper carried an extensive interview with a Tempe, AZ psychiatrist named Mitchell Gibson who has discovered the value of astrology. Gibson graduated from the University of North Carolina School of Medicine in 1985, spent a year as chief resident at Albert Einstein Medical Center in Philadelphia, and was chief of staff at Camelback Hospitals’ East Valley office in 1989-90. He is now in private practice and has written a book that is being published by Llewellyn.

Gibson said that he had found astrological patterns which differentiated a variety of mental illnesses including major depression, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, anxiety disorders, schizophrenia, and addictive disorders from individuals without those illnesses. I will be very eager to see the book, but at this time, I may be almost as skeptical as non-believers in astrology. Maritha and I once collected 30 charts which included 10 diagnosed psychotics in institutions, 10 psychological professionals, and 10 individuals who were not involved in psychology in their lives. A hotshot astrologer who had been sure he could identify a psychotic from his or her chart was not able to differentiate the saviors from the victims in our set of charts, nor have other astrologers who have made the effort. In my experience, as I say often, astrology shows the psychological issues in the person’s nature, but the individual may handle the issues well or badly and may change in either direction in the course of the life. One of the standing jokes in psychology is that people study clinical psychology in an effort to resolve their own problems, and that once they have worked out their own issues, they leave the field and choose other work. There is some truth in the joke, though a good many “savior” types really do enjoy helping people.

I have cited one of my favorite alternative health newsletters repeatedly in the past: Alternatives which is written by Dr. David Williams in Texas. He describes really innovative research on new health aids with an emphasis on “natural” approaches rather than drugs, but he also presents evidence that questions some of the “gung-ho” claims for new “cure-alls.” Being a non-allopathic product does not guarantee that it is either effective or safe. The March 1998 issue of Alternatives warns against the indiscriminate use of DHEA and melatonin, which are being promoted as fountains of youth and miracle cures for almost anything. One study found that women with the highest level of DHEA in their blood were four times as likely to develop breast cancer as the women with the lowest DHEA levels. DHEA seems to increase the body’s production of testosterone, the hormone which stimulates prostate cancer. Our escapist Piscean search remains pervasive, whether fed by the promoters of hormones or herbs or legal or illegal drugs. Somewhere, there ought to be a magic pill that will fix us without our having to change our basic emotional habits. Some years back, I wrote about the research of Dr. Norman Shealy, founder of the Association of Holistic Physicians. He urged caution in the handling of DHEA.

Though melatonin has been found to inhibit the growth of breast cancer cells, this ability is lost in the presence of electromagnetic fields as low as 12 milligauss, which are created by many household appliances, including electric razors, computer monitors, hair dryers, electric blankets, bedside electric alarm clocks, etc. Heavy machinery in factories may create fields as high as 1000 milligauss. A study by Dr. Liburdy found even the relatively low level fields also inhibited the effectiveness of tamoxifen, the new drug made from pine trees which is being promoted as a way to prevent breast cancer. And, it is important to add that the tamoxifen studies suggest that its helpfulness may only last five years, after which it may become counter-productive. Remember moderation? In the same issue of Alternatives, Dr. Williams again repeats our need for sunlight in order to stay healthy. Many other sources are currently joining that chorus as recent studies have discovered inadequate levels of vitamin D in people of all ages, but especially the elderly and those who live in the north. Vitamin D is crucial in preventing the bone loss of osteoporosis and in the handling of glucose in the body to prevent Type II diabetes. We need at least 15 minutes of sun a day without sun screen. Some studies now suggest that sun screen may harm rather than help since it stops the rays which cause sunburn to warn us of immoderation while not blocking the part of the sun energy which may actually contribute to skin cancer.

Copyright © 1998 Los Angeles Community Church of Religious Science, Inc.

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