Random stuff…

Yesterday I finally finished editing the technical translations (concerning the inner workings of leather-processing machinery…ah, you have no idea…zzz!) that I had been working on for days, now. A bigger job than I had anticipated, but, phew, it’s done. I had no time to do any blogging, though, uff. But today I am baaack! ūüôā And I am going to post a couple of links to random things I have been reading during my work breaks.

First, here¬†is the link to a study I learned about from a Facebook friend (thanks!): http://goo.gl/rI9fq¬†Yes, yet another MGUS-SMM progression to MM study. Hmmm, they seem to be popping up like dandelions these days, don’t they?¬†That is good, of course! The more we learn, the better off we are. And¬†this study¬†is also a relatively easy read. If you don’t have time¬†to read the whole shebang, though, just jump to the Summary at the end.

Here is a particularly interesting titbit, which you can find in the paragraph titled “From ‚ÄėMultiple Myeloma Without a Progressive Course‚Äô to Smoldering Multiple Myeloma”: basically, before 2003, there was a bit of confusion on how to define asymptomatic myeloma. Some studies, e.g., made a¬†distinction¬†between SMM¬†and IMM (or indolent myeloma). This lack of consensus¬†means that, Due to these varying definitions, one has to be cautious when assessing results across different studies. In fact, it is very problematic to compare SMM data collected prior to 2003, the year that the International Myeloma Working Group (IMWG) released a consensus on the specific diagnostic criteria for the known monoclonal gammopathies. By the way, IMM¬†has now been lumped in¬†with MM, whereas SMM¬†is defined as¬†“asymptomatic myeloma.” I must say, I found¬†the news about how difficult it is to¬†judge SMM data before 2003¬†a bit troubling. Too bad!

If you have SMM, please make sure to read the paragraph¬†titled¬†“Current Clinical Recommendations.” I was interested in what¬†Dr. Langren had to say about the use of conventional chemotherapy in SMM: Using standard chemotherapy in SMM, early treatment has not been found to delay progression to active disease and overall survival. There you go…

She then spends a few words on that simply outrageous (hmmm, I really must find a synonym for “outrageous”…),¬†still ongoing Spanish SMM-chemo trial. She¬†comments that it is still impossible to determine if early treatment improves overall survival. Until we know the answer to this important question, we can only speculate whether early treatment has the potential to cure SMM, or if SMM should be classified as a chronic, asymptomatic disease state requiring maintenance therapy. Well, “speculation” is not good enough for me…no siree!

Then I read something that made the hairs on the back on my neck stand up (and freeeeeeze!). My emphasis: At the same time, we do not know if early treatment may facilitate selection of aggressive clones that are more capable of competing in the treatment-altered microenvironment (Figure 1). Because none of these scenarios has been proven true, it is very important to conduct well-designed correlative studies in clinical trials aimed at treating SMM patients.

Very important??? Why, that is possibly the biggest understatement I have read so far this year.¬†I don’t know how you feel…but I would most certainly NOT care to¬†anger my myeloma cells to the point where they would/might become more aggressive…Forget it, not happening…

This study does nothing but confirm my cautious approach to SMM: do NOT¬†poke the tiger! By the way, I am not suggesting that those of us who are in the high-risk-for-progression group should simply sit back and wait.¬†No, I¬†very strongly believe that we can be proactive in many ways–diet, supplementation, laughing like a drain (I just learned that expression, hehe), etc… But we should avoid chemotherapy at this stage…No, not even in a clinical trial setting, especially if any of the researchers have¬†a connection to the big drug companies that are funding the trial (as in the case of that confounded Spanish trial). As I have said over and over again (and will probably say it again!),¬†early treatment in asymptomatic myeloma¬†is too bloody risky. Case closed.¬†

Now for something entirely different.¬†Have you ever heard¬†of “fenugreek”? If not, see http://goo.gl/ML9Iu¬†I¬†have used¬†it in some of my Indian dishes…curries, e.g. Fenugreek is a plant, but the parts we use in the kitchen, as far as I know,¬†are its teeny tiny seeds (see¬†the rather blurry photo I took of my own organic fenugreek seeds).

But there is more to fenugreek than I thought:¬†http://goo.gl/CjIQu¬†According to this “Telegraph” article, fenugreek seems to have a rather powerful antiviral activity (like curcumin!)…so much so that it might help prevent our developing colds in the winter months. The volunteers in¬†an unofficial-sort-of-study,¬†half of whom already had cold symptoms,¬†took a half teaspoon of fenugreek seeds twice a week (boy, talk about easy peasy!). The symptoms¬†experienced by¬†the “cold-ridden” folks improved significantly,¬†whereas the people¬†who usually developed colds in this period¬†remained healthy. Interesting, no?

Since I am not one to shy away from tasting non-toxic substances that might be good for me, I decided to¬†try some of these seeds.¬†To me, they tasted a bit like, well, burnt celery…Yes, I know, that sounds terrible, but¬†I can assure you that¬†it was not. Not really. What I found a bit unpleasant was their extreme crunchiness…So I think it might be best to¬†cook them, not eat them raw.

At any rate, since¬†a simple¬†cold can be¬†potentially quite¬†dangerous¬†for us MM folks¬†(more often than not,¬†my colds¬†quickly turn into¬†bronchitis), I am definitely going to try eating some fenugreek seeds from now on. After all, they can’t hurt me! ūüôā

6 Comments

  1. Fenugreek seed is also used to increase milk supply in nursing mothers, as well as to settle digestion. I’ve always thought the fenugreek capsules smelled a little like maple syrup.

  2. WOW – the ‘inner workings of leather-processing machinery’ that’s so, so, excitinnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnng Huh! What? Why is the keyboard pressed to the side of my head? ;D

  3. THe only question I have is how does cooking the seeds affect their delivery of the beneficial aspects? More and more I am reading that eating raw foods is the better way to go, so is there any research on these seeds? great info tho!

  4. To piggy-back on what Rob said, Fenugreek REALLY works well to increase milk supply in nursing mothers. I used the capsules and tea quite a bit when I nursed my son. All of the lactation consultants I saw highly recommended Fenugreek, but none of them had any clue about the mechanism that made it produce more milk. Hmmm… Sorry to get off on a milk tangent. I remember that it made me extremely nauseated when I first started taking the capsules (very similar to the way turmeric made me nauseated when I first started taking a teaspoon per day). I think what you have posted is interesting. I wasn’t aware of the anti-viral properties of both herbs.

  5. Off-topic but concerning something you’ve written about before, I came across these articles on litigation against GE for it’s use of Omniscan (the key ingredient in it is gadolinium). It strikes home because the doctor I went to for a second opinion about my Myeloma wanted to send me for an MRI. I asked what contrast agent they used and was told it’s gadolinium. I declined and suggested they read up on the studies pointing out warnings about gadolinium. The lawsuits concern it’s connection with nephrogenic systemic fibrosis. Anyways, here are the links:

    http://www.propublica.org/article/general-electric-faces-first-jury-test-in-omniscan-litigation

    http://www.propublica.org/series/general-electric-omniscan#feature01

  6. another way to use fenugeek is to sprout it
    then it can be consumed as a apart of a salad and in considerable quantities.
    the main problem is the smell not so while eating
    but later on ,your skin may reek it later all day.
    several years ago when I worked as a therapist I had to stop eating it one of my patient who were close to me and and felt free to mention it, said that he smelled it as soon as he got into the room (although
    I showered half an hour before).so the rules for eating a lot of raw garlic applies here too.

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