Reviving the dead…

Life returns to normal, after a long and rather tiring weekend spent on a translation from English to Italian, which is not my forte, by the way (I do much better from Italian to English). Stefano helped me A LOT (what a guy! ). We finished at 11 p.m. last night. I think I noticed a few more white hairs than usual in the mirror this morning …but anyway, the main thing is that we did a good job and will be paid well. Indeed.
So I took the morning off…and went to the supermarket where I bought a TON of cat litter that should last for weeks (and we will be gone only ten days…) and then to the cat store where I spent a bucket of money on cat food.
Later on I am going to read at least one study, but for now I will report on a bit of quick and easy news that I read this morning in the “Times of India” ( Another discovery about the wonders of curcumin: Researchers at New Delhi’s Jamia Hamdard University have successfully used curcumin – extracted from turmeric and broken into nano form – to control and cure cirrhosis of liver in an animal model experiment. “Nano,” huh?  How “nano” were these nanoparticles, I wonder? Well, even though the jury is still out on the nano-stuff, in this case the nanocurcumin appears to have worked. Interesting.
And here is another interesting bit: It was found that when used in large doses, turmeric wasn’t particularly useful. But broken into nano particles, it worked wonders. It even reversed cirrhosis which is incurable,” said S Ahmad, vice-chancellor of Jamia Hamdard.
It reversed the…irreversible? Wowie! I imagine, by the way, that the researcher was referring to “curcumin,” not “turmeric.” Well, I suppose I will have to read the study at some point.
Then we read: The curcumin extract is an anti-oxidant that helps revive dead cells. It acts as a repairing agent and can regenerate cells that have broken up into nodules..
Helps revive dead cells, huh? Well, well…well!

Curcumin-cancer conference in Calenzano

Yesterday I presented my experience with curcumin and my blog in front of a crowd of (mainly) doctors and oncologists. You know how you are a nervous wreck and have scary nightmares the day/night before you have a university exam or a job interview? Then you will understand what happened to me on Friday night. I tossed and turned and barely slept a wink. One of my nightmares was all about how I was delayed (through no fault of my own) and totally missed the conference, arriving there the day AFTER. Typical, huh?

Ironically, my nightmare almost came true. We arrived late, a half hour late. I am never ever (never!) late for anything, so this was very trying for me. What happened was that Sherlock, Stefano and I got totally lost in the maze of roads outside of Florence. It should have taken us about 20 minutes to get there. It took an hour plus. Stefano’s GPS system couldn’t locate the castle of Calenzano, so it kept sending us back and forth, hither and thither. And when we paused to ask the locals where the castle of Calenzano was, we got all sorts of conflicting directions. One woman told us to turn left and go back toward Florence, a couple of guys told us to take a right, then the second left, then…you get the picture. A mess!  However, we finally made it to the castle (lovely Medieval castle, by the way, see photos) where we ran into a group of equally frazzled doctors. They were late, too! As a result, the conference began late, so this all ended up being amusing.

The conference was enthralling. The speakers presented their research in a very clear and concise manner. First-rate. Their slides were brilliant visual aids. Even my cousin, who reads my blog but otherwise has little knowledge of transcription factors and whatnot, reported that the speeches were easy to follow. Thanks to Sherlock, I taped the entire event and hope that at least some of it of it ends up being comprehensible. The audio in the auditorium (which was full, I would like to add) wasn’t the best, even though that sounds a bit…odd (audio-auditorium…). 

Mine was the last speech. Since up till then all the talk had been about prostate cancer, transcription factors, genomes, chemoprevention and whatnot, I decided on the spur of the moment to start with something silly. So my speech began, more or less, “Today I am going to present my case. First, I would like to clarify that I do not have prostate cancer (laughter around the room) but multiple myeloma…” After describing multiple myeloma and my medical background in a few words, I then went on to talk about how I discovered curcumin and why I created my blog. According to Stefano, my aunt and cousin (who were there, too), I got the loudest and longest applause. I was so relieved that I had gotten through my speech without fumbling or falling over the microphone cord, though, that I didn’t even hear the clapping!

After the discussion session, I was approached by a few members of the audience and then by reporters from two Florentine newspapers. The articles were published today. Unfortunately, I am identified as having an "incurable pathology," and the words "multiple myeloma" are not even mentioned.

I met a couple of German researchers, one works in Genoa at the National Institute for Cancer Research, the other in the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry of the University of Munich. They are studying curcumin and its effect on prostate and breast cancers, and are preparing a double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical trial to test curcumin on 100 or more cancer patients. Of course, I told them that if they needed a myeloma patient, I’d be on the next train to Genoa! This isn’t going to happen tomorrow, of course. Anyway, very interesting.

Well, I will probably have more to say on this matter once I have read Dr. Benelli’s book on NF-kappaB and listened to the taped conference. For now, this is it.

Sherlock RULES!!!

Sherlock got her test results today. These are her pre-Biocurcumax results, by the way. Mine will be ready next week (we have different hematologists, so some of our tests are different, that’s the reason for my "delay," even though we got tested on the same day, i.e. the 8th of January). She authorized me to publish some of her more important values, but a little while ago we discussed the matter by phone and decided to wait until I get my results.

After we hung up, though, I decided, oh whatever, I just cannot wait until next week! I’m simply bursting with joy!!! So here are just a few details, and I will publish more of ’em next week after I get my results.

First, a bit of background: 1. she had never taken curcumin before and 2. she tested curcumin (C3 Complex) with bioperine capsules. I don’t remember every single detail about how she took the curcumin capsules, but, as I recall, she melted them in hot milk, adding a bit of chocolate to improve the taste. I will post more specifics next week.

Okay, now for a few numbers: her IgG decreased from 34.8 to 28,5 g/L (normal range: 7-16 g/L). That’s an 18% decrease from her previous tests (29th of October 2007). Nothing to sneeze at, for sure! This is her first IgG decrease since February of 2007; indeed, percentage-wise, she told me, it’s the biggest decrease she has had since 2002! Fantabulous!

Her M-spike went from 2,62 down to 2,24. It is now the lowest it has ever been since she started testing it in 2005.

She is absolutely thrilled, as you can imagine, and so am I, needless to say. When we spoke, I could hear the joy in her voice. Evvai, Sherlock! Sei grande!

My blog finally makes its debut…inside a castle!

This morning, due to an unexpected meeting, I had no time to reread the second part of yesterday’s post, which I won’t be posting until tomorrow or the next day. I would like instead to post about this morning’s meeting.

Background: almost exactly a month ago, I was asked by an Italian urologist (and blog reader), Dr. Roberto Benelli, to talk briefly about my experience with curcumin and my blog at the upcoming official presentation of his new book on curcumin and prostate cancer. I hesitated back then, because of fear of speaking in public. But after meeting with Dr. Benelli and one of the book presentation sponsors earlier today, I accepted. My little speech won’t last long, just ten minutes or so (that was one big thing that convinced me!).

This book presentation is actually going to be a sort of mini-conference, with brief presentations given mainly by local urologists, but also by a well-known oncologist from Florence and two molecular scientists. These scientists, one from Genoa, the other from Munich, will be talking about their work on breast cancer and curcumin. Anyway, the principal aim of this meeting is to present curcumin and suggest how it could be used in a medical setting. Dr. Benelli will present his new book, of course, and also give a separate presentation on the history of curcumin, its use in traditional Ayurvedic medicine and its potential applications in oncology today. I will definitely invite my GP and my haematologist.

It’s an open meeting, by the way. Here are the details, therefore, mainly for those blog readers who live in Tuscany: the meeting will be held in the castle of Calenzano (yes, a real castle! I am beginning to feel like a debutante  !), on March 8, 2008, at 10 a.m. To be more precise, it will be held in the Auditorium del Castello di Calenzano, Calenzano Alto (Firenze). The title of the meeting is “Modulazione del fattore NF-kB e prospettive terapeutiche.” My friend Sherlock will attend the meeting and plans to tape it in mp3, which I will try to post on my blog, at least some parts of it. If possible! Of course, the meeting will be in Italian, so hey, why put off studying this beautiful language? Sign up for some Italian classes today! 

Seriously, though, this should be very very interesting. If you are able to attend, please make sure you introduce yourself to me. I’d be happy to meet any blog readers! Ci vediamo l’8 marzo, spero!

Curcumin Dreams And Culinary Tips

I am about to begin poring over a handful of studies on general bioavailability (sigh), but I am a bit sleepy this morning and my coffee hasn’t kicked in yet, so I thought I would share a few recent odd discoveries with y’all.

Dreaming background: I have only on extremely rare occasions in the past been able to remember my dreams. At times I might wake up with a start after a particularly bad nightmare, but I would remember very few details. And if anybody asked me right then and there what the nightmare was about, I would be hard put to answer. This has changed in recent times, it would seem.

I don’t remember exactly WHEN I became aware of this new phenomenon, but I now remember my early morning dreams. I mean, EVERY single one! I now I wake up with a sort of clear “dream movie” in my brain. I remember details, colours, language spoken (I dream in at least two languages!) and so on. How long has this been going on? I am not sure, but my best estimate is: for about a month.

Another point. I think that most people would be able to relate to the following: even when you wake up remembering a dream clearly, this memory starts fading straight away, and if you don’t tell someone or write things down immediately, you will forget everything, no matter how hard you may try to recapture the moment later on in the day. Well, right now I can remember the dream I had before waking up…more than two hours ago, although, yes, the images are beginning to fade.

Only yesterday did I think of a possible connection between remembering dreams and my sublingually-absorbed curcumin mixture.

Could curcumin be affecting parts of my brain that are normally not “awake”? Could that be possible? Is there any other explanation? Are there any brain cell experts among us who could clarify this point, or tell me that I am simply…dreaming things?

Culinary Tips: yesterday I read a Science Daily article on boiling broccoli (see: Since you can go read the article for yourself, I won’t go into any details, but, in two words, a just published Italian (YEAH!) study has shown that some cooking methods actually seem to increase the release of certain nutrients contained in vegetables, which is contrary to conventional wisdom. I did know that cooked tomatoes have a higher content of lycopene compared to their raw counterpart, but broccoli? Apparently, if you steam (NOT boil, mind you) broccoli, you increase “its content of glucosinolates, a group of plant compounds touted for their cancer-fighting abilities.” How about that? I am very glad to learn this, since Stefano and I love steamed broccoli, which we eat the Italian way, almost as a hot salad, adding extra virgin olive oil, raw chopped garlic, lemon juice and a bit of salt.

Another titbit I read yesterday, and that someone actually told me about during the Xmas holidays, is that crushing garlic before cooking with it reduces the loss of its healthful properties. I found a February 2007 Science Daily article on this: If you cook garlic whole, you lose a lot of the healthful compounds. But if you crush or even chop it before cooking, you release an enzyme called alliinase “that catalyzes the formation of allicin, which then breaks down to form a variety of healthful organosulfur compounds.” Crush garlic and then wait at least ten minutes before cooking with it, to give this enzyme enough time to work.

This is not a new discovery, eh. A study reported in 1998 (see: showed that garlic loses its anti-cancer characteristics if roasted for 45 minutes or cooked even just for one minute (!) in a microwave oven. But the good news is that “Garlic’s anti-cancer activity was retained, however, if the herb was first chopped or crushed and allowed to stand for 10 minutes before being heated. In the case of roasted whole garlic, anti-cancer activity was partially retained if the top of the bulb was sliced off prior to heating.”

Interesting stuff. Since I eat a lot of garlic, from now on I will crush it, just as my favourite British chef Jamie Oliver ("easy peasy!") does. Okay, back to my bioavailability studies. If I find some pearls of wisdom, I will be sure to report them here…tomorrow!

My Cocoa Mass And Curcumin Recipe In English And Italian

Yesterday I went to see my family doctor, who was absolutely thrilled to see my most recent test results. Almost as thrilled as he was to get a big bag of my Xmas cookies, hehe. And some Slitti chocolate. Oh, I just have to fly my own kite for a second: he told me that MY cookies are the best he has EVER had. Ever!  Anyway, he wrote down my chococumin recipe and also asked if I had posted about it on my blog. Since I couldn’t remember the exact date and am too lazy to look it up, I decided to post the recipe again. It’s not even a real recipe, since I don’t measure anything!

Anyway, here goes (I will translate this into Italian, too, see following paragraph): I use one and a half or two small squares of cocoa mass, or 100% chocolate (not cocoa powder, mind you). Cocoa mass looks like a regular chocolate bar, and you don’t need but a small bit. I melt it over very low heat, but you could use a double boiler, if you prefer. I add a couple of heaping teaspoonfuls of dark organic honey, otherwise it’s too bitter to swallow, in my opinion. As soon as these two ingredients have melted (be careful not to burn the mixture, as I have done a couple of times in the past!), I take the pan off the stove and add two grams of quercetin powder and my eight grams of C3 Complex curcumin powder. Stir quickly and eat the mixture even more quickly since it has a tendency to harden. Important note: I put small blobs of it under my tongue, where there are a TON of blood vessels. My idea is to get the dissolved curcumin into the bloodstream without much ado. It would seem that this approach works, which is why I am SO curious to see my next test results.

Ricetta in italiano: prendere un quadratino e mezzo oppure due (dipende dalla grandezza; ad esempio, se è pasta di cacao Slitti ne basta uno e mezzo; se è Domori ce ne vogliono due) di pasta di cacao. Mi raccomando, che non sia cacao in polvere (non so perché, ma mi dà l’idea che funzionerebbe peggio), ma pasta di cacao, che assomiglia alle tavolette di cioccolato normali. Praticamente si tratta di cioccolato al 100%, senza zucchero insomma. Aggiungere due cucchiaini da té stracolmi di miele biologico, il più scuro possibile (tipo, castagno). Scioglierlo a fuoco bassissimo oppure a bagnomaria. Attenzione a non bruciarlo sennò fa veramente schifo (lo so per esperienza, eheh!). Aggiungere due grammi di quercetina in polvere e otto grammi di curcumina, sempre in polvere. Io uso la curcumina C3 Complex. Una volta sciolto e mescolato il tutto, ne metto un po’ sotto la lingua e lo faccio sciogliere piano piano. L’idea è che da lì entra velocemente in circolo nel sangue senza passare per lo stomaco e l’intestino dove viene aggredito in malo modo da diversi enzimi. Ultima cosa: siccome questa specie di pastone cioccolatoso si indurisce rapidamente, bisogna mangiarlo velocemente e, soprattutto, mentre è caldo.

Back to English. I am busily finishing research for a post and have other errands to run. Busy days, these! I apologize to those who have sent me messages and who are not receiving a reply. I do read every single message, but I probably won’t get to answering any of ’em until Sunday or so. Ok, off I go! Poof!