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The P?Nu Mission

Posted Oct 16 2009 10:03pm

In your mind's eye, is this what you picture when you think of that guy who does the PaNu blog?

I sure hope not.

Here is a description of my qualifications and some thoughts on the PaNu mission:

I am a practicing physician with training in biology, chemistry, physics and all the biomedical basic sciences, including pathology, anatomy, physiology, endocrinology, biochemistry, etc. My specialty is radiology (interpreting MRI, CT scans, ultrasound, angiograms, etc.) and I have subspecialty training in neuroradiology and spent several years in academics in that subspecialty, doing teaching and research. In my clinical practice, I have also acquired considerable experience in cardiovascular imaging. I read CT and ultrasound studies of the heart and vascular system daily. Although some radiologists read images in a room with little patient contact, at my imaging center we often review the exam results with patients, so I get the chance to see and speak with the actual person whose images I interpret. Radiologists are responsible for knowledge of many aspects of different clinical subspecialties. 

The relevance of this is that I approach everything from this clinical perspective. I see people suffering from diseases of civilization every single day. 

When I first heard Gary Taubes on NPR 2 years ago, and then read his book (twice in 2 weeks) I started reading on nutrition several hours a day, including thousand of abstracts, hundreds of full text papers, dozens of diet books, newest editions of textbooks on biochemistry, cell physiology, cardiology, gastroenterology, endocrinology, several textbooks of comparative animal physiology and anatomy, books on evolution, anthropology, archaeology, paleoanthropology....

Well, you get the picture.

I have experience with medical criticism and have written a book chapter, review articles and several peer-reviewed articles of original research.

I have always enjoyed writing.  When a long nutrition discussion on itulip about diet became popular, the thread became simply too long to direct patients and friends to, as it printed out to about 100 pages. This blog was first intended just to be a place to compile a few essays so I would not have to give my "spiel" over-and- over to new folks interested (by word-of mouth) in my approach. I had also thought about writing a book and there is no better way to refine your ideas than to gather intelligent commentary as you are developing them.

So what this blog represents is just the opinions of a single person who happens to have read and thought a lot about nutrition.

I am not a guru. 

PaNu has dogmas, in the original greek sense of the word, meaning established opinion. They are often specifically identified as such, these core beliefs. Used in this sense, there is nothing pejorative about "dogma". If the religious connotation bothers you, think of hypothesis. PaNu hypotheses are supported by evidence from many branches of science. You will find hypotheses everywhere in science. You are allowed to consider any piece of evidence you wish to decide if they are plausible, including the credibility of the agent communicating them. If someone tells you one thing that is totally implausible or is contradicted by a basic biochemistry text, it is fair to consider anything they tell you suspect, especially if it is contradicted by people you find more credible.

I do not ask you to believe anything in particular. I simply tell you what I believe. Make up your own mind based on any criteria you wish.

Here are some guidelines for getting the most out of this site.

I. These are solely my informed opinions based on my reading of a variety of literature. I make nothing up, and I do not say anything I do not believe to be true.

II. If something I say is informed (or even rank) speculation, I will try to identify it as such. If not, you can assume it is based on an informed reading of appropriate literature.

III. Notwithstanding #II, I do not have the thousands of pages of text I have read over the past 2 years available at my fingertips or in an electronic database. If I did, the first book would already be written! If you ask for evidence that I have not provided or is not elsewhere on my site, you cannot assume the evidence is not extant. The site has simply become too busy for me to respond to every question or to comment on every post. If you want me to comment on a paper, you must send me the full text article. A link to pubmed with a request to comment will usually not be accommodated unless the  article looks really interesting to me. I don't have academic access and won't pay $30 to review an article if you aren't willing to pay for it yourself. Even if you send me an article, I may or may not have time to read it.

IV. Before asking a question, try using the search function. A lot of questions being asked are addressed in some fashion elsewhere on the site, sometimes in the comment string following posts or in Q and A.

V. Shortly, I will activate the forum section of the blog. Be forewarned, there is no RSS feed function for this. You cannot subscribe to it, nor will I necessarily read every post. Any time you want to conduct an exchange with another poster, please start a new thread and have at it. This keeps the comment section more relevant to the posted topic. I may or may not chime in, and I may or may not read the thread. Inappropriate threads (including irrelevant or inflammatory ones) may be deleted. I am the only moderator for now, so keep things polite and civil (as you all have so far).

VI. If you want a question answered, it has the best chance of being answered if it is intelligent, well thought out, is relevant to an article I wrote, if it is single question and if it would be of general interest to readers of the blog. Try to post questions unrelated to a specific post in Q and A.

VII. I cannot practice medicine over the internet. Please don't ask me to. I can only make general comments about diseases and diet and tell you what I know.

VIII. The site (and it's owner) receive zero compensation from any government agency, NGO, corporation or individual. It costs several thousand dollars a year and at least 20 hours a week to run and write for the site. I am the sole individual involved. I will try my best to answer all questions, but soon it will be impossible to answer them all without interfering with production of new articles and commentary. (That is my excuse to Peter and Stephan!)

Finally, my mission is simple:

When I saw a video presentation of Gary Taubes speaking out west, he was asked what he really wanted. He said that he really wanted medical doctors who were convinced of the truth in GCBC to work to change things.

I am a medical doctor so here I am.

I have no idea if Mr. Taubes would approve of everything (or anything) I say. My own reading has obviously taken me far beyond the core idea of the carbohydrate hypothesis to the other neolithic agents of disease.

I am only sharing what I believe in hopes of advancing a new dietary paradigm based on critical scientific thinking informed by multiple disciplines.

If I or any other blogger start to remind you of Jim Jones, dump out the koolaid and run!

(Photo of Jim Jones courtesy Wikipedia)

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