August 2010


By Michael J. Katin, MD

Cynical realism is the intelligent man's best excuse for doing nothing in an intolerable situation.
-- Aldous Huxley

Is all that we see or seem but a dream within a dream?
-- Edgar Allan Poe, 1829
-- Britney Spears, 2001

One of the benefits of being mentally ill is that one can have certainty as to why things happen and then be able to find clues to prove that concept. It was reassuring to have documentation from a recently-released motion picture that it is, indeed, possible to plant ideas into a person during the dream state without that person's being able to identify the source.

Many things in the recent past defy explanation (parachute pants , Zima,, and Justin Bieber), but it appears that such events are happening now with much more frequency. Was it a promotional tactic by Christopher Nolen that 59% of the vote in the South Carolina Democratic primary was won by Alvin Greene, who did not campaign and who had no previous political office? In the words of Don Fowler, former South Carolina Democratic National Committee chairman, "There is something genuinely mysterious about this whole thing." So far the explanations range from the possibility that voters wanted someone who was not contaminated by politics as usual, or that Mr. Greene's name was alphabetically at the top of the list, or that he was mistaken for superstar Al Green? In that case, were they simply seeking love and happiness, without recognizing that these are incompatible with government?

Perhaps Mr. Greene's victory in South Carolina gives credence to the possibility that events are being manipulated more than we could imagine. It has now been nearly a year since Abdel Baset Al-Megrahi was released from prison in Scotland with the expectation that his survival with prostate cancer would be only a few months. Apparently he is thriving in Libya, with the explanations being that treatment options in Libya are superior to those in the U.K. , that the Mediterranean diet might be for real, , or that Al-Megrahi was released accidentally since he was mistaken for Al-Green. Anyone who deals with prostate cancer knows that the disease can be very frustrating, but survival is extremely variable and that many patients with metastases can live for years . It is uncertain whether an implanted subconscious message was involved in having "experts" convinced that this gentleman was going to live for only a few months, but since it is extremely unlikely that financial or political concerns were involved , this may be the only explanation.

We may be able to go back to other cancer-related medical topics in the past few years that were accepted for inexplicable reasons. In the 1980's, it was thought that interferon would be the cure for all types of malignancies. The use of hyperthermia with radiation therapy and/or chemotherapy was to have come into standard use by now . Corynebacterium parvum was supposed to have had anti-cancer activity with immunostimulation. Misonidazole, a nitroimidazole that was thought not to be usable against trichomonas because of neurotoxicity , was to have been the ultimate radiation sensitizer . The more liberal use of erythropoiesis-stimulating agents (ESAs ) were to have improved outcomes in most cancer patients but instead might have led to increased circulatory problems and even helped feed the tumors . It was accepted by the Congressional Budget Office and the majority of senators and representatives that the Affordable Health Care for America Act will reduce the deficit. It has been accepted widely that not only is intensity-modulated radiation therapy superior to every previous type of radiation therapy, but that proton beam therapy makes IMRT look like kilovoltage therapy.

Are these all examples of deliberate intra-somnolence insertion? Maybe not, but if we can master this technique we need to plant some suggestions as fast as possible. It will be very important to make sure that despite the troubled economy there is support for cancer research. It will be helpful to remind legislators and voters that radiation oncology is a distinct specialty and funding for cancer treatment should not be distributed through medical oncology. In fact, if we can utilize this technique, we might as well try to encourage that all cancer treatment funding should be distributed through radiation oncology. Oh, yes, we should also make an effort to promote world peace.

Maybe we could even ask for the SGR to be eliminated . . . . well, maybe that's asking too much. I can dream, can't I?