Thursday, October 27, 2016

Daily Fail piffle from 2008; the July 1960 issue of Scientific American; and the 9th episode of Hogan's Heroes.
I'll take "Pop-culture coverage of the healing properties of heavy water" for $200, Alex.

A request to the Library Pixies for "most up-to-date review of deuterium-oxide cytotoxicity" was promptly answered with the delivery of Katz's paper from Sci. Am. [1960].
We learn much from it that is interesting (for sufficiently obsessive values of "interest")... but in particular, that the idea of curing cancer with heavy water has been around for as long as the heavy water itself was available in any quantity [Barbour & Allen 1938], with a new burst of enthusiasm every decade or two. It must be a tradition, or an old charter or something. The added molecular weight, stronger bonds and slower chemical dynamics of deuterium compounds have no end of ripple-on effects on cell metabolism, but they particularly bork fast-dividing cells (stabilising the self-assembly of microtubules blah blah blah mitotic spindles blah blah blah)... therefore slower tumour growth. "Microtubules" is always a safe answer.

Katz concluded that for the effect to be clinically useful requires most of the water in an animal's body to be replaced with D2O. Unfortunately the inconvenient and undesirable side-effects at this concentration (in the form of death when the percentage reaches 20-30%) has hindered the uptake of heavy-water therapy.

Were the scriptwriters of Hogan's Heroes aware of (and influenced by) the Katz paper? It would be irresponsible not to speculate. In Episode 9 (1965), a barrel of heavy water is stored for safe-keeping at Stalag XIII, until the prisoners are appraised of the fact that it is a component in the German A-bomb program, so they persuade Werner Klemperer's character to drink it in the belief that it is invigorating (and hair-restoring) spa water.*
ANYWAY... the most recent re-inventor of the heavy-water-for-health wheel is one Mikhail Shchepinov. His twist is to synthesise deuterated nutrients -- heavy fat, heavy proteins, carbodeuterates -- using algae of various persuasions, which can survive 100% heavy-water environment. Then the strengthened molecular bonds (in specific nutrients, in specific stages of metabolism) will create fewer free radicals. These are bad, therefore immortality.

Eight years later, Shchepinov is still pursuing a Proof of Principle for his iFood.** But his idea is not insanely stupid, and something may come of his "Retrotope" biotech company (though it has kept a low profile for a while, apart from sending delegates to grifty conferences like DDTWC).

Sadly, the mendacious shouty people at the Daily Fail got hold of the notion and ran it through their Enstupidising Machine, as part of their "ongoing ontological program to divide all inanimate objects into ones that will either cause or cure cancer" [Ben Goldacre, 2006].

 "Why have you shut Swearing Bob in the Evolvamat?" asked tigris.

"To stimulate his dormant genes into activity," I explained.

"Yes," tigris allowed, "it's the Evolvamat, that's what it does. I was not under the impression that he was in time-out. Which genes?"

"The ones we share with choanoflagellate algae," I said. "Dating back to our common eukaryote ancestor."

"They will increase his tolerance for heavy water," Another Kiwi vouchsafed, "allowing us to pump him up to 100% in his fluids instead of 25%, as a cure for cancer."

Tigris did not rate highly for this research program. She reminded us (punctuating her argument with pokes with a pointed stick until we acceded to the force of her logic) that when a high density of deuterium is combined with the quantum coherence tunnelling properties of microtubules within a cytoplasmic environment, there is a non-zero chance of a runaway cold-fusion reaction.

"Would that be a bad thing?"

"It is best left as a plot device for Stross's next Laundry novel."
* Thx LGM commenter

** iFood not to be confused with Nu-Food.

UPDATED with Bonus Isotopia Scamming:
All this talk of Nu-Food and iFood, but we forgot to mention CellFood (from NuScience) -- a blend of petroleum by-products "virgin earth fossilized plants" and Deuterium Sulphate. This seems to be the same as Open-All drain-cleaner and Improved Deuterium-system Soil Normalizer (to repair the soil after what the queers are doing to it), which was rebranded in 1997 as a Food Supplement when the scammers realised that suckers are far more credulous about what they put in their bodies than what they add to their gardens.
Mouse [below] in convulsions from Deuterium
overdose and from reading Alt-Med websites
I am not making this up:
Everett Lafayette Storey, inventor of the technology used to develop the triggering mechanism enabling the Hydrogen Bomb to exist. Storey was a physical chemist, microbiologist, publisher, and author. And while Storey has been credited with many discoveries, his favorite achievement was designing a substance to heal the body and restore the environment; CELLFOOD®. Storey was an expert in the little-known uses of Deuterium, the only non-radioactive isotope of Hydrogen, DI-Polar DI-Base technology, as well as heavy water and atomic binding-force technology. From this, he created CELLFOOD® (Deuterium Sulfate), a product he claimed was the key to any disease treatment in the world. Everett L. Storey's formula has the unique ability to dissociate the water molecule into nascent Hydrogen and nascent Oxygen. This splitting of the water molecule results in the release of nascent Hydrogen and Oxygen gases simultaneously in a chain reaction that only involves about one five-hundred thousandth of the available moisture in the body at one time. This results in an additional source of Oxygen. Genius.

After the war, Everett Storey and many of his colleagues discovered they were dying of radiation poisoning, as a result of exposure while witnessing bomb tests. It was then that Everett Storey developed the conceptual blueprint for Cellfood. He theorized that he same water-splitting technology that produced the bomb could be made to heal a human life. by utilizing hydrogen's non-radioactive isotope, deuterium, and full blend of required trace minerals, enzymes and amino acids, he would create a solution-- and electromagnetic equation'--that could release vital oxygen and hydrogen into his blood stream, remove toxic radiation, rebuild his systems, and return him to health.
Search the Great Gazoogle for "CellFood" and so much fabulation and stark staring crazypants fantasy bubbles up to the top of the cesspool, it is difficult to know where to start. It is as if every party involved in the grift, from manufacturer to distributors to local retailers, feels obliged to contribute additional layers of mendacity, and things quickly escalate to ALL-CAPS. Hence the Deuterium Freedom Act of 1985 [completely fictional], and the two Nobel prizes.

It may be a drain-cleaner and a soil conditioner, but it's organic! And it's got "an incredible 78 electrolytes that can be used by your body instantly"!
Cellfood’s proprietary formula weakens the bond of water molecules in the body, releasing oxygen into the body in a chain-reaction that typically peaks in 8 – 12 hours.
Cellfood is colloidal and ionic (negatively charged)— just like blood, plasma and lymph fluid— and has a surface tension identical to the body’s own fluids allowing it to move through the cell walls easily to be absorbed and assimilated quickly and efficiently.

"Wait", thinks the reader, paying some belated attention. "Deuterium Sulphate, D2SO4? Isn't that just sulphuric acid with two extra neutrons?"
Yes indeed, that is the icing on top of the scamcake. It is as if the food-supplement industry were engaged in a not-entirely-ethical experiment to plumb the depths of human stupidity, and to determine if there is any way of insulting the intelligence of magical-thinking eedjits and barmpots so badly that they'll stop paying money to pour noxious products down their throats.

The market is so large that NuScience / Deutrel are confronting a competing Deutrosulfazyme Deuterium-Sulphate Food Supplement company, DeutroCell -- a couple of brothers who claim to possess UNCLE EV'S "ORIGINAL" KITCHEN FORMULA. Thereby infringing the NuScience copyright / trademark of the fictitious "Everett Storey" character.

Hilarity ensued in the form of a bitter courtroom battle. I'm cheering for injuries.


rhwombat said...

This is an "Oh Brother, Where Are Thou?" level of stupidity. I'm surprised that Trump hasn't bought in already.

H. Rumbold, Master Barber said...

Homeopathic Heavy Holy Water.

Smut Clyde said...

Homeopathic heavy water is certainly a thing. I don't know what it treats. Dizziness? (one side effect of drinking heavy water is you get the spins, when the density of the fluid in your semicircular canals increases slightly).

ifthethunderdontgetya™³²®© said...

It's like you down-umders don't even want to cure cancer at all.

Smut Clyde said...

TRUFAX: If you balance your consumption of beer in the evening with just the right amount of heavy water, you won't get the spins when you crawl out of bed the next morning, because the increase in density in the vestibular fluid from the D20 will balance the decreased density from the alcohol.

Smut Clyde said...

It's like you down-umders don't even want to cure cancer at all.

Here in the southern hemisphere we are more concerned with curing the Tropic of Capricorn.

rhwombat said...

Yep, that tropic really gets our goat - but we always were a little capricious.