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We currently have one student with a malfunctioning ZIC3 gene. This gene normally is found on the X chromosome in q26.3 region. ZIC3 “probably functions as a transcription factor in early stages of left-right body axis formation. Mutations in this gene cause X-linked visceral heterotaxy, which includes congenital heart disease and left-right axis defects in organs”. One of the realities that Tai Chi theory, with its foundations in Traditional Chinese Medicine, bumps up against is that we humans are not symmetric -the heart in most people is considerably left of the centerline. And the four-chambered heart itself, while a marvel of bio-engineering, is not symmetric either.

The student wears biosensors (a smart watch that does not tell time) on his wrist to track blood pressure, heart rate and body temperature. Preliminary indications are that the data might be more accurate if he wore two – one on each wrist. We are not convinced the wrist is the best location. Or that even two would be enough. Maybe ankle and even neck locations are useful. While considering those lofty thoughts there are some more immediate and local problems. He doesn’t like the more commonly available watchbands – metal or plastic. They chafe. So we need lightweight sensors that can be worn comfortably. So far, we also need a device that doesn’t wander around on the wrist because we cannot distinguish between spikes and drops in the data due to movement versus due to a cardiac anomaly.

Jean-Baptiste Joseph Fourier (21 March 1768 – 16 May 1830) was a French mathematician and physicist who, among other things, put forth the proposition that a function, whether continuous or discontinuous, can be expanded in a series of sines of multiples of the variable. So we have to see if Fourier analysis can overcome the ambiguity mentioned above. Fourier had experienced “some attacks of aneurism of the heart” in Egypt and Grenoble. These frequently caused suffocations and falls. More on Fourier and his student Navier later.

The student does things about 25% per cent more slowly than most of his classmates. They do eight repetitions of each of the warn-ups – he does six. We found an excerpt of a video of Grandmaster Chen Zhenglei explaining that emphasizing the Four Gos (go soft, go slow, go low and go again) were the hallmarks of a Tai Chi master and that going slower just meant the student was further along.