is defined as a collection of cancers that usually begin in the bone marrow and result in high numbers of abnormal white blood cells. There are four main types of leukemia — acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL), acute myeloid leukemia (AML), chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) and chronic myeloid leukemia (CML) — as well as about a dozen less common types. There are four imprecisely defined populations – infants, children, young adults and mature adults.
In the Global Burden of Disease Study 2015 published in The Lancet leukemia was present in 2.3 million people and caused 353,500 deaths world-wide. About 75% of leukemia cases in children are ALL, but about 90% of all leukemias are diagnosed in adults, with AML and CLL being the most common. About 250,000 people in the United States have some form of leukemia, including those that have achieved remission or cure. Approximately 50,00 new cases of leukemia are diagnosed per year in the US. I hope to get more quantitative data.
Among environmental factors thought to be causes we have smoking, ionizing radiation, some chemicals (notably benzene), prior chemotherapy, and Down syndrome (chromosome 21 trisomy). There is some interesting research on genetic causes of some leukemias, especially involving genes on chromosome 21.
Of interest was an email from China which mentioned that in traditional Chinese medicine there are several diagnoses that we would associate with leukemia. In some cases the drug homoharringtonine has been effective – made from the leaves of a plum yew tree found in parts of Asia – Cephalotaxus harringtoni. Of additional interest was the advice to de-emphasize direct (flesh on flesh) and indirect (flesh on floor) impacts during practice. The example was given of Buddha’s Warrior Pounds Mortar (done multiple times in 18 Movements, Lao Jia 1, Lao Jia 2 [Cannon Fist], Xin Jia 1 and Xin Jia 2) where the back of the right fist impacts the upturned left palm and the right foot stomps into the ground. The problems are most people with leukemia bruise easily, and the bruising tends to increase the number and activity of abnormal white blood cells.
I am checking around if Dit Da Jow, the liniment used in Iron Palm training, might be useful.
One problem with asserting microcephaly is that there are already 185 distinct genes (see the SAITO screenshot at the bottom) implicated in different kinds of microcephaly. Could that number rise dramatically? Sure – there are projects underway looking at eight different chromosomes to understand both deletions and ring chromosomes. And those would be just genes from living homo sapiens. So a key question is: Is someone claiming ALL the Homo floresiensis were micro-cephalic or just the one (LB1, also known as “Flo”)
Another conjecture to explain Homo floresiensis was advanced in
Evolved developmental homeostasis disturbed in LB1 from Flores, Indonesia,
denotes Down syndrome and not diagnostic traits of the invalid species Homo
floresiensis Henneberga, Maciej; Eckhardt, Robert B.; Chavanavesb, Sakdapong;
Hsü, Kenneth J.
Proc Natl Acad Sci USA. 2014;111(33):11967–72. pmid:25092311
Like microcephaly, the simplicity of the name Down Syndrome belies a great deal of complexity. There are presently at least four types of Down Syndrome: complete chromosome 21 trisomy where virtually all cells in the body have three copies of chromosome 21 instead of the usual two; incomplete chromosome 21 trisomy where virtually all cells in the body have two and a fraction copies of chromosome 21; incomplete chromosome 21 trisomy with translocation where virtually all cells in the body have two and a fraction copies of chromosome 21 AND the fraction is attached to some other chromosome; and mosaic chromosome 21 trisomy where some cells in the body have two and a fraction copies of chromosome 21. If any reader knows of a paper announcing a mosaic situation with a complete third copy we would appreciate a link. Likewise, if any reader knows of a paper that discusses what other chromosomes get supplemented with pieces of chromosome 21 during translocation we would appreciate a link.
In Baab KL, Brown P, Falk D, Richtsmeier JT, Hildebolt CF, Smith K, et al. (2016)
A Critical Evaluation of the Down Syndrome Diagnosis for LB1, Type Specimen of Homo
floresiensis. PLoS ONE 11(6): e0155731. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0155731 the authors disagree with the assertion of Down Syndrome. We are inclined to agree with their points.
However, if the claim is many or most of Flo, her family and her friends had microcephaly or Down Syndrome, we’d be curious how such a population apparently survived 150,000 years making stone tools; perhaps managing fire; maybe even having language; not being wiped out by tsunamis, earthquakes and massive volcanic eruptions; hunting admittedly smallish elephants; and avoiding giants storks and Komodo dragons.
Our SAITO software supports a student having multiple genetic challenges. So a student could undergo DNA testing and choose to share with us that he or she has, for example, a defective ADNP gene on chromosome 20. This would be Helmsmoortel-van der Aa syndrome. And the same student could have a defective MCM6 gene on chromosome 2 that contributes to lactose intolerance. For many genes there’s a measurable or observable difference in the span of the micro-deletion, the mutation of the nucleotide bases or the repetition count of tri-nucleotides. So a fair comparison of individual velocity of learning would be to analyze other students with similar DNA.
Normally, chromosomes occurs in pairs. Most humans have 46 chromosomes in 23 pairs. When one has three copies of chromosome 21 the result is almost always Down Syndrome. It has turned out one need not have three complete copies of chromosome 21. It is possible to have two complete copies and a fraction.
A translocation occurs when something breaks in not just one, but two chromosomes so genes or parts of genes that should be on chromosome 8, for example, wind up on chromosome 21 and vice versa. In many instances of that particular scenario the student is predisposed to acute myoblastic leukemia.
In 1947 American pediatrician Sidney Farber (September 30, 1903 – March 30, 1973) was desperate to save some of his patients with acute lymphoblastic leukemia so he gave them folic acid supplements and likely accelerated their deaths. We’d prefer to avoid such an outcome. So we’d want to know at the very least that practicing Tai Chi Chuan would NOT worsen a student’s health. In addition, we’d like to provide individual “homework” exercises that might help with specific future conditions.