||Meridian Institute News
RESEARCHING THE SPIRIT-MIND-BODY CONNECTION
The concept of spinal abnormalities producing illness is an old idea.
The early osteopathic physicians spoke of "lesions" (now called "somatic
dysfunction). The early chiropractors called these abnormalities
"subluxations" (now called a "subluxation complex"). Edgar Cayce used both
designations (lesions and subluxations) while also simply referring to
"pressures" and "impingements" at specific vertebral segments. Like
the early osteopaths, Cayce also recognized that the abnormalities are
not restricted to the skeletal structure ("bony lesions") but also could
manifest as "muscular lesions," "ligamentous lesions," "circular lesions,"
"floating lesions," and "reflex lesions."
According to these historic sources, the various
forms of spinal lesions and subluxations can cause illness and reduced
quality of life. Hence, manual treatment (spinal adjustment or manipulation)
is an appropriate treatment for improving health.
According to the early osteopaths and Edgar Cayce,
one common characteristic of the various forms of spinal abnormality is
temperature variation. Thus, the early osteopaths typically used their
hands to detect changes in temperatures along the spine (paraspinal) when
doing an examination.
The early chiropractors were also aware of thermal
variations associated with spinal subluxations. Although they also relied
on manual palpation of the spine to detect thermal variations, some enterprising
chiropractors developed an instrument called a neurocalometer that could
perform this type of assessment.
Edgar Cayce endorsed this instrument in at least
two of his readings, stating: ". but there has been perfected or used in
the chiropractic association a thermometer, or a gadget that run along
the spine shows WHEN they [the centers] coordinate one with another, see?"
(480-44) Cayce acknowledged that the device could be useful for detecting
pathology and tracking the effects of treatment.
In conjunction with the HRRC (Health and Rejuvenation
Research Center - a division of the A.R.E.), Meridian Institute has conducted
a preliminary research study using a modern equivalent of the neurocalometer.
Meridian Institute research director Douglas Richards, Ph.D. will present
the findings of the study at the annual convocation of the American Academy
of Osteopathy in Norfolk, Virginia in March. The talk is titled,
"Correlations Between Paraspinal Temperature Variation And Health Status:
From Manual Therapeutic Art To Objective Measurement."
The purpose of our study was to explore correlations
between paraspinal temperature variations and health quality of life. The
study compared paraspinal temperature measurements using the Tytron C-3000
with questionnaire measurements using the SF-36, a well-validated measure
of health status. Data from 79 people participating in health assessments
The correlations of the SF-36 with measurements of temperature differential
on either side of the spine, and temperature variations along the spine,
ranged from r = -.23 to -.28, and were statistically significant at the
.05 level. The study demonstrates that temperature imbalances along the
spine are correlated with lower health quality of life.
The findings support the ideas expressed by the early
osteopaths, chiropractors, and the Cayce readings. Temperature variations
along the spine that are believed to be associated with "lesions" and/or
"subluxations" may be associated with health problems that can be objectively
This line of thinking is extremely controversial.
In previous issues of this newsletter we have cited articles on this subject
by Meridian Institute staff that have been published in medical journals.
To review this literature, visit the Meridian Institute website at:
Meridian Institute will continue researching the
connection between paraspinal thermography and health. We are currently
planning a follow-up study that will include additional measures (such
as heart rate variability and bioimpedance) for correlation with paraspinal
temperatures. Future studies will also examine the potential therapeutic
effects of manual therapy as measured by paraspinal thermography - just
as Edgar Cayce recommended.
TEMPLETON FOUNDATION AWARD
Dr. Douglas Richards, Meridian Institute research
director, recently received an award in the John Templeton Foundation's
Creative Research in Neurobiology competition, for his essay, "Neurological
Correlates of Transformational Experiences." The Templeton Foundation supports
research and scholarship in the dialogue between religion and modern science
and medicine. This competition was intended to produce new ideas for exploring
the higher faculties of humanity (e.g., creativity, mystical experiences)
using the techniques of neurobiology.
A variety of experiences - visions, near-death experiences,
mystical and numinous experiences - may lead to transformation of the personality,
resulting in greater compassion, altruism, and universal love. Cognitive
science has explored the reasoning capacities of the human mind/brain,
but has heretofore paid little attention to these higher functions. There
has been previous work on the role of the temporal lobe of the brain in
such experiences (e.g., that of Michael Persinger), as well as some neuroimaging
on the areas of the brain involved in meditation (e.g., that of Andrew
Newberg). My approach here is to extend this work in several ways to explore
the neurological correlates of transformational experiences: (1) better
quantitative assessment of experiences, going beyond descriptive phenomenology,
(2) more diversity of experiences, comparing spontaneous experiences to
induced experiences, and particularly exploring the factors involved in
positive vs. negative experiences (3) focusing specifically on neuroimaging,
with near-death experiences as a model, and (4) using the results of neuroimaging
to design experiments to induce experiences for controlled study. This
approach has the potential to show coherent mechanisms for these experiences
(as opposed to pathology caused by biological deterioration), encouraging
further exploration to gain an understanding of their role in human existence.
Dr. Richard's award-winning paper can be viewed on
the Meridian Institute website at:
TOMATO-BASED FOODS CUT RISK OF PROSTATE CANCER
A recent study published in the Journal of the National
Cancer Institute reports that a diet rich in tomato-based foods can reduce
the risk of prostate cancer. When researchers analyzed the diets
and prostate cancer data of more than 47,000 men (40-75 years old), they
found that eating at least two meals each week containing tomato products
reduced prostate cancer rates by 24 to 36 percent.
The study is consistent with previous prostate cancer
research involving foods that contain lycopene, a powerful antioxidant
found in tomato products. Antioxidants are substances thought to
protect against cancer by reducing tissue-damaging free radicals that are
produced during metabolism.
The researchers note that foods containing cooked
tomatoes appear to be particularly beneficial in protecting against prostate
cancer. Tomato sauce was a favorite food of the research participants
and also seemed to provide the most protection. Cooking may allow
the body to absorb more lycopene by breaking down the cell walls of the
Interestingly, Edgar Cayce was a big advocate of
tomatoes, both raw and cooked. When asked about the effects of eating
an abundance of tomatoes he responded, "Quite a dissertation might be given
as to the effect of tomatoes upon the human system. Of all the vegetables,
tomatoes carry most of the vitamins in a well-balanced assimilative manner
for the activities in the system. Yet if these are not cared for
properly, they may become very destructive to a physical organism; that
is, if they ripen after being pulled, or if there is the contamination
with other influences."
In numerous instances, Cayce also advised eating
canned tomatoes unless they were fresh and vine-ripened: "Beware of raw
tomatoes, unless well-ripened on the vine - not those gathered green and
then ripened. Preferably use these cooked or canned, rather than
raw - unless well ripened when gathered - from the vine." When canned,
he cautioned against using sodium benzoate as a preservative.
Cayce didn't make any specific statements regarding
tomatoes as protecting against prostate cancer, but seemed to regard tomatoes,
properly harvested and prepared, as having general health benefits.
Perhaps future research will uncover additional positive effects of eating
Edward Giovannucci, Eric B. Rimm, Yan Liu, Meir J. Stampfer, and Walter
C. Willett. A Prospective Study of Tomato Products, Lycopene, and
Prostate Cancer Risk. J Natl Cancer Inst 2002; 94: 391-398.
CAYCE DIET FOR HEARTBURN
This anecdote was provided by a fifty-four year
old woman on January 10, 2002.
"For the past 25 years, I have had awful heartburn.
Fifteen years ago I had a bleeding ulcer that originated at the juncture
of my stomach and esophagas and had to recieve 2 units of blood. Since
then I have used Tagamet and Tums like candy to prevent a recurrence. Nights
were the worst!
"Three days ago I began following the Alkaline diet
guidelines set down by Cayce. For the past two days I have had NO heartburn
at all and have not taken one tagamet or Tums. I am able to sleep all night,
even lying on my stomach, without a problem."
On March 13, 2002 we received a follow up report
"As long as I follow the guidelines, I have remained
heart-burn free. A small package of potatoes chips will give me heartburn,
or a candy bar....but even then it is not as pervasive as it had been before
following the alkaline diet guidelines. And, I try not to stray from the
guidelines 90% of the time."
Although Edgar Cayce provided individualized treatment
plans with varied dietary recommendations, many of his readings indicate
that for most people an alkaline-reacting diet is beneficial. Numerous
readings suggested that such a diet should consist of about 80 percent
alkaline-reacting foods (most fruits and vegetables) and about 20 percent
acid-reacting foods (such as meat, grains, and sweets).