04 June 2012

Ian Gawler Blog: Research to live for

People sometimes say ”I have been dying to meet you”. Bit weird really.

This blog presents new research relevant to living. A major review of the literature pointing to the extension of life benefits gained through diet and exercise for people diagnosed with cancer.  Then we discuss a new syndrome to watch out for called Faecal Encephalitis that leads to a raft of distressing, disgraceful symptoms.
But first:

Thought for the day
How brief this life
So little time to prepare for eternity
                                                                     Paul Gauguin

Diet and exercise extend life

It is disturbing how often I still hear from people diagnosed with cancer whose highly educated specialists have told them that what they eat will not matter. While one would imagine simple common sense would dictate that was flawed advice, there is often the follow up "There is no evidence at all to support changing your diet after a cancer diagnosis".

Clearly wrong. And clearly ignorance that is dangerous. A recent, major review of the scientific literature has examined the role of diet and physical activity in breast, colorectal, and prostate cancer survivorship and confirmed the benefits. While it is both astounding and disappointing that the amount of research investigating how much therapeutic nutrition can add to cancer survival is quite small, the indications are steadily growing.

The evidence for exercise increasing survival is stronger, and you may wonder why that is. The benefits of exercise were stumbled upon some years ago and have attracted a good deal of recent research, support and uptake in the mainstream. I cannot help but wonder if exercise offends few and so people research it happily, whereas the vested interests involved with nutrition are vast, complex and obstructive. Whether it be the food lobby groups like the meat and dairy industries, the processed food and fast food conglomerates, or just the general malaise amongst the population who seem reluctant to really grapple with the connection between lifestyle, healing, health and wellbeing; food is far more challenging as a research topic than exercise.

Be that as it may, here is a summary of what was said in this extensive review of current research, along with the quote to cite if anyone in the future is so stupid as to say what you eat when diagnosed with cancer does not matter, or there is no evidence:

Link here to the article in the British Journal of Cancer
QUOTE:  Davies, N J, Br J Cancer. 2011 November 8; 105(S1): S52–S73.
Published online 2011 November 3. doi:  10.1038/bjc.2011.423

Evidence that poor diet and low physical activity relate directly to the incidence of cancer is well documented, but owing to increased cancer survivorship, an understanding of these lifestyle factors after a cancer diagnosis is of crucial importance.

Evidence was initially gathered from pre-defined searches of the Cochrane Library Database and PubMed from March 2006 to February 2010. Another search of 2011 literature was conducted to update the evidence.

Evidence from observational studies suggests that a low-fat, high-fibre diet might be protective against cancer recurrence and progression. There is more support for physical activity, with a dose response for better outcomes.

Cancer survivors would like to have a more active role in their health care and to know how to look after themselves after diagnosis, including what diet and lifestyle changes they should make. The challenge is in integrating lifestyle support into standardised models of aftercare.

Faecal Encephalitis
This is a dangerous new condition that is particularly harsh on those in the ambit of the sufferers.

Faecel Encephalitis occurs when faecal material builds up to critical levels in a person’s system, leading to a toxic overload of their brain and mind. This leads to inflammation of the brain and disgraceful behavior. Symptoms can be severe and include chronic resentment, irrational behavior, poor judgment, loss of values and distortion of the truth.

Apparently the condition can result from chronic constipation causing a back log and auto-intoxication, although a more common problem is having the head stuck so far up someone else’s backside there is a direct faecal overload. Usually the “other person” is someone perceived to be in authority or power.

The condition needs to be differentiated from the more common and more recognized problem of being “full of sh*t”, which is a far more benign problem and while regrettable, is of little concern in daily life.

Treatment of Faecal Encephalitis is quite difficult as it seems those afflicted by the condition loose the capacity for self awareness and do not recognize they have a problem. It may be more useful to focus on helping family, friends and colleagues of those affected as they often suffer unduly.

1. Brisbane workshops June 14 – 16

Where: The Relaxation Centre, 15 South Pine Rd, Alderley, Brisbane, 4051

Bookings & Info: Click here for the link and go to the 14th -17th on the calendar
or call The Relaxation Centre on (07) 3856 3733.

2. Israel workshops etc July 18 - 28

It will be a great pleasure to be back in Israel once more where I have been invited to make a variety of presentations. If you know anyone in Israel who may be interested, please forward the details.

i) Wednesday July 18th, 19:30-22:00, Evening Talk 
The Art of Living and Dying: contemplation, meditation and healing
Seminar Hakibutzim, Tel-Aviv
Sponsored by Tovana, Israel Insight Meditation Association

ii) Friday July 20th, 09:00-14:00, Master Class Workshop for Health Professionals 
An Integrative Approach for Major Illness - Applications of Meditation and Mind-Body Principles
Rabin Medical Center
Sponsored by the Integrative Medicine Department, Davidoff Cancer Center, Beilinson Hospital

iii) Friday July 27th, 09:00-16:00, One Day Workshop for the General Public
Health, Healing and Well-being: the Healing Power of the Mind 
Beit Rishonim, Bitan Aharon
Sponsored by Taatzumot Association

iv) By Invitation Only:
Wednesday July 18th, 16:00-18:30: A meeting with leading Dharma teachers,
Saturday July 28, 19:00-22:00: An evening with leading integrative therapists and physicians.

For more information or registration:
Dr. Nimrod Sheinman, In Israel: 0544-797466, nimush@zahav.net.il


  1. Faecal Encephalitis! Very funny if it were not so sad. We have a case in our workplace and I just wish there was a cure. Do enemas work?

  2. Enemas, suppositories can be offerred or advice returned, usually accompanied by strong advice to 'Shove it .. .... ...", accompanied by a digital representation of how that might be accomplished.:-) Makes the donor feel much better.

  3. The DSM-V is being put together currently. I hope there is still time to include Faecal Encephalitis. Then we will see a flurry of research to develop a drug to treat it. What a relief.

  4. Love it Ian. Thanks for once again showing your delightful sense of humour in the light of all those with faecal encephalitis throwing it at you, in the name of science. They are no more scientific than the chimps at the zoo throwing their poo!

  5. Oh hilarious, I think I know a few people with this condition!!

  6. Never knew it had a name it is however very appropriate. Thanks for the laugh as along with good food ,nutrition & exercise, laughter is the best medicine... you cant take everything too seriously.