Here are 5 things that helped me last week…

1. Idea/business book that helped me last week…

Thinking with Concepts

In 1979, in college, I took a course in embryology. With great excitement, I thought, “Now, I’ll finally figure out how babies grow!” Two weeks into the course, I felt a deep sense of disappointment: I realized that the course described in great detail what happens in the uterus, but with no explanation of why/how. There’s a great temptation to think that because we name something, or draw a picture of it, that we explained it. But a name, a concept noun, does not explain. Richard Feynman discusses this idea of concepts in a video where he tells how his father encouraged him to think by telling him (when observing a ball) that the name for the occurrence is momentum, but why it occurs is not known.

Those not trained in science usually think that we, as physicians, know and can do more than we can because we know the names of lots of diseases and can draw pictures of what the etiology looks like under the electron microscope.

Thinking with Concepts, the first chapter gives a list of methods to realize when you’re dealing with a fact, like the capital of the US is DC, and when you’re dealing with a concept, like inertia or cell differentiation—and how to think about each.

2. “Health” book that encouraged me last week (and remembering mothers of children with cystic fibrosis)—

Savage Factors, Peak Physical, Mental, & Sexual Performance Through the Practices of Ancient Civilizations.

One of the great medical innovations of mankind has been vaccines. One of the corollary dangers, however, of vaccines has been the false assumption that vaccines can completely compensate for an unhealthy body. Before we had so many antibiotics and antiviral medications, when my father was a child during the days of polio, mothers and grandmothers preached staying very well and practicing health practices so the body could defeat infection.

The fear: hospitalization with severe COVID-19 from which no medication and no ventilator can save you, that fear, that’s what every mother fears for her child with cystic fibrosis—they know a severe life-threatening pneumonia will very likely attack their child. So of course, they get their children vaccinated. But, you know what else they do? If you look here (click), you’ll read what I’ve seen first hand, the first advice of those mothers is “Help your child stay as healthy as possible.”

I don’t mind that Fauci preaches masks and vaccines; I’m puzzled that I never hear him preach, “Stay as healthy as possible,” or warn truthfully that “If you are obese, your chance of dying from COVID is increased one-hundred fold.”

Instead, physicians who talk about staying as healthy as a way to prevent COVID risk being labeled anti-vaccine and losing their license.

Though I’ve often been unkind to my body, I’ve been a Jack Lalanne fan and a Paul Bragg fan most of my life, but after reading this article about hormesis (click) a few years ago, the idea of hormesis seemed important, so I wrote a book for my own reminders about ways to stay healthy. After losing, last week, a dear friend and local cardiologist to COVID, l reread the book to remind me what I should be doing to stay healthy: Savage Factors, Peak Physical, Mental, & Sexual Performance Through the Practices of Ancient Civilizations.

3. Most important research I read this week —

Histopathology and Ultrastructural Findings of Fatal COVID-19 Infections on Testis

We all learned in medical school about mumps causing orchitis and leading to low testosterone or infertility, but we have not thought as much about it as an outcome from COVID. Not only can COVID infect the testes, but there are reports of it causing Peyronie’s.

Knowing this helped me last week while thinking about men who trust me with their health.

4. App I Used Every Day

Evernote. We use it at the office to communicate with each other and to store our company documents. And, I use me personal account to scan research and just about everything.

5. Quote I’m pondering —

Freeman Dyson, in Disturbing the Universe, describing his observations of Bomber Command during World War II (he was a mathematician who was involved in thinking about the war and weapons)…

“The Lancaster a magnificent flying machine, made into a death trap for the boys who flew it. A huge organization dedicated to the purpose of burning cities and killing people, and doing the job badly. A bureaucratic accounting system which failed utterly to distinguish between ends and means, measuring the success of squadrons by the number of sorties flown, no matter why, and by the tonnage of bombs dropped, no matter where. Secrecy pervading the hierarchy from top to bottom, not so much directed against the Germans as against the possibility that the failures and falsehoods of the Command should become known either to the political authorities in London or to the boys in the squadrons. A commander in chief who accepted no criticism either for above or from below, never admitted his mistakes and appeared to be as indifferent to the slaughter of his own airmen as he was to the slaughter of Germans civilians. An Operational Research Section which was suppose to give him independent scientific advice but was too timid to challenge any essential element of his policies.”

Does the news ever seem to you to be “copy and paste” from the history of previous generations? How odd that we are surprised.


And, please give me feedback: hit “reply” and shoot me an email, or on our membership sites, or on our weekly Journal Club with Pearls & Marketing. Which bullet above is your favorite? What do you want more or less of from the CMA? Other suggestions? Please let me know!

Have a great week!


Charles Runels, MD

P.S. The last book I launched could be of help to your patients who suffer from premature ejaculation: Extend Sex: The 30-Second Trick.
You’ll notice that my trick makes use of the functional anatomy, even though I did not know the anatomy when I dreamed this up 40 years ago.

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