Blog Archive

Sunday, July 26, 2015

My Stars, Our Future: Astrology and Hemophilia

Do you believe in astrology? The idea that the alignment of the stars at your time of birth can determine personality traits and more?

I'm a Scorpio, and according to the books, a near-perfect one, personality wise. Intense, probing, passionate. Right down to the fact that we love wearing black. 

Our colleague Richard Atwood of North Carolina has uncovered a fascinating history of hemophilia and astrology, which he writes may have more in common than might be expected. —Laurie

Hemophilia and other genetic disorders have been specifically studied in the field of medical astrology. The vision that medical care would be enhanced and better understood through astrology never materialized, but it leads to speculations on what might have happened to hemophilia if medical astrology had become a legitimate discipline of inquiry.
 John Addey (1920-1982) wrote the article Harmonics, Genetics and Diseaseand Charles Harvey (1940-2000) wrote the article Hemophilia - An Inherited Disease.Cambridge Circle, Limited, published these two articles in a 19-page, single-stapled pamphlet with the identifier New Directions 1. This implies that the pamphlet is intended as the first in a series. No date of publication for the pamphlet is provided, yet Addey mentions his new book, Harmonics in Astrology. Never stated as such, that book was published in 1976.1  

Addey broaches the topic of medical astrology and the relationship between astrology and heredity. He asserts that a knowledge of astrology is a valuable adjunct to the healing art.Then in a statement combining realistic pessimism with opportunistic optimism, Addey adds, Unfortunately, astrology is not part of the conceptual framework of modern medicine, but we can be assured that this state of affairs is about to change.Unfortunately for Addey, his prediction remains unfulfilled. 
 Addey asserts the argument that because natural characteristics are defined by laws of heredity and natural characteristics are calculated by a horoscope, it follows that the astrological code must be in agreement with the genetic code. This point of view assumes that physiological transmission of natural traits and cosmic transmission of natural traits are parallel expressions of the same theme. To an astrologer, this argument is evident so it must be true. 
 Proving his point, Addey cites the research by Michel Gauquelin. Earlier in 1970 Gauquelin had calculated the horoscopes for time of birth for 28,000 parents and children. He found a statistically significant tendency for parents to have the same planet rising or culminating as their children. To Addey, this astrological relationship of planetary position, though general, does exist, allowing him to build upon its foundation.
 Addey acknowledges some research obstacles. An absence of data on recorded birth times poses research problems for determining horoscopes. Addey is less concerned about the modern medical practices such as induction of labor and contraception that cause disoriented births.
 To substantiate his point, Addey provides personal data on his paternal grandparents, his father, himself, and his three children because he knew all of their exact birth times. Addey also provides data on Queen Victoria, a hemophilia carrier, who passed on the hereditary blood disease to one son and two daughters. Citing Harveys article, Addey claims that the affected descendants with hemophilia repeat the Saturn and Mars/Saturn midpoint by 45º aspect (involving appropriate significators) and within extremely narrow orbs. As a final example, Addey presents the case of Helen Keller, who acquired her hearing and sight loss due to scarlet fever at age 19 months, rather than by genetics. Through extensive computations for the 5th harmonic chart, putting the radical chart on to a 72º dial, or a fifth of the circle, Addey concludes that probably the only major indication of perception deprivation on Kellers horoscope is the fairly close square of Saturn, ruler of the third house, to Mercury. The origin of severe injury to the faculties of perception and communication by scarlet fever is found when the very harsh opposition falls with Saturn on the radical Mars. Addey proves his point through obfuscation, using terminology familiar only to astrologers, so the reader has to either acquiesce or give up trying to understand the complicated argument.
 Harvey, in a much shorter article, focuses on just the descent of hemophilia from Queen Victoria. Harvey discovers highly specific astrological correlates for the 24 hemophiliac and hemophilia-carrier descendants plus non-hemophiliac siblings for whom data are known. Strikingly, the sensitive point of Queen Victorias horoscope with Saturn at 28º46Pisces and her Mars/Saturn midpoint at 8º10Aries are duplicated in her descendants who suffered from or were carriers of hemophilia by 45º aspect. Harvey concludes that Saturn and the Mars/Saturn midpoint symbolize the hereditary deficiency of hemophilia. He explains that Jupiter has traditional rulership of blood while Sun/Jupiter is related the the regeneration of blood. Harvey also provides a simplified cosmic and hereditary pedigree for Queen Victoria over 4 generations.
  The pamphlet provides no information about the two authors. John Addey was born on June 15, 1920, at 8:15 AM GDT in Barnsley, England (53N34; 1W28). After the World War II, he joined the Astrological Lodge of the Theosophical Society in England and continued his astrological studies while pursuing a Masters degree. Addey founded the Astrological Association and published several books on advanced modern harmonics and the symbolic basis of numbers. Charles Harvey was born on June 22, 1940 at 9:16 AM BST in Little Bookham, Surrey, England. Having Addey as a mentor, Harvey earned his Diploma of Astrology in 1966 and became President of the Astrological Association in 1973. As an astrologer, teacher, organizer, author, researcher, and counselor, Harvey specialized in financial astrology and the astrology of world affairs. He died from non-Hodgkins lymphatic cancer.

 Hemophilia is defined by Diane L. Cramer in the Dictionary of Medical Astrology (2000) as malefics in second-eighth axis, Mars Saturn stress aspect, Jupiter afflictions, afflictions to Sun, Moon, or Ascendant.(p. 36). This definition is assumed to be self-explanatory as no further information is provided. The four malefics are Mars, Saturn, Uranus, and Neptune. A comparison of this dictionary definition of hemophilia to that stated by Harvey was not attempted.
 More detailed astrological charts of Queen Victoria, Alexandra the Czarina of Russia, and Czarevitch Alexei are readily available for downloads from the Astro-Databank. The issues of privacy for personal and astrological data are not addressed on these internet sites other than statements that content is available under permission. Much of the personal information on the European royalty is public knowledge, so their astrological charts are easily computed.
Medical astrology never became enmeshed in modern medical care even after John Addey proclaimed it would in 1976. Yet we can still speculate on the changes if astrology were included in hemophilia care today. Hemophilia treatment centers would now provide diagnostic, treatment, and forecasting services. As part of the HTC social intake form, HTC staff would gather detailed information on the exact date, time, and place of birth using GPS coordinates. These same data would be collected on CDC surveillance forms and processed by ATHN. In the beginning, these data would have been cumbersome, but today computer software, and even smart phone apps, would simplify the analysis. And to get the largest data set possible, the National Hemophilia Foundation would initiate a program called My Stars, Our Future to determine the astrological code of everyone with a bleeding disorder. We can always wish upon a star.

1. The publisher Cambridge Circle is listed in the Notes with a Green Bay, Wisconsin address.

Sunday, July 19, 2015

Introducing Baxalta!

When does a company change its name, especially when it's got a good thing going on? 

We've seen change in our bleeding disorder community when one company buys another—called an acquisition. Some of the factor manufacturers have been acquired through the years, sometimes with a name change: can you think of any? Specialty pharmacies have seen a fast and furious amount of consolidation: your speciality pharmacy may have been one of them. It's been going on for over 10 years now. So fast and often, you may have missed a few!

But when the biggest factor manufacturer changes its name, that's worthy of a blog. And it's not from aquisition—it hasn't been bought. Baxter Healthcare International, as part of its strategic planning, has now become two separate companies. The company has long been a leader in hospital supplies—like dialysis equipment, IV pumps and solutions, and biologics—like factor. Baxter's BioSciences division is where its factor products are made.

So Baxter has spun off the BioSciences division, which is now a completely separate company. Headquarters will remain in the Chicago area, but its R&D division will move to Cambridge, Massachusetts, about 30 minutes from my house, in fact! Cambridge is the center of the biotech universe. 

The new company is called Baxalta, a combination of the familiar name Baxter and "alta" which in Latin means "high" or "above."

As a consumer, you'll see eventually new packaging and a new name. But I think most of the people you know at Baxalta, like your local rep, will stay the same for now. 

Please check out the new website, and get to know Baxalta!

This post and images are sponsored by Baxalta  .

Great Book I Just Read

Dr. Mutter's Marvels: A True Tale of Intrigue and Innovation at the Dawn of Modern Medicine [Kindle]

by Cristin O'Keefe Aptowicz

An intriguing, ethical, compassionate physician and brilliant surgeon, who introduced plastic surgery to the US from Paris, Dr. Thomas Dent Mutter seemed destined to make history. Orphaned at an early age, impoverished, he nonetheless rose the ranks in the difficult and often snobbish Philadelphia medical community, becoming beloved by students and patients for his expertise as well as compassionate treatment of patients. At a time when the best surgeon was often the fastest (there was no anesthesia for a long time!), Mutter was highly regarded, especially for treating cases of "monsters," those people scarred by horrific accidents, or having deformities. He dedicated his life especially to those deformed by disease, birth or accident, and his contributions are now in the macabre but utterly fascinating Mutter Museum in Philadelphia. I've been there and was amazed! It's a legacy for a man who is admirable for his contributions, dedication and ethical manners. I couldn't put this book down! Five/five stars.

Sunday, July 12, 2015

Haarde to Ride!

Or not hard to ride... after all, this is Barry's fourth trip across country on a bicycle! He makes it look so easy. 100 miles a day? Not a problem. I'm lucky if I do that three times in a summer!

If you haven't gotten involved, now's the time. Wheels for the World: Barry is performing this astounding feat as a fundraiser for Save One Life. Moved by the plight of children suffering without factor in developing countries, Barry has sacrificed time off from work, and his own comfort (though I think he kind of enjoys this crazy, punishing route) to bring awareness to these children, and to raise funds for our core mission work.

Starting in California, and heading east, Barry is traveling 7 weeks on the road. He road through the Rockies, onto Indiana, where he met up with Ryan White's mother, Jeanne.

He will reach Portsmouth, New Hampshire on July 21, just nine days from now! A small contingent from New England will be there to greet him. After all, it's only 20 minutes from my house! Afterwards, we will celebrate with a good ol' New England Clambake in my backyard. Delish!

Barry hopes you will consider sponsoring a child, just as he sponsors Mukesh. We have 70 children waiting!! To sponsor, click here: Save One Life 

Or make a donation in any amount to help us reach our goal! Save One Life, begun in 2001, has delivered over $1.5 million directly to patients in need in developing countries! No one else can claim this, and no one does what we do. We make a direct and powerful impact in people's lives who suffer with bleeding disorders in Africa, Asia, Latin America, and Eastern Europe.

Thank you, Barry! For your compassion, fortitude and perseverance!

Thanks to gold sponsor Baxter International Inc., sponsors Biogen, Emergent, George King Bio-Medical, Hemophilia of Indiana, OptumRx, The Alliance Pharmacy and individual donors for making the ride possible and helping us gain on our fundraising goal!

Sunday, July 05, 2015

Thirty-Four Years Without Factor: Hepson's Story

Last week we shared notice about a website where you can share your personal story. That's for US patients with hemophilia. How about this story? If you felt grateful on July 4 that you live in the US, you certainly will even more so after reading the inspiring and amazing story of Hepson Minja of Tanzania.  This was submitted by Hepson's son John:

Hepson was born in Marangu, Kilimanjaro, an area north of Tanzania in 1962. He is married and has four children. Hepson has never being able to receive any sort of higher education and he spent most of his early life in treating unhealed injuries, in hospitals and visiting herbal doctors without the problem being fully known.

After the amputation, in Kenya
Hepson Minja, now age 52, is one of the few people in Tanzania to have ever lived with hemophilia without treatment for a long time. It is and never was a smooth journey as he at first never knew what was wrong with him. The lack of this knowledge compounded with injuries he got, made Hepson spend most of his life in hospitals or visiting herbal doctors in search of a solution. Due to his lack of treatment, Hepson never received higher education. He trained as an electronics repair man in 1983, repairing televisions and radios and that has been his source of livelihood ever since.

In his frequency movements to the hospitals, Hepson has usually spent two to six months when hurt or injured, but surprisingly he was never treated for hemophilia.

One case he remembers is in 1993, when his knee swelled for almost three months with extreme pains and no medical prescriptions. After an assessment from the doctors, it was agreed that the leg was to be amputated. With his condition, he lost a lot of blood and after every two days received a blood transfusion of around 26 units. He stayed in hospital for six months with the condition.

Afterwards, Richard Minja, who is  current president of the  Hemophilia Society of Tanzania and Hepson’s brother, had Hepson, go to Nairobi where, after more tests, Hepson was diagnosed with hemophilia A. From then on, he started receiving treatment at the Kenyatta Hospital under Prof. Mwanda in Nairobi, Kenya which is 471 km from his home in Arusha.

Hepson’s life has had numerous interruptions as he was required to attend hospitals frequently, but still Hepson with the help of crutches managed to take care of his family and involves himself in acts of philanthropy with his meager income such as, assisting his son John in delivering oral and reproductive health education to the orphaned children, who lost their parents from HIV/AIDS and hemophilia.

In 2008, Hepson slipped and broke his only leg. The leg swelled and the pain was enormous. Laurie Kelley sent medicine from the USA as Tanzania has little experience with hemophilia. The doctors failed to administer the medicine and he was in the hospital for two months without getting better. He finally asked to be discharged and sent home. He later went to Nairobi and it is there that he started using factor VIII concentrate. Laurie came to see Hepson and together with Prof. Mwanda discussed on the best way to help Hepson. During this time Hepson was also visited by Assad E. Haffar, the deputy programs director and regional program manager for Middle East and Africa for the World Federation of Hemophilia (WFH) who offered encouragement and advice. This sort of support is what Hepson points out as it gave him the will and power to fight on.

He was in the hospital for six months and was discharged after the swelling had decreased, though the bones had not joined. Since that time he has not been able to walk, but rather uses a wheel chair and spend most of his life at home.

Hepson today
Hepson’s life has numerous challenges recently; he has to travel to Nairobi to see a dentist for the removal of some of his teeth. All the travel and hospital services require fees which he cannot afford as he has no any stable income; it becomes increasingly hard for him especially considering he has to pay school fees for his son John who is medical school, his daughter Margaret who is in secondary school and his other son Edwin who is in college.

Hepson also faces transport issues as he is unable to walk, he always wishes he could have been able to move freely and do things that will help sustain his family fully, his philanthropic activities and his visitations to hospitals.

Hepson acknowledges that, there are a lot of hemophilia patients in Tanzania who face challenges due to the lack of medical facilities and good laboratories for hemophilia diagnosis. Hepson feels aggrieved and always seek for a way to make the situation better so that, the patients may do away with all the pains and have a fighting chance to live. Hepson is a testament to all hemophilia patients that a lot is possible, he hopes to provide an inspiration to all patients that a way to a normal life is possible.