Staying Alive: A Cell’s Perspective

I am a cell. My glucose uptake is impaired. If I can’t uptake glucose, if glycolysis is not available to me, that could be disastrous, in terms of survival. Fortunately, I have another option.

I can make my own energy. I can ferment energy. I can run the energy equation (Krebs) in reverse.

What might impair the uptake of glucose (and insulin)? Size. Scale. The relative size of the molecules has to match.

For that matter, why limit it to glucose and insulin? If I am not “to scale,” how can I utilize fats? How can I renew (rebuild, remake) my lipid membranes?

Let’s say I am running Krebs in reverse, fermenting energy, endogenously producing oxalate. Might this also disrupt fat metabolism? My memory of Susan Owens’ work (and my memory of steatorrhea) tells me the answer to this question is a resounding YES.

If my fats are not the right size (not to scale), I become trapped. If I cannot make new lipid membranes—recall that every cell is surrounded by a phospholipid bilayer, where food can enter and waste can exit—then I cannot fix the issue of my scale being off.
Now I am stuck.

I am running Krebs in reverse, fermenting energy. I am so small (or so large) that I am “locked out” of my own glucose and insulin. And I can’t use my fats to fix the problem and make new (sized) cells.

Sound familiar?

This book, about a controversial physician named Emanuel Revici, is not well-written. It plays kind of coy with information, which I personally dislike (I do not read mysteries).
I made myself keep reading to the end anyway. The central pillar of Revici’s approach to cancer? Fats. Provide fats. Long-chain? Short-chain? I couldn’t tell you; it was not clear. But I found that little nugget of information interesting.

We have agreed, as a society, to practice evidence-based medicine. We want to be measured, cautious, and to first do no harm. Ideas are great; in fact, the formulation of ideas—hypotheses born of observation—is the first step of the scientific method.
Ideas are great, but evidence is better.

Do we have any evidence to support this idea that SCALE might be a variable in human health?

I am speaking, essentially, of a scale for time, and we ourselves are part of time, so it might be tricky. How do we prove that scale is an issue if literally everything we see is to scale? This, of course, was Plato’s famous question, and is the idea at the heart of his Allegory of the Cave. To see “outside the system” would, admittedly, be difficult. But human beings are intrepid, curious, and smart. Surely somehow, somewhere, there must be an outlier. Let’s find it.

Wait a minute. Look at this. Here is a skeleton from the Atacama Desert region of Chile. She is human, but she looks too small to us; it is as if her scale is off. Perhaps we are not seeing her through the right lens. We are seeing her from the perspective of energy (see the South Atlantic Anomaly in that part of the world), not matter.

Atacama skeleton. Photograph, Dr Emery Smith:

It has not caught on (widely) yet, but one day it will. Deep in the corridors of neuroscience, a revolution is brewing, and its implications will be profound and far-reaching.
Our brains create the images we see.

Posted in