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Jim Walker: Health, harmony and iPhone apps

Posted: September 30, 2011 1:55 a.m.
Updated: September 30, 2011 1:55 a.m.

My friends, it is really very frustrating and humbling to realize we are all totally at the mercy of our blood chemistry.
I mean, we’d like to think we control our bodies, but the opposite is the reality. Our moods, motivation, behavior and even positive and negative views of events arise more from the blood than the spirit.

Consider the effects of caffeine, for instance. I read that, basically, caffeine causes the release of adrenaline into the body, so the body remains active and alert, and caffeine manipulates dopamine production in the brain, so you experience a temporary high.

That’s why we get addicted to it, and soon can’t function without it. When we have enough caffeine, the world looks rosy and we’ll attack mammoth tasks. When we’re low on it, there seems to be no reason for living.

And caffeine isn’t the only thing coursing through our veins and controlling us. We’ve got additional medicinal or recreational inputs, fluctuating blood-sugar levels and a host of other ingredients in our body soups that, basically, need to be at optimum concentrations or we think the world is out to get us and want it to burn, burn, burn.

Now, I am sure that, somewhere in our dim past, nature provided all the clues we would need for us to realize what substances our bodies might be running low on or consuming too much of.

You only have to look at dogs to see this in action. When a dog needs a little sumpin-sumpin, he will eat grass.

We “advanced” human types, however, have gotten so far away from nature, and so hopped up on inappropriate amounts of inappropriate things, we don’t know we’re in trouble until we’re twitching on the floor.

Now, I’m a bit concerned that our scientists and engineers can create sensors and computer-monitored warning systems to keep elaborate space junk in efficient operation — and yet, nowhere is there a control panel for body chemistry.

Oh sure, they can hook you up to hospital monitors, which consider a few vital factors, but those factors are very limited, and the monitors are a bit less than convenient to drag around all day.

What we need is something like an iPhone app with a set of graphic gauges. You touch the screen and you can see dials and warning lights that tell you all about what’s happening in your body.

The results of infinite and ongoing blood chemistry and other tests would be continuously analyzed, and warnings spit out ahead of danger, such as: “Drink water now,” “Have a sandwich,” “You need fiber,” “Take a nap,” “Stop doing that” or
“The authorities have been notified.”

With this total-monitoring, and the appropriate and timely remedies taken, we would all be perpetually happy, creative, energetic, friendly, kind, obedient, loyal and true.

We’d all hover near our optimum weight and exercise whatever parts of our bodies needed it, when they needed it. We’d probably eliminate cancer and most diseases and live for 1,000 years.

And really, wouldn’t all that be worth the discomfort of the artery punctures and rectal probes?

Now, taking this even further, physiological/behavioral warnings could be read by other people via screens placed on our foreheads. Every interpersonal encounter would benefit from the knowledge so-gained, as forewarned is forearmed. You would know on approach that, say:

- Your boss had too much wine at lunch and was either, “Easily manipulated now — ask for raise,” or “Looking to chop some heads — fake a seizure.”

- Your right-wing buddy was, “Low on blood sugar, feeling paranoid — irrational rant on immigration imminent.”

- That rumpled, mumbling guy on the street corner was, “Just given $5, endorphins flowing — eye contact OK now,” or “***** sensors off charts  — maintain 50-foot distance.”
- That girl at the party was, “In need of chocolate, not romance.”

- The hulk with the shaved head, prominent eyebrow ridge and tree-trunk-sized biceps was “Perpetually in ’roid rage.”

- And your wife was “Retaining water — expect hostility and illogical mood swings.”

I’m just sayin’, it would help if we knew a few things ahead of time.

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