Why “Aceso Under Glass”?

You may be familiar with the rod of Cauceus as a symbol of medicine

Caduceus symbol by Rama and Eliot Lash (public domain)
Caduceus symbol by Rama and Eliot Lash (public domain)

I hesitate to call this usage wrong, because it’s been used as such for 150 years and people will reliably interpret it as medical, but it is based on bad mythology.  The caduceus staff was associated with Hermes, who had nothing to do with medicine.  It was used out of confusion with the  Rod of Asclepius.

Rod of Asclepius, author: Rama, public domain.
Rod of Asclepius, by Rama (public domain)

Ascelpius was a god or demi-god of healing.  He had six daughters.  Hygieia and Panacea did pretty well for themselves, to the point that I don’t need to tell you what they’re the goddesses of,  and both have lavish wikipedia entries.   Two others (Meditrina and Aglaea) have little to do with health and appear to be engaged in some horizontal myth transfer, since there are characters with similar names and related areas of focus but very different  parentage in Greek mythology.    The remaining two are Iaso (Recuperation) and Aceso (Healing and Curing).  They have short wikipedia entries, but at least everyone agrees on who they are.

Recuperation is a good thing, but doesn’t captivate me.  Healing and curing interests me a great deal.  I’m interested in how they work, how they’re blocked, how you know they’ve worked, the distinction between the two, why something heals one person and hurts another, and… well, this list gets very long very fast.  So that’s why I chose “Aceso.”

The “under glass” part represents a few things.  One is that I’m very literally studying the healing process.  But I’m also studying how we study the healing process.  Right now we have the choice between relying on traditional large peer reviewed studies, and qualitative provider accounts.  Both of these have serious limits, and I want to explore what those are.

So that’s how I arrived at “Aceso Under Glass”.

Why I’m Writing

I am not a medical professional of any kind. My qualifications for writing a medical blog are as follows:

  • A BA in Computational Biology, focusing on behavior, ecosystems, and math, that I haven’t used professionally since graduation in 2006.
  • A father with a PhD in statistics.
  • A series of mild-but-serious-but-compensated-for medical issues, which may or may not be interconnected.
  • A library card.

So while I am not qualified to diagnose, cure, or prevent any disease, I am much better equipped than your average layman to investigate and evaluate medical research. In a perfect world, every MP would be better than me at this, for every possible problem. This just isn’t the case. My research has saved me where doctors have failed. And the best MPs, the ones I couldn’t replace with Dr. Internet? They love it when I do my own research, because it leads to me giving them more useful information that they can apply their superior knowledge to.

With that said, here are my goals for this blog:

  • Provide specific information that creates a spark of recognition, so others can help themselves.  While researching a particular sensory integration book I stumbled on to sensory integration sea turtle, which alerted me to the existence of weighted blankets, which have helped me more than anything in the original book.  And the sea turtle doesn’t think thiomersal causes autism.
  • Demonstrate good DIY medical research so others can better investigate their own issues.
  • Practice medical research for medical research’s sake. I’m seriously considering pursuing a career as an Nurse Practitioner. If I love this doing this research, it’s useful warm up. If I hate it, that’s good to know before I spend $200,000 on making it my career.
  • Help people evaluate their doctors. Is she right to ignore that mild symptom? Is that drug worth the side effects? I can’t tell you, and I mostly can’t even tell you what to ask, but it would make me really happy if something I said helped someone figure out the right question.