Jim Conca

Trustee

Herbert M. Parker Foundation

Feb 3, 2021

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Ep. 291, COVID Miniseries: Jim Conca - Trustee, Herbert M. Parker Foundation
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Bret Kugelmass
So we're here today with Jim Conca, former guest, but here to talk to us on a new topic. Jim is a trustee at the Herbert M. Parker Foundation, and a prolific author at Forbes. Jim, thank you so much for coming back and welcome back.

Jim Conca
Sure. Welcome. Thank you so much. This is exciting.

Bret Kugelmass
Yeah. Well, you know, it's so funny, because when we first met, we were talking all about Yucca Mountain and your history and everything. I had no idea how many topics of nuclear you are an expert in because when you reached out to me about this COVID treatment, and I was like, woah, this guy knows his stuff.

Jim Conca
Oh good. Thanks. Actually, I've had a bizarre career. I mean, I started out as a planetary scientist and exobiologist, studying life on other planets. I actually did Urey-Miller Experiments and things like that. It was quite amazing. So going from NASA to nuclear is interesting, but they're both outside the box thinking. So it actually was kind of interesting.

Bret Kugelmass
So let's get into it. COVID-19 is a pressing issue right now. Here we are. And one of the things you told me was radiation, low dose radiation, could have these benefits. Just tell me, how did this come about? What's the high level and then we'll get into all the details.

Jim Conca
The high level is actually, although unintentional, it's criminal, negligent homicide not to use this because 300,000 of the 400,000 people who have died in the United States did not need to die, period. All they had to do was, when they were admitted to the hospital, they needed to just roll them down to radiology for 15 minutes, give them a half gray dose to each lung, and put them up in their bed. There's the cytokine storm, viral pneumonia would have reversed in 24 hours and they would have been discharged in three days.

Bret Kugelmass
And okay, so what's happening here? We're using existing equipment essentially, right because hospitals are already equipped. And you blast it at the lungs so it's locally targeted, you're not affecting the rest of the body.

Jim Conca
And it's 100 times less dose than we use for cancer. This is a low dose, we do this all the time.

Bret Kugelmass
So we know radiation saves lives, right? We use it for imaging, we use it for cancer treatment, you're saying this is 100 times lower and knocks back the COVID? What's actually happening, though, so it's going on the lungs? What's it hitting?

Jim Conca
Good point, it's not actually treating the virus itself. It's not killing the virus, okay, because, again, these are low doses. So the whole idea is that what COVID does, in general, why it kills you, is it makes your immune system go wacko. So that's why not everyone dies. I mean, you know, in fact, you're talking about people who are non-symptomatic, that just means that their immune system can handle it, that's fine. Now, there may be long term cardiovascular effects, things like that. But in general, you know your immune system can handle it if given time. Unfortunately, there are some people whose immune systems go wacko, okay. And they, though there are certain immune cells, in fact, there are many immune cells, you know, within the body, dozens of different types, T cells, killer T cells, macrophages, all that kind of stuff. And what happens is that, when they go wacko, they start to be pro-inflammatory.

Bret Kugelmass
Okay, so the inflammation that is the body overreacting to something. Is that, like, am I wrong in saying it's kind of like an allergic reaction where it's your body trying to overreact to something that got into your system? Or is it something a little different?

Jim Conca
Sort of, I mean, it's not a chemical reaction, like most allergies are. It's a biochemical response. Inflammation is one of those things that is really harmful in the long term. Osteoarthritis gives you inflammation, joint pain, stuff like that. But it actually has a particular role in bringing fluids to that area. And that usually knocks things out and it's fine. But if there's too much inflammation, it's not good.

Bret Kugelmass
And how come some people overreact? Why is it that some bodies overreact, I guess, to some sort of foreign agent and some do the right amount of acting?

Jim Conca
Probably because their immune systems are compromised in some way. So in fact, that has been one of the things that has popped up over and over again, if you have comorbidities or other issues, like diabetes, or heart disease, then your immune system just is not in tip-top shape, and it just does not respond well. But actually biochemically why, who knows?

Bret Kugelmass
So what are these cytokines? I hear about cytokines all the time? I have no idea what a cytokine is?

Jim Conca
That's a good point. Let me see a cytokine. Let me actually read it correctly. Cytokines are specialized small regulatory proteins, they're not cells, they're just proteins that pretty much signal cells to do something. So what happens is that something invades you. And the immune system sends out the cytokines and they tell the T cells to attack. And unfortunately, if you send out too many, you get this overreaction, and it's called the cytokine storm.

Bret Kugelmass
Where does the cytokine come from? Does it come from within any given cell? Does it come from the pancreas? Like, where do they originate these cytokines?

Jim Conca
It comes from the lymph system. And so again, although I know a lot about this, I am not the expert on this, Jim Welsh can tell you exactly what's going on. And so you're flooding the system, especially the lungs with the cytokine storm, and that tells everything to go insane. And it starts inflaming and so your lungs fill up with water, by definition, that's pneumonia. So this is a special case of something called viral pneumonia as opposed to bacterial pneumonia, and viral pneumonia isn't that common, although it occurs. About 70 to 80 years ago, people who were just starting out radiation and radiotherapy, realized that viral pneumonia, which was resistant to everything else, could be treated with radiation. We've been doing this for 80 years.

Bret Kugelmass
Okay, so this is not new. When was the first time that radiation was used to treat pneumonia?

Jim Conca
I think 1939.

Bret Kugelmass
That's like, yeah, we have real technology.

Jim Conca
Absolutely. And it was 80% effective. Oppenheimer. Oppenheimer used this.

Bret Kugelmass
Robert Oppenheimer?

Jim Conca
Yes, right. Robert Oppenheimer, our favorite nuclear bomb maker. So he actually did this and others did too. And Jerry Cuttler actually did a study looking at all these old trials and all these uses, and it was 80% effective then.

Bret Kugelmass
So how come, and yeah that's before we had proper instrumentation? How come this fell out of favor if it's so effective?

Jim Conca
Let me just throw one word out there that everyone knows, LNT. Linear no-threshold dose.

Bret Kugelmass
Our archnemesis.

Jim Conca
Yes, it was, of course, it's wrong. And you know, people don't know that because they don't understand this.

Bret Kugelmass
We got to take steps back to explain to the audience what LNT is. Our nuclear audience knows this but we're gonna get a lot of people that are just interested in the COVID stuff.

Jim Conca
So in about 1940 we had pretty much figured out a lot of the effects of radiation. I mean, you know, we did a lot of bad things in the 20s, the radium dial women and that kind of thing. But we figured out how to do things and how to keep safe from them. In fact, all of our nuclear protocols right now that we use at Hanford Site, and at nuclear power reactors and radiochemistry laboratories, were developed by Herbert M. Parker, of which I am a trustee. Okay, he developed those in 1943. They're still what we use, there is nothing really new here. And we realized that about 20 REM, you know, either acute or chronic. Below that there really wasn't any measurable effect. I mean, the effects are so low, that you can't even see them in the general population.

Bret Kugelmass
You're saying what we figured out was the dosing like the dose in the response of the human body, what we can handle? What's a big deal? What's not a big deal, right? Like, if I hit my fist into my hand like this, I didn't do any permanent damage but I had an impact, I had a dose, but it's low so it doesn't matter. But if I were to really punch it I might bruise myself, and that's a force where you actually have an effect.

Jim Conca
Right. And another good example is aspirin and something called a cumulative dose effect. Okay, so that's all in there. If you take one aspirin a day, for 100 days, you're not going to be harmed. But if you take 100, aspirin in one day, you're going to be harmed. And so in the late 40s, and early 50s, when the Cold War got started, there was this push to stop above-ground nuclear testing, there was just this push to deal with weapons. And Hermann Muller and a few other people came up with something called the linear no-threshold dose hypothesis, meaning that it doesn't matter the amount of radiation all radiation is going to kill you. Which is insane. It doesn't make any sense. And take it back to our analogy, that means that what these guys were now saying was that if 100 people just take one aspirin a day, one of them's gonna die. Right, the risk is the same. And that's stupid.

Bret Kugelmass
Makes no sense, but that is the metric by which the radiation protection industry has established over the last, you know, five decades and holds us accountable to, which restricts the use of low amounts of radiation for positive use cases, because they're saying, even if it's low, someone's gonna die.

Jim Conca
Absolutely. There's always a risk. Yes, there's always a risk. I mean, there's a risk of a meteorite hitting you, but you don't worry about that day-to-day. Unfortunately, the medical community generally doesn't know a lot of this. They just use protocols, they use procedures, this is what you do blah, blah, blah, then they don't think outside the box in that regard. So, yes, we use 100 times these doses to treat cancer, but you're treating cancer. So if you don't have cancer, then you can't use it, according to a lot of people. So even, you know radiologists even, you have to be a researcher, and as you know researchers are different than just people doing things. So if you're just an ordinary MD, that's fine. And I've talked to many of them, and they're interested, but they would never do it. Because they would never step outside the protocols.

Bret Kugelmass
Aren't doctors allowed to prescribe things off label, like, quote-unquote aren't they allowed to make their own decisions about what treatments for their patients?

Jim Conca
Yes, yes. And in fact,

Bret Kugelmass
Like “FDA approved”, you know,

Jim Conca
Absolutely. In 2018, Congress passed an act called the Right to Act legislation. So yeah if all else fails, and you're dying. Sure. Why can't I try this? Yeah, and they used that for hydroxychloroquine, which is insanely stupid. And even remdesivir doesn't work very well about 20% of the time so, if it's a drug, see people like drugs. They think drugs are great. But radiation ooh, don't even touch that.

Bret Kugelmass
Magic pills, give me some.

Jim Conca
Yeah, absolutely. So the thing about, so right now we're trying to do trials in this, which is insane because we've been doing this for 80 years, we've done the trials, okay? But they say, oh well, it's not COVID. But it's not treating COVID, it doesn't matter what the virus is.

Bret Kugelmass
And how come there aren't emergency exceptions that can be I mean, this is an issue that has the world's attention, like the global economy has seized up, if we had an effective treatment, it would at least dampen the impact on hospitals?

Jim Conca
Oh yes, the hospitalization rate would drop like 80%.

Bret Kugelmass
So what's the holdup?

Jim Conca
Fear. Just fear of radiation. In fact, what's even weirder is that you know, doctors can, they can step outside the box, but they're always worried about being sued, right? You know, everyone's worried about being sued. And I said, Well, I'll sign whatever you want to sign. I mean, I'll, you know whatever, to keep you free of any charges, just don't let me die because you're afraid of radiation. The problem is, patients are afraid of it too. So there's, some of my colleagues are trying to do trials and there have been very small numbers, like a trial of 10 people here and 10 people there. But they have trouble getting people to sign up for a trial, even though they're dying of COVID. I mean, this is, it's like, wait for a second, at this point, you have a 50/50 chance of dying of COVID. And the radiation we want to give you is less risky than crossing the street on foot. Okay. Less risky than crossing the street but you're not going to do that because you're afraid of radiation. This is how insane the idea of radiation has become.

Bret Kugelmass
Okay, so what's the type of doctor that would normally administer a radiation treatment?

Jim Conca
Radiation oncologist.

Bret Kugelmass
Okay, so that's a cancer doctor and they should know something about the risk trade-offs, right? Because they're making that every day, they're saying, okay you have cancer let's blast you with some radiation. And they can't like, is there like a forum of these guys that we could go to? And we could like say hey it's been used to treat pneumonia since the 1940s.

Jim Conca
Well, see that the problem is even many of them are not researchers. I mean, again, the people I'm working with, like Jim Welsh and others, they're researchers, they know this. But even they couldn't get permission from their institutions to do trials. I mean, this is like, you know, you can't do trials without permission, per se. So the idea that even they couldn't get permission is rather insane.

Bret Kugelmass
Okay, but we do have a couple of small trials going on at least. Right?

Jim Conca
Right.

Bret Kugelmass
So what are the results of those so far? Do we have any data coming in?

Jim Conca
90% effective.

Bret Kugelmass
So what you do is you bring them in for a 15 minute? What is it a 15-minute blast? Can you give me some numbers?

Jim Conca
Oh, from rolling them down to rolling them back? It's about 15 minutes. I mean, the actual,

Bret Kugelmass
Not just 15 minutes of radiation, the whole thing?

Jim Conca
Yeah, the whole thing. I mean, it's one moment. You're talking about, you know, basically less than a second.

Bret Kugelmass
Oh, it's like when you go to the dentist, and they go behind the thing, and they press the button,

Jim Conca
And they go boom, and that's it.

Bret Kugelmass
And that could be 90% effective. I mean, you can imagine a hospital being able to handle an unlimited capacity that way. I mean, this is a whole assembly line of people going in and blast roll them out, roll them in and blast roll them out.

Jim Conca
This is why it's horrible. And it's really, I mean, I just want to cry because these poor people do not have to die. Okay, now, let me backup a bit. Because you're treating the inflammatory response, you have to wait till you get the inflammatory response. If someone just tests positive and you go do this, it won't do anything. Okay. When you have to go on oxygen, or when you look like you're going to need a ventilator. That means you know, things have started. And so that means your T4 cells are going wacko and they start killing the T8 cells to keep producing inflammatory, pro-inflammation, then you hit it with a half a gray dose just to the lungs. And that reverses the pro-inflammatory and makes them anti-inflammatory. Because a bunch of these cells work together. And it's really incredibly complex. And so, you know, you're like resetting the stage with this. And then they kind of calm down and the T4 cells actually become anti-inflammatory as they should, and all that kind of thing. So, again, but if you wait too long, and there's too much lung damage it doesn't work. In fact, the 90% effective was 90% because the 10% were too far gone.

Bret Kugelmass
Okay, so is there a good way of measuring? Like, what is the right timing for this, by some sort of practical, like a physical response? Is it when people are having trouble breathing? Is like is that when

Jim Conca
Yes, it's when you get viral pneumonia. So when fluid starts entering the lungs.

Bret Kugelmass
And how do doctors know that? How do they measure the fluid? Do they have to jab something in you? Or they shove a tube down your throat? What are they doing?

Jim Conca
They probably I mean, they usually just listen in if they can hear bubbling, you know, that's why they put the stethoscope on your back at your lungs.

Bret Kugelmass
Not even intrusive, a trained doctor with a stethoscope can say you are in this range, where if we gave you this, you know, one-second blast half a grade dose, it's gonna essentially hit the reset button on your immune system, right? And so let's talk about this reset analogy for a second. So it's like, okay, so your body is overreacting, all these complex things are happening. It's going haywire. This would almost be like, if your computer seized up and stopped working, you turn it on, you turn it off, all of a sudden, you're like back in steady-state operation again.

Jim Conca
Basically, yeah.

Bret Kugelmass
Okay. Alright, so we've got some real-world cases, the 90% efficacy rate, have papers been published? Like, is this in medical journals?

Jim Conca
Yes, it has. In fact, I might have sent you a couple of Forbes articles that have links to those. So that's good. And again, the best technical paper was written by Jim Welsh and company.

Bret Kugelmass
We’re going to be talking to Jim Welsh next.

Jim Conca
That's perfect because he's the one who knows. What I bring to this is a lifelong career, a 35-year career, dealing with low-level nonsense. The fact that people are so afraid of nuclear waste, I mean come on, nuclear waste is so trivial compared to COVID. I've been dealing with this and I understand that, but the number of people who die each year from the fear of radiation is on the order of dozens, hundreds. I mean, Fukushima was 1600. But now we're talking about, you know, millions, I mean, worldwide there are millions of people who are dying.

Bret Kugelmass
Okay, I want to be very precise with our language. The numbers you were referring to are the ones who died of fear of radiation, not radiation, right?

Jim Conca
Yes, fear of radiation.

Bret Kugelmass
Because they either acted in a way that led to their early demise, or they didn't act in a way that could have saved them.

Jim Conca
Right, right. So a lot of people will not get CT scans of your brain and stuff like that, because they’re afraid of it, which is even worse, because your brain is highly, highly resistant to radiation. That's why radiation doesn't work against brain tumors, you know, those horrible aggressive brain tumors that kill you in a year that, you know, Ted Kennedy died of, and things like that, you know, Beau Biden. So you know, it doesn't work, it doesn't hurt you, it doesn't hurt cancers in your brain. So the idea that you're not going to get a CT scan to see if there's something wrong if something actually was wrong. And that because of that, you're gonna die because you're afraid of incredibly low levels of radiation, is insane. I mean it's like getting a chest X-ray in that regard. It's like, people don't really not get a chest X-ray in general, because it's in the culture. It's okay to get a chest X-ray. Yeah, it's okay to get, you know, dental X-rays because everyone's been doing it forever. So it's all you know, it's a cultural thing. And this is horrible.

Bret Kugelmass
Is there, is there a chance? We have a new president, we just switched over the administration. That means there are new people in charge of assessing all of the solutions. Is it possible that this treatment might now get a second look like Biden might tell his team I don't care what they looked at before, now's a chance to reassess everything that we've ever done. We gotta get this right. This is my chance to shine and show leadership. Is there a chance that his new Corona task team will surface this as a potential treatment?

Jim Conca
I wish, I've been trying to contact them. I wish. But yeah, they kind of, you know, it takes a champion, a champion who's who has some real clout. And who am I, I'm just a scientist it doesn't make any difference so and you know, so that's a problem, and

Bret Kugelmass
Maybe we can help, are there champions that you have come across? I mean we probably can't get in touch with Fauci. That's the only other name I know in the space. But are there other real respected senior government leader-type people that if we got them this evidence that we can use our audience to

Jim Conca
I even tried to contact Jim Clyburn's office because he's actually the Chair of the Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis. And you'd figure I'd get some response to that. But, you know, it's also hard to contact people directly, it always goes to their staff or their people. And those people have to decide whether it's worthwhile to bring up and of course, all you have to do is see the word radiation and just throw it away. So that's one of the issues. Again, this fear of radiation is so pervasive in this society. I mean, I keep seeing commercials for things like insurance that mention radiation is bad. It's like, what is that doing in a car insurance commercial? This is insane. So it's just one of those things that is becoming a negative image, so just say the word radiation or nuclear, and suddenly, mushroom clouds appear in your brain, and it's hard to get by that.

Bret Kugelmass
I just, you have my brain going right now because it's almost like we could use this as an opportunity to kind of re-educate the world. You know, rebrand? Right? What if we use this to rebrand radiation?

Jim Conca
I've actually talked to the nuclear industry and you know I say, okay listen, this is where radiation comes and saves the day, nuclear can come and save today better than anything else.

Bret Kugelmass
And what about the IAEA? They're always pushing, hey, medical nuclear, they're trying to rebrand themselves. Could we call up Grossi at the IAEA and say, hey use your UN connections to get us in.

Jim Conca
Yeah, absolutely. That would be great. But I want to back up a little bit too, because the first thing they'll do is, oh we need year-long trials. And it's like, this isn't a new drug, we don't need a trial. We've been doing this for 80 years, we know exactly what it is. No new PPE, no new equipment, no new training, no new anything. There's absolutely nothing new about this. And the fact that COVID causes viral pneumonia, like, a lot of other viruses do, that's okay. I mean, this isn't treating the virus. And so that's what's key.

Bret Kugelmass
Yeah, that's really important that we don't have to get anything new approved. It's the same equipment. It's the same process. It's the same doctor’s. It's the same technicians. It's the same nurses. All you have to do is say, let's enable. I mean, it's funny, because like, they used ventilators. I remember reading about the whole ventilator shortage, right. And they were all of a sudden, they were like, well, you know, we can repurpose the ventilators from our anesthesiologists because they've got ventilator-style equipment. So clearly the hospitals are capable of saying let's use equipment from one department that maybe wouldn't have been used for this. And let's reorganize, let's get this equipment into this other department, because hey we need it. Right. It seems like there are precedents for not just using drugs off label, but for using equipment off label.

Jim Conca
Yeah. I mean it's so simplistically horrible that this simply comes down to LNT and fear. That we've just bred, you know, three generations of fear about radiation. And the consequences are large now, they've never been this large. Right. I mean 1600 people died at Fukushima because they evacuated them when they didn't need to and they forced evacuated them quickly. And these people were on ventilators and other things and they died during the evacuation. And they never would have gotten more than a REM. So now we're talking about hundreds of thousands to millions of people that don't have to die.

Bret Kugelmass
100,000 just in the US.

Jim Conca
Yeah,

Bret Kugelmass
I'm really worried about something like, okay, so we've got a vaccine, we're like, hooray, we pat ourselves on the back, warp speed, faster than ever. But like, I can even see we're not getting the vaccine out to the whole world. I mean, right. People are still gonna be waiting in the US for six months. Some of these poorer countries are not, they're at the back of the line when it comes to getting this stuff. So it seems like we're not just talking about the 300,000 that have died here. We're not just talking about you know, maybe another, you know, a couple 100,000. Before we get it here, we're talking about 5 million, 10 million people worldwide.

Jim Conca
And not just that, but the vaccine is only 90% effective. So, again, you're gonna have 10% of the population that's not going to be protected. You need treatment.

Bret Kugelmass
So how come maybe we can get a little bit more into the tech weeds just for a second, I've got a couple of questions. So like, what the radiation does is it combats the inflammation? Or don't we have other things that combat inflammation? And how come those haven't been so effective?

Jim Conca
Yeah, so they're anti-inflammatories. And that's one of the treatments that we do give now. And that's why the survival rate has gotten better. But again, chemical, anti-inflammatories are different from radiation. And so you know, the radiation gets everywhere, it gets everything. And I don't really know why chemical anti-inflammatories would work. One case, not work the other way, work better or worse than radiation. I don't know enough about anti-inflammatories. But there are many types of anti-inflammatory steroids. There are nonsteroidals, I mean aspirin is an anti-inflammatory, as is Tylenol and Advil and everything else. So again, they all work differently anyway. Right? And why do they work differently? Or how do they work differently? So this is just another, you know, it's just a really good tool in the arsenal that if you don't look at it, and let people die I mean, it's just insane. But again, if you ask a patient, whether they want to go to radiology and get a blast of radiation they might say no. And it's like, but you're gonna die or your risk is really high for dying here, and the risk from the radiation is not even measurable. So that's one of the issues.

Bret Kugelmass
So maybe we'll continue to take a second to talk about what is radiation because like, you know, I, as a researcher, can imagine radiation, it's like a wave. It's like a light wave, but at a different frequency, you know, how can we explain this to the common person? Like, what is this invisible thing that?

Jim Conca
Well, all radiation does is it actually acts like oxygen. It's an oxidizer, okay, which means it removes an electron. So oxygen is very, very toxic to cells, it's one of the most toxic things to cells you can have, yet we live in an oxygen rich atmosphere because cells learned about two and a half billion years ago when oxygen first came into the atmosphere, because of photosynthetic bacteria. And so oxygen came up, and it did kill a lot of things actually. And then the eukaryotic cell formed, which was a physical symbiosis between bacteria, larger single-celled organisms, spirochetes, and they got together and made a big cell with a lot of possibilities. And that's what all life is now, all multicellular life is based on eukaryotic cells. And part of that was the mitochondria, which used to be the old purple sulfur bacteria that could handle oxygen. And so that's fine. However, if oxygen is not handled correctly in a cell, it'll simply destroy the cell, because it steals electrons off of things. And that changes the charge, that changes the chemistry. So what radiation does is the same thing. It comes in, and it knocks an electron off. That's all it does. And it's mainly off of hydrogen because we are mostly water. So it knocks that off, and that electron then knocks off another electron and you get a cascade, okay, and different types of radiation cause slightly different cascades. So alpha, beta, gamma, but gamma just hit one and it cascades out, and then that's gone. Okay. Now, the change in the biochemistry of a macrophage, you know, immune cell, is such that it is an important change. And that's what's going on. That's all that's going on. And so exactly how the macrophage changes and becomes an anti-inflammatory to pro-inflammatory, I'm not quite sure.

Bret Kugelmass
And just to kind of help visualize what oxygen is and what it does, like rust on metal that's like oxygen attacking something.

Jim Conca
Yes, it's oxygen stealing an electron off of the iron.

Bret Kugelmass
And we know what oxygen can do. And then what you're saying was two and a half billion years ago, instead of the oxygen being purely toxic and just destroying things like rusting metal, our bodies adapted and figured out how we could utilize that attacking force of oxygen to become almost like an energy component of it.

Jim Conca
Yeah, we got almost 40 times the amount of energy out of a sugar molecule using oxygen than not. And this is just a single cell. So this is a eukaryotic cell. It took another billion years to come up with multicellular organisms, and then eventually to us.

Bret Kugelmass
So then let's rewind again a little bit. So tell me again, how the radiation works like oxygen, you're saying that the wave comes in, the X-ray comes into the body, and it knocks

Jim Conca
It knocks an electron off of a molecule mostly hydrogen, sometimes carbon

Bret Kugelmass
And then does that allow then the oxygen to release? Or is oxygen not part of the equation at this point?

Jim Conca
Oxygen is not part of this equation.

Bret Kugelmass
Does it just trick the body into thinking that something oxygen like has happened?

Jim Conca
No, I'm sorry. The oxygen analogy is simply an analogy to radiation. Okay, so oxygen is not involved in this particular treatment of COVID. But people don't realize that oxygen is much more dangerous than radiation. And also, when this came about two and a half billion years ago, there was about 10 times the background radiation as there is now. So we came up with mechanisms to repair radiation damage that was really quite efficient. That's why it takes a lot of radiation to hurt you. Because our cells, our immune system, can handle it really well.

Bret Kugelmass
So the radiation comes into the body, knocks off an electron, and that tells the macrophage which is part of our immune system to do something different than it's been doing before. And that's the whole key here is you sent a new signal. It's almost like we're communicating with our immune system.

Jim Conca
Yeah, that's a good analogy. And it's, you know, we've seen the anti-inflammatory effects of radiation a lot. I mean, the Germans have used this to treat, you know, joint inflammation and things like that. I mean anything, it actually looks to be useful in Alzheimer's disease which is an inflammatory issue. So, again, anything that involves runaway inflammation in the body. This is probably a good thing. But right now it certainly is a good thing for COVID. I mean you're gonna wait years to do trials. It's just sad. It's very sad.

Bret Kugelmass
Anything else that we should know about? You know if we got in touch with the right people, if they understood the value? How would it play out from there? What do you think that they would do? Would they roll it out in some hospitals first?

Jim Conca
The only reason you would do trials, let me backup a little bit, is to find out the exact best least dose that would work. So instead of a half a gray, I mean half a gray works, one gray works. In fact, the first trial had 1.5 grays, which is still I mean, still very low, but it was three times what actually works, you could get away with perhaps point three grays, you know, but who cares? Okay, all of those dose ranges are trivial in terms of the effect of COVID. So you've never seen any real effects, any adverse health and health effects from those targeted doses to the lungs. And again, we use 100 times that to treat cancer. So it gets back to why do people use radiation for cancer? Why aren't they afraid of it? Because they're afraid of cancer? So now, it's like COVID, wait for a second, you need to be more afraid of COVID than you are of this dose of radiation? Yeah. Especially if you're like, filling up with water. Yeah, it's rather strange. So that's what we have to get over is that you have to be more afraid of dying from COVID than you are of dying from low levels of radiation.

Bret Kugelmass
And the work being done right now is like an international effort. Right? These are just some of the studies that are being conducted. Where are some of the places that they're being conducted?

Jim Conca
Iran, Israel. I'm not sure where... in Spain, and Italy.

Bret Kugelmass
And the doctors who have like, taken this on, they just have a more, I guess, a progressive outlook

Jim Conca
No, they're struggling with the same thing. I mean, they're absolutely struggling with the same thing.

Bret Kugelmass
It sounds to me like we need a big communications push, we need to open up some people's eyes, we need to make them, you know, at least at the policy level. And then make it more acceptable to start implementing this. And then I bet once some hospitals start doing it, like name-brand big hospitals, I feel like the learning is happening faster than ever. Like hospitals sharing good learnings across COVID more than anything else, just because there's so much attention on it.

Jim Conca
Right. And, but this is weird here. We had this little trial at Emory University, Emory Medical Center at Emory University, and you know, it's only 10 patients, but hell it was 90% effective. But that wasn't enough. You could see the administrative aspect of the scientific community, just pushing back. Oh my god, that was not enough, it wasn't a big enough trial. Okay, so it was just a fluke, you mean 90% effective was just a fluke. Okay, so what do you want? We want a big trial, bigger trials going on a year. It's like, why do you want I mean, the, again, the fact that the LNT is administrative, you know the linear no-threshold dose, was an administrative thing. It was a bureaucratic thing. It was not a scientific thing. And so when you start trying to push this, you get the huge, huge bureaucratic pushback, which is amazing. And you know, science doesn't work that great against bureaucracy. It's really hard.

Bret Kugelmass
Yeah, no, it's tricky. I mean, I've looked into this a little bit. And, you know, whenever one of the big radiation agencies takes it on, like the ICRP, they'll establish a committee, they'll say look into this, the committee will be like, yeah there's no low dose effects. And then at the very top levels they'll say okay well, better safe than sorry, let's just say

Jim Conca
That's exactly what they've done for 50 years.

Bret Kugelmass
But you can kind of see why that is, it's like a super misalignment of incentives. If they were to essentially establish the position that low dose radiation is no big deal, then all of their jobs would be at risk. I mean, you're talking about thousands of professionals whose only job is to like, “protect us from minor amounts of radiation” or the people who are setting the standards for radiation. So it's right for their incentive to say, better safe than sorry, let's keep these standards.

Jim Conca
And I've thought about that. I've heard about that. I mean, I'm not yet, I'm getting there, but I'm not yet that cynical.

Bret Kugelmass
I don't think that they're doing it on purpose. It's like you can't pay a man to understand something or you can't get him to understand something his job pays him not to or something.

Jim Conca
Exactly. But I don't think it actually would kill many jobs. Because again, you still need to monitor you know, whatever limit you put in, to monitor that limit. And so I don't think that would do much. I think it's simply a cultural, administrative bureaucratic culture. That does not want to say we've been wrong for 60 years. And, you know, even then, it's like, so what? Who cares? So we were wrong for 60 years. We were wrong for 1000 years on certain things. Okay, so now we know, so get over it and get on with this and save lives.

Bret Kugelmass
That's coming from a guy like you who's got like a low ego, the big ego people don't think like that.

Jim Conca
Yeah, they don't think like that. Oh, yeah. Well, we'll see. Compared to this kind of stuff with what's going on right now in America, I'll tell you nuclear waste just seems so trivial.

Bret Kugelmass
Okay, well, we're gonna do our best over here to kind of bring some attention to this issue. We're gonna interview a few more of your colleagues, thank you so much for recommending them. And you know, I'll use some of my political connections as well to maybe get a voice at the table.

Jim Conca
Good, good. Thank you so much.

Bret Kugelmass
Yeah. Thanks, Jim. Talk to you soon. Thanks. Bye.

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