A couple of weeks ago I went to the dentist to get my teeth cleaned. I saw the same wonderfully funny woman who has been cleaning my teeth for the past 25 years. While I sit, mouth agape, she tells me stories about her kids, her home and a general overview of what’s happening in her life. It is always good to see her.
As I walked into her teeth cleaning space I said ‘How are you?’. She replied, “I have a good story for you today” And she did.
It seems her younger son, who is now 30, has had seizures all his life. He has taken medicines, tried all manner of things, but nothing seemed to work. He would have big seizures and little ones. He would wake up from a seizure and not know where he was; disoriented, not aware of his surroundings.
Through all of this he managed to graduate from college and this past June received his MBA. For his ‘Final’, he and his team were to give a business plan, and he was the speaker for the group. As the group ahead of his group was starting their talk, he told one of his cohorts that he was having a seizure. As he came out of the seizure, he asked where he was and what he was doing. The cohort, who, as you can imagine was starting to panic, told him that they were at the auditorium getting ready to present the business plan. He told her to give him an outline of the talk, and to just keep talking to him.
At the appointed time, he went onstage, presented the business plan, and did such a fine job that everyone received an A for their effort.
As his school year was wrapping up, he found himself being looked at by UCSF, The University of California, San Francisco Medical School. They found a small tumor in his brain, right next to his memory center. They told him they believed they could remove the tumor, and that he might not suffer from seizures anymore. He agreed to have the surgery just after he was to graduate from school.
The surgery was arduous. He told his Mom that it was excruciating. The doctors kept waking him up, and putting him to sleep. His head was immobilized and his brain was opened to get the tumor. They talked to him during the surgery, he told stories, wild stories to the nurses and the doctors. The surgery took 7 hours. They got the tumor.
Six weeks have passed since the surgery, and no seizures. The doctors were concerned that his speech would be affected for some time. His Mother reports that he is talking up a storm.
The miracle here is that the surgery could be done at all. Twenty years ago, the technology and expertise, and knowledge about the brain would not have allowed his surgery to take place. The brain is the new frontier of the body.
Another frontier ahead of us is the soil we stand upon. The soil is alive and full of all kinds of organisms that we are just starting to get to know. The microbial life in the soil has hardly been analyzed. Over the next twenty years we will find new ways to discover what is in the soil, and how we can improve our soils in natural ways.
Farmers tell me that their yields are going down, disease pressures are going up, water is becoming an issue. I think that worms are going to be part of the solution to all of these problems. We’ve looked at the brain, now we are going to look into our soils.
Just as we have had breakthroughs in brain science, over the next twenty years we’ll see breakthroughs in soil science. The miracle will be the rebuilding of soils, reduction of chemical use, and better food for all.
In the past year we have been doing research here at the Worm Farm, at Universities and with Commercial growers. As these trials start to wrap up, we will have exciting results to share with you. The new frontier is here and we plan to be a big part of it.
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