AJ Lumsdaine

I have heard it said that science is a search for truth that sometimes solves problems, and engineering is a search to solve problems that sometimes finds truths. 

My research interests right now are taken up by scientific validation of the work I have done on problem solving eczema and atopy for the past 14 years.  While the strategies I share with users of a website I created are GRAS (generally regarded as safe) and possible to implement already – in fact, are used and recommended by many physicians and other medical professionals – validation is important for dissemination of the work.  Additionally, the discoveries have significant implications to other medical conditions, to solving problems in medicine in general, as well as to environmental problems of our time.  Validation is proving difficult, as the work involves the application of the engineering method to a medical condition.  Traditional frameworks for scientific validation are inadequate and any new validation study design would require peer review of the validation approach itself, in order just to properly design an accepted patient study.

One problem with traditional frameworks is the built-in expectation that it is possible to solve problems – find cures – by applying the same course or similar course of action or treatment across a population for a given disease problem. The framework for what is considered scientific validation in medicine necessarily creates this constraint.  This worked for antibiotics, for example, because in treating infections, the spectrum of manifestation of an illness across a population is less important than similarities between patients, because those similarities lead to diagnosis and proper treatment.  When an environmental cause underlies a disease, however, that spectrum of manifestations is the result of often very different and complex individual exposures, immune function, and health status.  Even if the cause is known, it may not be possible to apply a single treatment to everyone to optimize results, which may be more appropriately obtained by giving individuals flexible strategies for obtaining optimal results in individual environments.  In other words, applying the engineering method and other kinds of modern technical problem solving in medicine may be more suited for finding cures for some kinds of disease problems.

The goal of a study would not be to apply the same treatment in every case then collect data on the result.  Proper implementation of a well-formed heuristic tool should give a consistent outcome; if it does not, the heuristic tool would first be revised to encompass the new case, the expected standard of outcome remains.  In other words, the framework is geared to “cure”.  In principle, this is the only way cures may be found for some kinds of diseases, especially those with a complex environmental cause. 

One of the interesting ramifications of my work is that I have formulated a revision of the hygiene hypothesis, as well as a different view of allergies, something I would also like to research in partnership with medical professionals (since I cannot pursue research on very serious allergies outside of a medical center).  Consistent with my work, allergies (speaking for the moment just of 100 years ago and prior) would be a protective adaptation, abnormally amplified from certain modern environmental influences.

First I am exploring open science publication of what I have done so far, especially for peer review on the issue of how to validate a solution involving heuristics so that I can properly design a citizen science medical study that will be accepted.  I would like to see eczema and related atopic manifestations like asthma as things of the past.


I have other, related and unrelated research interests.  One very keen interest is what might be best described as “temporal ergonomics” – how modern technology intersects with the time and autonomy of ordinary, finite human beings, and how to use that knowledge to improve human existence and technology.

To donate to support this work: https://secure.qgiv.com/for/rifis/restriction/Solve+Eczema

For more information, visit http://www.solveeczema.org

And check out the blog at: http://www.solveeczema.org/eczemablog

Contact AJ at a.j.lumsdaine@ronininstitute.org