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Thanks to my two readers, Mary Ann and CherryPie, who commented on my Alzheimer’s ‘train ride’ post this week.

Both ladies suggested that diet could help alleviate Alzheimer’s symptoms. An Englishman, Mark Hatzer, experienced excellent results with his ailing mother.

I do think there is some truth in it, but, as the Alzheimer’s Society states at the end of the article about the Hatzers (emphases mine):

Adopting a healthy lifestyle can help people with dementia to manage their symptoms, but there is no strong evidence that these steps will slow or stop the underlying diseases that cause dementia.

I also know Alzheimer’s patients who have since gone to their eternal rest who did all the right things and still got the disease!

They socialised, they went to church, they walked, they read and they did puzzles.

This is from Mark Hatzer’s advice list from the aforementioned Alzheimer’s Society article on him and his mother:

Doing any, all or some of those does not guarantee warding off Alzheimer’s or other forms of dementia.

I know from experience.

Most of the employees at The Restaurant That Makes Mistakes had responsible jobs and were cut off in their prime because of early-onset forms of dementia.

I congratulate Mr Hatzer and his mother. He lives with her and has been able to spend his time outside of work helping her over the past few years.

My point is not to expect too much from the standard Alzheimer’s/dementia advice.

In closing, one of the reasons we could be seeing an increase in these diseases of the brain is our modern propensity to eat a carbohydrate-rich diet. I would second Mr Hatzer’s recommendation about eating lots of fresh leafy vegetables and those rich in beta carotene.

A new series is currently showing about dementia patients: Channel 4’s The Restaurant That Makes Mistakes, about the eponymous experimental restaurant in Bristol headed by Michelin-starred Josh Eggleton.

I missed the first episode about the dementia patients and their families but saw the second episode about the restaurant’s first few days when it opened to the public.

I thought this would be depressing, but it was most encouraging, not unlike the ‘train ride’ therapy I wrote about yesterday.

The patients — staff — of this Bristol establishment have early-onset dementia. Many of them had highly responsible jobs: company owner, mortgage adviser, legal representative, sole trader (plumber), to name but a few.

Seeing people my age and under suffering from dementia was shocking. They were shown being given tests by a doctor before going on the programme. They were unable to answer the most basic of questions.

Not surprisingly, they all felt worthless.

The wife and mother of five who is suffering knows that she has only a few years to live. She is correct. I saw a young Alzheimer’s patient for a few years when visiting a family member in assisted living. On my next visit, he was no longer there. He had gone to his eternal rest. The director of the home told me that younger dementia patients die sooner than older ones. I had not expected to hear that.

The idea for the programme came from Tokyo, as Television Business International reported on September 24, 2018, before filming began:

The Restaurant That Makes Mistakes is from Red Arrow’s CPL Productions, the makers of BAFTA-nominated Old People’s Home for 4 Year Olds and Motion Content Group, co-producers of C4’s Dementiaville. It is supported by The Alzheimer’s Society.

A group of Alzheimer’s sufferers will be trained to work in the restaurant for a five-week period, where they will be visited by a host of celebrity diners and members of the public.

With more than 40,000 people living with dementia and aged under 65 in the UK, only a fifth of them continue to work post-diagnosis. A team of experts will oversee the ambitious project to evaluate whether the experiment could potentially change how businesses recruit, employ and retain staff who find themselves living with dementia.

Inspired by a real-life Japanese pop-up restaurant that opened in Tokyo last year, the 5 x 60-minute series attempts to start a wider national conversation about how we think about people who live and work with the increasingly common condition.

I give Josh Eggleton bags of credit for participating and heading the restaurant:

He is correct in saying that this experiment restored the patients’ sense of self worth.

He has a chef trained in dementia who worked with the patients in the kitchen:

This short video shows Sue, the patient with vascular dementia who ran the bar. Josh Eggleton said the experience was nerve-wracking at first but ended up brilliantly. The young man in the film is Eggleton’s dementia-trained chef who has a high genetic probability of getting Pick’s Disease, another form of dementia. Both he and Sue ran together in the London Marathon for charity:

The more abled patients helped the others, such as the former business owner who helped the former legal adviser welcome diners at the front desk. She could not remember what to say and kept asking them if they wanted menus. Finally, she got there with regard to ‘Welcome to The Restaurant That Makes Mistakes. Do you have a reservation?’

The former mortgage advisor runs the till, because her mathematical acuity is still sharp. She just speaks rather slowly.

Here are a few other selected tweets from the second episode:

The doctor in the film explains dementia:

The third of four episodes is on Wednesday, June 26, 2019. If you live in the UK, please tune in!

By chance, I saw this tweet from France 3 television about one of their documentaries:

This clip shows a French patient who has Alzheimer’s. Rose is in assisted living (EHPAD), and her facility has implemented ‘train ride’ therapy.

The video shows a room with a mock SNCF (French railway network) departure board. Rose and her therapist go into another room which is set up as a train compartment. The window is a screen showing a film of the countryside just as one might see it from a train.

There seem to be a few choices of railway scenes for patients: countryside, the sea and so on.

This therapy is used for patients who become troubled or troublesome. In this case, Rose is often on the verge of tears.

Therapists say the ‘train ride’ calms the patients down. They ask the patients what they see as they are ‘travelling’, what they are reminded of and so forth. The experience generates a conversation about what patients remember from their past. Rose’s husband used to work for the SNCF, so she would have taken quite a few train journeys during her marriage.

This a brilliant idea. The therapists interviewed say it came from Italy, where it has been implemented on a larger scale. It is said to be in use not only for Alzheimer’s patients but also other mental diseases and traumas.

I like the creativity going on here, which really seems to work. I hope this brings out more interesting types of therapy for Alzheimer’s patients.

Countless articles, books and videos about diet have been published around the world relating to what has been known for sometime now as ‘the obesity epidemic’.

Despite that, we are still debating what exactly causes obesity. Some say calories do not matter, that it’s the type of food we eat.

Some proponents of that theory say that what we eat determines not only our weight but also our general overall health. That, too, has been ongoing since the 19th century.

Kellogg’s attempted link between food and disease

Dr John Harvey Kellogg, a physician, was the co-father of the original breakfast cereals developed in the 19th century.

At first, Kellogg developed the breakfast cereals with his brother Will. They had a falling out over corn flakes, which, Mental Floss explains, turned into a lifelong feud.

First, there was the question of taste. John wanted them plain. Will thought a bit of sugar made them palatable.

Secondly, the brothers had differing views of sexuality. John developed cornflakes because he thought they would curb the sexual appetite, especially pleasuring oneself. Will had no interest in such associations.

It turned out the Will was the better businessman and founded the Kellogg Company, which continues to produce breakfast cereals worldwide.

Dr Kellogg, his brother, continued to promote his link between food and disease brought on by masturbation at his sanitarium in Battle Creek, Michigan:

Kellogg’s solution to all this suffering was a healthy diet. He thought that meat and certain flavorful or seasoned foods increased sexual desire, and that plainer food, especially cereals and nuts, could curb it.

Obsession with grains exists over a century later

Fast forward to the 21st century, and we are still obsessed with grains, although not quite in the same way as Dr Kellogg.

From the 1970s, corn has increasingly become a staple in American diets, much to the delight of farmers.

Corn can appear as a refined product, either in foods or snacks but also as corn syrup sweetener. Both have been linked to obesity.

In 2007, CNN reported on a plant biologist, Todd Dawson, who developed a hair strand test to see how much corn someone was consuming.

‘If we are what we eat, Americans are corn and soy’ offers an interesting insight into the old adage.

Dawson told CNN’s Dr Sanjay Gupta why he was interested in testing for corn (emphases mine):

We are what we eat with respect to carbon, for sure. So if we eat a particular kind of food, and it has a particular kind of carbon in it, that’s recorded in us, in our tissues, in our hair, in our fingernails, in the muscles,” Dawson says …

“We’re like corn chips walking because we really have a very, very large fraction of corn in our diets, and we actually can’t help it because it’s an additive in so many of the foods we find on the market shelves,” Dawson says.

Foods like ketchup, salad dressing, soda, cookies and chips all contain corn, usually high fructose corn syrup.

“I think where the danger comes in with corn is that much of the corn grown now in North America is going into making high fructose corn syrup,” Dawson says. “So it’s not that corn per se is bad, but it’s the sweetener made from corn that gets into many of the foods that Americans are probably consuming too much of, and we now see that showing up as obesity and heart disease and potential for type 2 diabetes.”

Dr Gupta wrote:

To be fair, researchers say we’re eating too much of all kinds of sugar, not just high fructose corn syrup.

Dawson tested Gupta’s hair:

69 percent of the carbon came from corn.

This may seem high, but it is typical for Americans.

Dawson said that Europeans eat far less corn and have fewer weight issues:

Dawson tested his own hair after three months in Italy: 5 percent corn.

However, the Corn Refiners Association in the United States rightly pointed out that many countries around the world are experiencing higher rates of obesity — corn or not:

many parts of the world, including Mexico and Europe, have rising rates of obesity and diabetes, despite having little or no high fructose corn syrup in their foods and drinks.

What about soy?

Dr Gupta’s article points out that the increase of soy in food products is also a concern:

Checking labels during a recent trip to the grocery store I found soybean oil in everything from tortilla chips to fruit syrup.

Dr. Joseph Hibbeln at the National Institutes of Health says that soy can produce health issues for those who do not eat enough healthy, especially omega-3, fats:

In recent years, a form of soybean oil has been the primary source of trans fats, which raises levels of LDL, or bad cholesterol, in our bodies and is thought to contribute to heart disease.

Our bodies need a balance of omega-6 fatty acids like soybean oil and omega-3 fatty acids like fish oil, Hibbeln says. Over the last century, our diets have shifted almost completely to omega-6 fatty acids.

“It’s quite likely that most of the diseases of modern civilization, major depression, heart disease and obesity are linked to the radical and dramatic shift in the composition of the fats in the food supply,” Hibbeln says.

Our brains are composed of fatty acids, and an absence of omega-3 fatty acids can actually change our behavior, according to Hibbeln.

Hibbeln’s research suggests diets containing omega-3 fatty acids found in fish reduce depression, aggression and anger, while improving mental well-being.

One man’s simple remedy

I owe a hat tip to Twitter’s unseen1 for both the above articles.

This is what he is adopting as an overall health plan:

Thank you for the common sense solution, unseen1: painless and practical.

As he says, if it doesn’t work, go back to junk food.

In closing, here’s a simple rule: ask yourself if your grandparents ate what you are about to consume. If not, leave it to one side.

Warning: this post contains references to suicide as per reports listed below.

An American mother, Dr Free N. Hess (aka PediMom), has a warning for parents whose children watch YouTube Kids videos. Some of them have to do with suicide and contain other content inappropriate for younger viewers.

On February 23, CBS News reported:

Video promoting self-harm tips — spliced between clips of a popular video game — has surfaced at least twice on YouTube and YouTube Kids since July, according to a pediatrician and mom who discovered the video.

The suicide instructions are sandwiched between clips from the popular Nintendo game Splatoon and delivered by a man speaking in front of what appears to be a green screen — an apparent effort to have him blend in with the rest of the animated video …

The man featured is YouTuber Filthy Frank, who has over 6.2 million subscribers and calls himself “the embodiment of everything a person should not be,” although there is no evidence that Frank, whose real name is George Miller, was involved in creating the doctored video. He did not immediately respond to CBS News’ request for comment. 

When Free Hess found the video on YouTube last week, she posted it on her blog — warning other parents to take control over what their kids may be watching. 

“Looking at the comments, it had been up for a while, and people had even reported it eight months prior,” Hess told CBS News on Friday.

Shortly after she published her blog post, YouTube took the video down, saying it violated the site’s community guidelines, according to Hess.

This is not Dr Hess’s first foray into YouTube videos for children. She and a group of parents were able to successfully campaign for another video’s removal in July 2018.

CBS reports that Hess became concerned about what children were viewing based on her own experiences as a paediatrician (emphases mine):

Hess said after seeing higher rates of suicide in children in her own emergency room over the last few years, she made it her mission to bring awareness to disturbing and violent content being consumed by children on social media. She said she’s reported hundreds of unsettling videos to YouTube, with some success. On Friday, she found and reported seven more disturbing videos on YouTube Kids, and said they were just the tip of the iceberg.

“I had to stop, but I could have kept going,” Hess said. “Once you start looking into it, things get darker and weirder. I don’t understand how it’s not getting caught.”

YouTube Kids is not for pre-teens. In fact, quite the opposite. The videos are intended for children under the age of eight.

Hess described what she saw:

She said she logs onto the app posing as a child, rather than an adult, so that she can see exactly what kids around the world are seeing. The videos Hess has found contain mentions or visuals of self-harm, suicide, sexual exploitation, trafficking, domestic violence, sexual abuse and gun violence, including a simulated school shooting. She said many of the kids she treats in the ER list videos on YouTube as a method used to learn destructive behaviors and self-harm techniques.

Good grief.

It’s interesting that YouTube has no problem removing content from and accounts of conservative video posters, yet they allow this depravity aimed at small children, which was first reported in 2017.

CBS provides the apologies from YouTube, but:

This week, new cases of inappropriate content prompted high-profile responses, including from Disney and Nestle, which pulled advertising from YouTube after a blogger described “a wormhole into a soft-core pedophilia ring” on the site.

To be fair, YouTube has taken action, but compared to what they do to conservatives — actively seeking out accounts to ban — theirs is a reactive stance when it comes to perverse videos, especially where children are concerned:

Hess has more information about these videos on her website, including this:

Exposure to videos, photos, and other self-harm and suicidal promoting content is a huge problem that our children are facing today. Suicide is the SECOND leading cause of death in individuals between the ages of 10 and 34 and the numbers of children exhibiting some form of self-harm is growing rapidly. In a nationwide survey of high school students in the US 16% of students stated they had seriously considered suicide, 13% admitted to creating a plan, and 8% admitted to attempting suicide at some point in the 12 months prior to the survey. Every year 157,000 young people between the ages of 10 and 24 present to Emergency Departments for self-inflicted injuries and/or suicide attempts.

Many experts believe that access to self-harm and suicide promoting content is making the situation worse. There have been several recent reports of teens committing suicide after viewing self-harm and suicide material online and on social media platforms. More and more researchers are starting to look into how access to this type of material is linked to self-harm and suicide in adolescents. One such study has just been commissioned and will hopefully give us some good insight into this issue.

But we have to start doing something NOW and we should start by educating ourselves, educating our children, and speaking up when we see something that is dangerous for our children. We also need to fight to have the developers of social media platforms held responsible when they do not assure that age restrictions are followed and when they do not remove inappropriate and/or dangerous material when reported. 

We need to all work together to #ProtectOurKids and let them know that #ParentsDemandAction!

Who knew children’s videos were so injurious to kids’ mental health?

I also think that there could be peer pressure associated with these videos. Some children think these videos are ‘cool’ and that, if their peers do not watch them, they are wimps. Parents will have to know how to combat that, too.

A new film about the reality of abortion clinics makes its US debut on Friday, March 29, 2019.

Unplanned tells the true story of Abby Johnson, a former abortion clinic manager. Ms Johnson won a Planned Parenthood Employee of the Year award. Then, one day, she saw just what an abortion entailed — and that the baby was very much alive and moving. She subsequently resigned and became a pro-life advocate.

This moving trailer provides a synopsis:

Unplanned is rated ‘R’ because it shows the graphic detail behind an abortion.

On February 22, Life Site News reported (emphases mine):

“UNPLANNED is an ‘R’ rated film which has no MPAA cautions for profanity, nudity, sex or violenceexcept for violence directly associated with the abortion process,” said writers/directors Cary Solomon and Chuck Konzelman, reported Movieguide

“Ironically, the MPAA seems to be indirectly endorsing the pro-life position: namely that abortion is an act of violence,” they added. They do not plan to contest the rating.

A double irony of the rating did not go past Solomon and Konzelman.

“Even more ironically, as a result of the MPAA’s decision to give us a ‘Restricted’ rating, many teenage women in this country who can legally obtain an actual abortion without parental permission will be prohibited from going to see our film containing simulated images of abortion, without obtaining parental permission,” they said. 

Abby Johnson, a pro-life advocate, had this to say about the film:

We are pushing the boundaries of what has never been before on such a wide scale by showing America exactly what abortion is — and abortion is disturbing. It’s violent. No one will walk away from seeing this movie and say ‘I didn’t know.’

I would urge everyone with teenagers to get them to the cinema at the end of March to see this film. The Unplanned website lists a number of US locations, so please click the +More box to see additional towns and cities where it will be shown.

When I was growing up in the 1970s, Americans were told that abortion is simply ‘a medical procedure’ to remove ‘a mass of cells’. Now we know better.

I would also highly recommend that readers watch Ashley Bratcher’s interview on Fox News. Bratcher plays Abby Johnson in the movie. She did not have time to speak with Johnson, because she got a last-minute call to pack her bags — for seven weeks — and head out to Oklahoma to begin filming.

While she was in Oklahoma, Bratcher received a call from her mother, who told her that she — Ashley — was almost aborted herself. Her mother and father were in their late teens and did not feel ready for a child. Her father pawned a family shotgun to pay for the abortion. Ashley says that she finds it odd that the price for a human life would have been a shotgun.

In the end, Ashley’s mother felt sick on the operating table and said she could not go through with the abortion.

Oh, the irony of it all — but what a blessing!

Bratcher says that Unplanned has all sorts of elements to it and that it is not a judgemental film, but rather one of hope, forgiveness — and grace.

In the Western world, we increasingly hear that we should be consuming less meat.

Interestingly enough, our forebears would have enjoyed the luxury of eating meat at nearly every evening meal. That option was not open for many of them.

Meat — especially red meat — has dietary importance for humans at every stage in their lives.

Children and adolescents

A 2007 study showed that meat is vital for children and adolescents. The following study, summarised below, is from the September 1, 2007 issue of The Journal of the Dieticians Association of Australia and appears at The Free Library.

These are the key points (emphases mine):

* Optimal nutrition during the first years of life is crucial for optimal growth and development and, possibly, the prevention of chronic disease of adulthood.

* Iron-deficiency anaemia in childhood and adolescence is associated with serious adverse outcomes that may not be reversible, making detection and early treatment an imperative.

* Zinc plays a major role in cellular growth.

* Vitamin A is essential for the functioning of the eyes and the immune system.

* Vitamin A is necessary for membrane stability, and zinc is essential for mobilisation of the beta-carotene. Vitamin A deficiency contributes to anaemia by immobilising iron in the reticuloendothelial system, reducing haemopoiesis and increasing susceptibility to infections.

* Like iron, iodine appears to be involved in myelin production and, hence, nerve conduction.

* Meat is a core food in the diet for children and adolescents because it provides significant amounts of these micronutrients.

Meat is essential in ensuring that nerve and motor development evolve for overall health, particularly for the myelin sheath, which a number of us will remember studying in our high school biology classes:

Development of functional activity may be associated with myelination. Many nerve fibres are covered with a whitish, fatty, segmented sheath called the myelin sheath. Myelin protects and electrically insulates fibres from one another and increases the speed of transmission of the nerve impulses. Myelinated fibres conduct nerve impulses rapidly, whereas unmyelinated fibres tend to conduct quite slowly. This acceleration of nerve conduction is essential for the function of the body and survival. In humans, the myelin sheath begins to appear around the fourth month of foetal development and first appears in the spinal cord before spreading to the higher centres of the brain. It is assumed that this myelination precedes functional activity. This paper considers micronutrient deficiency in the context of myelination and other developmental features to highlight the need for micronutrients which can be delivered in the diet through red meat.

Note: red meat.

Meat provides the following essential building blocks to good developmental health.

Iron

A young brain needs iron:

Iron is essential for brain development. Brain iron is stored preferentially in the extra pyramidal tracts and is laid down in the first 12 months of life. Once the blood-brain barrier closes, very little iron can be deposited in the brain and, hence, an adequate dietary intake of iron is essential during this critical period … Several studies have now shown that iron-deficient anaemic 6- to 24-month-old infants can score lower on tests of mental development compared with non-iron-deficient controls (13,19,20) and are at risk for poorer cognitive, motor, social-emotional and neurophysiological development at least in the short term. Furthermore, at least one study has shown that these deficits appear to be permanent. (19) These infants appeared to have reproducible deficits in body balance and coordination and in language skills, which could be interpreted as implying problems with nerve conduction and hence myelination

Required iron levels vary with the onset of adolescence. Boys need less. Girls need more:

With the slowing of growth, at the end of puberty, iron requirements decline. Although girls develop less extra muscle tissue than boys, menarche increases the need for iron, and this increased need continues throughout reproductive life. (37) The adolescent girl is therefore at risk for developing ID due to the combined effects of continuing growth, menstrual iron losses and a low intake of dietary iron.

Zinc

Zinc deficiencies can affect mental and physical health:

Zinc is also an essential nutrient for human health. Zinc plays a major role in cellular growth, where it is crucial in the enzyme systems necessary for the production of RNA and DNA. In the brain, zinc binds with proteins and is involved with both structure and function. Severe zinc deficiency in animals has been associated with significant malformations such as anencephaly and microcephaly, and with functional deficits such as short-term memory deficits and behavioural problems. (23) In humans, cerebella dysfunction, behavioural and emotional disturbances have all been described. (23) In spite of the proven benefits of adequate zinc nutrition, approximately 2 billion people still remain at risk of zinc deficiency. (6) When zinc is provided as a supplement to children in lower-income countries, it reduces the frequency and severity of diarrhoea, pneumonia, and possibly malaria. Moreover, studies have shown that children who receive zinc supplements have lower death rates. (6)

Vitamin A

Many children in the developing world lack adequate Vitamin A. Vitamin A needs zinc:

Vitamin A is necessary for membrane stability, and zinc is essential for mobilisation of the beta-carotene. Vitamin A deficiency contributes to anaemia by immobilising iron in the reticuloendothelial system, reducing haemopoiesis and increasing susceptibility to infections. Vitamin A is essential for the functioning of the eyes as well as the immune system.

Vitamin A deficiency is associated with impaired humoral and cellular immune function, keratinisation of the respiratory epithelium and decreased mucus secretion, which weaken barriers to infection.

Iodine

Iodine deficiency is a worldwide problem:

Iodine deficiency is estimated to have lowered the intellectual capacity of almost all of the nations reviewed by as much as 10-15%. (6) In developed nations there has been a recent and disturbing increase in iodine deficiency, with as many as 25% of children and women of child-bearing age being deficient. (6) This increase has coincided with the declining dietary intake of iodized salt and also the elimination of iodophor-based cleaning compounds in commercial dairies. (25) Impaired physical and mental development is common. (26) Foetal iodine deficiency in the first and early second trimester of pregnancy results in retardation and deaf mutism, whereas in the early postnatal period, the main abnormalities are growth stunting and somatic abnormalities. (27) The hearing loss can be variable, depending on the age of onset, and can also be associated with dysarthria and other disorders of speechThe critical stage of foetal development for iodine appears to be around the 14th week of foetal lifeLike iron, iodine appears to be involved in myelin production and, hence, nerve conduction. This appears to be supported in animal model research where rats fed upon an iodine-deficient diet were found to have alterations in myelin basic protein immunoreactivity and hence function. (29) 

The paper’s summary makes salient points about meat and the types of necessary meat protein:

Meat plays a central role in the diet, providing a significant contribution to the intakes of 10 key nutrients: energy, protein, vitamin A, vitamin B1, vitamin B2, niacin, vitamin B6, vitamin B12, iron and zinc. In young children, an over-dependence on milk may put young children at increased risk of poor iron status, owing to its displacement of iron-rich or iron-enhancing foods from the diet. This risk becomes nonsignificant when moderate to high amounts of iron-rich or iron-enhancing foods (e.g. meat and fruit, respectively) are also consumed. A study performed on infants in the UK has shown that the addition of meat powder to a weaning food has a marked enhancing effect on the absorption of iron, (38) which reinforces the fact that lean red meat is not only an appropriate weaning food but should be considered an essential food during the critical stages of brain development. Dietary diversification involves promotion of a diet with a wider variety of naturally iron-containing foods, especially red meat, poultry and fish. These foods have a high content of highly bioavailable haem iron, and thus are most appropriate for infants and children on weaning. Despite their widespread availability, foods from this group are not always used or may be diluted before use (e.g. meat is rich in iron but meat broth is not). Given the information above, however, it is reasonable to argue that meat is a core food in the diet for children and adolescents because it provides significant amounts of essential micronutrients.

Adult depression — and some physical ailments — linked to L-carnitine deficiency

We in the West seem to be undergoing a depression epidemic.

I know many people offine who are taking anti-depressants. We had fewer of these issues 40 years ago.

A Stanford Medicine study published on July 30, 2018 links depression to a lack of L-carnitine, an amino acid that the body produces naturally. Natalie Rasgon’s study showed that patients responded positively within days to acetyl-L-carnitine supplements to ease their depression. By contrast, anti-depressants can take a few weeks to be effective.

She says that, although L-carnitine supplements are available at health food shops, more research needs to be done to find out exactly what L-cartinine supplements will help.

WebMD explains that low L-carnitine levels can be genetic or related to medicines. Ultimately:

The body can convert L-carnitine to other amino acids called acetyl-L-carnitine and propionyl-L-carnitine. But, no one knows whether the benefits of carnitines are interchangeable. Until more is known, don’t substitute one form of carnitine for another.

WebMD also lists physical ailments that can arise from low L-cartinine levels:

L-carnitine is used for conditions of the heart and blood vessels including heart-related chest pain, congestive heart failure (CHF), heart complications of a disease called diphtheria, heart attack, leg pain caused by circulation problems (intermittent claudication), and high cholesterol.

Some people use L-carnitine for muscle disorders associated with certain AIDS medications, difficulty fathering a child (male infertility), a brain development disorder called Rett syndrome, anorexia, chronic fatigue syndrome, diabetes, overactive thyroid, attention deficit-hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), leg ulcers, Lyme disease, and to improve athletic performance and endurance.

However, eating meat might be the simplest way to help increase natural L-cartinine levels.

According to a 2004 abstract from the US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health, ‘Species and muscle differences in L-carnitine levels in skeletal muscles based on a new simple assay’, red meat — especially deer, horse and goat — has the highest levels of this essential amino acid:

We have adapted the enzymatic method [Biochemical and Biophysical Research Communications 176 (3) (1991) 1617] for the safe and rapid assay of L-carnitine (L-CA) in skeletal muscle using a microplate reader. The concentration of L-CA in fresh semitendinosus muscle from broiler chicken, pig, beef cattle, deer, horse and goat muscle were 0.69, 1.09, 1.86-3.57, 4.57, 4.95 and 11.36 μmol/g wet weight, respectively. The animals which had higher concentration of L-CA, also had the highest amounts of myoglobin as an index to the redness of the muscle. Furthermore, we investigated this relationship between white muscle, M. pectoralis profundus, and red muscle, M. soleus, in laying hens. The L-CA and myoglobin concentration in red muscle were significantly higher than those in white muscle (p<0.01). These findings suggest that L-CA concentration in muscle is related to oxygen metabolism and to myofiber types.

Conclusion

It’s time to stop obsessing over eating meat, especially red meat, which has been a no-no for decades.

Red meat helps to ensure good health — at any stage of life.

Enjoy it.

Little Alfie Evans, born on May 9, 2016, died in the early hours of the morning on Saturday, April 28, 2018.

He spent much of his short life in a ‘semi-vegetative’ state:

and has a degenerative neurological condition doctors had not definitively diagnosed.

Specialists say his brain has been “eroded”.

Alfie’s parents, Tom Evans, 21, and Kate James, 20, had been in courts in the UK and Europe in an effort to save their son.

On Monday, April 16, the couple’s lawyer asked British Court of Appeals judges to allow the child to travel to Italy for life-saving treatment, but three judges — Lord Justice Davis, Lady Justice King and Lord Justice Moylan — ruled against the appeal.

Earlier this year, in February (emphases mine):

Mr Justice Hayden ruled that doctors at Alder Hey Children’s Hospital in Liverpool could stop treating Alfie against the wishes of his parents following hearings in the Family Division of the High Court in London and Liverpool.

Specialists at Alder Hey said life-support treatment should stop and Mr Justice Hayden said he accepted medical evidence which showed that further treatment was futile.

Alfie’s parents want to move their son from Alder Hey to a hospital in Rome.

The couple said Italian doctors are willing to treat the little boy and an air ambulance is available.

But Mr Justice Hayden said flying Alfie to a foreign hospital would be wrong and pointless.

Court of Appeal judges upheld his decisions.

Supreme Court justices and European Court of Human Rights judges refused to intervene.

They are now arguing that Alfie is being wrongly “detained” at Alder Hey and have made a habeas corpus application.

A writ of habeas corpus – Latin for “you may have the body” – is a legal manoeuvre which requires a court to examine the legality of a detention …

Mr Justice Hayden dismissed that habeas corpus claim last week.

Appeal judges upheld Mr Justice Hayden’s decision but said doctors should keep treating Alfie pending a Supreme Court decision.

By April 24, Alfie, at Alder Hey and off life support, was still alive:

Doctors have been left “gobsmacked” after Alfie Evans’ life-support was withdrawn but he continued to live, his father has said.

Tom Evans said it was obvious that the youngster was breathing unassisted “within a few minutes” of life-support being withdrawn on Monday night …

Speaking outside Alder Hey Children’s Hospital in Liverpool on Tuesday morning, his father said Alfie’s life-support should be reinstated due to his remarkable progress.

“He is still working, he’s doing as good as he can,” he told reporters …

“Because he’s been doing it for nine hours totally unexpected, the doctors are gobsmacked and I do believe he will need some form of life-support in the next couple of hours and I think he ought to be respected and given that.”

Alfie’s parents want treatment to continue and want to fly him to a hospital in Rome.

The Italian government had already taken care of foreseeable issues:

His case has been highlighted by the Pope, who expressed support for the couple, and he has been granted Italian citizenship.

Amazing.

Alfie’s father had to persuade Alder Hey doctors to give the little mite oxygen and water. Why wouldn’t they have done that of their own accord?

Mr Evans said that he had a “lengthy talk” with doctors and pleaded with them to give his son oxygen.

“They left him for six hours without food, water and oxygen,” he said.

“I felt blessed when they confirmed they were going to give him his water and his oxygen.

“He’s now on oxygen. It’s not changing his breathing but it’s oxygenating his body.”

Also on April 24, LifeNews.com reported that the air ambulance was actually at the hospital ready to transport little Alfie to Rome:

An air ambulance has arrived outside the hospital where little Alfie Evans is located. Alfie has breathed on his own and has survived for over 18 hours after the Children’s Hospital yanked his life support.

Alfie has defied doctors’ expectations to this point and his parents are headed back to court to fight for his life further. They are hoping to be able to get life support restored and also want to be able to take him to Italy, which granted him citizenship yesterday

As one British media outlet reports, “Paul Diamond, who will represent the parents this afternoon, is expected to argue that it cannot be in Alfie’s best interests to be left at Alder Hey Hospital and that he should instead be flown overseas – with an air ambulance already ready and waiting.”

He will argue that Alfie should be allowed to travel to Italy where doctors are ready to care for him,” according to the Christian Legal Centre (CLC). The organization said the aircraft was on hand to transport the little boy to a hospital in the country. “The court and the hospital should welcome the intervention of the Italian government and let Alfie travel to Italy.”

A representative of the Italian Embassy would attend the hearing.

The pope tweeted:

It didn’t matter. Later that day, LifeNews.com posted an update:

The judge in the case just prohibited Alfie’s family from taking him to Italy for care and treatment and potential experimental treatment for his rare degenerative neurological disorder.

The article went on to say that many people were critical of the courts’ callous decisions, including physicians and healthcare experts:

Today, a British doctors group, The Medical Ethics Alliance, expressed its horror over the treatment of Alfie Evans that it called a “medical tyranny.”

And Italy’s Healthcare Chief has slammed the decisions by UK courts to treat Alfie the way that they have. The President of the Italian National Institute of Health lambasted the UK High Court’s decision yesterday on Alfie Evans’ that resulted it the children’s hospital being allowed to remove life support over Alfie’s parents’ objections.

On Wednesday, April 25, news emerged (BT.com) that, despite everything being in place — including a German air ambulance — Mr Justice Hayden, ruling from Manchester, would not allow Alfie to travel to Italy; Alfie could only return to his home from Alder Hey. Yet, hope continued as the case would be heard again that afternoon:

A spokeswoman for the Christian Legal Centre, representing Alfie’s parents, said the case is due to be heard at the Court of Appeal on Wednesday afternoon.

On Tuesday a judge ruled the boy may be allowed home from Alder Hey Children’s Hospital, but will not be allowed to go to Rome for further treatment.

The 23-month-old confounded doctors’ expectations when he continued to live after life-support was withdrawn on Monday night, his father, Tom Evans, said.

“The court of appeal have reached out to us and said they are going to set back three judges to hear the case,” Mr Evans told reporters outside hospital on Tuesday night.

In reality, he could be in Italy right now. We all know the military air force are ready to take him and a team of doctors are there.

We’ve also got a German air ambulance team, who attempted to take him in the first place, ready… the reality is these people are eager to get him out of the country and I’m not giving up because Alfie’s breathing away, he’s not suffering.”

This is where the story gets stranger:

At an earlier High Court hearing in Manchester, Mr Justice Hayden described Alfie as “courageous” and a “warrior”, but said the case had now reached its “final chapter”.

He rejected claims by Mr Evans that his son was “significantly better” than first thought because he had been breathing unaided for 20 hours after doctors first withdrew life support.

Instead, the judge said the best Alfie’s parents could hope for was to “explore” the options of removing him from intensive care either to a ward, a hospice or his home.

But a doctor treating Alfie, who cannot be named for legal reasons, said that for Alfie to be allowed home would require a “sea change” in attitude from the child’s family, and they feared that in the “worst case” they would try to take the boy abroad.

Mr Justice Hayden ruled out the family’s wishes to take the child to the Bambino Gesù hospital in Rome, following interventions from the Pope and the Italian authorities.

Meanwhile, the child’s story attracted the attention of the Polish president:

Merseyside Police announced they were monitoring social media, which attracted critical responses:

However, Wednesday’s hearing produced no positive news and was the final legal challenge. BT.com reported:

The parents of Alfie Evans have failed in an 11th-hour attempt to persuade judges to let them move the terminally-ill youngster to a foreign hospital …

A High Court judge ruled against them on Tuesday and three Court of Appeal judges dismissed a challenge to that decision on Wednesday.

Lawyers representing Alder Hey bosses said Alfie’s condition was irreversible and there was no evidence that it had changed.

They said the fact that he had continued to breathe unaided might have surprised members of the public but had not surprised specialists.

Barrister Michael Mylonas QC, who led Alder Hey’s legal team, said it had never been suggested that Alfie would die as soon as life-support treatment stopped.

He said the couple’s challenge should be dismissed.

Barrister Sophia Roper, who represents Alfie and takes instructions from a court-appointed guardian, agreed.

Lord Justice McFarlane, who headed the appeal court panel of judges, said Alfie’s parents were trying to take “one last chance”.

But he said there was no prospect of the couple’s challenge succeeding.

He said Alfie was in “the middle” of a palliative care plan.

The two other appeal judges, Lady Justice King and Lord Justice Coulson, agreed.

Lady Justice King said there was “acceptance” that Alfie was dying.

It is unclear to the average person why a baby with his parents around him would need a court-appointed guardian.

A greater question remains: why would a court forbid loving parents to take their child out of the country for medical treatment when a) transport is at the hospital and b) doctors are on standby at the final destination? It is very strange.

On the morning of Thursday, April 26, BT.com reported that, despite the court’s decision the previous day, Alfie’s father was not giving up on his son’s life:

The parents of Alfie Evans are expected to meet doctors to discuss taking their terminally ill son home.

Speaking outside Alder Hey Children’s Hospital in Liverpool on Thursday, his father Tom Evans, 21, said he hoped to have a “positive” meeting with medical staff

Mr Evans told reporters: “He’s been off a ventilator for three days now, there’s been no deterioration.

“He hasn’t woke up, he’s still a little bit weak, but what we ask for is to go home to sustain his life.”

He said the family still had “appeals to explore”.

Mr Evans added: “All I ask for now is for this meeting to be a positive one, and I hope to have Alfie, on the terms of mine and Alder Hey, to be home within a day or two.

If the meeting doesn’t go well today, well then, I’ll go back to court.”

He accused doctors at the hospital of being “wrong” about their diagnosis: “Alfie lives, comfortably, happily, without ventilation, without any form of ventilation.

That must be enough for you now to consider that Alfie may prove you wrong.”

Alfie and his parents attracted much local support:

The hospital was unhappy:

Police remained outside the hospital on Thursday, after Alder Hey said its staff had experienced “unprecedented personal abuse”.

In an open letter, the hospital chairman Sir David Henshaw and chief executive Louise Shepherd: “Having to carry on our usual day-to-day work in a hospital that has required a significant police presence just to keep our patients, staff and visitors safe is completely unacceptable.”

What else was the public to think other than that human rights were at stake, seeing court-controlled families?

Furthermore, why wouldn’t a physician would agree to let a baby and his parents travel to another country if they could get life-saving treatment?

Of course people are going to be upset. After all of this stonewalling, emotions were running high.

Public doubt and bemusement about Alfie’s situation only increased on the morning of Friday, April 27, when an NHS physician appeared on ITV’s This Morning. CNSnews.com has the story (emphases in the original):

Forcing 23 month-old Alfie Evans to die by starvation “is not killing,” Dr. Ranj Singh argued on U.K.’s “This Morning” ITV program Friday, Express reports.

Withdrawing life-support and refusing to allow Alfie’s parents to take him home, feed and care for him, is, instead merely “redirecting care,” Dr. Singh said:

This is not the killing of a child – this is redirecting care to make them more comfortable.”

… Dr. Singh doubled down on his claim, framing the withdrawal of life support as a way to make patients more comfortable and give them “the most dignifying life”:

“Withdrawing life support is not killing someone. It is redirecting care to make them more comfortable and give them the most dignifying life that you can.”

Dr. Singh also said pro-life Alfie supporters outside the Alder Hey Hospital protesting to save Alfie’s life are behaving “disgustingly”:

“There’s a small proportion who have – I will say it – behaved disgustingly.”

Perhaps, but it is hard to have empathy for a medical institution who will not allow a patient to seek treatment elsewhere.

That day, LifeNews.com reported that the Evans family had asked for protests to ease so that Alfie’s parents could work with the hospital for his release (emphases mine):

As LifeNews reported, Alfie Evans’ father Tom Evans called for supporters of Alfie and his family to “stand down” so they can begin “building a bridge” with Alder Hey Children’s Hospital and its staff.  The statement from Alfie’s father was surprising given the animosity that had developed between the Evans family and the hospital

But perhaps seeing that there is little opportunity left to fight for Alfie’s rights and their right to take him abroad or take him home or sensing a need to appease the hospital to bring him home, Tom Evans is now striking a conciliatory tone.

Now, Alfie’s uncle Daniel Evans has posted on Facebook that he believes things are progressing to a point where Alfie could go home soon.

Evans also hinted that protests could continue if Alder Hey officials don’t send Alfie home. Daniel Evans said Alfie’s dad Tom didn’t want to approach the press or have any further protests, but added that this would be “until something changes with the hospital.”

He wrote: “I have seen that people are believing this is the end of Alfie’s army? Tom has released a statement that states he will not approach media or want any protests. This will be until something changes with the hospital but we hope and pray it doesn’t.”

He continued: “They aim to get him where they have always desperately wanted him HOME. And with today’s positive meeting this could be a goal complete for Tom and Kate. I will continue to update when necessary.”

On Saturday, April 28, Alfie breathed his last. BT.com reported:

The parents of Alfie Evans have said they are “heartbroken” after their son died on Saturday morning.

The 23-month-old – who was being treated at Alder Hey Children’s Hospital in Liverpool – died at 2.30am, Kate James and Thomas Evans said on Facebook.

The post said: “Our baby boy grew his wings tonight at 2:30 am. We are heart broken. Thankyou everyone for all your support.”

Alder Hey offered their condolences — posted on their website. Think of the staff:

In a statement issued on its website, Alder Hey Children’s Hospital said: “We wish to express our heartfelt sympathy and condolences to Alfie’s family at this extremely distressing time.

“All of us feel deeply for Alfie, Kate, Tom and his whole family and our thoughts are with them.

“This has been a devastating journey for them and we would ask that their privacy and the privacy of staff at Alder Hey is respected.”

Later that day in Liverpool:

The family of Alfie Evans said they have been left “shattered” by his death, as more than 1,000 supporters gathered to release balloons in his memory.

The terminally ill 23-month-old, who was being treated at Alder Hey Children’s Hospital in Liverpool, died at 2.30am on Saturday, his parents Kate James and Thomas Evans said.

Hundreds gathered in Springfield Park, next to the hospital, to release blue and purple balloons in his memory at 2.51pm – exactly 12 hours after he was officially pronounced dead.

Mr Evans and Ms James, both in their early 20s, did not attend the event but Mr Evans’s sister Sarah told the crowd: “I just want to thank you all for coming today

In an editorial for Fox News, Newt Gingrich reminded his readers that life comes from God. He also mentioned another relatively recent British case involving the late, little Charlie Gard. Please read it all. An excerpt follows:

The secular system has asserted its right to define what lives are worth living and is determined to prevent its authority from being questioned. Alfie Evans’ life – like Charlie Gard’s before him – has been determined to be limited by the standards of the secular state, and therefore without value.

These tragic government-imposed death sentences for innocent infants should frighten all of us about increasing secularism in society and the steady shift towards a totalitarian willingness to control our lives – down to and including ending them – on the government’s terms.

This is a direct assault on the core premise of the Declaration of Independence. We Americans asserted that we “are endowed by (our) Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness.” In the American Revolution, in our fight against the British crown, we asserted that rights come from God – not from government.

However, our secular, liberal culture increasingly dismisses the concept of God and asserts that our rights come from a rational contract enforced by government.

In the original American model, we asserted our God-given rights against the power of a potentially tyrannical government. In the emerging left-wing secular order, since there is no God our rights depend on a secular state controlling itself.

Britain is giving us a vivid, tragic sense of how dangerous and heartless government tyranny can be once God is rejected and there is nothing between us and the government.

Ironically, this latest decision was made the same year Stephen Hawking died – 55 years after he was diagnosed with ALS (commonly known as Lou Gehrig’s disease) and told he had only two years to live.

Apparently, the British government learned no lessons from Hawking’s remarkable lifetime of work and achievement, which he pursued despite having to battle an extraordinarily challenging illness

When you read about these two babies being denied life support by a supposedly free government, remember what John Donne warned when he wrote “any man’s death diminishes me, because I am involved in Mankind, and therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls; it tolls for thee.”

In these two years, we have seen two babies effectively sentenced to death by a government we would once have considered humane. What will the next horror be?

Breitbart has an excellent article not only on Alfie Evans and Charlie Gard but also on other children — mostly in the UK — who ran up against the system. These cases have attracted international attention:

The ill toddler [Alfie] joins a list of other children removed from life support against their parents’ wishes, whose stories have touched the hearts of people around the world and whose fight for their short lives found the support from high-profiled figures such as Pope Francis, Polish President Andrzej Duda, European Parliament President Antonio Tajani, and U.S. President Donald J. Trump.

Charlie Gard was treated at London’s Great Ormond Street Children’s Hospital, known for its clinical excellence. However, they were not only unable to treat the baby’s mitochondrial condition, they also refused — with the aid of the courts — to release him to receive treatment outside of the UK:

The courts ordered the hospital take the child off life support, despite the Gards fundraising over one million pounds for Charlie’s transportation and private hospital care, and numerous figures pledging their help and support including Pope Francis and U.S. President Donald Trump. Baby Charlie died on July 28th, 2017.

During one of the Gards’ many court cases, the family spokesman addressed media to say that Charlie had “effectively being taken prisoner by the NHS and by the State”, asking“Whose child is he? Is he the state’s child? Is he the NHS’s child? Or does this child belong to the parents?”

Earlier this year, on March 7, one-year-old Isaiah Haastrup died at King’s College Hospital in London. Isaiah’s mother had a difficult delivery at the hospital, also known for its clinical excellence:

Within a month of the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) rejecting the Evanses plea to overturn Alder Hey’s decision for the first time, on March 6th, Lanre Haastrup and Takesha Thomas lost their battle at the Strasbourg court to stop King’s College Hospital doctors from removing life support from their son Isaiah.

Isaiah suffered brain damage during his mother’s complicated labourwhich King’s College Hospital admitted it was partly responsible for, due to “specific issues in monitoring” during his birth.

At one point, the hospital was denying Mr. Haastrup visitation of his son when he was near death, administrators claiming the father had ‘verbally abused’ hospital staff in an argument over the withdrawal of baby Isaiah’s life support.

Another British life-support issue occurred with three-year-old Dylan Askin, who was suffering from a rare form of lung cancer:

In 2016, doctors told Kerry Askin that her three-year-old son Dylan would not survive his rare form of lung cancer, influencing the mother to decide to turn off his life support.

Mrs. Askin had her unresponsive son baptised on Good Friday and the family agreed to have him removed from life support.

However, instead of dying, Dylan improved. He’s alive — and well — today:

After life support began to be removed, Mrs. Askin related that “once the muscle relaxant was turned off… we discovered he needed more sedation. Upon doing that he slowly improved!”

By Easter Sunday he was stabilised and discharged just two weeks later from hospital. Two years later, Dylan had beaten his illness.

Then there was the case of Ashya King in 2014, which was really awful:

Though not an end-of-life dispute, 2014 saw an analogous high profile battle over treatment options for five-year-old Ashya King that resulted in a so-called abduction, an international manhunt, and his parents’ arrest.

British doctors in Southampton had diagnosed young Ashya with an aggressive brain tumour. They operated on his brain and told his parents he would need chemotherapy and radiotherapy.

Ashya’s parents, Brett and Naghemeh King, thought that would be too much for the youngster. They wanted to take him to to the Czech Republic for proton therapy instead. This is where the drama started:

Doctors stood by their plan of treatment, so shortly after, Aysha’s parents took him from Southampton General Hospital and boarded a ferry to France. The parents were arrested later in Malaga, Spain.

After extradition was denied, a High Court ruling agreed that Aysha could be taken to the Czech Republic for proton therapy.

The proton therapy was highly successful:

Three years later, Ashya was cleared of cancer and according to his father is playing and speaking again.

The Breitbart article also looked at an American case, that of two-year-old Israel Stinson whose life support system was turned off in 2016:

after a Los Angeles Superior Court judge dismissed a restraining order barring the hospital from doing so until September 8th.

Incredibly, had consulted Guatemalan doctors prior to going to California. The Guatemalan physicians allegedly said that:

his condition was improving and that he was not brain dead.

American political commentator Lew Rockwell posted an article originally on American Thinker. Columnist Joe Herring wrote about his grandson who has the same condition as Alfie Evans. Unlike Alfie, now with the angels, Herring’s grandson recently turned 17.

Excerpts follow:

I see Joseph’s innocence in Alfie’s eyes, and I struggle with the marked physical resemblance between Alfie and Joseph at that age. I also vividly recall the doctors counseling my daughter to abort her pregnancy, to save her child from suffering.

He will likely live 18 months, certainly no more than three years,” they told us solemnly. Joseph celebrated his 17th birthday in February of this year

In Britain’s socialized medical system, second opinions are typically given by other NHS physicians, chosen not by the parents or the patient, but by the attending physician who gave the first opinion.  Unsurprisingly, second opinions in the NHS rarely overturn the first.  In this case, however, Alfie’s parents were able to force the hospital to release records for outside review.

Unsurprisingly, Alder Hey’s prognosis has not been confirmed by outside medical professionals.  Indeed, numerous outside experts vehemently disagree with Alder Hey’s conclusions.

The disturbing truth is, the physicians of Alder Hey haven’t even attempted to determine the cause of Alfie’s distress, having decided within months of his birth that his life was not worth living.

In closing, a Telegraph reader made an excellent point (25 Apr 2018 11:42PM) on the misplaced hubris of the NHS and the erroneous death decisions the health service makes:

As one has argued…

“With Italian doctors willing to treat Alfie and a plane standing by to take him to Italy, with his parents desperate to take them up on that invitation, the only conceivable reason the UK would refuse to let him go is because they’re terrified that he really might be successfully treated. If they’re wrong on a question of life and death that’s now being scrutinized internationally, no one would ever trust an NHS end-of-life assessment again.”

Discuss.

Who can say fairer than that?

This must stop now.

In the meantime, my prayers and thoughts go to Alfie’s parents, Tom Evans and Kate James. I thought about them all weekend. May the Lord comfort them in the months and years ahead.

George Washington 189px-BlackadderivwordpresscomOn Monday, February 19, 2018 George Washington’s birthday was celebrated as a state holiday in the United States. Wall Street also closed on this day.

America’s first president was born on February 22, 1732 or, as the Julian calendar was still in use in Britain and the colonies, February 11, 1731.

Abraham Lincoln was born on February 12, 1809.

When I was a child, each had his own holiday. Some years ago, the two were combined. Some states celebrate both presidents’ birthdays on the third Monday in February. Others honour one of the two. Some states celebrate Presidents(‘) Day at other times of the year.

Last year, my reader sunnydaysall, from BrainHavenNet, posted Dr Christopher’s Herbal Legacy Newsletter from July 7, 2017, ‘The Untimely Death of America’.

It is well worth reading, especially for those interested in natural remedies.

One would have thought that George Washington would have had the finest medical care available. It seems he did in principle, but, judging from his final days, not in practice.

A summary and excerpts follow, emphases mine.

On Thursday, December 12, 1799, Washington was on his Mount Vernon estate and made his daily rounds. He was, as usual, out of the house between 10 a.m. and 5 p.m. It was snowing that day and three inches of snow had already accumulated. The former president had helped to move a carriage that day that had been stuck in the snow.

Upon returning home, he felt a sore throat coming on. He was also growing hoarse. However, instead of changing into dry clothes, he sat down to dinner. Afterwards, he remained in his damp attire.

On Friday, he worked on his estate marking trees to be felled. He returned home:

had a pleasant evening and even joked about his worsening hoarseness. Two o’clock Saturday morning he was chilled, could scarcely speak and breathed with difficulty. In the morning a servant was dispatched to retrieve Dr. Craik and another servant was dispatched for a Mr. Rawlins who was a local bleeder. Mr. Rawlins removed a half pint of blood and then Dr. Craik upon arriving removed another pint of blood and dosed the former President with calomel (a mercury preparation). Two more Doctors arrived and yes removed even more blood and administered more mercury, purgative enemas and blistering plasters. A fourth bleeding was proposed and immediately protested by Dr. Elisha Dick the youngest of the three doctors. However, he was overruled by Dr. James Craik and a Dr. Richard Brown who then bled George Washington a fourth time and of course administered another round of mercury and another toxic chemical, antimony. It is estimated that half of his blood had been removed. By today’s standards that much loss of blood would result in extremely low blood pressure and would require an immediate transfusion along with intensive care.

That is incredibly over the top treatment for a bad cold. How President Washington must have suffered. He died on December 14, 1799.

At the time, when nothing else worked, the physicians in those days tried bleeding. Using emetics was also common, but less toxic ones were available. Using antimony and mercury were last resorts, even then. Why did the physicians not try a less dramatic treatment?

Dr Christopher says that the cause of Washington’s death given today is bacterial epiglottis:

and that an emergency tracheotomy would have saved his life.

That also seems pretty extreme.

One of the physicians got in touch with another two weeks later:

Dr. Brown had misgivings and in a letter to Dr. Craik said, “If we had taken no more blood from him, our good friend might have been alive now.” He added, “But we were governed by the best light we had. We thought we were right, and so we are justified.” A contemporary British physician John Reid sarcastically remarked that the “current of blood” drained from George Washington reflected the currents of American rivers. He then was critical of the heavy dosing of mercury and the administrations of emetics and blistering to a man in his late 60’s.

Exactly!

As Dr Christopher points out in his newsletter:

We do know as a fact that herbalists were present in the 1700s and for that matter in all eras. They were sometimes praised and sometimes ignored. We know that herbalists would have used remedies that were simple such as; lemon grass, rose hips, garlic, and onions that could have saved our beloved leader’s life. The emerging Thompsonian doctors could have relaxed the muscles with Lobelia and applied cayenne to the throat to increase circulation. Perhaps the native population could have provided golden seal with its berberine alkaloid that kills bacteria. It is a fact that there was plenty of light and knowledge available in 1799 that could have been used by the Washington family instead of turning to the popular or mainstream doctors of that day with their blood-letting and poisonous practice. At any rate, the sudden agonizing death of George Washington was untimely and a great loss to his family and countrymen.

What a sad Christmas that must have been for the Washington family and their friends. Then there was the population of the new(ish) United States, which also mourned his death. What a miserable end to the year.

I did not know this story and am grateful that Dr Christopher wrote about it and that sunnydaysall posted it.

If this had happened today, I would have said it was a murderous plot. Nowadays, we cannot accept anything as it appears.

On February 15, 2018, an article — press release? — appeared on Yahoo about potable water becoming an inexpensive and instant reality for millions of people.

The Australian research organisation CSIRO has developed and tested a filtration technique which uses graphene film:

with microscopic nano-channels that lets water pass through, but stops pollutants. The process, called “Graphair”, is so effective that water samples from Sydney Harbor were safe to drink after being treated.

And while the film hails from graphene, Graphair is comparatively cheaper, faster and more environmentally-friendly to make, as its primary component is renewable soybean oil, which also helps maximise the efficiency of the purifying technique’s filter counterpart. Over time, oil-based pollutants can impede water filters, so contaminants have to be removed before filtering can even begin, but using Graphair removes these pollutants faster than any other method.

Dr Dong Han Seo, lead author of the research, says that trials will begin in 2019 in developing countries:

All that’s needed is heat, our graphene, a membrane filter and a small water pump.

This is amazing news.

Other possible uses for Graphair could be seawater treatment and effluent removal. CSIRO hopes to receive industry funding as their research continues.

In April 2017, Engaget reported on researchers at the University of Manchester in England who are working on graphene sieves for desalinating water. Dr. Rahul Nair, who leads the project, said that the holes in the sieve are nanometer-sized:

When the capillary size is around one nanometer, which is very close to the size of the water molecule, those molecules form a nice interconnected arrangement like a train. That makes the movement of water faster: if you push harder on one side, the molecules all move on the other side because of the hydrogen bonds between them. You can only get that situation if the channel size is very small.

Engaget’s article concludes:

Someday, these graphene-based sieves could change lives around the world. But before that happens, the team has to make sure they can withstand prolonged contact with seawater. They also need to test the material against current membranes desalination processes use. “The ultimate goal,” Nair said, “is to create a filtration device that will produce potable water from seawater or wastewater with minimal energy input.”

The University of Manchester team continues their research.

These are very exciting developments for the world’s poor.

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