Prof. Keith Scott-Mumby's Total Health Newsletter #24. Week ending Nov 1st, 2009
Please feel free to forward this to friends who might be interested in reading it.
- Louis Pasteur Reviled24.htm#Pasteur and Restored
- Nepenthe the "Drug Of Forgetfulness"
- How Do You Feel About Perfect And Eternal Memory
- Cocoa In Chocolate Good For The Heart
- We're Wrong But We Are Staying Wrong (American Cancer Society)
- Pasteur Institute Models Dirty Docs
- This Week's Quote
No "What's In A Word?" this week, or from now on. You'll find out why next week!
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1. Louis Pasteur Reviled And Restored
Humbug and Heresy In Alternative Medicine
We have our share of cranks and crackpots... don't we just?
There is a circle of people who circulate nonsensical "health" junk among themselves and sometimes it spills over into rational territory. For some reason my subscribers think I enjoy reading these "reports"; I don't.
I got one last week from some cranky old boiler calling Louis Pasteur an arch villain [Heretic-in-Chief... diabolically dangerous... a mendacious con whose influence should
have abated long ago.." were some of her words]. Bear in mind this is a woman with no medical and scientific background whatsoever (I laugh when these people talk about their "research", which means to type stuff into Google and regurgitate what they find!)
She has a website and presumes to give out this laughable "knowledge" as something worthwile, instead of a useless encumberance on the broadband widths we all have to share! I'll not give the link because that would be to spread filth.
Does this crackpot even know who Louis Pasteur was and what he achieved I wonder? What would she do if she got bitten by a rabid dog? Refuse the vaccine from this "heretic-in-chief"? Rabies was 100% fatal before Pasteur's breakthrough. Now only those who don't get the vaccine will die. [exact truth: only three human beings have ever survived rabies without Pasteur's vaccine].
Was this crank raised on pasteurized milk I wonder (does she even know it's his name being commemorated)?
Such things concern me because there is a tendency to mob rule, even on the Internet. If enough people make outrageous statements people start to accept them as true: "It must be true, I found it on the Internet". When the "pack" decides to go after somebody, as with this current tendency with Pasteur, it's goodbye truth, and I believe there would be mob violence, if the crowd were all physically present together, shouting derision and raising their level of hatred (these are "holistic" people... Yeah, right!)
What Did Pasteur Really Achieve?
Louis Pasteur was one of Mankind's utter brilliants. His range and depth of knowledge was unsurpassed for his day and included chemistry, optics and crystallography, including research on polarized light.
But it was when he got on to biology, bacteriology and ultimately medicine that his fame for all time was assured. Remember, in Pasteur's day, there was no grasp of living microorganisms: Pasteur gave us that breakthrough. At that time even serious scientists believed in "spontaneous generation" of organisms; it had not been understood that these organisms had to land on food and drink to be able to multiply and subsequently spoil it.
Pasteur showed that yeast organisms were the cause of wine fermenting, bacteria caused putrefaction, spoiled beer and also soured milk. He also showed that heating to 55 degrees killed these organisms; hence the term "pasteurization". Incidentally, plenty of other fools contrast Claude Bernard and Pasteur as if they were hostile to each other (arguments about terrain). In fact Pasteur and Bernard completed the first successful pasteurization test, working on it together, in Paris, on April 20, 1862.
Pasteur saved the French wine industry and also the French silk industry, which was threatened by a disease called pebrine. He showed that it was due to a microorganism and that it was contagious among silkworms. But he also identified another silkworm disease called flacherie and although he was unable to isolate the organism, he did show how to prevent cross-infection and that one thing saved the French government more money than war reparations paid to the Prussians!
But it is in the field of vacination that Pasteur achieved his greatest moment. He recognized microorgansims as active agents in disease and he found how to attenuate bacteria for safe innoculation, by passing them through different media and rendering them less harmful. Robert Koch is perhaps more associated with the so-called "germ theory of disease" but Pasteur was the experimental lab magician, unlike Koch.
Pasteur developed a vaccine for anthrax. In a staggering bravado, he decided to test it (never before done) in front of a world-wide audience (journalists from the USA and London etc.). On May 5, 1881, a number of sheep and other animals began a series of injections with Pasteur's vaccine against anthrax. Other animals were used as controls. Then in front of scores of witnesses, Pasteur injected a highly lethal strain of anthrax into all the test animals. 48 hours later all the non-vaccinated animals were dead or dying. 100% of those vaccinated were alive and well. The result could not have been more stunning.
A new age in medicine was born. People flocked from all over the world, to seek Pasteur's advice on the containment of plant and animal epidemics.
Yet the great man capped even this on July 6, 1885, when a young boy Jospeh Meister was brought to him, because he had been bitten savagely by a rabid dog-- pretty much a death sentence in those times. Pasteur took a flagrant risk and decided to vaccinate the boy with his new vaccine against rabies. It could have all gone horribly wrong and ruined his reputation.
But it worked. And Joseph Meister grew up and became the curate of the newly-formed Pasteur Institute in Paris, a post he held until his death. And Pasteur? I admire, unreservedly, his courage and perspicacity. In a word: balls! (Spanish: cajones)
Of course, Pasteur had his enemies. Many were vicious, jealous and unscrupulous and told many lies. So the boloney you see as criticism of this medical giant is just regurgitated nonsense from clowns who cannot separate truth from nonsense.
Pasteur was ranked #12 in the 1978 edition of Michael H. Hart's book, The 100: A Ranking Of The Most Influential Persons in History. However, Pasteur was promoted to no. 11, replacing Karl Marx in the 1992 revised edition. A ranking tens of thousands above the likes of Mr. Gerald L. Geison, who accused Pasteur of fraud in a New York Times article titled "Pasteur's Deception". It's easy to attack a man dead these 100 years; he isn't there to defend himself or his notes. Cheap sniping, I would call it.
I say all this from the heart, because I love the truth and because I cannot bear great men of the past being derided by ignorant fools, who know nothing, and have themselves contributed nothing to the human race, other than hostility, lies and confusion.
[I'll deal with the Bechamp controversy in an upcoming edition of Letter From Serendipity]
2. Nepenthe "The Drug Of Forgetfulness"
Nepenthe is the name of a beautiful cliff top restaurant in Big Sur, California. Viv and I stopped over for a leisurely lunch last Monday, on the way back from Yosemite.
Here are a couple of shots of the patio and the view that you get from a choice table:
So why do I say this? As you know, I always have a reason!! It just got me thinking about the drug "nepenthe", one of the hypnotics, related to morphine and heroin.
Nepenthe is first mentioned in Homer as the "drug of forgetfulness", a remedy for sorrow; literally an anti-depressant. Pliny makes reference to it. It occurs numerously in literature:
In Edmund Spenser's The Faerie Queene, book 4, canto 3, the effect of the drink is extended: "such as drinck, eternall happinesse do fynd" (verse 43). Spenser likens Nepenthe to the magic potion from Ariosto's Orlando furioso.
George Chapman refers to Nepenthe in Ovid's Banquet of Sense, stanza 10, line 1: "Sacred Nepenthe, purgative of care".
In "The Raven", a poem by Edgar Allan Poe there is a reference to "quaffing nepenthe" in order to forget a lost love: "Quaff, oh quaff this kind nepenthe, and forget this lost Lenore!".
Nepenthe is the name of a collection of poetry published in 1921 by Greek poet Kostas Karyotakis.
A reference appears in the eponymous limerick by the infamous magician Aleister Crowley (which also clarifies the pronunciation of his surname): "My name it is Aleister Crowley/ A master of Magick unholy/ Of philtres and pentacles/ Covens, conventicles/ Of basil, nepenthe, and moly." [Moly is a mythical plant that Hermes gave to Odysseus to help him against Circe and this is why it's connected to magic, but no one knows if there ever was such a plant].
Finally, if you didn't know, the movie The Sandpiper starring Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton, was filmed on the Big Sur coast and Nepenthe had a role in the film.
3. How Do You Feel About Perfect And Eternal Memory?
Talking about nepenthe and forgetting, would total recall be a curse or a boon? I ask because a recent book "Total Recall: How the eMemory revolution will change everything" started me thinking.
100% memory, in the form of digital files and images, perhaps enhanced by newer as-yet-undiscovered sensors, will be with us soon. This is a given part of the techno-revolution we are living through.
The book has a glowing introduction by Bill Gates and it all seems to take the point of view this is a good thing. But is it?
Even if we wished to, we may not be able to forget. Because you get the stuff beaten out of you at school for forgetting doesn’t mean all forgetting is bad! We have to filter some of our impressions, otherwise we would go into overload.
In fact, as I have written elsewhere, we have to selectively (and wisely) UN-remember certain things just to function at all. We have naturally in-built mechanisms to do this for us. Who can foresee what will happen if we forecefully override these mechanisms?
Anyway, who cares about out past, except us? Isn’t it just vanity; to believe that our little lives, of all those in history, are the ones that really matter? That we should be preserved, when greats such as St. Thomas Aquinas, Buddha and Beethoven have no “substance” of their selves and lives left behind?
Why would our kids and grandkids want to know all our stuff? They should be getting on with their own lives and living fully in the stream of progress of the human condition.
By chance, another review from the same writer looked at the opposite book. It’s title is “Delete: The virtue of forgetting in the digital age”.
The authors recognize that forgetting is at least as important as remembering; that we would surely lose our human-ness (and self-image), if we couldn’t set aside at least some of our inconvenient memories. Otherwise we might live the nightmare life of Solomon Shereshevsky (http://www.learninginfo.org/solomon-shereshevsky.htm)
Shereshevsky was a Russian journalist with perfect memory. He was able to memorize 70-digit matrices, complex scientific formulae, even poems in foreign languages, in a matter of minutes. He could also report extensive lists of numbers or letters in reverse order. Not only this, he remembered these lists years afterwards when re-tested.
Unfortunately, Shereshevsky’s gift was also a serious handicap. For example, he had a terrible memory for faces because he memorized them so exactly. People's faces change with time, lighting, mood, and expression. Shereshevsky had difficulty recognizing faces because, as time went by, they looked so different to him from the ones he had completely memorized in the past.
His pathological memory interfered with Shereshevsky’s ability to hold a regular job, enjoy literature, or even seemingly to think in the abstract without being distracted by sensory association. He just couldn’t forget ANYTHING!
Yet in the digital age we may never be allowed the luxury of totally forgetting something we CHOOSE to forget. These are sobering thoughts and maybe it hasn’t worried you before. Well, it should!
4. Cocoa in Chocolate Good for the Heart
Spanish researchers put 42 men and women on a diet that included 40 grams of unsweetened cocoa powder (about 1.4 ounces) mixed with skim milk daily, or plain skim milk. During the study, participants didn't take additional vitamins or supplements, and the only cocoa-containing products they consumed were those provided by researchers.
After one month, those who drank the cocoa-flavored milk had lower levels of inflammatory markers associated with heart disease than those drinking the milk alone!
That result was critical because the participants, whose average age was about 70, were at high risk of cardiovascular disease because they had diabetes and three or more risk factors for heart disease, including smoking, high blood pressure, high levels of LDL "bad" cholesterol (more than 160 milligrams per deciliter), low levels of HDL "good" cholesterol (below 35 milligrams per deciliter), obesity or a family history of early coronary heart disease.
Cocoa increased HDL (good) cholesterol, and lowered levels of LDL (bad) cholesterol. Cocoa was shown to have anti-inflammatory, antioxidant properties. The study is published in the November 2009 issue of the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.
The secret is polyphenols; these are major antioxidants that protect your heart. Of course die-hard idiots will tell you to eat more green veggies instead of "unhealthy" chocolate. Know what? A 2-oz bar of un-treated (natural) chocolate contains more antioxidants than a whole lousy plate of raw broccoli. I’m not kidding!
This is recent research but I have been on the chocolate story for years, because of my fabulous “Doctor’s Chocolate” and the care I took to make sure it confirmed to all that we know of heart-healthy and anti-inflammatory science.
Order the Doctor’s Chocolate here.
Listen to an audio by me with lots more information about the science of good chocolate and why we are proven to live longer if we eat it (the proper stuff, that is)
5. We're Wrong But We Are Staying Wrong
The American Cancer Society says it is not currently rethinking its stance on cancer screening, as was widely reported last week. Nor do they intend to restate their guidelines to emphasize the inadequacies of screening. Their "guidelines" remains a sales hype document for a totally discredited procedure which Prof. Sam Epstein MD has condemned as “a crime against humanity”.
The cancer society argues it has never maintained that mammography screening for breast cancer is perfect. The statement, from the society's chief medical officer, Dr. Otis Brawley, said that the organization "stands by its screening guidelines" and that "women are encouraged to continue getting mammograms." He omitted to mention that it actually kills women, through radiation and through over-zealous (ie. fraudulent) diagnosis. Women are subject to needless biopsies and scares. Often surgery results, with its accompanying risks, because treatment, of course, is not about the patient but about raising funds.
ACS has tried to take credit for the recent startling decline in breast cancer rates and hinted “it's unclear how much of this is because of more screening”. The answer is none whatsoever. That's TOTALLY clear! Everyone now knows, though ACS will die rather than admit it, that the sudden decline is due to the fact that women in large numbers have refused hormone therapy in recent years. Before that, cancer rates had RISEN sharply because of mammogram screening and unnecessary intervention.
See more about this use of mammograms to drum up business in my important blog piece “Do doctors create the cancer problem?”
[Oct. 21, 2009, news release, American Cancer Society]
6. Pasteur Institute Models Dirty Docs
Didier Guillemot at the Pasteur Institute in Paris, along with his team, created a mathematical model of swine flu and hospital superbugs, with the dirty hands of doctors and nurses as the spread agents. It covered events in an intenstive care unit with a staff of 22.
Findings: Seeing lots of patients briefly caused more spread than fewer patients tended very closely. One person forgetting to wash their hands all of the time caused more spread than all of the staff forgetting to wash their hands some of the time (25% less washing for everybody was modelled).
Conclusion: doctors and nurses should wash their hands between every patient.
This Week's Quote:
Science knows no country, because knowledge belongs to humanity, and is the torch which illuminates the world. Science is the highest personification of the nation because that nation will remain the first which carries the furthest the works of thought and intelligence.
- Louis Pasteur (1822- 1895)
So, that's all for this week!
Be well; find the sacred in all you do, otherwise don't do it!
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