Malnutrition, (Innutrition, undernutrition) is simply poor or inadequate or defective nutrition. The child or adult is undernorished or is not well nourished. Such a person may be overfed. The cases of malnutrition in those who actually do not eat a sufficient bulk of food are comparatively very rare.
Almost the whole of the American population is suffering from undernutrition. The discovery during the war that so many of the young men in this country are such miserable specimens of physical manhood occasioned a temporary interest in the subject of malnutrition, just as a similar temporary interest in the nutrition of her young followed a similar discovery in the young men of England during the Boer war. Although, this temporary interest in the physical welfare of our future cannon-fodder waned as the patriotic fervor, which gave rise to it, lessened, with the passing of the war, malnutrition of our children and adults is as acute as ever if not more so. Routine examinations of school children have revealed that malnutrition is as prevalent in these as it was in the young men examined in 1917-1919.
It is difficult to capitalize such a condition and, therefore, no serious effort is being made to remedy it. The doctors and public health workers soon turned their attentions back to serums and vaccines and to removing tonsils and pulling teeth. The little attention that is being given to the subject of malnutrition in children is practically wasted because; 1st., physicians do not have a dependable knowledge of diet and do not know how to properly feed children; 2nd. they do not fully understand the causes of undernutrition; 3rd., they devote too much attention to purely arbitrary standards of height and weight and too little to other and much more important evidences of innutrition; and, 4th., commercial surgery, commercial dentistry, commercial serums and vaccines and commercial food manufacturers stand in the way of sincere effort.
The United States Children's Bureau found that from one-fourth to one-third of the children in this country are definitely malnourished according to medical standards. In some communities malnourishment is so common that it is hardly recognized as an abnormal condition . They found that the number of children of really superior nutrition is really very small.
While a majority of these children manage to grow up, they carry the marks of faulty nutrition with them throughout their lives. Small bones, weak, receding, deformed chins, deformities,defective teeth, undeveloped bodies, flat chest, deformed spines, poor sight, anemia, marked susceptibility to disease, and low mentality are only some of the more obvious, results of malnutrition. Here in San Antonio, among our Mexican population, one scarcely sees a single Mexican who does not present unmistakable evidences of malnurishment.
Malnutrition manifests itself not only in a failure to gain in height and weight but in many other ways. Indeed many malnourished children are fat, while, others are as tall as the average child of their age. A child may be normal, meaning the median or average, as far as height and weight are concerned, and still present many evidences of malnutrition.
The more common symptoms of malnutrition are a dry, delicate skin which is either pale, or wax-like or else sallow, or pasty, or earthy in appearance; dry, rough hair, brittle nails; blue circles or dark hollows under the eyes, with a pale, colorless mucous lining of the eye-lids; loose skin, flabby, undeveloped muscles; round shoulders, projecting shoulder blades, fatigue posture, prominent abdomen, irritability, listlessness, inattention, "laziness," undue mental and physical fatigue, mental backwardness, a tempermental disposition, lack of natural inquisitiveness and a lessened power of concentration; the child is also likely to be finicky about his food. The undernourished child is usually underweight, although some of them are fat and flabby.
The causes of malnutrition are commonly divided into three classes, Physical, social and dietetic.
The "physical causes" are diseases and various malformations. Among these are listed tuberculosis, chronic disease of the tonsils and sinuses connected with the nose, pyelitis, decaying teeth, adenoids and deformities of the jaw and nose. Chronic disease of the tonsils and sinuses connected with the nose are said to be "the most common of the diseases causing malnutrition in childhood." "Decaying teeth often cause malnutrition." "Adenoids and deformities of the jaw and nose are the most common of the deformities which produce malnutrition." Tuberculosis is not considered a common cause of malnutrition in childhood.
Morse, Wyman and Hill say of malnutrition due to these causes: "The remedies are obvious: removal of diseased tonsils and teeth and of the adenoids, treatment of the sinuses and pyelitis, and correction of the deformities." This is a surgical program and is aimed at effects, not causes.
K. B. Rich, in a report of the work of the educational authorities in the Chicago Elementary Schools, showed that the treatment of enlarged tonsils, adenoids, carious teeth, and flat-foot was ineffectual in over-coming malnutrition, although the program had been undertaken with great expectations of success. Fresh air, sun shine, exercise, an improved diet and cleanliness were then tried and these proved effective.
Decay of the teeth is due to malnutrition. So is tuberculosis. So are most deformities of the nose and jaw. The medical profession is so in the habit or getting the cart before the horse--of converting an effect into the cause--that they do it unconsciously. Take the one factor of decay of the teeth. This is so unmistakably an effect of faulty nutrition that we can hardly excuse those who say that the tooth decay causes faulty nutrition.
In the discussion of the "social causes" we usually find more evidence of intelligence, although the treatment of these causes seldom goes far enough, due to the fact that our universities and research institutions are controlled by big business interests and to the further fact that these same universities and research institutions are large stock holders in oil companies, mining companies, cotton mills, etc., and are deeply interested in the dividends of these. It is, therefore, more profitable to these institutions to vivisect animals, study germs, and endorse serums and surgery than it would be to tell the truth about the social causes of disease, where this might tend to decrease the incomes of these big business concerns.
Under social causes we find listed lack of fresh air and sunlight, too hot or too cold houses, mental over fatigue and physical over fatigue. Physical over fatigue is said to be due, usually, to too much hard play. The more than two million children employed in poorly ventilated, poorly lighted mills, factories and sweat shops in this great land of "progress" and prosperity" are not likely to play too hard.
There is no condemnation of the crowded slums of our larger cities, where sun shine and fresh air are lacking. There is no condemnation of the low wages, high rents, and other economic factors that prevent parents giving their children the benefits of resin air and sunshine. Any one who would condemn these things would immediately be denounced as a "red," and it would be asserted that Moscow had paid him to say such ugly things about our "glorious American institutions."
Other "social causes" are insufficient sleep, due either to excitement or improper food, or to the premature abandonment of naps and rests or to not putting the child to bed early enough; too much study, neglect at home, family friction, unsuitable books and stories, too many parties, movies, long automobile rides, and too much other such excitement or improper amusement.
To these causes, let me add nagging, scolding and whipping and slapping of children, overclothing, too much handling, especially of infants, smoking by older members of the family in the house, drugs, serums, vaccines, surgical operations, etc.
"The remedy," say Morse-Wyman-Hill, "is, of course, a simple rational, not too strenuous life, without undue excitement, and with plenty of fresh air and sunshine." The remedy must go beyond this prescription. It must take the children and their mothers out of the mills and sweat shops; it must remove them from the slums and crowded tenements; it must supply these children with an atmosphere of love and kindness. It must supply them with houses that are not "too hot or too cold." It must keep them out of the hands of the surgeons and the pus punchers and serum squirters.
Under "dietetic causes" is mentioned "improper food" rather than a "lack of food." This means that the child is fed on foods that are inadequate in one way or another and do not supply the child's body with all of the needed food elements. Without indulging in the customary stereotyped chin music about "calory requirements," "balanced diet," "protein needs," "fat needs," "accessory foods or vitamins," etc., let me say that this means that the child is fed on white flour and its products, degerminated and demineralized corn meal, denatured cereals, pasteurized and canned milk, sulphured and canned fruits, jellies, jams, white sugar, candies, ice cream, cocoa, chocolate, soda fountain slops, cooked vegetables, mashed potatoes, pies, cakes, crackers, cookies, etc., to the exclusion of fresh raw fruit, fresh raw green vegetables, fresh raw milk (preferably its mother's milk), raw nuts, and whole grains, if grains are to be used. I have discussed cod-liver oil elsewhere.
A child may be eating foods containing all the food elements required, and yet, due to indigestion from over eating or from any of the above mentioned "social causes," not be able to digest and assimilate its food. Many cases of malnutrition are due to this cause. Undernourishment from over eating is common in our oftfed babies.
Dr. Geo. S. Weger rightly says that an: "Overcrowded nutrition means starvation, whether it be in the infant that is fed more because it cries from already having had too much, or in the adult who gluttonizes because he is drunk on food and craves more stimulation of the same sort." When parents and physiclans accept this fact and act upon it, children will be more healthy and will develop more beautifully.
A common, but unrecognized, cause of innutrition is toxemia resulting from impaired elimination. This toxic state of the blood and lymph is back of the chronic disease of the tonsils, adenoids and sinuses, which is listed as a "physical cause" of malnutrition. Toxemia deranges and perverts nutrition. It is due to anything that overtaxes the vital or nervous powers and checks elimination.
There are all degrees of malnutrition ranging all the way from a near-normal condition to a condition presenting all of the symptoms previously described and many more and worse conditions. Malnutrition lays the faulty anatomic foundation of venous organic diseases in later life. The remedy is a complete overhauling of the child's life--social and dietetic. See Feeding of Children.
What are classed as nutritive, or deficiency diseases have two groups of causes--namely:
1. Deficiencies in diet, either in quality or quantity, usually, except in famine districts, in quality.
2. All of those factors and influences, whatever their nature and source, which render it difficult or impossible for the body to utilize the elements of its food, even though the food is perfect.
Dietitians and other such cooties rarely give any attention to this second group of causes. They experiment with healthy animals and seldom see any other factor than that of a studied and deliberately made dietary deficiency. They are easily misled by their one-sided, or as they call them, controlled experiments.
In dealing with children and adults let us always keep in mind that we are not dealing with controls. The life of a human being, child or adult, is much more complex than that of any experimental animal in the laboratory. His environment is more varied, his contacts greater in number, the influences to which he is subjected more numerous, and the resources of his environment greater.
Pregnant mothers that are fed on a good diet, if their nutrition is impaired by overwork, worry, fear, or other cause, will not be able to assimilate the elements of their food and their babies will be born with the "seeds" of some deficiency disease "in their bones." The babies will then be fed up (stuffed) in an effort to force them to take on weight and their own weak nutritive machinery will be so impaired that, in spite of an adequate diet, deficiency diseases will develop. Too much handling, drugging, and any other cause that debilitates the infant and child will derange its nutrition suffciently to bring on nutritive disease. Indeed there is an element of nutritive disease present in every so-called disease.
ANEMIA is a deficiency disease. It is characterized by a lack of red blood cells, a lack of iron, a pale complexion, nervousness, often night sweats and susceptibility to disease. Anemia may be due to hemorrhage from a wound or from an ulcer or tumor, etc., but this is not the type of anemia we are going to deal with in respect to children.
In children anemia is due to a lack of proper food, or to an inability to assimilate the food, or to both factors combined. There is a gradual decline of the body's power to produce red blood cells due to imperfect nutrition--a lack of food iron or an impairment of the nutritive processes. In all such cases it is as important that the child's power to assimilate iron, sometlmes more important, be restored, as that it be fed foods rich in iron.
In my Human Life, It's Philosophy and Laws and in my The Regeneration of Life, I have emphasized the value of fasting in blood rejuvenation. Readers of these two books know that I especially claim for the fast great virtue in anemia. I am glad that I can quote Dr. Wm. H. Hay in confirmation of these things. In Health Via Diet, Dr. Hay tells of treating 101 cases of progressive pernicious anemia, during twenty-one years, by fasting, correct diet and colonic irrigation. Of these 101 cases he says that 8 failed of initial recovery. Part of these recoveries were made permanent by right living. Some of those who relapsed resorted once more to the fast and recovered again.
The first 13 cases of progressive anemia placed upon a fast by Dr. Hay recovered in from 2 weeks to longer. The with case, being in a dying condition when she arrived, did not recover. Dr. Hay says: "The blood during a fast undergoes no visible changes as to cell count unless markedly abnormal when the fast is begun in which case there is a return to normal." ### "For most of two weeks (in pernicious anemia) the red, or erythrocyte, count continues to fall before there is regeneration in the blood-making organs; then gradually the microscopic picture begins to show new round erythrocytes with regular edges, no crenations or irregularities, and soon there is noticeable increase in number of these with gradual disappearance of the adventitious cells present in the beginning.
"Not unusually there is a gain during the succeeding two weeks that brings the total back to the normal five million erythrocyte count, even though this may have been at or below one million in the beginning."
This blood regeneration, while fasting, is confirmed by other investigators and practitioners and is not a matter to be longer questioned. The value of the fast in all forms of anemia is beyond doubt. Dr. Hay says: "Progressive pernicious anemia is considered an incurable disease, and so the writer always regarded it, and it was a case of this kind that started serious thought in his mind before his own physical breakdown, thoughts that perhaps colored his view of his own recognizably incurable state of disease." Does anyone imagine even for a second that fasting introduces iron into the system. These improvements in the blood occur because the fast increases the body's power to utilize the food reserves it has on hand.
CARE OF THE PATIENT: Children that are properly cared for from the moment of conception will never have anemia. Those that have been allowed to develop anemia should be given a short fast--three to five days; older children longer--or a few days on orange juice and fed properly thereafter. Their whole life should be adjusted into harmony with physiological requirements, as outlined in the other chapters of this book. Daily sun baths will be found to be very beneficial in improving nutrition.
RICKETS: This is a constitutional disease characterized by impaired nutrition and bone changes. It is confined to infancy. In this disease there is considerable diffuse soreness of the body, slight fever, and profuse sweating about the neck and head. There is softening of the bones resulting in deformities, and considerable thickening of the cartilages and periosteum. The teeth are delayed and defective or fail to appear at all. The fontanels do not close. There are nervous symptoms and sometimes convulsions. The liver and spleen are enlarged and the child has a pot belly. The head is usually too large for the body.
It will be noticed that in all cases of deficiency diseases there are artificial foods; pasteurized milk and lots of breads, breakfast cereals, cookies, cooked fruits and a derth of fresh (raw) fruits and green vegetables. Drs. Trall and Taylor pointed out seventy-five years ago that lack of sunlight, improper feeding and bad hygiene are the causes of rickets. They overcame the condition by proper food, sun baths and improved hygiene. The medical profession has not caught up with them yet.
CARE OF THE PATIENT: The worst case of rickets I ever saw was in a nine months old baby, brought to me in New York City, which had been under medical care for about four months and had been growing progressively worse all the while. It had been fed the regulation medical diet, had been given codliver oil regularly and had received regular exposures to the rays of an ultra-violet lamp, with the result that it did not improve but grew worse.
I had the oil poured into the sewer, the diet changed to raw milk and fruit juices (orange juice and grape juice), and sun baths given instead of the lamplight bath. Marked improvement began at once and continued until after a year the child was practically fully recovered--there still remained a slight bow in its legs.
McCollum found that fasting has a beneficial effect in cases of rickets. This is old stuff to those of us who know fasting, and McCollum does not. Fasting properly done, promotes growth. If a salamander's tail is cut off it will grow a new one. Fasting does not interfere with the regeneration. Prof. Morgulis found that the tails grew slower during the fast than the tails of those salamanders who did not fast. But he says: "when, after several weeks of starvation (he means fasting, only he does not know what he means), the salamanders having in the meantime lost one-fourth their original weight, they were fed once more, the regeneration of the tails was immediately improved and in the course of time ATTAINED OR EVEN EXCEEDED IN LENGTH THE TAILS WHICH WERE CUT OFF." (Caps. mine.)
Prof. Morgulis further says: "It has been repeatedly emphasize ed that just as soon as an animal, which through acute or any other form of inanition lost weight, is given proper nourishment it commences to grow at a spectacular rate and in a comparatively brief period regains all it had lost or even increases beyond the original level. The rapid gain in weight is a manifestation of a vigorous process of growth. There is not merely an acumulation of reserve substance, but a true growth in the sense defined previously. There is prolific cell multiplication, great expansion of the cells and a reaccumulation of reserves in the form of intracellular. and intercellular deposits of products of their metabolism. Nitrogen is retained with an avidity characteristic of the young growing organism. Frequently, IN A SHORT SPAN OF TIME AN INCREASE OF THE BODY MASS IS ACCOMPLISHED, WHICH REQUIRED YEARS OF NORMAL GROWTH TO BRING ABOUT. THE INANITION HAS PRODUCED A REJUVENATION OF THE ORGANISM. In the study of histological phenomena accompanying inanition it has already been learned that EXCEPT IN THE ADVANCED STAGES THERE IS SCARCELY ANY EVIDENCE OF TISSUE DEGENERATION. On the contrary, the cells remain intact though they loose a large portion of their substance. In the keen competition which reigns in the organism subjected to inanition the weaker and less essential parts of the cellular organism are sacrificed first, just as we have seen this to happen to the less essential parts of the entire organism. THE MORE VITAL PARTS REMAIN AND THE VITALITY OF THE CELLS AND THEIR VIGOR IS THEREBY IMPROVED. This seems to be the rationale of the invigorating and rejuvenating effects of inanition. Biologically speaking, though the organism acquires no new assets it becomes stronger by ridding itself of liabilities. In the foregoing (see P. 200) it has been pointed out that the cell-nucleus ratio changes in such a manner as to increase the preponderance of the nucleus. Morphologically, therefore, THE CELLS COMPOSING THE ENTIRE ORGANISM ASSUME A YOUTHFUL CONDITION. They resemble more the embryonic cell in this respect, and this may account for the expansive growth which they display under the proper nutritive regime." (Cap. mine.)
Prof. Morgulis further says: "Further experiments performed with the salamander demonstrated that the growth impulse and not the quantity of food consumed plays the leading role. These experiments substantiated the idea that growth which ensues after a preliminary inanition is not unlike embryonic growth in its intensity. It is well to bear in mind that the reduced size of the cell, or rather the altered cell- nucleur ratio, is probably in some way responsible for the vigorous growth process, and that the rejuvenesence of the organism is dependent upon this condition. Many years ago Kagan observed that following 17 days of complete inanition rabbits gained 56 per cent in weight on a diet which could just barely maintain a state of equilibrium in the normal condition."
I have seen this same thing in patients in hundreds of instances and so has every other fasting advocate. But Prof. Morgulis cuts himself off from all the literature on "therapeutic" fasting and refers to us as "amateurs" and "enthusiasts." Carrington is the only man of our school he will condescend to notice and, good as it assuredly is, Carrington's book is far from complete.
In connection with the phenomena of increased growth after a fast, even without excess of food, Thompson and Mendel found that a period of suppressed growth, due to under-feeding, is followed by increased growth when better food is given, and that the acceleration of growth following this suppression, is ordinarily accomplished on less food than is consumed during a period of equal growth at normal rate from the same initial weight.
These facts should certainly encourage mothers not to overfeed their babies, for overfeeding certainly stunts growth.
SCURVY: This was the first condition to be recognized as a nutritive disease. It was very common among sailors and passengers in the days of sail boats with their salt pork diet. The first "remedy" found was lemons.
In this disease there is swelling and tenderness of the joints, gums and jaws. There is, in severe cases, spontaneous fracture of the bones and loss of teeth. There are also hemorrhages in the limbs and frequently into the intestinal tract, if the condition is not remedied.
Pasteurized and canned milks are among the potent causes of this condition. So also are cereals, especially the denatured ones, and salted and canned meats. Cooking foods, even the best of them, greatly reduces their antiscorbutic qualities, or destroys them altogether. Foods dried at a high temperature also lose their antlscorbutic properties.
The present white-flour- white-sugar- meats- denatured-cereals- pasteurized-milk diet keeps the whole population in a mild state of chronic scurvy or near scurvy. We usually eat just enough fresh fruits and green vegetables to keep us from becoming markedly scorbutic. But we are never as healthy and sound as we should be.
Over seventy years ago Dr. Trall declared that "All good fresh fruits and vegetables are antiscorbutic." In those days and until quite recently, the medical profession taught that fruits and vegetables were not valuable as foods, and advised against their use. They are beginning to catch-up with Trall and Graham--they even dare to tell us now that yeast, eggs, and milk (cow's milk) are not of "therapeutic value" in scurvy.
Fruits and leafy vegetables are the great antiscorbutic foods. Mother's milk will be antiscorbutic if she eats an abundance of these and is in health herself.
Prof. H. C. Sherman, of Columbia University, says: "In the Orient, where very little milk is available to the majority of the people, green vegetables, rich in calcium and vitamins, largely take its place."
Y. G. Chen, an oriental student, tells us that green vegetables are five times as prominent in the diet of the Chinese as in the average American diet.
Americans are beginning to eat fruits and vegetables also, despite the opposition of the medical profession with its calories, white flour and meat, and despite the opposition of the meat packers. Not even the great Brisbane can stop them. Graham and Trall started a dietary reform that cannot be stopped.
Morse-Wyman-Hill tell us that the artificially fed baby should have orange Juice and that "one tablespoonful of orange juice daily is usually sufficient and a tablespoonsful always sufficient to prevent the development of scurvy." Now, who wants to barely keep their child on the health side of the "dead line?" Who does not want his child to have better health than this will insure? Scurvy does not exist, in the medical mind, until it is severe enough to produce recognizable physical signs. The initial stages back of these signs mean nothing to medical men; to your child they mean impaired health and future suffering. Build in your child a state of positive health which will assure it freedom from all so-called disease.
The scorbutic diathesis (tendency to scurvy), says Dr. Page "is induced by deficiency of vegetable food," especially grains and fruits, in the mothers diet, "the milk secreted being deficient in certain vital constituents." This statement was published in 1882, long before medical men began to recognize such facts. Mother's milk is made from her blood and where her food does not contain the essential constituents, nature takes these out of her own tissues. But this weakens her and impairs her health. The milk is of poor quality and deficient in quantity.
Most if not all the so-called hereditary diseases are due not to heredity, in its scientific sense, but to faulty pre-natal nutrition. A farmer who would not think of working a mare in fold, does not hesitate to permit his wife to work herself to exhaustion and kill her children. But this is not heredity. I do not believe that there are any hereditary diseases and I do not believe that any amount of statistical studies can ever prove that there are. Statistics show results, not causes.
Catlin tell us that: "in England there are (were) something like 35,000 idiots and lunatics, 17,000 deaf and dumb, and 15,000 hunch-backs, and about an equal proportion of these mental and physical deformities in the other civilized nations of the Earth!" He says that other than the defects above named, curvature of the spine, nightmare, polypus of the nose, malformation and premature decay of the teeth, toothache, tic-douloureaux, rheumatism, gout, and many others are affections "to which the Brute creations are strangers, and to most of which the Savage Races are but little subject. "
In one Indian tribe of 2,000 souls he learned from the chiefs "that there was not an instance of Idiocy or Lunacy--of crooked spine (or hunch-back), of Deaf and Dumb, or other deformity of the disabling kind." He found the same among the Pawnee-Picts, the Kiowas, the Kaskaskias, the Winnebagoes, the Osages, and others. He says: "Among two millions of these wild people whom I have visited, I never saw or heard of a Hunch- back (crooked spine), though my inquires were made in every tribe nor did I ever see an Idiot or Lunatic among them, though I heard of some three or four during my travels, and perhaps of as many Deaf and Dumb."
These evidences of perfection in the Indian were not due to heredity, as the conditions of present day Indians show, but to good nutrition and a near-natural life. Indian mothers did not eat denatured foods.
TUBERCULOSIS is developed out of the same systemic derangement as are scurvy, rickets, and anemia. It is aided and abetted by so-called scientific care and treament. It develops out of the same "enervated, toxemic and putresence-infected" and malnourished body-soil.
All over the land we see posters, large and small, advising us to "Protect Them (children) From Tuberculosis." Stop and read the advice given and you are advised as follows: "Keep them away from sick people;" "Insist on plenty of rest," "Train them in health habits;" "Consult the doctor regularly."
There are two million child laborers in the United States. Try and "insist on plenty of rest" for these, if you are seriously delirious of ascertaining how little big business cares about the welfare of children. I never see any protests by the National Tuberculosis Association, which is responsible for these posters, against child labor. Like all good ruling class organizations, it conveniently closes its eyes to the social and economic causes of disease.
The under-nourished children of the poor, the poor, unfortunate children of America's huge standing army of unemployed (Think of the shame of employing two million children in mills and factories and letting millions of men walk the street week after week in search of employment!), are the ones who are in greatest danger of tuberculosis. The children of the poor in the crowed almost sunless slums and tenement districts of our larger cities are not likely to derive any benefit from these posters.
"Consult the doctor regularly" is advice intended to increase the doctor's business. It is not intended to prevent tuberculosis. Doctors know so little about its prevention and cure that they and members of their families frequently develop the condition and die. The tubercular sanitariums contain many physicians suffering with tuberculosis. When they learn how to prevent tuberculosis, let them demostrate it by preventing it among the members of their own profession and among the families of these numbers.
That they do not expect their advice to prevent tuberculosis is evidenced by the great emphasis they place upon frequent examinations by the physician. In effect they say to us, follow our advice and then come to us frequently in order that we may discover, in its incipiency, the disease thereby produced.
They take the same stand in this matter of tuberculosis that they do with regard to the teeth. They say brush your teeth often and keep them clean and visit your dentist often, so that he can discover the cavities early and plug these at so many $ $ $ $ a plug.
Why will people continue to care for children by methods, which they know and those who advocate and exploit such methods know, will not preserve the health of their children? They stuff their children on milk and denatured foods, because the doctors tell them to do it, and then they allow these same doctors to stuff them even more on the same milk and denatured foods in an effort to cure the resulting tuberculosis.
Prof. Morgulis says: "As a social phenomenon malnutrition is not simply a matter of insufficient or improper nourishment; it is the sinister combination of blighting influences of poverty--over-crowding, under-clothing, unhealthy and un-hygienic environment. Here is the fertile soil on which tuberculosis reaps its ghastly harvest."
Tuberculosis is largely an outgrowth of social injustice--of low wages and high prices and unemployment. It is an outcome of the rent, interest and profit system that robs millions of workers in order to make one millionaire. It will be with us until a social and economic revolution sweeps away the evils that inhere in the capitalistic system and a more rational and more human system has taken its place.
Efforts are made to prevent tuberculosis by tampering with the milk supply of infants. They feed infants milk from tubercular cows and expect to make it good nutriment by pasteurizing it. It can't be done. Such milk is inadequate before it is pasteurized and becomes more so through pasteurization. McCann, in defense of pasteurization, says: "bovine tuberculosis is transmissible to the child not only through milk, but through pot cheese, ice cream, butter and raw meat, such as the uncooked bolognas common throughout the United States."
To use a vulgar slang, this is a lot of bologna. This idea was hatched in the brain of Robert Koch, of tuberculin fame. But Koch later recanted. After numerous experiments he came to the conclusion that he had been mistaken and concluded that "the bacillus of bovine tubercle was innocuous to mankind." But the medical profession and the dairymen would have nothing to do with his recantation. They had "traced" tuberculosis to the cow and it had to stand. They refused to admit that their "tracings" were incorrect.
The prevention of tuberculosis is fresh air, an abundance of sunshine, wholesome outdoor play, plenty of fresh fruits and green vegetables' cleanliness and plenty of rest and sleep. This is also the remedy. And this means that tuberculosis will neither be prevented nor remedied for some years to come.
MALNUTRITIONAL EDEMA is a dropsical condition of the tissues which results from long continued undernutrition. It is seen in famine districts and was common in Germany and other of the Central Powers, during the war. Many of these cases died. This condition is never produced in patients during even the most prolonged fast.
MALNUTRITION AND RACIAL DEGENERACY: I have repeatedly declared my lack of faith in the ancient belief in hereditary disease. This declaration on my part usually brings down upon my head a storm of protest and often abuse. In 1922, while teaching dietetics in the American School of Naturopathy, in New York City, I endeavored to explain to one of the professors the difference between intra-uterine infection and a hereditary disease and was greatly amused by having this infallible dignitary get a bit excited and hurry out the door, calling back while on the way out: "I don't want to listen to such non-sense." Four years later, having calmed down somewhat, this same professor listened to the same explanation with patience and interest and remarked: "Perhaps you are right."
In the same year (1922), when the professor ran out on me, Prof. Thomas Hunt Morgan, of Columbia University, said: "There is a growing impression that a good deal of feebleminedness and insanity are environmental rather than hereditary traits; poverty, malnutrition, and especially syphilis are said to play a considerable role in their production. It is unsafe, therefore, to conclude that the human germ-plasm is as badly contaminated as some pessimists seem to think."
Prof. Morgan, ever the cautious scientist, never goes as far as he should for fear that he will go to far. Why not tell the whole truth and say that, while human germ-plasm may be somewhat weakened, it is not tainted or contaminated? We may as well understand, also, that human germinal weaknesses are not insurmountable and that with intelligent care, these may be completely overcome in three to four generations.
A special study of the effects of malnutrition on school children was made by Dr. Blanton, who was stationed at Thier, Germany, with the American Expeditionary Forces. He found that malnutrition had produced a marked lowering of scholarship and that pupils previously remarkable for their superior work were doing poor work. A loss of nervous energy and a marked increase in the number of "border line" cases of mental defectives resulted from malnutrition. There was frequent impairment of the nervous coordination involved in good speech. The number of children with poor, lisping, slurring speech was markedly increased. Lack of nervous and mental energy, poor comprehension and poor memory for school work, general nervous restlessness during school hours and inattention are listed as specific changes caused in the children by malnutrition. He found, also, that in more than five per cent of the total school population, the amount of injury sustained by the nervous system was enough to permanently affect the intelligence. Children who fail in their studies, who are stubborn and manifest an antipathy towards learning, suffer from malnutrition. Malnutrition is the greatest single cause of "repeaters" in the public schools.
Blanton thinks that resistance to the blighting effects of malnutrition depends on the nervous strength and intelligence of the original stock. Prof Morgulis cautiously points out, in reply to this, that, "when one recalls, however, that children received at orphan asylums and other charitable institutions, coming from the strata of society where existence has always been more or less precarious, were generally about 30 per cent below standard weight, it seems at least reasonably doubtful if the five per cent of permanently injured in intelligence children are necessarily of tainted heredity. Malnutrition of some degree is invariably associated with poverty and poverty did not originate with the World War but has merely become extensive under its impetus. It is only natural that those whose physical stamina had been undermined even before the war should have crumbled under the additional strain of war-time parsimony and want."
Faulty nutrition rather than tainted germ plasm is the explanation for most of the ills attributed to heredity. There are other causes, such as poisoning, injury, etc., to account for the other cases. We may completely rule out the medieval dragon, syphilis, but we cannot rule out the mercury sent to slay this mythical monster. Alcohol is known to weaken the germ plasm. No doubt many other poisons do likewise. I know of no reason why the systemic derangements of mother and father cannot impair the germ plasm, but I am convinced that if this impairment is great, the germ-plasm will either not be able to produce a new being or will produce one that is too weak to live. Certainly, in spite of nature's protective safe-guards, profound and lasting toxemia in a pregnant woman will result, not alone in malnutrition in the fetus, but in a greater or lesser degree of poisoning as well. Such cases are not examples of true heredity at all. They do not result from a change in the germinal constitution but from extraneous influences which bring about nutritive and chemical changes in the cells--germinal or somatic.
A lack of sunlight has been shown to weaken the germ cells of plants so much that they soon ceased to be able to reproduce themselves. Plants grown in poor soil produce fewer and smaller seed than those grown in fertile soil. Such seed, even when planted in good soil, give rise to smaller plants and seed than those of the normal seed.
Defective nutrition, particularly in childhood and youth, not only causes defects and troubles that persist throughout life, but affect also the offspring of the child after he or she has grown up. Upon this point Dr. Taliaferro Clark, expert in child feeding for the United States Public Health Service says: "Underfeeding in certain esential food elements to a degree not necessarily accompanied by evidences of ill health or the production of pathological change, when continued from generation to generation will cause marked changes in hereditary characteristics."
Dr. Clark quotes definite experimental proof showing that rats, when fed for several generations on a slightly deficient diet, produce offspring that, even when fed a complete diet, do not thrive as well as rats that possess well fed ancestors. In addition to this he gives evidences from observation on human beings that reveal the same thing. It is evident that a defective diet impairs the germ-plasm to some extent and thus injures the offspring. It is obvious, of course, that a defective diet eaten by the pregnant mother will injure the offspring. Proper feeding should begin, then with our great-great-grand parents--or, to put it the other way around, if "civilized" peoples continue to eat denatured foods, each succeeding generation of our posterity will be more defective and ailing and shorter lived.
Fortunately, these changes being quantitative and not qualitative do not change the hereditary constitution and, if their causes are removed, disappear in one or two generations. Indeed, Nageli found that plants which have acquired certain adaptative modifications by living on the Alpine heights since the "ice age," lose these characters perfectly during their first summer in the low lands." If ages do not serve to fix apparently hereditary beneficial charcters, a few generations certainly will not fix harmful characters.
Prof. Morgulis says: " a striking example of wreched physique resulting from the wretchedness of living condition is presented by the Jews of Poland. Their physical strength, their muscular power has diminished in each succeeding generation; their blood is poor, their stature is small, shoulders and chest narrow. Many have an emaciated pallid look, and show signs even of racial decline and degeneracy. Held back by various disabilities, crowded into the Jewries of Poland, with limited opportunities for gaining a livehhood, they have literally been the victims of malnutrition for generations. Their poor constitutions, physical frailty and stunted growth make them manifestly unfit for heavy work. Leroy-Beaulieu says of them, "few races have so many men who are misshapen and deformed, disabled or hunchbacked, so many who are blind, deaf-mutes, or congenital idiots." Close inbreeding owing to marriages between near relatives can hardly be held responsible for this physical degeneracy. The inbreeding only accentuates the evils of age-long confinment, lack of exercise, lack of pure air, lack of healthy social environment and above all else, lack of wholesome nutriment. The role played by malnutrition in producing racial deterioration of the mass of Jews especially in the Polish ghettoes can be best appreciated from the fact that investigation of their living conditions has shown that they were so poor that for generations they subsisted on nourishment below the actual minimum requirement. Tchubinski actuallv found that the Jews of Little Russia and Poland consumed less food than either their Greek Christian or Polish Catholic neighbors. Transferred to a less forbidding environment the inherent recuperative powers of the organism under favorable nutritive conditions show remarkable effects already in the first or second generation."
Dr. Abraham Myerson says of the descendent of the Russian and Polish Jews who migrate to America, "he becomes a follower of sports" and "the remarkable rise of the Jewish prize fighter stands out as a divergence from tradition and mocks at theories of inborn racial characteristics."
Eugenic fanatics who desire to save the race by breeding specialized types (the so-called "improved" types), as the farmer does his cows and sheep, by forbidding the unfit to bread, may not welcome these disconcerting facts. They have been preaching a doctrine of heredity, a breeding-stable salvation and a surgical program, which is welcomed by the commercialists. All their breeding experiments have never shown anything; other, than that, animals produce "after their kind" in the broad sense that one species never produces another species. Heredity is the transmission from one generation to the next of germinal characters. Absolute uniformity is possible only if we view heredity in its broader sense and do not attempt to restrict it to details.
It is not proven and not provable that degeneracy is hereditary. True, there is ample statistical "evidence" that degeneracy is hereditary, but statistics give results not causes. It can be shown statistically that the children of criminal parents are ten times as likely to be criminals as are the children of "normal" citizens. But it can also be shown that children of criminal parents are a hundred times more likely to be born in an environment which breeds crime, than are the children of "normal" parents. The child's social inheritance is the determining factor. A child of Catholic parents is many times more likely to be a Catholic than is the child of Protestant parents; but surely no one will maintain that religion is hereditary.
All existing degeneracy has a cause and that cause is not heredity, for heredity is not a cause of anything. When degeneracy increases from generation to generation, it is for the reason that its cause remains uncorrected. When it diminishes with each generation this is because the cause has been removed. No other explanation is logically tenable. Eugenists and geneticists have known very little about the evils of malnutrition and they have cared less; for they have been preaching a doctrine of aristocracy and capitalism and have frowned on any hint that there are any reasons other than inherent "superiority" and "inferiority" for the differences between the upper and lower strata of society.
Chronic undernourishment is not only incompatible with the highest enjoyment and the greatest productive and creative abilities, but it cripples the very functions that perpetuate the species. There is a marked repression of the normal sex impulses. In Germany, during the war, when her people were very inadequately fed, sexual desire was greatly diminished in the men and menses ceased in large numbers of women.
Animal experiments along this line have shown the same thing. Leo Loeb subjected guinea pigs to chronic undernourishment and reduced them 20 to 30 per cent below normal weight. Atrophic changes occurred in the ovaries while no follicles matured under such circumstances. He found the condition of the ovaries to be "entirely incompatible with ovulation and the normal course of the sexual cycle."
Animals fed, by Reynolds and Macombe, on a diet deficient in protein, calcium and "vitamins," developed partial or complete sterility. Evans and Bishop discovered that a diet deficient in "vitamin A" results in a prolongation of the changes incident to the period of "rut" and a failure of ovulation in rats.
It should be quite obvious that such results are not confined to the ovaries and testicles, but that they reach the germ plasm and injure this also. Here then is a real cause of degeneracy which eugenists persist in overlooking.
Germinal injury must result in somatic defect, but germinal regeneration will occur if the causes of the injury are removed. It is quite probable that the power of regeneration is greater in the germ-plasm than in the somaplasm. If we are to prevent degeneracy we must discover and remove the initial causes of degeneracy. For, even granting that degeneracy is transmissible, it certainly cannot exist without cause. The causes of degeneracy, if no: corrected, will produce a new crop of degenerates each generation, despite the watchfulness of eugenic breeders of man.
THE REMEDY: What can be done for children whose growth has been retarded through deficient food and other unfavorable conditions? Can they attain normal development? Can they fully recover from their abnormal conditions? These are important questions. Their answers depend on how much damage has been done and how early and how completely the remedy is applied.
Experiments on animals and observations on children and adults have shown that when the environment is rectified and the food supply rendered adequate, there follows rapid growth and development, so that, despite a prolonged retardation of growth, full size may ultimately be attained. In the case of some organs, as the regenerating tail of the salamander, they may actually grow larger than those in whom there has been no retardation of growth. In many animals a prolonged period of stunting is followed by an increase in weight and even of size which takes place at a more rapid rate. The first experience I ever had with this phenomenon was over twenty years ago, when I bought a pig, the smallest and poorest in a litter of ten pigs--a "runt." When I gave her adequate food she rapidly passed her brother and sister pigs of the same litter. Ten weeks of partial "starvation" was followed by rapid growth and development. The same fact has been repeatedly observed in experimental animals in the laboratory.
Shapiro choloformed some kittens twice a day. In this way he was able to retard and even bring to a complete standstill their growth. But as soon as the chloroforming was discontinued growth activity was renewed with increased vigor so that the stunted kittens soon caught up, in weight, with the control kittens which had not been chloroformed. The temporary retardation of growth was at least greatly compensated for by an acceleration of growth. Aaron found, in the case of rats, that if the stunting of growth is continued until they attain to an advanced age, the rats will not attain normal size, although they do increase in stature and weight following improvement of their food.
At this point let me remind you that defective development due to germinal weakness, brought about by malnutrition, is not eradicated in one generation. Two, three, or four generations are required. There is experimental evidence for believing that malnutrition during childhood and infancy leaves a permanent mark on the germ plasm, even where the nutrition of the child is later improved, and the child attains normal development.
It is also necessary to point out that, while the stunted animal attains normal size and weight, he does not alway, if indeed he ever does, attain a normal condition of his tissues. These are "not entirely free from the stigma of partial inanition. Their brain and spinal cord had a higher per cent of water and a lower per cent of alcohol-ether extractives (lipinis)". The tell-tale evidences of early malnutrition are probably carried with individuals throughout their lives, even though they appear to be normal in every respect.
The famous anthropologist, F. Boas, after making an extensive study of the growth of children in the various strata of society, says: "It seems very likely that the abnormally large amount of energy expended upon rapid growth during a short period is an unfavorable element in the individual development. A study of the phenomena of growth of various groups of the same population has shown that early development is a concomitant of economic well-being, and that a characteristic of the poor is the general retardation in early childhood, and the later rapid growth. it follows from this that there is a corresponding, although not equal, retardation in early mental development, and crowding of development processes later on, that probably place a considerable burden on the body and mind of the poor, which the well fed and cared for do not bear. The general laws of growth show also that a retardation of growth kept up for an unduly long period cannot be made up in the short period of rapid growth; so it would seem that, on the whole, excessive retardation is an unfavorable element in the growth and development of the individual. Whether there are similar disadvantages in a considerable amount of early acceleration is not clear."
Boas also says: "Among the poor, the period of diminishing growth which precedes adolesence is lengthened and the acceleration of adolesence sets in later. The whole period is less than the amount of growth attained during the shorter period of growth of the well-to-do." "The whole group of the poor are, at any given time, physiologically younger than the well-to-do."
Figures gathered in Germany from the public schools and gymnasiums show that children of the middle class have a distinct advantage over children of the poor. Figures from France, Italy, Spain and England show that this advantage is permanent.
From these things, we conclude that those conditions favoring a moderately early development, are advantageous to the well-being of both the minds and bodies of children and the resulting adults. This seems to be at variance with the notion of Sir John Fiske that there is a causal relationship between the prolonged infancy of the race and progress. It is not in full harmony with the theory that "the highest civilizations and a prolonged adolescence are found together; maturity among savages comes at an earlier age, and the process is of shorter duration."
While much can be done to overcome the effects of malnutrition, if we begin early enough, the real remedy is prevention. In many homes this calls not alone for education, but for the removal of poverty.
Profesor Morguls rightly says, "prolonged retardation of growth among children is not merely an effect of undernourishment but of poverty, and poverty is a social and not a nutritional condition. Poverty means poor nourishment but it spells in even bolder type: squalor, putrid air, want of hygiene. Like poverty, retarded growth is therefore a sociological problem. It usually results from the most insiduous form of deficient diet--malnutrition."
Here is a social problem that capitalism has proven wholly unable to cope with. Even while the republican wing of our capitalistic ballahoo artists is screaming the loudest about "prosperity," poverty and want are abroad in the land. When business is shut down from over-production there are thousands suffering from under-consumption. The periodic crises arising out of over-production, which is the same as under-consumption, only makes it harder for these thousands. Someday we will revolutionize our social, economic and industrial life and remedy all of this.