It is difficult to write on the subject of rickets without including all deficiency diseases. And are there any so-called diseases that are not deficient in some way?
My philosophy makes a unit of the whole family of so-called diseases. As surely as the body is a union of interdependent organs, so surely is the family of so-called diseases a unit, and the attempt to isolate or segregate specific diseases out of symptomatology causes the confusion that confounds diagnosticians at every turn.
The deficiency diseases of childhood rest on one base--namely, perverted nutrition.
Many children are the progeny of enervated, toxemic, and putrescence-infected parents. Children born of such parents have little resistance and quickly give down under the overstimulation of too much coddling, noise, feeding, and neglectful or ignorant care of the body. Young babies should have quiet. When kept quiet, they will sleep most of the time for several weeks. The childish custom of fondling young children, breaking into their rest and feeding too often, soon builds enervation, Toxemia, indigestion, and the
inevitable intestinal infection. This state follows so soon afer birth that there is some excuse for thinking that the babies inherit disease. This is a mistaken idea. Children inherit predispositions and are born sensitized--or, as stated above, they lack resistance.
Only a few weeks or months after birth find these predisposed children unable to appropriate building salts--not because the food which they take lacks the needed mineral elements, but because nutrition is impaired and they cannot assimilate them.
Gould's medical Dictionary defines rickets in this way:
A constitutional disease of infancy, characterized by impaired nutrition and changes in the bones, the symptoms being a defused soreness of the body, slight fever, and profuse sweating about the head and neck, and changes in the osseous [bony] system, consisting in thickening of the epiphyseal [ep-e-fiz-e-al] cartilages and periosteum, and a softening of the bones . . . deformities are produced. . . . Dentition and closure of the fontanels fail to take place. Nervous symptoms are often present, as feverishness, laryngismus stridulus, and convulsions. Liver and spleen are usually enlarged. The etiology [causation] is obscure--it has been ascribed to deficiency in the earthly salts, to defect in the osteoblasts [bone germs], and to micro-organismal [germ] infection.
The cause, as in all other so-called diseases, is "obscure" to scientific. Hence, when everything fails to cure children, the profession falls back on boot-grease, fish oil, or the old stand-by prescription, cod-liver oil--a thoroughly disgusting remedy.
I have given the cause of the constitutional derangement, dating it back to licentious and sensual indulgence of the previous generation, and, after birth, to our stupid customary care of children; to which I now add the medical delusion of feeding to overcome underweight.
Tuberculosis is spawned in the same "constitutional" derangement, and the scientific treatment builds and perpetuates the already established enervation, Toxemia, and intestinal putrescence; or the "constitutional disease" is "characterized by that impaired nutrition," the same as all deficiency diseases. These diseases, so-called, present the same symptoms of nervousness, temperature, sweat, etc. The temperature of all these derangements is built in the same way; too much food in the intestines keeps up the heat; and those doctors are the stokers who insist on eating to keep up the weight.
Rickets should be classed with anemia and all so-called diseases showing perverted nutrition. A normal child is able to get its cell-salts and socalled vitamines out of the ordinary foods of childhood. Animal life is capable of combining elements into whatever is necessary to build a normal body. I believe that this statement is, or should be, an obvious, foregone conclusion. Assuming this to be true, all that any child needs in the line of care to develop normally is to have a reasonable, rational amount of food and a reasonable, rational amount of daylight--not necessarily the direct rays of the sun. If sun rays were necessary, all children born in countries where they are subjected to six months of darkness should develop the so-called rickets.
The profession appears to be weakening on its heretofore specific treatment for rickets--namely, cod-liver oil. It is now adding sunlight, lamplight, and vitamine to its previous specific, cod-liver oil. The vitamine delusion has been the headliner for a number of years. It followed close on the heels of the calory insanity. The vitamine insanity will have its day and join the calory delusion in the bone-yard of oblivion. Curing without removing cause is the profession's long suit; to beg the question is its joker.
What is the real cause of non-development in children--be it non-development of bone or any other tissue of the body? A lack of power to assimilate the mineral elements of food taken into the system. The common example of this deficiency disease is anemia--not the anemia caused by hemorrhage from trauma (wound), nor necessarily the anemia caused by ulceration or submucous fibroid tumors, et alli, but a gradual decline of the manufacture of red blood-corpuscles from imperfect nutrition and failure to assimilate iron. (Feeding iron is not what is needed--power to assimilate is the need.) This is brought about from physical and mental impairment: an unhappy state of body and mind; lack of care; lack of cleanliness; sleeping in beds that need the sunlight as much or more than the child, and that need soap and water as much; lack of clean food fed out of clean vessels; and a lack of cheerful environments. All these lacks impalr nutrition.
The chief cause of all deficiency diseases is overeating (eating beyond the digestive power) and failing to eat a properly balanced ration. Raw and cooked fresh fruit and vegetables should make up the principal bulk of the food eaten. During childhood, milk and bread round out all food needs. In deficiency diseases there is always overfeeding of starch (bread, cooked breakfast foods), and milk. An excess of starch and milk leads to constipation; then indigestion follows, with its acid fermentation and bowels distended from gas. The gas pressure interferes with heart action and the circulation of the blood, and the whole mechanism of nutrition is disturbed. Infection from intestinal putrescence (decomposition of milk) sets up glandular involvement. Milk, meat, and eggs must be carefully watched; for the animal protein is the source of putrescent poisoning.
Rickets is not different from any other derangement in children. Children should have a reasonably good birth by mother and father who have reasonable health, and, if they are not overfed, nor too frequently fed of the foods that are supplied to all animal life, they will thrive. But the basic cause of all the derangements of early childhood is overfeeding. Nature hangs out a sign that he who runs may read--namely: If there is too much milk used, it will show in the stools, starting as small white flakes; and, as the overfeeding continues, the stools eventually will show almost curded milk. Sometimes it is hard to tell it from curded milk.
Just what so-called disease will develop depends upon the child and its environment. Not all will develop the same symptom-complexes. Many of the children will die from bowel derangements. Many of them will die from the type of disease that is registered in the nomenclature as infectious and contagious diseases--the eruptive diseases. Deaths from the foregoing derangements are always aided and abetted by a treatment that is sometimes misnamed scientific. Doctors with the chronic doctoring habit aid these diseases in their development by beginning, at the first indication of indigestion, the changing of food, when it is not a change of food the child needs, but a decided cutting-down in the amounts of intake, even to the point of a few days' fast, so that the evil influence of an oversupply of food can be overcome; and then a return to the food that has been given, but n a very much reduced quantity.
There are many kinds of parasitic derangements of children. When we are enlightened enough to separate children and animals--dogs and cats--and keep them from intimate association with each other, the human animal will be better off. This statement will not be very kindly received by dog and cat fanciers, and I suppose it is wasting my voice to dictate it. Most doctors and laymen have not the slightest conception of how many children are laid low by their intimate mingling with animals. Not being wise to this truth, not much thought is given to the subject. I once insulted a very loving father by telling him that his little four-year-old child had developed its liver and intestinal disease from playing with the family dog. The dog was very fond of the child, and vice versa. If the dog was not licking the child, the child was kissing the dog. The child died of hydatid cyst, which means Tenia echinococcas--dog tapeworm. The parasitic infection was developed from the child's association with the dog. It is a very fearful disease when once established, and it is doubtful if any case ever gets well. Just how many people are deranged, more or less, by their association with dogs and cats it is very difficult to say. The ova of parasitic diseases are taken in with food and association with animals.
When digestion is normal--when the digestive secretions are one hundred per cent normal--parasites have no show in the human body.
There is this to be said about disease: It comes from ignorance and filth. The human animal bathes little enough, and dogs and cats not at all. If it is impossible for the human animal to keep from developing disease because he is not clean enough, what are the possibilities among the lower animals? It is true that animals have evolved a toleration for certain parasites, both internally and externally, but when dogs die they die from parasitic derangements.
Children kept in clean houses and fed plain, wholesome food, free from fear of all kinds, free from inoculations of vaccine and serums, and free from association with lower animals, should be ideally well. Children who are properly taken care of at birth will develop sufficient resistance to withstand a reasonable amount of association with animals; but children who are abused in their homes by neglect of bathing, and imprudent and improper eating, are made susceptible to periodic infection from animals. Children who are brought up in that manner are susceptible to so-called contagious diseases. An absolutely normal child will not take any contagious disease.
What I have said above is rank heresy to the ordinary individual; but I manage to be on that side of the argument nearly all the time and all my life; so a little more or a little less will not kindle the flame of the pyre very much higher.
When a child is troubled with worms, it is indicative of a weakened state of the digestive secretions. No child will be troubled with parasites unless its digestion has been badly impaired by being fed in an unreasonable and irrational manner. Wormy children are those that have been pampered and spoiled--coaxed to eat when they have no desire, and allowed to eat foods that derange their stomachs and bowels, such as bread and milk in the same meal, breakfast foods with sugar and milk, and eating cake, etc., between meals--in a word, irrational care along all lines.
The best treatment for children troubled with worms is to put them to bed, keep them quiet, and give them lemon juice and water every three hours for three days. Start the treatment with an enema to clear out the bowels. Begin the fourth day by feeding lightly of foods recommended for their age in this book.