This section is from the book "Diet And Food Considered In Relation To Strength And Power Of Endurance, Training And Athletics", by Alexander Haig. Also available from Amazon: Diet and Food, Considered in Relation to Strength and Power of Endurance, Training and Athletics.
The year that has elapsed since the last edition has been one of great activity in uric acid research; but this has entailed no alteration in the prevention of suffering, which remains as before, the exclusion of the poison.
It has, however, borne most emphatic testimony to the far-reaching importance of the subject, and I feel that I should fail in my duty if I did not speak out on some points.
I would say, then, that in hospital work, where there is no selection of cases, something like seventy-five per cent. of the sorrow and suffering which I, as a physician, am asked to relieve, could have been prevented by exclusion of the poisons.
Yet only too often when it comes before us it is too late, and fatal damage of structure cannot be repaired.
It is to me, for instance, always a painful experience to see children with severe morbus cordis, forging through months of suffering to certain death; and the knowledge that it might have been prevented, only increases my regret that it was not. It is a matter of little consequence whether the uric acid is driven into the fibrous tissues by cold, or the action of a microbe; but it is a matter of vast importance that, if the uric acid is absent, neither the cold nor the microbe can destroy life, as they are now constantly doing.
With those who have grown up on our present diet customs it is again too late, the time for prevention has gone, and only a patch-work repair can be attempted.
But for the children, the coming race of the new century, seventy-five per cent. of the present suffering can be avoided, if the points can be grasped.
The fact that uric acid controls the circulation would almost alone suffice to carry this statement; and I appeal to those of the profession who have followed my reasoning and applied it in their work, to say whether I am overstating the case.
The new century can easily be better and happier than the past one; but if it is to be so to any great extent, I am sure that humanly speaking this can only come about through a widespread and intelligent appreciation of the fact, that man is indeed what he eats.
7, Brook Street, London, W. January, 1901.