Anti-Inflammatory Diet

All health care starts with diet. My recommendations for a healthy diet are here:
Anti-Inflammatory Diet and Lifestyle.
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Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Healthcare Practitioners: Modern Flint-Knappers?

Deadly Unintended Consequences

With the resurgence of the paleolithic diet, perhaps we should also consider paleolithic hygiene. The shaping of flint points was accomplished by skillful removal of ultrasharp (in excess of razor-sharp) flakes of glassy material. The artisan flint-knappers were community treasures, but they were banned from living near others, because they were also habitual child killers. Ingestion of flint flakes is lethal and the inherent flakiness of flint-knappers made them personae non gratae. Children living near flint-knappers died at an alarming rate and flint-knappers never sired offspring who didn’t whither and die.

Wise communities cherished flint-knappers, but they got the point and kept the knappers at a distance.

Constant Selection for New Pathogens

Where do bacterial pathogens come from and how are they spread? Some pathogenic bacteria are harbored by other animal species that humans encounter. We can pick up bacteria from pets, barnyard animals and game. We routinely place large numbers of humans in contact with every ecological niche on the planet and transport any bacteria that can grow humans rapidly to population centers. The human gut provides a mixing bowl where newly acquired bacteria are systematically extracted for their genes and recombined with resident bacterial genomes. Within days new bacteria are ready for testing in the new environment.

The most potent selection agents are antibiotics. After antibiotic treatment, only bacteria, both old residents, new arrivals, with resistance, will survive. New arrivals that incorporate the antibiotic resistance of residents will be immediately successful. New arrivals that enter with previously acquired resistance will be immediate successes and spread to fill niches vacated by antibiotic-sensitive residents.

Should Nurses and Doctors Be Quarantined?

Nurses and doctors who routinely touch patients and inhale the atomized bacterial mist around patients, receive a continuous inoculum of problematic bacteria. Healthcare practitioners are, however, immune to most of these potential pathogens by virtue of their highly educated immune systems. Unfortunately they do not get sick, but they are still potentially infectious. Their gut flora and the bacteria on their other surfaces are potential sources of the pathogens that they have acquired in their duties. Every contact with healthcare practitioners or by chronic exposure, to members of their immediate families, is potentially compromising to anyone with a compromised immune system.

A Modest Proposal: Routine Screening, Purging and Healthful Fecal Transplants

The public deserves to be healthier after treatment with a healthcare professional. It is therefore mandatory that the bacteria received from a nurse or doctor through professional (or informal) contact be safe and healthy. It should be an expectation that healthcare professionals have guts that are clean-running and sanitary. To that end, it seems reasonable to routinely screen their resident bacteria and if necessary replace it with a health-promoting alternative.

We expect professional athletes to be free of performance enhancing drugs. It makes sense that doctors and nurses be free of pathogens.


Sabio Lantz said...

I don't think I followed your suggestion about screening health care providers -- were you being playfully sarcastic? If not, I'd love to hear more of your practical ideas on this?

Dr. Art Ayers said...

I have to confess to playful sarcasm. Part of the joke is that my wife is a nurse, which makes me a healthcare worker enabler. So, I deserve to have my gut purged and replaced before setting foot in public places.

I am just posing an obvious problem. Our hospitals are not safe. You can watch Clostridium colonization take place in patients -- increasing day by day. It is very sad to see the impact on newborns.

I think that a serious effort must be made to continuously flush out trouble making bacteria from caretaker guts. Maybe they should take special healthcare yogurt several times a day. It could be laced with bacteriophages to attack Clostridium and other problem bacteria. Or perhaps prebiotic additives could be used to discourage the problem flora. Anything would be better than just ignoring the problem.

Thanks for visiting.

Hairy Monkey said...

I really would like to know where you found your data on ancient flint knappers. As a modern knapper and student of archeology i have not come across any data that suggests anything quite as outlandish as your proposal that knappers were outcasts. It is much more likely that everyone had at least a small hand in the production of stone tools.

Ben said...

As to flintknapping..

Are you making a joke that I have missed or can you quote a source for your statements?

Dr. Art Ayers said...

I should have disclosed that my source for flint knapping hygiene was "Clan of the Cave Bear."

I was just trying to make the point that just because we value the products of specialists in our community, it does not mean that these individuals or their occupations are inherently safe. Healthcare practitioners have a long history of carrying disease.

We should also be careful around those who produce our food, e.g. farmers and ranchers, since they use large amounts of harmful materials, e.g. antibiotics.

Mrs. Ed said...

This is pretty far-fetched, especially since the medical community has zero grasp of this. My son had gi issues from 1 week of age, but had absolutely no signs of autism until after he spent a month on antibiotics. When I try to discuss this correlation with doctors I get a "Carp in headlights look". Some won't even respond to me. No concept of gut flora. It's not as though the lights are on but no ones home, there's not even a light bulb in the socket.

Ange Ross said...

Hi Dr. Ayers,
A week before I got strep and a sinus infection I noticed my blood glucose levels were elevated significantly (I am not diabetic but I test regularly because of Dr. Eades). When I got the infections I was prescribed antibiotics. I did not want to take them but after 5 days of suffering through the sinus infection (strep went away on it's own) I took them.

My blood sugars are still slightly elevated (usually about 103 after eating meat and veggies...usually after same meal it is about 85).

I also feel really tired and sluggish.

How long do you think my glucose levels are going to stay elevated? Anything I can do to speed up the process of returning to normal? Anything in particular I can do to get my gut flora back to normal??

Thank you so much!

I did go see a doctor and raised these same questions and was told 103 is not elevated and that my gut flora would return to normal in a few days - just eat yogurt (which I avoid because it spikes my glucose)

Anonymous said...

Hello Dr Ayers,
I have a bizarre story and I'd love to be able to pick your brain for a few minutes. I recently came across this site looking for information/treatments for a rare rheumatologic disorder. I've recently been diagnosed with - SAPHO Syndrome - autoimmune w/bone and skin involvement. I've had palmar/plantar pustulosis x 9 months and sacroiliitis x 7 months. Initially it was diagnosed separately as dishydrotic eczema and SI Joint dysfunction. CT of pelvis this summer shows a huge gap in the SI joint w/a large amount of bone loss from the ilium side and the total body bone scan lit up the right clavicle, right distal femur, and thoracic spine in addition to the SI Joint. I'm awaiting the results of the bone bx.
I was a nurse in a university hospital setting for 26+ years - 12 years in limb salvage and then 14 years in critical care. I can remember patients telling me that they felt they were seeing buzzards circling the bed - referring to the entourage of med students, intern, residents, chief resident, and attending MD visiting them on the daily rounds. I originally thought this hilarious, but now after being a patient for several months, I can personally relate to their "point of view".
Coming upon your site everything sort of clicked into place, if you consider my medical history. As a child I was plagued by 2-4 bouts of "tonsillitis" yearly. This was treated w/antibiotics. Age 25 developed IBS, age 29-severe chronic insomnia, age 36-muscle aches w/fibromyalgia diagnosis. Chronic constipation from age 30 until age 48. At that time I had found some really good probiotics and an elimination diet indicated that I had real trouble digesting anything with soy. I quit eating most processed foods at that time & my digestion and BM's improved about 75%. I am now 51.
Fast forward to 9 months ago - I had received a botox injection into my neck and upper back for severe spasming from fibro myofascial pain. One to two weeks later the rash started and 2 months after that the SI Joint pain. You can imagine my shock after I saw the CT & bone scan.
The treatments for this syndrome includes the usual immune suppressing rheumatologic drugs, which I don't want to take, but may not have a choice, if I want to save my pelvis from further deterioration. I will soon have to decide on a regimen of methotrexate & sulphasalazine, and if ineffective, then the biologics like Enbrel or Remicade. In the mean time, I've decided on a home regimen of following your diet as closely as possible w/the addition whey protein drinks, vegetable/fruit smoothies, (not too much fruit) lactoferrin, Vit K, and possibly a Strontium supplement in addition to my usual supplements. I'm refusing the Fosamax that was ordered. I already supplement w/vitamin D 5,600IU, vitamin C 2gms, Omega 3 2gms, MVI, Coenzyme Q-10, & Cal/Mag. I've also considered my prior exposure to mutiple pathogens as part of the etiopathogenetic mechanism for both my fibro and this current sydrome-but no MD seems to "what to go there." What about an underlying viral or mycoplasma infection or what about that botox? The only abnormal lab so far is a CRP of 10. Any thoughts, comments, or suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks again, Ms Mimi.