An incurable disease of the nervous system, multiple sclerosis, or MS, results from inflammation and scarring of the sheaths surrounding the nerve fibres of the central nervous system. The symptoms of the disease vary according to which nerves are affected. Characteristic symptoms include weakness or pins and needles in a limb. Pain in moving the eyes and deterioration in sight result when the optic nerve is affected. Vertigo and ataxia (poor balance) are also symptoms.

The first attack usually takes place between the ages of 20 and 40. A course of relapses, or attacks, and remissions over many years is the pattern of the disease. The degree of improvement after each attack diminishes over time. A few sufferers do not have any remission.

Long term results of the disease can be loss of the use of the lower limbs, slurred speech, loss of control over bladder and bowels and muscular tremors. Depression is a common side effect. However about 50 per cent of sufferers are only mildly affected and stay in almost complete remission.

The cause is unknown and is the subject of much research. Orthodox medicine has no cure, although there are treatments which can help maintain bodily function. It has been shown that levels of certain fatty acids are lower in the bodies of MS sufferers but it is not known whether addition of these acids to the diet (found in sunflower, safflower and evening primrose oils) are helpful.

For advice and support the Multiple Sclerosis Society can be contacted. There are branches throughout Australia and New Zealand.

Yoga can stimulate the nervous system and relax constricted muscles, stimulating the use of affected limbs. Massage also helps to maintain muscle tone. It is advisable to cut alcohol and stimulants such as tea and coffee from the diet and to stop smoking, avoiding passive smoking also. Since depression often affects sufferers, coming to terms with the limitations which may be imposed by the disease is important.



One of the commonest symptoms of anxiety is the abnormal awareness of the action of our heart. Palpitation is a normal accompaniment of a response to danger. In this case the increased action of our heart serves to prepare us to meet the threat. However, as soon as the danger passes the action of our heart returns to normal and we cease to be aware of it. But when we suffer from anxiety, the unpleasant awareness of the action of our heart is often constantly with us.

Besides the persistence of the palpitation there is another factor. In our normal response to real danger our heart does in fact beat more strongly. But in the palpitation of anxiety there may be little actual overactivity of the heart, and the unpleasant awareness is due to our hypersensitivity to the normal beating of our heart rather than to overactivity of the organ.

The feeling of palpitation focuses our attention on our heart. We are all familiar with the dangers of heart attacks from coronary thrombosis. We soon come to feel that something is wrong with our heart. To reassure us our doctor takes an electrocardiogram and tells us that it shows our heart to be quite normal and that the palpitation is only due to our nervous condition. But we are not reassured. A lurking feeling remains that there is something wrong. In fact, it is hard to be reassured so long as our anxiety is still with. us.

A few years ago I saw an industrial tycoon, a man of strikingly pleasant personality and such exceptional ability that in a matter of a decade he had amassed a great fortune. But over the previous two and a half years he had suffered from pain over his heart and quite violent palpitation; and as a result was unable to enjoy the material success he had achieved.

In the manner of the real tycoon he was determined at all costs to get himself fixed up. He was not sure whether it was ten or twelve cardiologists that he had consulted in the various capital cities of Australia. He had gone to America to the most famous cardiological clinic in that country. He had been treated by a psychiatrist in America and by three psychiatrists in Australia.

There was obviously no point in having a head-on collision with such a man, so I merely said, “Anyway, you would be more comfortable if you were more relaxed.” And we went on from there.

One day about eighteenth months later I was driving home, when I caught sight of him in his car. In typical style he shouted, “Never better in my life.”

I must also tell you something of the other side. Last week I saw a healthy, athletic student who was becoming crippled by pain over his heart. Two leading cardiologists had assured him that his heart was perfectly normal. He was really brought to me against his wishes, by his father. He is convinced there is something wrong with his heart. He will not listen to me. He refuses to come back. Yet I am sure that if he would only do what I suggest he would soon be free of the pain.

Rejection by the patient like this does not happen often, but it is the most common cause of failure.



By now most of your body should be far more relaxed. But if you’ve been concentrating hard, your face is probably very tense and, apart from being a waste of energy, that’s also the quickest way to get wrinkles. So relax it quickly. I should warn you that relaxing all the muscles in your face is going to make you look really gormless. So here goes! Imagine that you’ve got a slice of lemon in your mouth and it’s extremely sour. Squeeze the whole of your face against it, mouth, nose, eyes and cheeks. Blow out one small candle and let your face sag, so that your mouth falls open, the flesh sags off your cheekbones, and your eyelids feel heavy and close of their own accord.

Check for the last time that you are relaxed everywhere. Then lie peacefully where you are for a little while. Most people feel rather sleepy when they’re as relaxed as you are now. Some actually fall asleep. Relaxation is a good cure for insomnia.

Enjoy your rest. But be warned. Take your time about getting up again after relaxation like this. On no account jump up suddenly or you will feel giddy. Your body is now functioning at a much lower level; your breathing is more shallow; your heartbeat is slower. You’ve calmed everything down and made the whole of your body work at a slower speed. So you need to take time to get back to normal. Don’t rush anything.

When you want to get up, start by clenching and unclenching your fists several times so that your blood will circulate a little more quickly. Now sit up slowly and swing your legs over the edge of the bed, or sit with your knees raised if you are on the floor. Get used to the new position and then finally you will be ready to stand up and walk around again.

Back to normal. How was that?

Practise regularly until you can relax at will. Certainly try to find twenty minutes to half an hour each day if you can. Early in the morning or late at night—choose the time that suits you best. Gradually you will begin to feel better all over. Regular relaxation is the key to coping with both the cramps and the aching miseries. As you grow more proficient, you will learn which part of your body is most tense and so requires the most attention to relax. It’s different with everybody.

Outside help-Some people find it hard to learn to relax with or without a friend to help and wish there was someone around to teach them. The National Childbirth Trust has been running relaxation classes for expectant mothers for over twenty-one years now and some of their groups can provide teachers for women who suffer from period pain. If you live in the Leeds area you’re in luck, for the Leeds branch is particularly well organized in this respect. In any case, look up the Trust in your local telephone directory; there may be a branch near you. Or contact their headquarters, at 9 Queensborough Terrace, London W2 3TB (Telephone: 01-229 9319).



In order to further study the question of spray residues and their effect on health, I asked three of my patients to take part in an experiment. Each of them was known to be susceptible to a wide range of chemicals. I invited them to my office for a peach-eating session, using fruit from the local market. After eating these commercial peaches, one patient developed a rash, with itching, burning and stinging, and the formation of red wheals (urticaria). The second had a frightening attack of asthma. The third developed a headache. To make the test complete, similar-looking peaches were obtained from an abandoned orchard where the fruit grew wild, unblessed by the exterminator’s spraygun.

After an interval, the three were given some of these peaches, without their being identified as unsprayed fruit. To these items they had no reaction at all: they tolerated them perfectly well. In the following season, I tested 15 more patients in a more elaborate experiment which was mentioned briefly in the previous chapter. I obtained four lots of peaches, all of the same type, but each treated quite differently. The first were picked from trees in an abandoned orchard, having received no sprays, fungicidal treatment, or fertilization for the previous three years. The second lot were the same as the first, except that they had been manually dusted with sulfur as an antifungus measure. The third were from one of the University of Illinois plots which had received the recommended spray schedules using DDT and dieldrin. The fourth were peaches from the same source sprayed with the pesticides parathione and dieldrin.

For several days before the test, all of the patients avoided both peaches and chemicals to which they knew they were susceptible. The patients were assembled in my office and were given the various peaches, without any knowledge of which batch they were receiving. Three of the fifteen became ill when they ate plain, uncontaminated peaches. They were evidently allergic to peaches per se. A larger number of the others reacted to both the sulfured and the sprayed peaches. Some of them became so ill, in fact, that they refused to go on with the testing. This was good common sense on their part, but it detracted from the completeness of the experiment. Nevertheless, several of those who had no reaction to the organic peaches were made ill by the sprayed peaches, regardless of the type of spray used. Clearly there were people who were made sick by eating infinitesimally small amounts of insect spray, similar to the amounts millions of people eat every day.

One good effect of this discovery was that patients who had long stopped eating fruit, from the belief that they were made sick by it, were able to start again, provided they ate only organically grown, uncontaminated fruits.

“Multiple fruit sensitivity” turned out to be not such a very rare condition. Peaches, apples, and cherries were the most commonly contaminated, as well as the most heavily contaminated, fruits. Although the total number of spraying applications varied with rainfall and other conditions, peaches, apples, and cherries were often sprayed between ten and fifteen times each season. Recommended spraying started with blossoming and ended only a few weeks prior to harvesting. Needless to say, these fruit were fairly well saturated with spray.

They are hardly unique in this respect, however. It turned out that most of the commercially produced fruits in the United States are copiously sprayed. Some of them are sprayed with many different agents, and it became almost an impossible task to decide which spray caused which symptom in a patient. This problem has increased year by year.

Once a fruit has been sprayed with a combination of pesticide and kerosene, or some other chemical solvent, there is no known way of removing the spray residue. Air passes quite readily through the skin of a piece of fruit and with it comes the spray ingredients, to be incorporated into the pulp itself. Washing, rubbing, peeling, cooking, and any other attempt to clean the spray off do not eliminate spray residues. The experimental proof of this assertion is the chemically sensitive patient, who gets sick from commercial, sprayed fruit no matter how he rubs or washes it.

Some individuals, however, who are not violently susceptible to chemicals, may be able to eat stewed fruit, but not raw, fresh specimens of the same lot. The reason appears to be that when the fruit is stewed, some of the pesticides are boiled off. Some of my patients have, in fact, gotten sick simply by standing over a pot of stewing commercial fruit, inhaling the vapors which contain part of the pesticides escaping into the atmosphere. Stewing organically grown fruit does not have that effect on these patients, however.

It must be emphasized that a highly susceptible person, eating an ordinary diet, rarely suspects the fact that a daily piece of fruit causes any problem at all. The reason for this is that the small, daily dose of pesticide may merely serve to reinforce and perpetuate his symptoms of illness. All he knows is that he felt badly yesterday and feels just as badly today. He naturally does not associate his headache or his asthma or his fatigue with something so innocent, and apparently unconnected, as the supposedly beneficial fruits and vegetables. It is only when he overindulges and takes in an extraordinary amount of these products (and pesticide) that he breaks out of the level of chronic disease and precipitates an obvious reaction.



Convulsions are uncontrolled contractions or spasms of the muscles. If a child who has a fever goes into convulsions, there are two possible causes. The convulsions may be caused by the fever itself or by certain diseases involving the brain that also cause fever.

Febrile convulsions are convulsions that are caused by the fever itself. Five to 10 percent of all children have febrile convulsions. How quickly the temperature rises is more important than how high the temperature is. A sudden rise of only one or two degrees Centigrade may cause convulsions, but a gradual rise of two or three degrees may not.

Febrile convulsions may be thought of as shaking chills that become extreme. They are most common between the ages of three months and three years. Febrile convulsions occur less and less often from age three to age eight. After the age of eight, febrile convulsions are rare. One episode of febrile convulsions usually means the child is more likely to have them in the future. However, the tendency to have febrile convulsions does not mean the child will later have epilepsy.

Diseases involving the brain that cause convulsions include meningitis, encephalitis, and abscess of the brain. When convulsions occur with these diseases, the child will usually have a fever. But the disease (not the fever) causes the convulsions.

Signs and symptoms

During convulsions with fever, a child will fall unconscious, become rigid, and may stop breathing briefly. The child may turn blue, lose control of the bladder and bowels, and vomit. The limbs, torso, jaws, and/or eyelids will jerk uncontrollably. The child will quickly begin normal breathing again. The seizure activity may last two minutes to 30 minutes or longer. After regaining consciousness, the child will not remember that the convulsions occurred. Several traits of febrile convulsions can help you distinguish them from convulsions caused by diseases like encephalitis, meningitis, or brain abscess. A major sign of febrile convulsions is that the child recovers quickly (within minutes). Immediately after a febrile convulsion, the child is alert, can respond, and is not prostrated (not collapsed or exhausted). After a febrile convulsion, the child can bend the neck forward. There is often a family history of febrile convulsions.

After convulsions caused by diseases involving the brain, the child often cannot bend the neck forward and may be in a stage of collapse or exhaustion.

Home care

Do not panic! Protect the child from injury while the convulsion is occurring. Call your doctor immediately.


• Do not give aspirin or any other medication by mouth to an unconscious child. An unconscious person cannot swallow and may choke on the medicine.

• Do not give artificial respiration. Breathing muscles are temporarily in spasm, and forceful artificial respiration may be harmful.

• Do not place a convulsing child in a tub of water to reduce the child’s temperature. Accidents such as scalding and injuries against the sides of the tub have occurred; this practice is not recommended.

• If the child cannot bend the neck forward after the convulsions have ended, or if the child is collapsed or exhausted, report this to your doctor. These may be signs of serious illness.

Medical treatment

Your doctor may give an injection of medication that controls convulsions—usually Phenobarbital or Diazepam. The doctor will perform a complete physical examination, taking blood tests and a spinal tap. If the febrile convulsion is unusual, or if convulsions occur often, your doctor may order additional tests such as an electroencephalogram and CAT (computerized axial tomography) scan. Daily medications to control convulsions are prescribed for several years under some circumstances.



Lifting weights makes you stronger because your muscles will adapt to the extra stress you’re putting on them. So you look better and you feel better. You’re also healthier, in ways that a lot of people don’t normally associate with muscle building.

For example, strength training builds lean muscle mass, which helps to burn more calories. In doing so, it helps to burn fat, which, of course, helps to maintain an appropriate body weight. And trained muscles metabolize glucose much better and lower your insulin resistance. That helps prevent diabetes.

Where strength training really does its job is making you feel more alive. Think about how much dedicated gym rats like to talk about how great they feel. (Some of them, you may have noticed, talk about it a little too much.) Then think about how much other men talk about how lousy they feel as the years go by. Strength training can turn that gym-rat attitude into an age-proof lust for life.

“If you don’t want to lose a lot of your muscle power as you get past 40 or 50, strength training can have a big effect,” Taranta says. “Without it, you won’t be able to do things as well, so your activity level will decrease. This can lead to heart problems, cholesterol problems, hypertension -all of that.” Here’s how to get the best benefits from strength training.

Shock your system. Lifting weights once in a while when you’re in the mood won’t get the job done. “You have to shock your muscular system on a regular basis or else muscles will lose their strength,” Dr. Baechle says. How often is that? Well, you need to give your muscles a day off after working them with weights, but you shouldn’t let them rest more than three days before “shocking” them again, according to Dr. Baechle. “Two days a week will work,” he says. “Monday and Thursday or Tuesday and Friday are fairly common systems, but three times a week (for example, Monday, Wednesday, and Friday) is a little better.”

Work the major muscles. Some movements with weights work the entire group; others pick out individual muscles, such as your biceps. “Try to do one exercise for each major muscle group to get a balanced effect,” Dr. Baechle advises.

Hit your number. For general health purposes, repeating each exercise 12 to 15 times without stopping is the ideal, according to Dr. Baechle. “That seems to be a number where you can really concentrate on the technique involved, on the breathing and rhythm, and on range of motion, without being so concerned about how much weight you’re lifting,” he says.

Learn to fail. The amount of weight you lift varies with the exercise, of course, but the rule of thumb is that the last time through the movement-in this case, say, the 15th repetition-should be the last you could possibly do. That, in weight room talk, is called working to failure, a case where failure is a good thing. Start light. If making it to 15 repetitions is too easy, add weight. If you can’t make it to 12, lighten up, says Dr. Baechle.

Do it once and for all. When you finish your 15 repetitions of any exercise, you’ve done one set of that exercise. If you rest and do it 15 more times, you’ve done two sets. How many sets should you do? That question starts arguments across the great schism in the church of iron about the relative benefits of multiple sets over a single set. But there’s fairly solid agreement that for the beginner interested in general health there’s no need for time-consuming extra sets. “One set’s enough when you’re starting out,” Dr. Baechle says. “But for continued improvement, try to increase the number of sets and weight loads as you get stronger.”

Get organized. There’s a reason that you see those guys walking around the gym making notes between exercises. They’re keeping track of what they did and how much they did of it. Catch-as-catch-can workouts are better than nothing, but you need a set routine in order to chart and make progress. “Your body really needs to know what you’re expecting of it,” Dr. Baechle says. “When you keep changing the exercises, it compromises the muscles’ ability to adapt and become stronger. Staying with the same routine for about a month provides an ideal opportunity for muscles to adapt to training.”

Besides, there’s something encouraging about being able to quantify your progress. “Part of the fun of training is recording the results of your workout,” Dr. Baechle says. “It’s reinforcing to be able to look back and see how much weight you are using-that is, how much stronger you are.”




Radiotherapy is used as an adjuvant to surgery following radical or local mastectomy if malignant cells have spread to the auxiliary lymph nodes. The radiation treatment is aimed at the breast and the remaining lymph nodes under the arm, above the collar bone, and along the breastbone.

Radiotherapy can also help to alleviate the pain of extensive breast cancer which cannot be cured, particularly where there is spread of cancer to the bones. It may be the treatment of choice for women who are unfit for surgery and for those in whom secondary tumours have developed in the bones and skin. The X-ray beam can be directed onto the tumour itself, making it shrink and helping to relieve any pain it was causing. If radiotherapy causes the breast tumour to shrink enough, a mastectomy may be feasible later.

Radiotherapy is given externally, or, more rarely, via an internal implant of radioactive material.


This treatment is used increasingly as an adjuvant to surgery, for all forms of breast cancer as well as for advanced cancer, for widespread metastases, and for extensive local invasion such as ulceration or fixation of the tumour to the overlying skin.

Chemotherapy agents, such as 5-fluorouracil, cyclophosphamide and methotrexate, are anti-cancer drugs which act directly on cancer cell growth and division. However, they have potentially harmful side-effects and their use needs to be carefully monitored.

For extensive breast cancer, chemotherapy and/or radiotherapy may be given first. If the tumour shrinks sufficiently, the smaller lump can then be removed surgically.

Hormone therapy

The most commonly used drug for hormone therapy is an anti-oestrogen agent called tamoxifen. It has proved over the last 20 years or so to be an effective treatment, particularly for tumours which contain oestrogen receptors, as it acts by suppressing the effects of oestrogen on breast cancer cells.

Other drugs have been used for hormone therapy, such as stilboestrol for women who are well past their menopause, but these can cause side-effects such as vaginal bleeding and masculinisation.



Endometriosis is a condition in which endometrium (the lining of the uterus) is found in locations outside the uterus. It can occur in menstruating women at anytime from puberty to menopause. This misplaced endometrium is most commonly found on the ovaries, the ligaments supporting the uterus and the Pouch of Douglas. It can cause a wide range of symptoms including period pain, pelvic pain, painful intercourse, bowel problems and infertility.

The first mention of the characteristic symptoms of endometriosis has been found in ancient Egyptian scrolls which date back to the year 1600 B.C. The first reference to endometriosis in medical literature appeared in 1860. But it was not until 1921 that an American doctor, John Sampson, first gave an accurate description of the disease and named it endometriosis.

Endometriosis is the second most common gynaecological condition affecting women in their menstruating years and it is responsible for up to one-quarter of all the abdominal surgery performed by gynaecologists. It is also one of the leading causes of infertility in women over the age of 2 5 and it is thought to affect approximately 30% to 40% of infertile women. It is impossible to determine how common endometriosis is because some women do not have any symptoms and many women with the condition are undiagnosed. Gynaecologists believe that endometriosis probably affects approximately 10% to 15% of women at some stage during their menstruating years.



These are more difficult to cost out. Immunization against the infectious diseases such as polio, rubella, measles, diphtheria, mumps, whooping cough and smallpox has been of interest to governments all over the western world because these diseases are highly contagious, cause a provable disruption to society and are relatively easily prevented. Although any one of these diseases causes very little risk of serious life-long impairment or fatality to any single individual, an epidemic affecting perhaps hundreds of thousands of people really does cost society a lot of money. The costs for society of preventing these illnesses are small yet the benefits are great. However, the benefits to society in the case of certain immunisable diseases, unless a very large proportion of the population is immunized, can be small. This applies especially to diseases in which there is considerable ‘herd immunity’. After this crucial point is reached there is really not much point spending yet more money immunizing the last 10 per cent of the population.

A good example of how to work out what is worth doing in the public health arena was the different ways in which German measles vaccine was used in the US and the UK, when it was first licensed in 1969. In the US children between 1 and 12 were inoculated whilst in the UK only girls between 11 and 14 were offered the vaccine. The benefits of the programme were defined to include the saving of the costs that would have been incurred in the treatment of the disease and its complications had it not been prevented. Work loss was also taken into account. The direct costs were the expenditure on the vaccine, its administration and the treatment of vaccine complications. By 1972 it was obvious that giving the vaccine had economic advantages at any age but that the most cost-effective way of using it was to offer it at the age of 12 to girls only, rather than to all children at age 6 or younger, as had been done in the US.

However rich a society its resources are not endless, and starting a preventive programme means shifting priority from other preventive programmes, acute care or even from non-health activities. This puts a considerable burden on those who are planning to introduce preventive programmes because they have to be able to justify what they do in terms of value for money. Unfortunately, the crisis-intervention sort of medicine we are all used to has rarely been subjected to such rigorous scrutiny-often with dire results.

Another example of the value of public health measures in the preventive field is the fluoridation of water to prevent tooth decay. Governments, whether local or national, tend to support water fluoridation because it is by far the cheapest way of ensuring that vulnerable people get enough fluoride. Cost-benefit analyses have shown that the fluoridation of water saves up to twenty to forty times its cost by dramatically reducing the incidence of tooth decay.

Environmental control of air and water pollution is the nearest we come in this century to the environmental problems faced in the last. A great deal of evidence has been accumulated to show that a reduction in air pollution would lead to a significant reduction in illness and death rates in urban areas. Using current costs for reducing air pollution there is no doubt that the benefits would outweigh them.



Ask Lisa Gardiner about her favorite weight-loss weapon, and she’s likely to show you her toothbrush. After all, it helped her take off 25 pounds in just 6 months.

After two pregnancies, Lisa, of Ballston Spa, New York, was eager to slim down. But caring for her newborn twin daughters and 3-year-old son didn’t leave her much time to plan nutritious meals or stick with an exercise routine.

Lisa believed that if she could just control her after-dinner noshing, she’d take a significant bite out of her fat and calorie intake. So she fell back on a little trick that she had used to lose 20 pounds in college.

Instead of heading to the kitchen right after dinner, Lisa would head to the bathroom and brush her teeth. “If I felt the urge to snack, I just reminded myself that I had already brushed my teeth.”

This simple strategy helped Lisa, age 35, slim down for the second—and, she’s determined—last time in her life.


Try the toothbrush trick. After dinner, brush your teeth. This simple task sends a message to your brain that you’re done eating for the day. What’s more, the toothpaste alters the flavor of food. If you were to eat something after brushing, it wouldn’t taste very good. What’s more, your teeth and your smile will thank you!