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:
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
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
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
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
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