The Anonymous Widower

Is Undiagnosed Coeliac Disease A Possible Explanation For High Deaths From Covid-19 Amongst Those Of Caribbean And Jewish Heritage?

In The Times today, they publish a list today of deaths per 100,000 people, who died in hospital from Covoid-19.

  • Caribbean – 70
  • Any other black – 48
  • Total black – 43
  • Indian – 30
  • Any other Asian – 27
  • All Asian – 27
  • African – 27
  • Overall – 26
  • Pakistani – 26
  • White British – 23
  • Bangladeshi – 20

Some things jump out from the data,

  1. Those of Asian, African and Pakistani heritage have death rates similar to the general population.
  2. Bangladeshis do rather well, which is contrary to the expectations of some people.
  3. Those from the Caribbean, fare much worse than other black groups and Africans.

In the statistics, one group of immigrants were ignored. I live in Hackney and there have been a large number of Orthodox Jewish immigrants to the borough in recent years. From statements, by the Chief Rabbi, in The Times and on BBC Radio, he is worried and has closed all the synagogues under his control. Separating this group might give an insight into the data.

Recently my GP, asked if I had been vaccinated against measles, as Hackney is a measles hotspot. I haven’t been vaccinated, but I have had the disease. Apparently, the Orthodox Jewish groups have low vaccination rates.

I am also coeliac, which means I have a gluten allergy. Mine comes from an Ashkenazi Jewish line from the Baltic, but coeliac disease is also present in the Irish and some West Africans. In these three groups, historic famine seems to be the cause. Over the years, I have met several coeliacs from Jamaica and other islands in the West Indies, but never have I met any from Asia or East Africa.

Various research into coeliac disease has shown, that as many as one in a hundred of the UK population could be undiagnosed coeliacs. I wasn’t diagnosed until I was fifty, twenty years ago, so sufferers do slip through the net.

But research from Nottingham University has also shown, that coeliacs on a gluten-free diet are less likely to suffer from cancer, than the general population. Could this be because this group has a strong immune system, which gets an immune response  in early on the cancer?

Undiagnosed Coeliacs And Pollution

I can speak of this with authority, as that was me as a child.

I grew up in Southgate in North London and the air was polluted with the smoke from domestic coal fires. I suffered badly and was a very unhealthy child, who regularly had three months off school.

My health improved about ten and it could have been one of three factors.

  • I was exercising more, having learned to ride a bike.
  • My parents had bought a house in Felixstowe, where we tended to spend lots of boring weekends and holidays.
  • The Clean Air Act of 1956 had cleaned up London’s air.

My breathing certainly improved and I was a good enough athlete to make a school team at fifteen.

Recent research has shown, that there can be a link between air pollution and COVID-19. I wrote about this in Air Pollution May Be ‘Key Contributor’ To Covid-19 Deaths – Study.

These days, even in a polluted street, I don’t suffer much at all, but then I’m on a strict gluten-free diet!

Although, I do find that my breathing improves in the Spring, when we start to get longer days with lots of sunshine.

Undiagnosed Coeliacs And Strokes

I had my serious stroke because of atrial fibrillation. My father died after two serious strokes. He must have been coeliac, so were his strokes caused by the same reason as mine?

I have talked with cardiac specialists and they have felt, that my fifty years as an undiagnosed coeliac could have damaged my heart muscle to cause the atrial fibrillation.

Slavery

It would not be right to ignore slavery.

Millions of Africans were taken from West Africa to America and the Caribbean and they were probably fed nothing more than bread and water most of the time.

Did this increase the predominance of coeliac genes in those that survived the horrific treatment?

What Are The Bangladeshis Doing Right?

As a coeliac, if I’m stuck in a town, that is unknown to me and I need a meal, I’ll often go to the smartest Indian (Bangladeshi?) restaurant, as I’ve never found one with cloth tablecloths and napkins, that doesn’t do good gluten-free food. The only wheat they use is in the nans!

So has this diet given Bangladeshis a good immune system?

What Is The Figure For Jewish People?

In this article in The Times, Melanie Phillips says this.

As of last Friday, 335 British Jews had died of the virus, more than five times their proportion in the population.

Wikipedia gives the number of British Jews as 263,346 in the 2011 Census.

A rough estimate using these figures gives a figure of 127 per 100,000 of the population.

Conclusion

Could undiagnosed coeliac disease be the unexplained link as to why people with Caribbean heritage have higher deaths than those with African?

April 24, 2020 Posted by | Health | , , , , , | 2 Comments

Engie Partners Innovate UK For £4 Million Energy Transition Competition

The title of this post is the same as this article on Current News.

  • This is an interesting link-up between the UK Government Agency; Innovate UK and the French energy giant; Engie.
  • Wikipedia defines energy transition as a long-term structural change in energy systems.
  • It is the first time Innovate UK has secured overseas private funding.
  • It aims to fund the very best of \british innovation in clean growth innovation.
  • Grants of between £100,000 and £1.2 million will be awarded.
  • There appears to be no mention of Brexit!

It looks to me, like a very strong endorsement of British innovation and the British energy industry by the French.

I also think, that if there is one industry where the British and the French should be linked, it is energy.

The UK has the following energy sources and resources.

  • Offshore and onshore oil and gas.
  • Redundant gas fields for carbon capture and storage.
  • Offshore and onshore wind.
  • Large areas of sea for offshore wind.
  • We have 8,183 MW of installed offshore wind capacity, which is the largest in the world.
  • The possibilities of tidal and wave power from a long Western coast.
  • Vast experience in building off-shore structures in some of the worst weather on the planet.
  • Interconnectors to Norway and Iceland to import their surplus geothermal and hydroelectric energy.

Could we become a renewable-energy powerhouse?

The French have the following.

  • Nuclear power, some of which will need replacing.
  • Only 500 MW of offshore wind.
  • More solar power than we have.
  • Easy connection to North Africa for solar power.

But in some ways, most important is the several interconnectors between the UK and France, with more planned.

Conclusion

Between the UK and France, with help from Ireland, Spain and Portugal, can develop a massive Western European renewable energy powerhouse, backed  by the following, non-renewable or external sources.

  • French nuclear power.
  • North African solar.
  • Icelandic geothermal power
  • Icelandic hydro-electric power
  • Norwegian hydro-electric power

It should be noted that in a few years, the UK will have joined Iceland, Norway and North Africa outside of the European Union.

I believe that Sovereign Wealth Funds, Hedge Funds, Pension Funds, Insurance Companies and other individuals, groups and organisations will increasingly see renewable energy as good places for long-term investment of their funds.

The two big problems are as follows.

  • What happens when all these renewable energy sources are producing more energy than we can use?
  • What happens when there is an energy deficit?

Energy storage is the solution, but the amount needed is massive.

In Airport Plans World’s Biggest Car Parks For 50,000 Cars, I looked at the mathematics in using car parks for electric cars for energy storage.

These are a few figures.

  • Electric Mountain is the UK’s largest electricity storage scheme with a capacity of 9.1 GWh.
  • The largest battery in the world is the Bath County Pumped Storage Station with a capacity of 24 GWh, which works on similar principles to Electric Mountain.
  • Building another Electric Mountain would cost £1350 million, if we could find somewhere to put it.

But supposing half the 35.5 million cars and light goods vehicles in the UK were replaced by new electric vehicles containing a battery of around 20 kWh, that would be a total storage of 355 GWh or nearly forty Electric Mountains.

Conclusion

Harnessing all of these batteries will be an enormous challenge, but it will be ideas like this, that will enable the world to go carbon neutral by 2050.

But I don’t think we’ll ever see Trump or Xi Jinping in an electric limousine..

 

June 21, 2019 Posted by | World | , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Egypt To Power Europe By Underwater Cable

The title of this post is the same as that of a short news item on page 32 of today’s Times.

Egypt appears to be using gas from four new offshoregas fields to generate the power.

But surely, they could also use solar, as I’ve heard Egypt gets a lot of sun!

I do think though, that countries like Egypt, Libya, Tunisia and Morocco, which are all reasonably close to Europe could generate substantial amounts of solar power, which could then be exported to the North, through undersea cables, which are not very long using today’s technology.

I also think, that solar power will grow Southwards from the countries bordering the Mediterranean.

Will these basket case countries like Sudan, Mauritania, Somalia and Chad, acquire both an income and the electricity they need to improve the lot of their people?

Whether, their people will benefit, is another question, but Europe’s need for green energy could be the need, that these countries will fill, using unproductive desert.

I also think, there’s scope to combine solar farms with agriculture in the shade to create the food they need.

Read Solar Farms And Biodiversity on Solar Power Portal.

May 24, 2019 Posted by | World | , , , , | Leave a comment

What’s The Weather Like In Africa?

This is a difficult question to answer, as Africa only has a limited number of weather stations.

So along comes Kukua, which has designed a low-cost, mobile network-connected, solar-powered weather station.

There’s a report in the latest edition of BBC Click.

It shows how the devices are helping small farmers in Africa.

November 5, 2017 Posted by | World | , , | Leave a comment

The Joy Of Physics

On the One Show on BBC television, yesterday there was a report about a man called Ian Tansley, who has invented a vaccine fridge for use in places like Africa, where the electricity is not reliable.

This Wikipedia entry for Sure Chill Technology describes the technology and this report on the BBC, describes how the invention has been backed by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

Physics to many is a dull subject at school, but to me, it’s the key to so many interesting inventions and ideas that will shape our lives in a better way.

October 24, 2017 Posted by | Health, World | , , , | Leave a comment

Africa’s Great Green Wall

The Sunday Times has an article today about the Great Green Wall. Wikipedia describes the project like this.

The Great Green Wall is a planned project to plant a wall of trees across Africa at the southern edge of the Sahara desert as a means to prevent desertification. It was developed by the African Union to address the detrimental social, economic and environmental impacts of land degradation and desertification in the Sahel and the Sahara.

The aims are wider than this according to the Sunday Times, with hopes that trees can be planted that provide useful crops and income, so that the men aren’t drawn to terrorism and general mayhem.

The article also talks about how Kew Gardens is being drawn into the project, because it has the expertise to make sure the trees germinate and thrive.

By the end of this year they hope to have planted 162,000 trees in 2,500 acres. The forty species include gum arabic, tamarind and desert date.

This project is one of the ways to help stop poverty in the poorer areas of the world, whereas the article is the reason to buy the Sunday Times today.

Putin sends a missile battery, whereas Kew sends in and trains botanists and gardeners.

July 20, 2014 Posted by | World | , | 2 Comments

The Danger Of Religious Fraud

This story is running on BBC’s London News. This is the first part.

TV shows made in London that encourage viewers to believe they are cured of life-threatening illnesses by prayer have been condemned by charities.

Charities criticised an episode of the Miracle Hour show, on Faith World TV, during which a diabetic caller was told he was “set free” from the disease.

“It is particularly dangerous and puts his life at risk,” said African Health Policy Network head Francis Kaikumba.

It strikes me that when people like these make dangerous television programs like this, that the law should get involved.

At least they should be charged with fraud, as that is what it is!

February 21, 2013 Posted by | Health, News | , , , | 2 Comments

Hell’s Angels

This was the title on the second leader in The Times today and it talked about a charity called Riders for Health.  It has been chosen as one of the newspaper’s charities for Christmas.

I think what they do is brilliant and it’s so simple.  Providing transport in the rural areas of Africa must surely get better healthcare.

December 3, 2012 Posted by | Health, World | , | Leave a comment

Where Is The Africa Cup of Nations?

I’ve always enjoyed this football tournament, as I said here.

But this year it’s on Eurosport and the only way to see that is by using Sky. All you get is highlights on ITV4 and that’s not in my guide.

January 21, 2012 Posted by | Sport | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Nairobi’s Two-Wheeled Taxis

I like this story.

We must think creatively about how to deal with young offenders.

August 14, 2010 Posted by | World | , , | 2 Comments