The Anonymous Widower

Suzie’s Cup Of Joy

It must be very difficult for small cafes in this pandemic, but Suzie’s Cup of Joy in Cleethorpes seemed to be managing. They were certainly doing all the right things.

I had a gluten-free breakfast there on Wednesday.

I would have sat outside, but it was rather breezy.

September 20, 2020 Posted by | Food | , | 2 Comments

Lunch At Cafe Piazza In The Hays Galleria

I had a gluten-free lunch in Caffe Piazza in the Hays Galleria near to London Bridge station.

I only had a baked potato and chilli con carne with a glass of wine, but that was all I needed.

I’ll definitely go back again.

August 31, 2020 Posted by | Food | , | Leave a comment

Care Homes In England Had Greatest Increase In Excess Deaths At Height Of The COVID-19 Pandemic

The title of this post, is the same as that of this article on the University of Stirling web site.

This is the introductory paragraph.

Care homes in England experienced the highest increase in excess deaths at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic compared to those in the rest of the UK, according to new research.

The actual figures are as follows.

  • England – 79 %
  • Northern Ireland – 46 %
  • Scotland – 62 %
  • Wales – 66 %

So why are the three Celtic nations, doing better than England?

In A Thought On Deaths Of The Elderly From Covid-19, I said this.

How many undiagnosed coeliacs are there in those over seventy, who because they are coeliacs, have a compromised immune system?

I would be undiagnosed but for that elderly locum!

How many other coeliacs are there in the UK population?

    • Age UK has a figure of twelve million who are over 65 in the UK.
    • If 1-in-100, as stated by Coeliac UK, in the UK are coeliac, that is 120,000 undiagnosed coeliacs over 65.

Will these 120,000 people have a compromised immune system, that makes them  more susceptible to Covid-19?

It has been said, that a good immune system helps you fight Covid-19!

If those 120,000 elderly undiagnosed coeliacs have a compromised immune system, how many are in poor health with cancer, arthritis and general poor health and have decided that a care home is best.

Coeliac Disease And The Celts

The Irish have a history of coeliac disease, which I have heard suggested goes back to the potato famine.

Certainly, the whole island of Ireland is a coeliac friendly place compared to some parts of England. Although, Liverpool with its strong Irish heritage is an exception.

Conclusion

I do wonder, if understanding of coeliac disease in the three Celtic nations is better than it is in England and a higher proportion of elderly coeliacs have been diagnosed.

Any younger coeliac born after about 1980, has probably been picked up, for the simple reason, that most GPs these days take regular blood tests and do seem to be more knowledgeable about the disease than GPs were before about 1980.

According to my GP, to test a child, is normally just a simple blood test and an analysis at a lab. Only a few cases, will need an endoscopy.

So do we have this population of undiagnosed coeliacs with compromised immune systems in English care homes?

Perhaps, everybody in a care home, should be tested for coeliac disease?

If nothing else, it may save money on cancer care, as diagnosed coeliacs on a gluten-free diet are 25 % less likely to suffer from cancer.

 

August 30, 2020 Posted by | Health | , , , | Leave a comment

Pancreatic Cancer Deaths Around The World

This data is from a web site called World Life Expectancy.

My son died at just 37 and if I can save one person’s family, from the same anguish, that I have suffered, it would have been worth it.

The data is World Health Organisation data from 2018, and the figures shown are as follows.

  1. Age adjusted death rate per 100,000 of the population
  2. World ranking
  3. Rating in the country of pancreatic cancer amongst all deaths.

The country name links to the data.

These are a few of my thoughts.

The Top Ten Countries

These are the top ten countries.

  1. Hungary
  2. Uruguay
  3. Armemia
  4. Malta
  5. Czech Republic
  6. Estonia
  7. Iceland
  8. Israel
  9. Slovakia
  10. Austria

The full list is on the World Life Expectancy web site.

From the top ten, it looks to me, that pancreatic cancer seems to be common in the old Austro-Hungarian Empire.

I also think there could be a Jewish connection.

In the history of Jews in the Austro-Hungarian Empire on Wikipedia, this is an extract, that talks about Jews around 1900.

In that period, the majority of Jews in Austria-Hungary lived in small towns (shtetls) in Galicia and rural areas in Hungary and Bohemia; however, they had large communities and even local majorities in the downtown districts of Vienna, Budapest and Prague. Of the pre-World War I military forces of the major European powers, the Austro-Hungarian army was almost alone in its regular promotion of Jews to positions of command. While the Jewish population of the lands of the Dual Monarchy was about five percent, Jews made up nearly eighteen percent of the reserve officer corps. Thanks to the modernity of the constitution and to the benevolence of emperor Franz Joseph, the Austrian Jews came to regard the era of Austria-Hungary as a golden era of their history.

That doesn’t sound like they were suffering large amounts of anti-semitism, as they had for a long time in the Baltic States and East Prussia, where my ancestor emigrated to England around 1800.

I need some help here from a Jewish historian.

But the statistics and geography  are indicating to me, that Jews from the Austro-Hungarian Empire could have chosen to emigate through the Balkans to Palestine, when they saw the way the tide was turning after World War One.

I know a bit about life in Palestine in the 1930s, because at one period of my life, my next-door neighbour was a retired British Officer, who was stationed in the country. He was actually in the King David Hotel, when it was blown up. Charles is long-dead now, but I wished I’d recorded his memories, as in today’s Middle East climate, they would be an unusual insight.

But why Iceland, Malta and Uruguay?

Ireland And The United Kingdom

As could be expected, Ireland and the United Kingdom are fairly close together in the table; at 40 and 44 respectively.

  • Just men and the positions are 49 and 51.
  • Just women and it’s 37 and 42.

In the tables, Canada and Australia are just below the United Kingdom, with New Zealand a few places further down.

Cambodia, Laos And Vietnam

To a coeliac like me, Cambodia is interesting, as they are reckoned to have the most gluten-free cuisine in the world.

But these three countries, are all in the bottom third of the table, along with some other major countries, whose food has a lot of rice; Bangladesh, India, Myanmar, Pakistan and Thailand.

I know gluten affects my health, but if your diet contains little gluten, does that lower, your chance of getting pancreatic cancer?

 

 

 

 

 

August 18, 2020 Posted by | Health | , , | Leave a comment

Coulsdon South Station Has Gone Step-Free

Coulsdon South station went step-free a couple of months ago, so I went to take a look.

These are my thoughts.

The Bridge

Mechanically, the bridge is typical of many in the UK, but someone has taken care over the design, by the use of well-chosen colours and bricks.

The Café

We need more station cafes like Jaconelli’s Espresso Bar.

  • Full range of proper coffee and other drinks.
  • Cakes and snacks.
  • Gluten-free options.
  • Wude selection of alternative milks
  • Knowledgeable and friendly staff.

I suspect it is also owner-managed, as most cafes of this type would be in Italy.

It’s one of the best cafes of its type, that I’ve found in a long time.

The Old Bridge

According to one of the guys in the café the old bridge needed replacing.

But leaving it intact, gives the young, fit or agile a second route across the tracks.

Local Walks And Attractions

There are walks nearby in the Surrey Hills and on the London Loop.

I was also told, that you can get a bus to the Lavender Fields.

Zone Six Station On Thameslink

The station is in Zone Six, which puts it in Freedom Pass territory.

It also has two Thameslink and two Southern trains per hour, so it is easily reached.

Car Parking And A Taxi Service

This Google Map shows the station.

Note the car parking and a taxi service, which is called District Cars.

Conclusion

Coulsdon South is now a very well-equipped station and it must be an ideal place to meet a friend, family member or work colleague to either have a chat or a serious discussion.

Surely, with more people continuing to work from home, the need for meetings between those in the office and those at home will grow! Zoom etc. can only do so much and the cpncept doesn’t suit everybody!

So perhaps we’ll see more community-managed meeting rooms, like the one I described in The Newly-Decorated White Horse Room In Westbury Is Open For Bookings.

 

August 14, 2020 Posted by | Food, Transport | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Coeliac Disease And Sex Of The Sufferer

This page on the NHS web site is an overview of coeliac disease.

Under Who’s Affected, this is said.

Coeliac disease is a condition that affects at least 1 in every 100 people in the UK.

But some experts think this may be underestimated because milder cases may go undiagnosed or be misdiagnosed as other digestive conditions, such as irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).

Reported cases of coeliac disease are around 3 times higher in women than men.

It can develop at any age, although symptoms are most likely to develop:

during early childhood – between 8 and 12 months old, although it may take several years before a correct diagnosis is made
in later adulthood – between 40 and 60 years of age
People with certain conditions, including type 1 diabetes, autoimmune thyroid disease, Down’s syndrome and Turner syndrome, have an increased risk of getting coeliac disease.

First-degree relatives (parents, brothers, sisters and children) of people with coeliac disease are also at increased risk of developing the condition.

The page is fairly definite, that women are three times more likely to be coeliac than men!

August 3, 2020 Posted by | Health | | 2 Comments

Should The NHS Adopt A Whack-A-Coeliac Policy?

The Wikipedia entry for Whac-a-Mole, says this about the colloquial use of the name of an arcade game.

In late June 2020, Boris Johnson based the UK’s COVID-19 strategy on the game.

Because of the high number of diagnosed coeliacs in the Cambridge area, I believe that I was diagnosed to be coeliac, by possible use of a Whack-a-Coeliac policy at Addenbrookes Hospital in Cambridge, in the last years of the Twentieth Century.

  • I was suffering from low B12 levels and my GP sent me to the hospital to see a consultant.
  • It was only a quick visit and all I remember, is the speed with which the nurse took my blood.
  • A couple of days later, I received a letter from the hospital, saying it was likely I was a coeliac and it would be confirmed by an endoscopy.
  • A point to note, is that I had my endoscopy with just a throat spray and this must have increased the efficiency and throughput and reduced the  cost of the procedure.

The only way, I could have been diagnosed so quickly would have been through an analysis of my genes and blood. But I was never told, what method was used.

I have a few further thoughts.

My Health Since Diagnosis

It has undoubtedly improved.

Cancer And Diagnosed Coeliacs On A Gluten-Free Diet

Joe West of Nottingham University has shown, that diagnosed coeliacs on a gluten-free diet have a 25% lower risk of cancer compared to the general population.

That is certainly a collateral benefit of being a coeliac. But is it being a coeliac or the diet?

I’m no medic, but could the reason be, that diagnosed coeliacs on a gluten-free diet have a strong immune system?

Coeliac Disease Is A Many-Headed Hydra

I have heard a doctor describe coeliac disease or gluten-sensitivity as a many-headed hydra, as it can turn up in so many other illnesses.

Type “coeliac disease many-headed hydra” into Google and this article on the NCBI , which is entitled Gluten Sensitivity: A Many Headed Hydra, is the first of many.

This is the sub-title of the article.

Heightened responsiveness to gluten is not confined to the gut

My son; George was an undiagnosed coeliac, who had a poor diet consisting mostly of Subways, cigarettes and high-strength cannabis. He died at just thirty-seven of pancreatic cancer.

Did George have a poor immune system, which was useless at fighting the cancer?

Undiagnosed Coeliac Disease In The Over-Sixty-Fives

In A Thought On Deaths Of The Elderly From Covid-19, I used data from Age UK and Coeliac UK to estimate the number of coeliacs in the UK over the age of sixty-five. I said this.

Age UK has a figure of twelve million who are over 65 in the UK. If 1-in-100 in the UK are coeliac, that is 120,000 coeliacs over 65.

But some research shows that the number of coeliacs can be as high as 1-in-50.

If that 120,000 were all diagnosed, I would have several coeliacs amongst my over-65 friends. I have just one and she is self-diagnosed.

Are all these undiagnosed coeliacs out there, easy targets for diseases like cancer and COVID-19?

The Ease Of Testing For Coeliac Disease

I was worried that my granddaughter was coeliac and I asked my GP, how difficult a test is to perform.

He said, that a genetic test is usually quick and correct and only a few borderline cases need to be referred to a consultant.

Diagnosis has moved on a lot in twenty years.

Cambridge, Oxford and Covid-19

Six weeks ago I wrote Oxford And Cambridge Compared On COVID-19, to try to find out why the number of Covid-19 cases are so much lower in Cambridge than Oxford.

Checking today, the rate of lab-confirmed cases of COVID-19 per 100,000 residents is as follows.

  • Cambridge 336.6
  • Oxford 449

So why the difference?

In the related post, this was my explanation.

Is the large number of diagnosed coeliacs around Cambridge, the reason the area has a lower COVID-19 rate than Oxford?

It sounds a long shot, but it could be a vindication of a possible Whack-a-Coeliac policy at Addenbrooke’s in the last years of the Twentieth Century.

Conclusion

I think the NHS should seriously look at a Whack-a-Coeliac problem!

  • The health of a large number of people would improve.
  • There would be less cancer in the UK.
  • A better combined National Immune System might help in our fight against the next virus to follow COVID-19.

It would be a very simple testing program, that would be mainly in the hands of the GPs.

 

 

July 6, 2020 Posted by | Health | , , , , , | 1 Comment

Coeliac Disease: Can We Avert The Impending Epidemic In India?

The title of this post, is the same as that of this article on the Indian Journal Of Research Medicine.

With the high levels of COVID-19 in Leicester and an Indian population who make up 28.3 % of the population of the city, I was searching the internet to see if there was any connection between those of Indian heritage and coeliac disease.

I know you should not try to prove a theory. But as a coeliac, I’m very interested to see how the millions of diagnosed coeliacs on a gluten-free diet like me, are faring in this pandemic.

These are some extracts from the article.

Prevalence Of Coeliac Disease In Northern India

Coeliac disease was recognized in northern India, primarily in children, since the 1960s. A community-based study in Ludhiana that involved a step-wise approach to case detection and diagnosis estimated that celiac disease prevalence in this city was at least 1 in 310 individuals. Hospital-based studies examining a general paediatric patient population suggest a prevalence of 1 per cent.

One per cent is a high figure.

Diet And Coeliac Disease

The other variable is that cereal consumption patterns are very different between north and south India, although there has been a recent change in these patterns particularly in urban areas. In south India, rice is the primary cereal consumed in the diet. In the Indian sub-continent, wheat consumption is high in Pakistan and in the States of north India, which also constitute the coeliac belt of India.

It’s fascinating how two parts of the same country can be so different.

Introducing Babies To Gluten

The time of first exposure to wheat influences the development of celiac disease. In countries such as Finland, Estonia, and Denmark, characterized by low gluten consumption in infancy, celiac disease prevalence is much lower than in Sweden where gluten consumption is high in infancy. A natural experiment occurred in Sweden about two decades ago when national recommendations were made to introduce wheat into the diet after cessation of breast feeding at six months. This change was coupled with increased wheat gluten consumption through infant feeds. Together these measures resulted in a two-fold increase in incidence of celiac disease in Sweden, which was attributed to introduction of wheat into the diet after cessation of breast feeding. In 1996 this recommendation was changed to introduce gluten in gradually increasing amounts while the infant was still being breast fed. This led to a dramatic decrease in celiac disease incidence.

We used a Baby Mouli with our three and they all got what we ate, through a sieve.

All Wheats Are Not Equal

The other dimension to this problem is that not all wheat is alike when it comes to inducing celiac disease. The ancient or diploid wheats (e.g. Triticum monococcum) are poorly antigenic, while the modern hexaploid wheats e.g. Triticum aestivum) have highly antigenic glutens, more capable of inducing celiac disease in India, for centuries, grew diploid and later tetraploid wheat which is less antigenic, while hexaploid wheat used in making bread is recently introduced. Thus a change back to older varieties of wheat may have public health consequences.

I’ve read somewhere before that high-gluten wheats could have been the reason that bubonic plague came back.

Public Health Recommendations

Public health authorities may well want to examine both these avenues, i.e. infant feeding recommendations and wheat varieties cultivated in the country, for opportunities to avert the epidemic of celiac disease which is impending in our country.

I’ll agree with that! And the recommendations should be carried forward in the UK.

Conclusion

I have found this medical paper fascinating.

I can’t resist looking up the rates of confirmed cases in the countries mentioned.

  • Denmark 12751 – 6.80 million – 187.5
  • Estonia – 1947 – 1.32 million – 147.3
  • Finland – 7190 – 5.52 million – 130.2
  • Sweden – 65137 – 10.3 million – 632.4
  • United Kingdom – 311965 – 66.5 million – 469.1
  • United States – 2593169 – 326.7 million – 793

Note.

  1. The first figure is the number of lab confirmed cases from Wikipedia
  2. The second figure is the population.
  3. The third figure is the rate of lab-confirmed cases per 100.000 of the population

I have left India out as their numbers of tests seem extremely low.

Note how the three countries, that have fed their children on a low-gluten diet are top of the table, with the lowest rates of lab-confirmed cases.

I have said it before and I’ll say it until I’m blue in the face. Undiagnosed coeliac disease may have something to do with this pandemic and someone should investigate it properly.

Thoughts On The Outbreak In Leicester

I have heard reports that those found positive in Leicester live in a poor area and they tend to be younger.

Could it be that in their new country, they were introduced to gluten too early, because it’s easier to give gluten than proper food? Especially, where some roads in this country, are lined with scores of fast food shops selling gluten-rich junk food.

What do I know? I’m just an engineer and a coeliac who has a good nose for problems!

But please someone! Research the connection between undiagnosed coeliac disease and COVID-19!

My son; George was an undiagnosed coeliac with a gluten-rich and smokey lifestyle. He died at just 37 from pancreatic cancer.

Did he have a poor immune system, which meant he couldn’t fight the cancer? One expert on cancer said, “Yes!”

June 29, 2020 Posted by | Health, World | , | 6 Comments

Atheists Less Likely To Die From Covid-19 Than Believers, Research Finds

The title of this post, is the same as that of this article in The Times.

This is the introductory paragraph.

People without religious faith are less likely to die from Covid-19 than believers, according to the first analysis of its kind from the Office for National Statistics (ONS).

This paragraph gives some actual statistics.

For Muslims the figures were 198.9 deaths per 100,000 males and 98.2 deaths per 100,000 females. Among Christians, the death rates were 92.6 for men and 54.6 for women, and among Jewish people 187.9 for men and 94.3 for women.

These are my observations.

The Average Death Rate

The average death rate of these religious groups is 121 per 100,000 people or 1 in 826 people.

The Number Of Coeliacs In The UK Population

This page on the NHS web site says this about the number of coeliacs in the UK population.

Coeliac disease is a condition that affects at least 1 in every 100 people in the UK.

But some experts think this may be underestimated because milder cases may go undiagnosed or be misdiagnosed as other digestive conditions, such as irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).

Reported cases of coeliac disease are around 3 times higher in women than men.

I hadn’t known the last point, but all my coeliac friends and acquaintances, with two exceptions are female! The two male exceptions are both chefs!

Thinking about the last point, I do wonder if women are more likely to have coeliac disease as the disease can affect their natural functions, so they are likely to go to the doctor with a problem, that could be a coeliac symptom, like the inability to conceive.

Diagnosed Coeliacs On A Gluten-Free Diet And Cancer

It has been shown by Joe West at Nottingham University, that diagnosed coeliacs on a gluten-free diet are less likely to get cancer, than the general population.

Does this mean, that this group of people have a strong immune system?

Diagnosed Coeliacs On A Gluten-Free Diet And COVID-19

Various doctors have said, that COVID-19 attacks people with compromised immune systems.

So do diagnosed coeliacs ona gluten-free diet get a measure of protection from COVID-19 from their strong immune systems?

Ashkenazi Jews And COVID-19

My coeliac disease comes from my great-great-great-grandfather, who was from Konigsberg in East Prussia.

In those far-off days at the start of the Nineteenth Century, if you were a Jewish male in East Prussia, you had to leave at eighteen, unless you were from one of the privileged Jewish families.

As my ancestor wasn’t he hopped on a boat and ended up in Bexley.

Luckily, I was diagnosed as a coeliac at Addenbrooke’s hospital at the age of 50. My health, which had been poor off-and-on improved immediately and considerably, once I was no longer eating gluten.

But in the Jewish population, there are a lot of undiagnosed coeliacs, who probably have poor immune systems due to their diet.

Are they like targets in a shooting gallery for the evil COVID-19 virus?

Christians And COVID-19

I do wonder about communion rituals.

Especially, as some churches insist that wheat must be used. Even if you’re coeliac.

Surely, your health is more important.

Why Are Women Less Likely To Die?

If undiagnosed coeliac disease is an explanation, as the disease is three times more common in women would explain it, as they’d all be on protective gluten-free diets.

Muslims And COVID-19

Most Muslims come from areas, where coeliac disease is rare and are probably on a gluten-free anyway.

But they do appear to suffer high levels of other diseases like diabetes, that compromise your immune system.

June 19, 2020 Posted by | Health | , , , , , | 2 Comments

Dexamethasone Declared First Drug To Save Lives Of Coronavirus Patients

The title of this post, is the same, as that of this article in The Times.

These are the introductory paragraphs.

British scientists have hailed a “huge breakthrough” in the fight against Covid-19 after a cheap drug was declared the first to save lives.

Dexamethasone, a decades-old steroid that costs about 50p per day, was found to reduce deaths by up to one third for the sickest patients. NHS hospitals were advised to begin using it immediately.

According to a retired Senior Hospital Pharmacist friend, Dexamethasone has been around a long time and is used in shock. She added “So don’t know why not tried before.”

The Times article says this about previous use.

While it had been administered to Covid patients in China and elsewhere its use was controversial, with no definitive proof that it worked.

Could it be that the research was discounted on ageist grounds against the drug?

Wikipedia also says this about the drug?

it was the 259th most prescribed medication in the United States, with more than a million prescriptions.

That is about 1-in-327 of the US population.

Dexamethasone And Coeliac Disease

Out of curiosity, I typed “Dexamethasone and coeliac disease” into Google.

I found this page on SpringerLink, which is entitled The Role of Corticosteroids In Celiac Disease.

This is the first sentence.

Since Dickie first described the benefits of a gluten-free diet in the 1940s and 1950s, this diet is the standard of care for all patients with celiac disease. For patients with a new diagnosis, dietary compliance can be difficult to achieve, possibly resulting in a clinical course marked by delayed recovery and persistent symptoms. This is of particular concern for patients in the developing world, where gluten-free food items may be difficult to obtain or to identify. While dietary modifications are likely to remain the treatment of choice in celiac disease, the use of adjuvant corticosteroids in newly diagnosed patients is a topic that has been addressed previously.

I’m no medic, so what follows in the scientific report is beyond my limited medical knowledge.

However in A Thought On Deaths Of The Elderly From Covid-19, I estimated that there are around 120,000 undiagnosed coeliacs in the UK, who are over 65. I used data from Age UK and Coeliac-UK.

According to Joe West of Nottingham University, diagnosed coeliacs on a gluten-free diet have less chance of getting cancer!

Could it be that this group of people, of which I am one, have a strong immune system?

So could the reverse be true and that undiagnosed coeliacs on a typical gluten-rich diet have a compromised immune system?

My son was an undiagnosed coeliac, with a poor diet who smoked. He died at just thirty-seven from pancreatic cancer!

Could some of the patients, who recovered from COVID-19, when given dexamethasone, have been undiagnosed coeliacs?

I, of course don’t know.

But the role of coeliac disease in the recovery from COVID-19 must be investigated.

A quick way to test my theory would be to survey the catering departments of all hospitals and see how much gluten-free food was being sent to wards, where COVID-19 is being treated.

Coeliacs, whether diagnosed by doctors or self-diagnosed, will probably be vociferous in their need for gluten-free food. I certainly was, when I had my stroke in Hong Kong.

Give me the data and I’ll analyse it!

I would also like to hear from any coeliacs, who have been given dexamethasone!

 

June 16, 2020 Posted by | Food, Health | , , , | 2 Comments