The Anonymous Widower

The Recovery Trial And Coeliac Disease

The Recovery Trial appears to have been a success, with another drug announced to have positive benefits in fighting Covid-19 today.

As a coeliac on a long-term gluten-free diet like up to one-in-100 or even 1-in-50, in the UK, I wonder what they have found out about my susceptibility to Covid-19 and how my disease would affect my treatment!

I just typed “coeliac” into the Recovery Trial and I found nothing.

Using Google directly, I didn’t get any matches either.

So I suspect that they know nothing about how coeliacs are affected by Covid-19.

Since 1997, after I was diagnosed at Addenbrooke’s Hospital, I’ve been on a strict long-term gluten-free diet, my health has improved dramatically from what it was for the previous fifty years.

My only major health issue, since 1997, has been a serious stroke in 2010, from which I have made an almost full recovery.

But one cardiologist has told me, that the stroke could have been caused by fifty years of unhealthy eating, that damaged my heart muscle to cause atrial fibrillation.

I have only found one serious peer-reviewed study on coeliac disease and Covid-19 on the Internet.

This paper on the US National Library of Medicine, is from the University of Padua in Italy.

The University followed a group of 138 patients with coeliac disease, who had been on a gluten-free diet for at least six years, through the first wave of the Covid-19 pandemic in Padua.

This sentence, sums up the study.

In this analysis we report a real life “snapshot” of a cohort of CeD patients during the SARS-CoV-2 outbreak in Italy, all followed in one tertiary centre in a red area of Northern Italy. Our data show, in accordance with Emmi et al., the absolute absence of COVID-19 diagnosis in our population, although 18 subjects experienced flu-like symptoms with only one having undergone naso-pharyngeal swab.

It says that no test subject caught Covid-19, in an admittedly smallish number of patients.

But it reinforces my call for more research into whether if you are a diagnosed coeliac on a long-term gluten-free diet, you have an immune system, that gives you a degree of protection from the Covids.

How Many Patients In The Recovery Trial Are Coeliac?

The Wikipedia entry for The Recovery Trial says this about the numbers of patients.

The trial began in March 2020 and has an estimated duration through June 2021. As of December 2020, the trial had enrolled more than 20,000 COVID-19 participants admitted to hospitals in the UK.

A figure of 1-in-100 is accepted, as an at least figure of the number of coeliacs in the UK population. Some doctors rate it as high as 1-in-50.

So that should mean that somewhere between 200 and 400 of those on the trial were coeliac. But that figure would include those who were both diagnosed and undiagnosed.

I would love to have an answer to my question. But I suspect, that the data is not available.

Another Answer

There could of course be another answer – Diagnosed coeliacs on a long-term gluten-free diet don’t get the virus serious enough to go into hospital.

 

February 12, 2021 Posted by | Health | , , , | 2 Comments

Cooking Multiple Cinties

My son and his husband came round for supper on Sunday, so I cooked a batch of Cinty’s French fish pies.

The method is detailed in Serial Cooking – Cinty’s French Fish Pie.

I cooked four, which was one for each of us and one for the freezer.

Note.

  1. Every pie got two pieces of haddock.
  2. The topping was a mix of gluten-free bread and parmesan, blended in one of Delia’s Little Choppers.
  3. I served them with baked tomatoes.

I cooked them in 0.6 litre Le Creuset dishes. You can never have too many of these.

February 5, 2021 Posted by | Food | | Leave a comment

Is This The Proof That Coeliacs On A Gluten-Free Diet Don’t Get The Covids?

I took this picture in Marks and Spencer’s food store on Finsbury Pavement this morning,

I know Easter is coming, but it did seem to me that they had over-ordered the gluten-free hot cross buns.

But have their gluten-free sales held up extremely well during the pandemic?

Are their large numbers of gluten-free customers, still well enough to be buying the good things in life?

Certainly, throughout the pandemic, there’s never been a shortage of gluten-free scones!

Or it could be a simple case of a computer saying “Let them eat loadsa buns!” in the City of London!

February 2, 2021 Posted by | Health | , , , , | 5 Comments

Should Coeliacs On A Long-Term Gluten-Free Diet Have The Pfizer Or AstraZeneca Vaccine?

This is an interesting question.

I believe that coeliacs on a long-term gluten-free diet have a strong immune system and this is responsible for the group, to which I belong, having a 25 % less risk of suffering from cancer, according to Joe West at Nottingham University.

This strong immune system may react to and attack a two-dose viral-vector vaccine like the AstraZeneca, so would I be better off with the Pfizer?

I wrote about why this could happen in Coronavirus: Why Combining The Oxford Vaccine With Russia’s Sputnik V Vaccine Could Make It More Effective.

This is an extract from that post.

A Possible Problem With Viral-Vector Vaccines

This is a paragraph from the article on the Conversation, which talks of a problem with viral-vector vaccines.

When a person is given a viral-vector vaccine, as well as generating an immune response against the coronavirus’s spike protein, the immune system will also mount a response against the viral vector itself. This immune response may then destroy some of the booster dose when it is subsequently delivered, before it can have an effect. This has long been recognised as a problem.

It looks like a case of shoot the messenger to me.

The Russian solution is to use different viral-vectors in the two doses.

Conclusion

As I believe, I already have a degree of natural protection from my diagnosed coeliac disease and long-term gluten-free diet and the resulting strong immune system, I think on balance, I’d personally choose the Pfizer vaccine.

But the choice of vaccine will probably not be down to me!

 

January 28, 2021 Posted by | Health | , , , , , | 2 Comments

Inner Eye AI Identifies Tumours To Speed Up Treatment Of Cancer

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

This is the introductory paragraph.

A hospital in Cambridge is the first to use artificial intelligence technology developed by Microsoft to treat cancer patients faster, helping to cut the treatment backlog and save lives.

There is only one NHS hospital in Cambridge and that is Addenbrooke’s, who probably saved my life, by diagnosing me as coeliac in 1997.

This paragraph explains the development of the software and how it will be deployed across the NHS.

Inner Eye is the result of an eight-year project with Microsoft and Addenbrooke’s and is being introduced in other NHS trusts. It is easy to access and free to use. When the AI tool is in place, hospitals will be able to use their own data to improve accuracy.

This paragraph sums up the usefulness of the system.

Pat Price, a professor at Imperial College London and chairwoman of Action Radiotherapy, a charity, said: “This is just one brilliant example of the quiet but amazing technological revolution that has unfolded in radiotherapy in recent years and could dramatically improve cancer survival rates.”

It really is amazing how since my wife died of a squamous cell carcinoma of the heart, treatment of cancer has improved.

I can envisage a time, when a rare cancer like that, which killed her in three months, will be survivable!

January 11, 2021 Posted by | Health | , , , , , | Leave a comment

‘Natural’ Nasal Spray Could Stop Virus Before It Enters The Body

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

This is the two introductory paragraphs.

A Canadian nasal spray that has been shown to stop the coronavirus from spreading through the body will begin its first UK clinical trial tomorrow.

The SaNOtize nitric oxide spray is designed to prevent the virus from passing through the nose to the respiratory system. The trial will be run by Ashford and St Peter’s Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust in Surrey.

I shall be watching SaNOtize‘s development with interest, as something that could be similar got my life on track!

I am 73 and I was a very sickly child, despite the persistence of the GP, who delivered me, who was the superbly-named Dr. Egerton White, to try and sort out my problems.

I was always, having terms off school with respiratory problems, probably caused by the London smogs of the 1950s. We lived in Southgate and they had as bad smogs as anyone.

In the end, with the connivance of a pharmacist called Halliday, they formulated a nasal spray, that worked. I can still smell it!

My health improved with the Clean Air Act and during University in the seaside city of Liverpool.

Later, I worked for ICI on chemical plants and there was an unfounded story, that the pensions were good, as working on ammonia plants and the like kept you clear of all the viruses going around. But on retirement in all that clear air, you got everything that was going and died soon after leaving work. Hence the pension scheme had more money than it needed.

My health also improved, when at fifty I was diagnosed as a coeliac and went gluten-free.

Now after returning to London after the death of my wife and son to cancer, and suffering a serious stroke, my head is all choked up by the pollution. The Covid-19 lockdown makes it difficult to take the cure, which is a couple of days by the sea. Biarritz, Gdansk and Liverpool work a treat.

Trump Got It Wrong!

Trump was advocating injecting bleach to cure the Covids.

  • Note that bleach is a strong alkali
  • This spray is based on nitric oxide, which when mixed with water forms nitrous acid.
  • Wikipedia says not to mix-up the weak nitrous acid with nitric acid.

So Trumkopf couldn’t tell his alkali from his acid, which surely is a recipe for disaster.

Nitric Oxide

This is part of the introduction in the Wikipedia entry for nitric oxide.

An important intermediate in industrial chemistry, nitric oxide forms in combustion systems and can be generated by lightning in thunderstorms. In mammals, including humans, nitric oxide is a signaling molecule in many physiological and pathological processes. It was proclaimed the “Molecule of the Year” in 1992. The 1998 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine was awarded for discovering nitric oxide’s role as a cardiovascular signalling molecule.

I remember a fascinating BBC Horizon program about nitric oxide’s role as a signalling molecule.

  • It started with research done by a veterinary professor at Glasgow University, who believed that after experimenting with penises from dead bulls, concluded that nitrous oxide had something to do with it.
  • But his ideas were so out-of-kilter with established thought, that his research was sidelined at conferences in journals.
  • Reasons like it was a poison and such a simple molecule were given.
  • Then in London, someone who knew of his research, had a patient dying of toxic shock syndrome.
  • He suggested injecting the lady, with large amounts of nitrous oxide, in the hope they could save her life.
  • Her partner agreed.

And as it worked, there was a very happy ending.

 

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January 10, 2021 Posted by | Health | , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Two More Life-Saving Covid Drugs Discovered

The title of this post, is the same as this article on the BBC.

With all the reporting of the shenanigans going on with Trump in the United States, this important story seems to have been buried in the news.

This is the first two paragraph of the BBC articles.

Two more life-saving drugs have been found that can cut deaths by a quarter in patients who are sickest with Covid.

The anti-inflammatory medications, given via a drip, save an extra life for every 12 treated, say researchers who have carried out a trial in NHS intensive care units.

The drugs are tocilizumab and sarilumab, which appear to be readily available.

So what was that sore-loser Trump doing?

Certainly nothing to fight the most dangerous pandemic to hit the world for a hundred years.

If he had got to grips with the pandemic in the United States, his name would have gone down in history for all the wrong reasons.

Instead, he’ll be remembered for two words beginning with I; idiot and infamy.

Is There A Link Between Tocilizumab And Coeliac Disease?

I always check new drugs proposed for the covids against coeliac disease, ever since I found that Dexamethazone could be used to treat coeliacs, who couldn’t stick to a gluten-free diet.

I found nothing for sarilumab, but I did find this article for tocilizumab (Actemra), which is entitled Will You Have Celiac Disease With Actemra?.

This is the summary.

Celiac disease is found among people who take Actemra, especially for people who are female, 50-59 old, have been taking the drug for 1 – 6 months.

The phase IV clinical study is created by eHealthMe based on reports of 55,370 people who have side effects when taking Actemra from the FDA, and is updated regularly.

Strange! Like the incorrect American spelling!

 

January 7, 2021 Posted by | Health, World | , , , , , | 5 Comments

My Second (And Cold) Christmas Dinner

As I wrote in Cooking My Christmas Dinner, I had a lot of food left over from Friday, as this picture showed.

So on Sunday, I had a cold lunch based on what was left.

I’ve still got some of the delicious cauliflower cheese for lunch today or tomorrow!

I think I can say, that this Christmas Feast from Roasted by Jack and Scott has been an unqualified success!

  • The delivery turned up, when they said it would.
  • The cooking time of just forty minutes was amazing.
  • The vegetables were superb!
  • I ate all the Christmas pudding, which is rare.
  • The amount of washing up was small.
  • There is no remains of a large bird to deal with!

I have said to my son, that if we get together next year, I’ll look seriously at using Jack and Scott again. I think I could just about cook for four on my small cooker.

December 28, 2020 Posted by | Food | , , , , | Leave a comment

My Advice To Coeliacs On A Gluten-Free Diet Concerning The Covids

As a coeliac, I have been worried about the Covids and researching the statistics for some months.

Who Are Likely To Be Coeliac?

In the next sub-sections, I look at various groups.

Ashkenazi Jews

I am coeliac because there is an unbroken genetic line to my great-great-great-grandfather; Robert, who was a Jewish tailor from Königsberg  in East Prussia. Census records in the UK, say that he arrived around 1800 and setup business in Bexley. Like many Jews from East Prussia, he had to leave, when he became eighteen, because he was male, Jewish and not one of the privileged families.

I know little of him, except from a brief chat from my father, whose own grandfather had met him as a child and remembered him, as a small elderly man, who didn’t speak any English.

I did get some more details of the Jewish community in East Prussia from a curator at the German Historical Museum in Berlin, and I don’t think she was proud at her countrymen’s treatment of the Jews before the Second World War. By the 1930s many had fled to the UK or the United States.

Wikipedia has a detailed History of the Jews in Königsberg.

In May this year at the height of the first wave of the pandemic, I wrote Jews In The UK And COVID-19, which is based on three articles in the Times of Israel.

This is an extract from my post.

I am also fairly sure, that my coeliac disease came from my Ashkenazi Jewish genes.

This second article on The Times of Israel is entitled Jewish Charity Warns Of Coeliac ‘Stigma’ As Half-A-Million Said Undiagnosed.

This is the introductory paragraph.

A Jewish charity says there is a “stigma” surrounding coeliac disease in the Jewish community, after a national charity warned that there were still half a million people in the UK who are undiagnosed.

I would assume that the half-a-million figure refers to all the population of the UK, as there are only about half that number of Jews in the UK.

Could coeliac stigma mean that there many older Jews, who are coeliac, have not been diagnosed and their poorer immune systems make them more vulnerable to COVID-19?

In the post, I also came to this conclusion.

I should say, that I’m no medic, but just a humble engineer, mathematician and statistician, who has nearly sixty years experience of analysing data.

That experience applied to coeliac disease and COVID-19, says that undiagnosed coeliac disease, is not helping our fight against COVID-19!

I stand by that statement today.

The Elderly

I suppose at seventy-three, I’m in this group too!

In April this year I wrote A Thought On Deaths Of The Elderly From Covid-19, where this was the conclusion.

Many of those 120,000 coeliacs will have been born before 1960 and have a high probably of not having been diagnosed. for the simple reason, that a childhood test for coeliac disease didn’t exist.

Will these undiagnosed coeliacs 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!

I heard today of an 85-year-old coeliac, who was diagnosed at forty and is bright as a button on a gluten-free diet. They have already had their jab. Excellent!

The Irish

As with the Ashkenazi Jews, the Irish have suffered bad living conditions and famine and they seem to have more than their fair share of coeliac disease.

Black People With Slaves As Ancestors

In the last thirty years or so, I have come across three or four West Africans with coeliac disease, including one, who was an excellent chef in a pub, near where I lived at the time. I also met an American vet online called DogtorJ, who wrote this paper on his web site, which is entitled Why Is The Plane Of Our Nation’s Health In A Death Spiral? He was referring to the United States, but a lot of the points he makes can equally apply to the UK and other nations.

In one section he talks about the historical atrocity of the slave trade from a medical perspective, where he says this.

I read in one source that approximately 6% of the slaves never made it to their destinations, many of whom died of dysentery. It suddenly dawned on me that they could have easily been the newest batch of gluten intolerants. These transplanted people had never eaten wheat-based foods in the past and yet here they were, under the worst possible conditions, having this new dietary challenge suddenly thrust upon them in the form of the white man’s bread.

DogtorJ’s reasoning applies to Afro-Americans, but it could surely apply to all slaves and their descendants, just as one coeliac ancestor passed me the disease.

People From The Indian Sub-Continent

I always thought that the Indian Sub-Continent was fairly free of coeliac disease, as Indian cuisine is rice-based and I’ve had many excellent gluten-free meals in Indian restaurants all over the UK.

But then I found this article on the Indian Journal Of Research Medicine.

I wrote about the article in Coeliac Disease: Can We Avert The Impending Epidemic In India?

I finished with these sentences.

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 smoky 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!”

Are people from the sub-continent suffering from the same problems, that slaves did several centuries ago?

Research From The University Of Padua

This paper on the US National Library of Medicine, which is from the University of Padua in Italy.

The University followed a group of 138 patients with coeliac disease, who had been on a gluten-free diet for at least six years, through the first wave of the Covid-19 pandemic in Padua.

This sentence, sums up the study.

In this analysis we report a real life “snapshot” of a cohort of CeD patients during the SARS-CoV-2 outbreak in Italy, all followed in one tertiary centre in a red area of Northern Italy. Our data show, in accordance with Emmi et al., the absolute absence of COVID-19 diagnosis in our population, although 18 subjects experienced flu-like symptoms with only one having undergone naso-pharyngeal swab.

It says that no test subject caught Covid-19, in an admittedly smallish number of patients.

But it reinforces my call for more research into whether if you are a diagnosed coeliac on a long-term gluten-free diet, you have an immune system, that gives you a degree of protection from the Covids.

It should be remembered, that 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.

My Advice To Coeliacs On A Gluten-Free Diet Concerning The Covids

I shall be carrying on with my gluten-free diet, as the respected University of Padua found no problems in doing so!

A Small Piece Of Research

If you are on a gluten-free diet or you are a coeliac, you might like to fill in my poll, if you haven’t suffered from the Covids.

 

December 23, 2020 Posted by | Health | , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

My Christmas Dinner Has Arrived

These pictures show my Christmas dinner, which arrived today.

Note.

  1. As the pictures show it is now safe in my fridge.
  2. I don’t think I could complain about the packaging.
  3. Full cooking instructions were included. Most look like time in an oven or boil-in-a-bag.

The Christmas Feast came from Roasted by Jack and Scott.

December 23, 2020 Posted by | Food | , , | 4 Comments