This book imagines a meeting between Charles Darwin and Hippocrates, the ancient Greek father of medicine, supposing that any dialogue between these two great thinkers should be quite sensational. Each chapter is introduced by a short dialogue between the two great men and the book covers some of the main areas of this large subject including controversial issues such as the use of nutritional supplements, probiotics and junk food.
John Nichols graduated from Liverpool Medical School in 1967 and entered General Practice in Guildford in 1971. He spent six months as research assistant to Ian Watson at the Shere GP practice in Surrey working on various projects including a trial of revaccination against measles 5-10 years after primary immunisation which showed a decline in immunity that was boosted by revaccination. In 1973 he joined The Fairlands GP Practice near Guildford where he was able to collaborate with university colleagues on a number of research projects. He was also a GP trainer for 20 years. He graduated the MSc Nutritional Medicine in 2005 and was subsequently appointed as a Visiting Research Fellow in 2011. He has published research on zinc status and postnatal depression, trace elements and female infertility, smoking cessation, diverticular disease and the use of probiotics in primary care. Published books include two books on Nutritional Medicine and three works of fiction. One science fiction novel has been published as a paperback and two are currently only available as e-books; all available through Amazon books.
Pregnancy sickness is a mystery that just doesn't make sense. Why would women be unable to eat and drink normally at a time when good nutrition is so important to the developing fetus. However, consideration of nutritional factors against a Darwinian backcloth does finally make some sense as explained in my book. Some degree of reflex nausea warns women against unsuitable foods that do her no harm but might harm the unborn child. Surely, I hear you say, it shouldn't be so severe that it could kill the mother and child as with poor Charlotte Bronte - difficult to explain but you have to take into account Darwin's rule that natural selection does not deliver perfection but just an adaption that is "good enough" and Charlotte's death is an example of such an "imperfection".
An Introduction to Nutritional Medicine
In 1855 a 39-year-old woman died from pregnancy sickness. She was so thin from malnutrition and dehydration that the certifying doctor mistook the cause of death as being tuberculosis, a disease that had killed three of her siblings. Her symptoms were, however, typical of the severe form of pregnancy sickness now referred to as hyperemesis gravidarum. This was the poet and author Charlotte Bronte whose most famous work is the novel “Jane Eyre”. This death particularly saddens me as one of the brightest minds of the nineteenth century was snuffed out by a condition that can easily be treated with an intravenous electrolyte drip and ant-emetic medication nowadays. But 170 years ago, for most of human history and back into the stone age, hyperemesis gravidarum was frequently a fatal disorder.