Peter Mansfield

 

Peter Mansfield continues his work as Director of Good HealthKeeping Ltd and an aviation medical examiner approved by the Joint Aviation Authority.

He became interested in the nature and practice of health, which transformed his style of general medical practice first in Bermondsey and then in Louth, Lincolnshire. It was based on health-giving principles, rather than exclusive attention to disease.

He founded a club for health alongside his practice in 1979, then a charitable think-tank to develop his ideas. He reintroduced home birth into Lincolnshire, helped to stop aerial pesticide spraying in the county and has been a prominent critic of additives, patent law as it applies to medicines, water fluoridation and of present UK public health policy in relation to routine childhood immunisation.

He sends monthly bulletins- one example follows:

Hahn trained German U-boat officers during both wars, but “refused to organise a war in every generation to save the young from a depressing peace”. Instead he founded Gordonstoun, and the Outward Bound Movement. He put youngsters into real danger, making them rely on their wits and each other to survive the challenge. The minority who joined Outward Bound or the Scout Movement stood out, head and shoulders above those who didn’t.

Far fewer of us now get even close to danger, let alone tackle it. Adventure training is in decline. We have been lulled by prosperity and peace into an illusion of permanence and safety. Death is an affront to be prevented at all costs. The “health and safety” culture makes us more careful of ourselves than of our friends and neighbours.

We are all built to cope with danger, but we do need practice. Otherwise we fall to pieces in a crisis, and plead trauma ever after.

Gareth Moran has been helping bored primary schoolboys. In eight adventurous weeks their literacy jumped 6 months, because they could at last see the point of it. We all need so badly to live life in vivid tones. I don’t know how, in peacetime, we are going to give this back to everyone else.

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It was only a matter of time. Whatever is wrong that lets bones soften, no pharmaceutical is likely to put it right. Bisphosphonates are a class of chemicals used to deter osteoporosis. They are offered to many people who do not yet have a problem, but are considered at risk for it. Now we learn that regular consumption of these pills increases the risk of cancer of the gullet by about a third.

This cancer is not common, so the real risk is small. But what point is there in swapping one hazard for another?

The nearest we can get to explaining osteoporosis is some combination of oestrogen dominance and over-reliance on dairy produce. Both are easily and safely corrected. The former requires medication with progesterone, which is available but not well known by most NHS doctors. That should not deter you from asking, should the need arise. We too have more information.

The problems with dairy items are the hormones they contain from the over-bred cattle that produce it, and their net acidity. Despite the calcium milk contains, more calcium dissolves from bones (we are told) to neutralise the acidity. This is contentious, but credible.

The other factor is activity and exercise. Do not live in fear of osteoporosis, but in spite of it. Action creates an appetite for bone, so you build more.

Finally, remember no single bone scan can demonstrate thinning of bone, in the absence of relevant symptoms. You need to see deterioration between two scans, some months or years apart.

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Nobody yet knows what underlies the brain-wasting diseases. Meanwhile, there are two candidates worth serious attention. One is poisoning with accumulative toxins such as pesticides, mercury, lead, aluminium and arsenic. The other is mediocre food, failing to maintain the brain in good repair into advanced old age.

Significant levels of heavy metal contamination are not uncommon. Hair mineral analysis has revealed several to me this year who are benefiting from gentle removal by nutritional chelation – swapping harmless selenium for the metal, so that it can be voided in urine. You don’t need tablets: a handful daily of brazil nuts provides more than enough . . .