Oct 24, 2007

Addendum H: Fiber Problems

LOW-FIBER PROBLEM SOLVED. With few exceptions, my anti-itis diet includes only foods low in "dietary" fiber, compared to oats and beans, for example.

Some alkaline-producing foods are relatively high in fiber compared to potatoes. Examples of relatively high-fiber foods, that are still PRAL-acceptable, are parsnips, pumpkin (but not all other winter squashes), and artichoke hearts (which I buy quartered, in cans). Such foods -- plus high-fiber or otherwise laxative fruits (prunes, cherries, berries) -- help speed passage of food through the gut. Also, I am learning to make soups and sauces from pumpkin (with garlic and lemon juice, for example).

OAT BRAN caused a rosacea/eczema type reaction on my skin when I tried the standard test (1 teaspoon/meal, for 6 meals in a row). I suspect that other forms of bran (rice, wheat) would produce the same result. Is the bran in grains a big part of what makes them acid-producing? I don't know, but I intend to continue avoiding all grains -- even white rice, the least acid-producing of all the grains.

Burgess Laughlin
Author of The Power and the Glory: The Key Ideas and Crusading Lives of Eight Debaters of Reason vs. Faith, www.reasonversusmysticism.com/

Addendum G: Proteins

GETTING SUFFICIENT PROTEIN ON THE ANTI-ITIS DIET. When adopting this diet, the first myth to toss aside is the myth that you can't get enough protein unless you eat meat, dairy, or at least a lot of beans. As Dr. McDougall and various researchers have shown, protein requirements are very small, as little as 35 grams per day, assuming you are getting sufficient calories (so your body doesn't burn up your own protein to make up the deficit) and assuming you are getting sufficient variety of amino-acids (proteins). Pregancy, recovery from major surgery, and a massive body building program might double the requirement.

The second myth to set aside is the myth that plant foods don't provide "complete protein." They do. Potatoes are an example. You can get all the protein you need from potatoes. Add fruit and vegetables and you will get plenty of protein in both quantity and variety. (An assumption here is that you have a healthy appetite.)

Those are my conclusions. I am a layman. I rely on the testimony (related to my own experiences) of individuals I trust as sources. For a start on exploring these issues, see Dr. McDougall's articles on protein, in his newsletter. For instance:
http://www.drmcdougall.com/misc/2007nl/apr/dairy.htm and

PROTEINS AS A CAUSE? When I saw the first results of my food testing, I wondered if all proteins might be the cause of my inflammation problems. However, further testing indicated that, for me, proteins in alkaline-producing foods do not cause flare-ups, even when eaten in normal quantities at every meal during the six-meal test.

I know now that alkaline-producing foods, as shown in the PRAL list, must be my only source of protein. To make sure I get all the different kinds of proteins (amino-acids) required for health, I try to eat a very wide variety of fruits, vegetables, starchy roots and starchy gourds.

Burgess Laughlin
Author of The Power and the Glory: The Key Ideas and Crusading Lives of Eight Debaters of Reason vs. Faith, www.reasonversusmysticism.com/

Addendum F: Restaurants

In a restaurant, finding fruit, vegetables, roots, and gourds can be difficult. Even "vegan" and vegetarian restaurants often serve foods mixed with unacceptable ingredients -- for example, soybeans, nuts, and flour.

Ironically, steak houses usually have the right kind of food. I order:
(1) a baked potato (always specifying "plain" or "only with chives" to avoid bacon, cheese, and sour cream as a topping).
(2) one or two side orders of vegetables if I can get them plain (no cheese sauce, for example).

Most other restaurants have menus with separate sections called "side orders," "bar menu," "salads," or "appetizers." I usually order from those sections. Examples are a cup of fruit, a dish of olives, plain potatoes in some form, vegetables if they are plain (no inappropriate sauces), and a glass or two of vegetable juice. At an Asian restaurant, I try to order vegetables alone, but no soybeans, peanuts, or other unacceptable products mixed with the vegetables. (I have tried white rice at a single meal, and had no visible reaction; however, I did get a slight reaction in my skin when I tested white rice with the standard re-introduction text: one serving/meal for six meals in a row.)

What do I do if all menu items are unacceptable? If (1) I ask politely, explain that I am on a medical diet ("just vegetables, fruit, and potatoes"), and (2) offer to pay a full dinner price (I usually suggest a few dollars more than the average dinner price), most restaurant cooks will gladly make up a plate with sliced vegetables, fruit, and potatoes in some form (baked, plain, for example). If I can't find anything suitable, I skip that meal, and drink water or tea instead.

Burgess Laughlin
Author of The Power and the Glory: The Key Ideas and Crusading Lives of Eight Debaters of Reason vs. Faith, www.reasonversusmysticism.com/

Addendum E: Avoiding Seeds

As my acceptable-food list in an earlier post shows, I avoid nearly all "seeds" as main foods. "Seeds" include: grains (corn, wheat, etc.), nuts (except hazel/filbert), beans (except green), and peas.

Further, I scrape out most of the seeds from fruits and gourds where there are a lot of them and when it isn’t too much trouble. I avoid figs (which are little seed-bags) and I generally eat only canned, crushed tomatoes, which seem to have the seeds filtered out.

I remove most of the seeds from bell peppers, for instance; and I avoid hot peppers because they consist mostly of seeds. (I suspect that "spicy" seeds are the worst offenders, but I haven't tested that idea yet.) I cut cucumbers length-wise and use a spoon to trowel out the seeds.

I avoid flavorings made from seeds: pepper, cumin, coriander, and so forth. I do not know if that step is necessary. It is merely a precaution. Someday I will test seed-based flavorings. In the meantime, I will err on the side of caution. For similar reasons, I now avoid all hot sauces. Recently I do seem to have had a flare-up from using hot sauce regularly. The amount of seeds involved is very small, so I wonder if some other factor is present. Perhaps some seeds, especially the "hot" ones, are stronger, that is, more acid-producing. I do not know.

Burgess Laughlin
Author of The Power and the Glory: The Key Ideas and Crusading Lives of Eight Debaters of Reason vs. Faith, www.reasonversusmysticism.com/

Addendum D: Extra Benefits

Besides eliminating inflammation symptoms, my anti-itis diet has resulted in:

No symptoms of cardio-vascular disease. About 33 years ago, at age 30, I had CVD. My symptoms were: pains in my chest and on the inside of my left arm when I exercised; high blood pressure; and a high level of cholesterol in my blood. I got rid of all those symptoms by going to a Pritikin-style diet, which is very low fat, mostly plant-based diet, but -- I now know -- a diet still much too high in acid-producing foods for me, though it is a vast improvement over the Standard American Diet of high-fat, high-protein, low-fiber, heavily processed foods. My current diet, of course, is very low fat (8%-10%), as well as low protein.

No cancer, osteoporosis, or kidney problems.

Lower blood pressure. At age 30, 33 years ago, my BP was typically around 145/95. Now typically it ranges from 135/85 (in the morning, when I am "pumped up" -- or anytime at a dentist's office!) down to 110/65 (in the evening, when I am becoming more and more horizontal).

Leanness. My BMI (body mass index) is about 18.5 (around 6 ft. tall, 135 pounds, down from 200 at age 30).

Improved eyesight. At my last complete eye exam, in March, 2007, my doctor changed my eye-glass prescription to one almost identical to the prescription I had in 1983! He also noted that, for the first time in nearly 30 years I have been going to that clinic, I have no inflammation in my eyes -- at all.

Possible reduction in gum inflammation. A few sections have actually grown back slightly, surprising my dentist. However, I suspect that meticulous dental hygiene was the major cause of improvement in my gums. The elements of my dental hygiene are: careful, gentle, but thorough brushing three times daily (especially at the gum line), careful flossing daily, use of a "side brush" between some teeth, use of a medicated mouthwash several times a week, and quarterly ultrasound cleaning and annual polishing by a hygienist.

Burgess Laughlin
Author of The Power and the Glory: The Key Ideas and Crusading Lives of Eight Debaters of Reason vs. Faith, www.reasonversusmysticism.com/

Addendum C: How to Test Foods

For several weeks, I strictly followed the McDougall Elimination Diet. (See http://www.drmcdougall.com/med_allergic.html under "My Recommendations" a little more than half way down the page.) It is a short-term diagnostic diet limited to a small set of presumably non-inflammatory foods. On the McDougall Elimination Diet, my skin problems diminished somewhat within a week, indicating that some foods I had been eating before had been causing my skin and perhaps other inflammation problems.

The Elimination Diet is very lean and very bland to anyone accustomed to the Standard American Diet. Following the ED consistently, even for only a few weeks, is a major challenge to individuals accustomed to rich, spicy foods. If you have the virtues of courage and persistence, you can follow the ED without making any exceptions whatsoever. (Making exceptions in the middle of an experiment is self-defeating.)

I have only one change to suggest for the McDougall Elimination Diet, if you have the same type of medical problems I had: Replace the brown rice with white rice or, better yet, avoid rice altogether. White rice is much less acid-producing than brown rice, according to Berardi's PRAL list, but it still is somewhat acidifying. Eat other alkaline-producing starches instead -- roots (potatoes, sweet potatoes, etc.) and gourds.

After you have followed the Elimination Diet for several weeks, making no exceptions, and if you see some improvement, then perform the standard re-introduction test: Eat at least one official serving (typically one-half to one cup) of the suspect food per meal, for six meals in a row (generally, two days); and then wait a few days for a flare-up, if any.

An example re-introduction test-food might be pinto beans. If the standard serving size is, let's say, ½ C cooked, then I would eat ½ C of beans at each meal for six meals in a row. I definitely had a flare-up each time I tested one of several kinds of bean. Beans, I concluded, were not an acceptable food. Much later I found -- from Berardi's PRAL list and from further experimenting -- that green "string" beans are acceptable, but all others are bad for me. That is probably due to the fact that green beans are more "green" than "bean."

I started each six-meal test series on Monday morning at breakfast, finished it Tuesday evening at dinner, and waited until Sunday for results.

If there was a flare-up of inflammation in my skin (the most sensitive tissue) from testing one food, it usually occurred by the third or fourth day after the first of the six test meals. (For example, starting on Monday, I nearly always saw a flare-up, if any, by Wednesday.) I returned to the Elimination Diet and waited two or more weeks for that flare-up to clear as much as it would ever clear at that stage. Sometimes test results were confused and I had to restart.

If there was no flare-up from testing one food, then on the following Monday I tested the next food (in a different category -- for example, a certain kind of beans and then oranges).

Testing every food in every category -- for example, 15 kinds of beans -- is unnecessary. If you test a few foods in one category, and the results are consistent, you can safely generalize, at least temporarily. For example, if you get a reaction from almonds and then, six weeks later, you test and get a reaction from pecans, you can provisionally assume that nuts are a problem as a category. (Afterwards, you may discover some exceptions, as I did with hazelnuts -- listed as alkaline-producing on the PRAL list.)

Be sure to test only one food at each test. Trying to save time by testing two or more foods at once is a waste of time. If there is a flare-up, there is no way to know which of the two tested foods was the cause. Then you must start over again, waiting for the flare-up to diminish.

Writing a log of dates, foods, and results helps keep track of what you are doing. Be sure to record whatever else you are eating at each meal -- including all medications, condiments, and drinks. You might see patterns.

Burgess Laughlin
Author of The Power and the Glory: The Key Ideas and Crusading Lives of Eight Debaters of Reason vs. Faith, www.reasonversusmysticism.com/

Addendum B: Posture Correction

PHYSICAL THEREAPY AT HOME, AS A SUPPLEMENT TO DIET CHANGE. In addition to changing my diet, I meticulously followed the instructions in Pete Egoscue's book, Pain Free. (For starting, I recommend it, not his other, more specialized books.) His strengthening and stretching exercises eventually eliminated the last of the episodes of pain in my joints (especially the knees, arthritis), muscles (bursitis), and tendons (tendonitis). I suppose the exercises reduced physical stress on those parts of the body. The stress apparently came from being unbalanced in posture (walking, standing, and sitting), like a suspension bridge whose cables are too tight on one side and too loose on the other side.

My first stage of doing Egoscue's exercises was the therapeutic stage. It was very time-consuming but necessary. The therapeutic exercises required as much as 45 min/morning in the beginning (I was a wreck heading for a wheelchair), but after a few weeks of consistent effort and following the instructions exactly, the exercises began to pay off with reduced pain. After several months, the pains disappeared. The second stage of exercises, which I am now doing, is maintenance. Pains return if I fail to do my daily posture exercises or if I fail to sit, stand, and walk in proper posture.

CONCLUSIONS: Apparently an acidifying diet generally set me up for arthritis, tendonitis, and bursitis pains, but poor posture determined the particular points where the pain appeared. Consequently, I have learned to ask two questions:
- Why do I have pain?
- Why am I feeling pain in that particular place?

Diet change solved the first problem. Posture-correction exercises solved the second problem.

CAUTION: The posture-correction exercises only work if you follow instructions.

MORE EFFECTIVE POSTURE-CORRECTION. Above, I recommended Pete Egoscue's Pain Free for posture-correction as a way to reduce pain in joints, tendons, and muscles. I recently found his Pain Free at Your PC to be even more effective for my particular problems. I sit a lot -- eating, riding my recumbent bicycle, reading, taking notes, and going online.

A few weeks ago, I started following Pete Egoscue's PFYPC exercise program for moderate computer-users. The series of exercises was difficult at first, showing that I had weak spots despite all my daily exercises. The new series has paid off well. I do this new routine every morning. I also practice healthy posture during the day, for example, by trying to "float" up from and back into a chair, using mostly my leg muscles, rather than using hands and arms as a "crutch" to move myself up and down.

As with Pain Free, I strongly recommend closely studying the initial chapters of PFYPC before turning to the exercise section appropriate for you. The initial chapters provide crucial background information.

Burgess Laughlin
Author of The Power and the Glory: The Key Ideas and Crusading Lives of Eight Debaters of Reason vs. Faith, www.reasonversusmysticism.com/

Addendum A: Skin issues

1. MY SKIN AS A "LITMUS TEST." My skin problems were the most sensitive to change in diet. Once I began eating an alkaline-producing diet, my other -itis problems shrank too, though more slowly. For example, the sand-like grittiness in my knees disappeared after about three months or so. (My memory for the timing here and elsewhere is not exact.)

2. HOW MANY SKIN PROBLEMS? At various times, various doctors diagnosed my skin problems (on my face, scalp and neck) by different names: eczema, rosacea, and seborrheic dermatitis. I am not sure if I had one, two, or three problems. I suspect I had at least two skin problems. The worst was the eczema. The symptoms were itching, scaling, thickening, and the smell of dead skin. The rosacea, if that is what it was, was less intense but more persistent and was apparently mixed with a fungus or yeast infestation that entered the broken skin.

3. PHARMACEUTICALS FOR SKIN PROBLEMS. My alkaline-producing (non-acid-producing) diet cured about 99% of my skin problems (which, at their worst, were ghastly). The remaining 1% mostly went away with a long course of antibiotics. For the yeast or fungus infestation, a dermatologist prescribed: (1) Selseb prescription shampoo on my face and scalp, daily for several weeks; (2) a Doxycycline antibiotic tablet daily for 2 months; and (3) Rosac skin cream applied daily to red spots, for months. Three years after beginning my diet experiment, I now use no medications at all -- for the first time in 45 years!

4. CONTINUING SENSITIVITY VS. SHAVING. My skin--both on my face and my scalp--still remains sensitive to abrasion. I avoid hats and hoods; and I must make sure a rough blanket does not rub against my forehead during sleep. I can use an electric shaver only if I press very lightly. I have tried many combinations of shaver types and schedules. At the moment, I am shaving on alternating days with a rotary shaver. In spite of the great improvement in my skin, I still find it feels better if I keep it shaved. If I let the hair grow out for more than a few days, the hair begins rubbing against the skin, causing a mild flare-up. However, this problem seems to be gradually diminishing. Perhaps in a year or so I will be able to let my hair and beard grow an inch or so. In the meantime, bald is beautiful.

Burgess Laughlin
Author of The Power and the Glory: The Key Ideas and Crusading Lives of Eight Debaters of Reason vs. Faith, www.reasonversusmysticism.com/


1. For a general guide to healthy eating, read Dr. John McDougall, The McDougall Program, as a start. He has other, more recent and more specialized books too. I always prefer books over websites because I can mark them up with notes.

2. For particular medical problems that might be treated with radical diet change, after reading The McDougall Program or its equivalent, you might visit Dr. McDougall's website and click on the "Medical Info" or other tabs: http://www.drmcdougall.com/index.html

3. For the scientific calculation of the Potential Renal Acid Load of a range of foods, see: Thomas Remer and Friedrich Manz, "Potential Renal Acid Load of Foods and Its Influence on Urine pH," Journal of the American Dietetic Association, Vol. 95, Issue 7 (July 1995), pp. 791-797. For the abstract, see: http://www.adajournal.org/article/PIIS0002822395002197/abstract

4. The Blogger website you are now reading is the most complete and up-to-date source for my experiences. However, for background, you might read my Star McDougaller article ("Rolling Back Dermatitis, Arthritis ..." etc.) at http://www.drmcdougall.com/stars/burgess_laughlin.html

You might also read my comments in several posts ("How I stopped inflammation problems," around April 9, 2005) in the Testimonials section of the McDougall website: http://www.vegsource.com/testimonials/messages/9669.html

Burgess Laughlin
Author of The Power and the Glory: The Key Ideas and Crusading Lives of Eight Debaters of Reason vs. Faith, www.reasonversusmysticism.com/

Oct 23, 2007


I chose my particular diet after several years of tediously testing and retesting foods using the Elimination Diet (a short-term diagnostic diet) and the re-introduction testing procedure. For more information about the diet and the procedure, see Dr. John McDougall, The McDougall Program, index (for "Elimination Diet") and the same material online (drmcdougall.com) under "Medical Info, Allergic Reactions to Foods," half-way down the page: http://drmcdougall.com/med_allergic.html

I have found only one published list of acceptable foods to be reliable for my particular medical needs. The list is based on Potential Renal Acid Load (PRAL), which apparently is a partly measured and partly calculated estimate of the acidity in the kidneys (hence the word "renal"). Why the kidneys? Because they are the eventual outlet for most areas of the body.

All the types of foods I have listed above ("My diet now includes only ...") tend to produce an alkaline condition in the body. Eating only alkaline-producing foods--making no exceptions whatsoever--eliminates inflammation problems for me. Eating the opposite kind of foods -- acid-producing foods -- causes my inflammation problems to return. The issue here is not the acidity of each food itself (as determined by ash-tests), but the acidity produced by the food in the body. I ignore food lists based on ash-tests; they are worthless for my needs.

The issue in choosing foods is not striking a "balance" between acid-producing foods and alkaline-producing foods. My inference, drawn from my experiences, is that the mere presence of food-produced acids causes inflammation problems. (I do not know, and do not much care about, the minimal quantity which establishes the threshold beyond which inflammation becomes apparent.) In my experience, the "thought" that leads some individuals trying this diet to eat soy beans (among the worst acid-producers) while eating a lot of spinach (very alkaline-producing) as a "balance," does not work. It is wishful thinking. The solution, I have found, is to never eat acid-producing foods.

For an easy-to-read version of the PRAL list, see John Berardi’s "Covering Nutritional Bases" article: http://www.johnberardi.com/articles/nutrition/bases.htm

Or see this pdf: http://www.precisionnutrition.com/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2009/05/acid-base-foods-pral.pdf

I examined the Berardi PRAL list to see which foods are rated as alkaline-producing (negative numbers) and which are acid-producing. The list does--with high accuracy--predict which foods will cause an inflammation in my skin (which, for me, is the first tissue to reveal a problem) and which foods are safe for me.

I am not endorsing Berardi's whole article. I am only spotlighting the list; it is an elegantly edited abstract of a more detailed and rather confusing list published in a scientific journal. Perhaps there are other online sources for the list. If so, make sure they do not list merely calculated values, but values actually confirmed by lab tests.

Burgess Laughlin
Author of The Power and the Glory: The Key Ideas and Crusading Lives of Eight Debaters of Reason vs. Faith, www.reasonversusmysticism.com/


(For a continually updated look at my most recent diet details: http://anti-itisdiet.blogspot.com/2010/07/what-do-i-eat.html)

A diet is a regular pattern of eating. My anti-inflammation diet is a subset of The McDougall Program diet, which is a very low-fat, low-protein, high-fiber, coarse starch-centered, exclusively plant-based diet using whole, unrefined foods wherever possible. The full McDougall Program diet is primarily a therapeutic diet designed to help recover from decades of eating badly (too much fat, too much protein, and too little fiber). With a daily Vitamin B12 tablet or other source of B12, the McDougall Program diet becomes a lifelong maintenance diet.

For an introduction to the regular McDougall Program diet, start with: http://drmcdougall.com/free.html

My subset of the McDougall Program diet is also very low in fat and high in fiber, but even lower in protein (about 35-50 grams/day, depending on how much food I eat). Likewise, my subset diet is starch-centered, but the starches come mostly from roots and gourds rather than grains, beans, peas, and nuts.

My diet now includes only:
- Starchy roots: potatoes, sweet potatoes, yams, and rutabagas.
- Gourds: pumpkin and other winter (hard-shelled) squashes.
- Fruits: berries, apples, bananas, melons, olives, and so forth.
- Vegetables (carrots, cauliflower, etc.), including leaves (such as collard, kale, mustard greens, basil [flavoring], tarragon [flavoring], parsley; roots (such as ginger [flavoring], turnips, etc.); and stems (such as celery); but avoiding concentrated seeds (pepper, celery, curry mix, etc.).

My diet now excludes:
- All animal products -- such as beef, poultry, seafood, and dairy.
- All plant foods made from seeds -- such as grains of all types (rice, corn, oats, wheat, quinoa, etc.), nuts, beans, and peas.

In general terms, and summarizing, my diet consists of fruits, vegetables, and starchy roots.

The one nutrient missing from my diet is Vitamin B12. I take a daily B12 supplement (about 50 micrograms, never mega doses). Formerly I took, every few days, a "one-a-day" multi-vitamin, multi-mineral supplement (with standard Recommended Daily Allowance amounts of each vitamin and mineral, not mega doses).

Burgess Laughlin
Author of The Power and the Glory: The Key Ideas and Crusading Lives of Eight Debaters of Reason vs. Faith, www.reasonversusmysticism.com/

P. S. -- For a continually updated look at my most recent diet details: http://anti-itisdiet.blogspot.com/2010/07/what-do-i-eat.html


I am a layman, not a physician or a scientist. The therapy I am describing in these posts helped me. I don't know whether it will work for anyone else. I don't fully understand even why it worked for me.

Below (and continually updated) are the -itis (Greek for "inflammation") and other problems I have experienced, and their year of first appearance (as well as I can remember):
- Bronchitis (c. 1957, age 13), many episodes until about age 25.
- Pneumothoraces, cause unknown (18 episodes, c. 1962-2009).
- Dermatitis: eczema, rosacea, and/or seborrhea (c. 1962); and subcutaneous acne (c. 2000).
- Pollen allergy in spring, early summer (c. 1970), gone about two years after starting anti-itis diet.
- Heart disease (clogged arteries) symptoms (c. 1972 - 1974, ended by very low-fat, omnivorous but mostly whole plant-food, Pritikin diet).
- Iritis and conjunctivitis (c. 1974), gone about five years after starting anti-itis diet.
- Tendonitis (c. 1989), gone about a year after starting anti-itis diet and doing daily posture exercises.
- Bursitis (c. 1994), gone about a year after starting anti-itis diet and doing daily posture exercises.
- Tachycardia and arrhythmia, cause unknown, in four episodes: (1) c. Dec. 1997, age 53, stopped chemically in ER; (2) with atrial fibrillation, Dec. 2010, age 66, stopped with e-cardioversion; (3) with afib, March 2012, age 67, stopped spontaneously in July; (4) with atrial flutter, March 2013, age 68, stopped spontaneously after 9 months (3 months after starting Vitamin D3).
- Emphysema discovered (1995), but probably started 25 years earlier (smoking).
- Gout-like pains in right foot (1997), gone a year after starting anti-itis diet.
- Gum inflammation (1997), gone several years after starting anti-itis diet.
- Arthritis (c. 1998), gone about a year after starting anti-itis diet and doing daily posture exercises.
- Acid reflux (c. 1998), gone a few months after starting anti-itis diet.
- Colitis (c. 1999), gone a month after starting anti-itis diet.
[Began an evolving anti-itis diet, c. 2002]
- Hemoptysis (June 2014), probably caused by coughing (from mild spring allergy symptoms) that ruptured an artery in my left lung, the one most damaged by emphysema.

Some of the -itis problems were episodic (for example, the iritis appeared every year or two in one eye or the other). Some were continuous (for example, the dermatitis). As the years passed, the problems accumulated in number and intensity. By the year 2000, I felt like I was living in a nightmare of -itis problems. In that year, I had arthritis, bursitis, colitis, dermatitis, iritis, and tendonitis. I was shopping for a wheelchair and trying to decide whether to buy a manual or an electric model.

Two physicians (out of five I consulted) have identified most of the symptoms as fitting a leaky-gut syndrome. Apparently the speculation is that holes in the intestine (perhaps caused by antibiotics taken when I was 18, following my first lung surgery) allow substances to leak into the blood stream; the immune system reacts to those substances as if they were viruses; and, while the immune system tries to kill the supposed "viruses," it also inflames various tissues and organs (skin, eyes, tendons, muscles, joints, and colon).

Burgess Laughlin
Author of The Power and the Glory: The Key Ideas and Crusading Lives of Eight Debaters of Reason vs. Faith, www.reasonversusmysticism.com/