2007 | American Journal of Clinical Dermatology
Infantile Scurvy: An Old Diagnosis Revisited with a Modern Dietary Twist | Cynthia J. Burk and Rona Molodow| Download as.pdf
This paper describes the case of 2-year child admitted to hospital suffering from scurvy as a result of her parents feeding her with a baby formula which L Ron Hubbard claimed to have discovered in a previous life as a citizen of Ancient Rome. He further claimed that this formula was superior to both modern breast and formula milk.The details are available in part one of this series.
Scurvy is a debilitating disease with serious consequences for general health. Left untreated, it will kill. It was the plague of Sailors on long voyages (during which fresh fruit were impossible to obtain) until 1747, when James Lind, a surgeon in the Royal Navy, discovered that it could be prevented if the men regularly drank the preserved juice of citrus fruits. Later, it was discovered that Vitamin C deficiency was the cause of Scurvy.
The two doctors who wrote this paper summarise:
A previously health 2-year-old Caucasian girl presented with refusal to walk secondary to pain in her lower extremities progressing over 1 week. The parents denied any frank trauma, but did report excessive bruising of her lower extremities. The girl’s parents also noticed an increase in irritability sleep disturbance and malaise.
In other words, the doctors were seeing a two-year-old girl who was suffering joint pain which eventually became so bad that she could not walk. She had also developed bruises on her legs, despite not having hurt herself, was listless, could not sleep and easily upset.
[…] described feeding the patient an organic diet since birth, as recommended by the Church of Scientology, that included a boiled mixture of organic whole milk, barley and corn syrup, devoid of fruit and vegetables. Over the previous 7 months, they had specifically noticed refusal of other foods except the 24-36 oz of barley mixture daily.
The doctors manipulated the little girl’s legs, to test if she had a full range of movement. They did, but the manipulation caused her “much distress”. The fact that her legs were so tender, that she assumed the ‘frog-legged position’, suggested a diagnosis of Scurvy due to insufficient vitamin C in her diet. The use of Hubbard’s formula (which is deficient in not only vitamin C, but also vitamin A and iron) virtually confirmed it.
Without vitamin C, the body cannot make collagen. Collagen is a type of protein is found in many different types of tissue, such as skin, blood vessels, bones and cartilage (which covers the surface of joints). This deficiency explained her inability to walk, and her other symptoms:
- The pain in her legs was caused by the fact that the cartilage covering (and protecting) the surface of the bones in her joints was naturally wearing away – but was not being replaced. This explains why her pain developed gradually over the course of a week. Eventually, she was experiencing the pain of Osteoarthritis at the age of two. This was confirmed by X-ray images (above left).
- The bruising and red spots on her skin were due to the breakdown of tissue in her blood vessels. These also require their collagen content to be constantly renewed. Without this renewal, they were leaking blood into the skin (the doctors noted this as multiple scattered ecchymoses and perifollicular hemorrhage of the lower extremities).
- Her gums were tender and shrinking back, and her teeth were loose – once again due to the lack of replacement of collagen.
- She had abnormally dry skin (xerosis)
- The hair in her scalp was ‘corkscrewing’ – that is, there was pinpoint bleeding from the hair follicles.
The doctors also noted that,
Because the boiled barley mixture was so high in calories, the patient was not hungry for other essential foods; however, she occasionally ate white bread and cheddar cheese.
In other words, Hubbard’s baby formula was not only deficient in essential vitamins, but also too high in calories, so that the child did not eat other foods that might have provided the required vitamins. Her tender gums and loose teeth provided another disincentive to take solid foods. Feeding her more of Hubbard’s formula as she refused other foods would make her condition worse.
Once the diagnosis was made, the treatment was straightforward:
The patient showed dramatic improvement after only 3 days of treatment with oral ascorbic acid [aka vitamin C], iron and significant dietary modification. Her irritability decreased significantly, and she was walking without complaints of pain and was more playful.
The parents proved more difficult to treat.
After much discussion with a team of physicians, nurses, social workers and nutritionist, the patients parents reluctantly agreed to transition her diet from the barley water mixture to Pediasure® [a propitiatory baby formula], fruit, vegetables, meat, and whole grains. At a follow-up visit 1 month later, the patients ascorbic acid levels had normalized.
That “reluctantly agreed” is remarkable. Their child had became so sick that she had to be taken to a hospital. There, she received treatment that made her better in 3 days, and completely cured her within a month.
Despite the evidence of their own eyes, her own parents were ‘reluctant’ to abandon the advice of 55-year-old advice of L Ron Hubbard which had caused the problem in the first place.
As noted in part one, L Ron Hubbard is the final court of appeal for Scientologists. Quotations from Hubbard’s writings and recorded lectures are used to justify every significant action that they take. As far as they are concerned, if science and modern medicine contradict the writings of L Ron Hubbard, then science and medicine are wrong. This prejudice is evidently difficult to overcome.
This will be demonstrated in part three of this series (coming next) with case histories of five children admitted to a Los Angeles hospital. They were all suffering from malnutrition a a result of being fed Hubbard’s formula. One baby boy even had to re-admitted when he became ill again because his parents had resumed feeding him the barley water mixture after he was returned to their care.