I’ve just been reading a good old British national treasure: the Radio Times, which got me thinking about the paleo diet and Alzheimer’s. In it, there’s an interview with another national treasure – Sir Terry Pratchett, author of the wonderful Discworld fantasy novels.
It’s a point-of-view piece, in which Sir Terry outlines a typical morning:
Then into the bathroom, shower, trim moustache, and sort out the morning pills, mostly concerned with blood pressure, now quite under control. Of the other three, one copes with the occasional bout of sciatica and the other two stand between me and the inexorable progress of Alzheimer’s. And since I am a man in his 60s, some of the mental space at this time of day is directing venom against the drug companies that hermetically package their wares in plastic and metal laminations, which require weightlifter strengths and a safety net to disgorge them, instead of the little pillboxes that everybody could open without resorting to scissors. I discuss plans fro the day with my wife, then attack The Times while finishing a bowl of muesli that, I am assured must be doing me some good. Then out to feed the chickens and other creatures on a beautiful late autumn day.
It doesn’t take much to see why his books sell so well, does it? Terry Pratchett is a great writer, and his ongoing public battle against Alzheimer’s is well documented and widely recognised. Perhaps it’s true to say that he has done more than most to bring the implications of this terrible disease into wider debate, not least in relation to euthanasia, and the thorny issue of an individual choosing when and how to die.
As I read, I couldn’t help but ask myself some questions: “I wonder if he has heard of the paleo diet?”; “Has he considered the role it could play in preventing – and also combating – Alzheimer’s disease?”; “Who assured him that muesli would do him good, and are they aware of the detrimental effect that eating grains can have on brain health?” And finally – “does he eat those chickens, and their wonderful eggs?”
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