Historical Events

Dr Wainwright writes about the efficacy of an exclusive red meat diet for helping children who are passing uric acid crystals.

Reply: THE VALUE OF AN EXCLUSIVE RED MEAT DIET IN CERTAIN CASES OF CHRONIC GOUT.

THE VALUE OF AN EXCLUSIVE RED MEAT DIET IN CERTAIN CASES OF CHRONIC GOUT."
To the -Editors of THE LANCET.


SIRS,-Mr. William Armstrong’s paper under this heading in The Lancet of July 3rd has shown the good that can be done by sometimes using what on the face of it appears to be a theoretically wrong diet. Reasoning as the writer does on the subject of auto-intoxication the diet has much in its favour; its results are good in his practice.


Speaking of children in whom the uric acid diathesis is sometimes very marked, I will give a case in my own practice which supports the assimilation theory. A child at two days old passed a quantity of red urine which alarmed the nurse, so much so that she saved me a specimen which on being tested was found to contain pure uric acid crystals. This urine was constantly being passed by the child, who screamed a great deal, had flatulence and sickness, and seemed very miserable altogether. The mother's milk was rich in cream, but turned acid rapidly. Careful dieting of the mother had no effect on the child for good. I found eventually that no milks would agree, so I abandoned milk and put the child on mutton juice. This agreed perfectly, the crying and sickness ceased, the general aspect of the child changed for the better, and the uric acid ceased to be marked after twenty-four hours of mutton-juice feeding. I gradually brought the feeding back to a sterilised cream mixture; the child is now well and taking food without difficulty. Curiously enough the family history of this infant reads like a list of Spa patients--viz., paternal grandmother has rheumatoid arthritis; the father has passed quantities of uric acid calculi; the mother has what Sir Willoughby Wade would call gouty neuritis accompanied by acid dyspepsia.


When Dr. Eustace Smith introduced meat-juice feeding he saw the wonderful way in which the albumin was assimilated, and I am quit econvinced that it is in cases of uric acid diathesis that milk-mixed carbohydrate-diets often disagree. Beef-tea I never give to children, as I only see harm from its use. In several other cases of children unable to digest milk well I have noted uric acid, but the family history is not so marked. When one considers that sugar, which is almost harmless in itself, can (as Sir Dyce Duckwork has pointed out) by setting up fermentation produce flatulence and acidity, it is obvious that carbohydrates may retard stomach digestion by acting as diluents alone, as well as by improperly fermenting and throwing the whole digestive tract out of gear by sending into the duedenum a fermenting mass, the toxins of which are absorbed--veritable taskmasters to an overworked system. Sir William Roberts has called attention to the value of mixed diets, and they certainly are more comfortable than the single red meat and water or vegetarian; but in the special cases mentioned by Mr. Armstrong the microbes must be mastered. 


I am, Sirs, yours faithfully,


Lennox Wainwright, M.D. Brux., &c. 


Folkestone, July 19th, 1897

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