Chapter 21

Practical application of primitive wisdom

IF THE observations and deductions presented in the foregoing chapters are exerting as controlling an influence on individual and national character as seems to be indicated, the problem of the outlook for our modern civilization is changed in many important aspects. One of the most urgent changes in our viewpoint should be to look upon the assortment of physical, mental and moral distortions as due, in considerable part, to nutritional disturbances in one or both parents which modify the development of the child, rather than to accepted factors in the inheritance. The evidence indicates that these parental disturbances of nutritional origin may affect the germ plasm, thus modifying the architecture, or may prevent the mother from building a complete fetal structure, including the brain. In other words, these data indicate that instead of dealing entirely with hereditary factors, we are dealing in part with distortions due to inhibitions of normal hereditary processes. This changes the prospects for the offspring of succeeding generations. Atavism will still have plenty to her credit even if she must give up her claim to distortions of individual characteristics.

    Jacobson (1) has summarized the determining factors in individuality and personality when he says "The Jekyll-Hydes of our common life are ethnic hybrids." Most current interpretations are fatalistic and leave practically no escape from our succession of modern physical, mental and moral cripples. Jacobson says of our modern young people:

    Very much of the strange behavior of our young people to-day is simply due to their lack of ethnical anchorage; they are bewildered hybrids, unable to believe sincerely in anything, and disowned by their own ancestral manes. To turn these neurotic hybrids loose in the world by the million, with no background, no heritage, no code, is as bad as imposing illegitimacy; their behavior, instead of expressing easily, naturally and spontaneously a long-used credo, will be determined by fears and senseless taboos. How can character be built upon such foundations? There is a ludicrous as well as a pathetic side to the situation presented by a Greek puzzled by his predominantly German children, or by the German woman unable to understand her predominantly Spanish progeny. It is a foolish case over again of hen hatching ducklings, of wolf fostering foundlings.

   If our modern degeneration were largely the result of incompatible racial stocks as indicated by these premises, the outlook would be gloomy in the extreme. Those who find themselves depressed by this current interpretation of controlling forces would do well to recall the experiments on pigs referred to in Chapters 17 and 18, in which a large colony all born blind and maimed because of maternal nutritional deficiency--from deficient vitamin A--were able to beget offspring with normal eyes and normal bodies when they themselves had normal nutrition.

    Much emphasis has been placed on the incompatibility of certain racial bloods. According to Jacobson, (1)

   Aside from the effects of environment, it may safely be assumed that when two strains of blood will not mix well a kind of "molecular insult" occurs which the biologists may some day be able to detect beforehand, just as blood is now tested and matched for transfusion.

    It is fortunate that there is a new explanation for the distressing old doctrine which holds that geniuses cannot be born unless there is an abundant crop of defectives. In this connection Jacobson says,

   The genius tends to be a product of mixed ethnic and nervously peculiar stock--stock so peculiar that it exhibits an unusual amount of badness. The human family pays dearly for its geniuses. Just as nature in general is prodigal in wasting individuals for the development of a type, or species, so do we here find much human wastage apparently for a similar purpose. One may think of the insane and the defectives as so many individuals wasted in order that a few geniuses may be developed. It would seem' that in order to produce one genius there must be battalions of criminals, weaklings and lunatics. Nietzsche must have had biologic implications of this sort in mind when he spoke of the masses as merely "fertilizers" for the genius. This is why the genius has been compared to the lily on the dunghill. He absorbs all the energy of his family group, leaving the fertilizing mass depleted.

    Our recent data on the primitive races indicate that this theory is not true, since in a single generation various types and degrees of physical, mental or moral crippling may occur in spite of their purity of blood and all that inheritance could accomplish as a reinforcement through the ages.

    The extent to which the general public has taken for granted that there is a direct relationship between mental excellence and mental deficiency is illustrated by the commonly heard expression "great wits and fools are near akin" which expresses tersely the attitude of a modern school of psychiatry. This doctrine is not supported by controlled data from scientifically organized investigations. One of the principal exponents quoted is Maudsley who stated "it is not exaggeration to say that there is hardly ever a man of genius who has not insanity or nervous disorder of some form in his family." Many reviews of the lives of great men have been published in support of this doctrine. Havelock Ellis, however, one of the leading psychologists and psychiatrists of our day, has shown that the percentage of cases substantiating this doctrine is less than 2 per cent and less than half that proportion found in the population at large, which in a tested group he found to be 4.2 per cent. East of Harvard in discussing this problem states, after reviewing the evidence pro and con: "Thus it is seen that where one collates the work of the most competent investigators on the possibility of relation between insanity and genius the conclusion is unavoidable that none exists."

   Those who still believe in the old fatalistic doctrines may answer the questions why the last child is affected seriously much more often than would be expected through chance; or why the most severe defectives are born after mothers have exceeded forty years of age; and still further why our defectives are found chiefly among the later members of large families. These facts are not explainable by Mendel's laws of heredity.

    Professor J. C. Brash, of the University of Birmingham, in his monograph (2) discusses the current theories in detail. He emphasizes the role of heredity as the controlling factor in the origin of divergencies. However, all of the distortions of the face and jaws which he presents as being related to heredity can be duplicated, as I have shown, in the disturbances appearing in the first and second generation after primitive racial stocks have adopted the foods of our modern civilizations in displacement of their native foods. He emphasizes the importance of an adequate diet during the growth period of the child, and also the fact that malocclusion is not a direct manifestation of rickets. Hellman has emphasized the importance of childhood diseases. The disturbances which we are studying here, however, are not related to these influences.

    Two of the outstanding advances in laboratory and clinical approach to this problem of the relation of the structure of the brain to its function as expressed in mentality and behavior have been the work of Tredgold in England, referred to in Chapter 19, and the "Waverly Researches in the Pathology of the Feeble-Minded," in Massachusetts. Tredgold recognizes two sources of brain injury, "germinal blight" and ''arrest'' and puts particular stress on the former as being pathological and not spontaneous, and related to the germ of either or both parents due to poisoning of the germ cell. The "arrest" problems have to do with intra-uterine environmental disturbances.

    The Waverly group have made very detailed anatomical studies, both gross and microscopic, of brains of mental defectives and related these data to the clinical characteristics of the individuals both mental and physical when living. They have reported in detail two groups of studies of ten individuals each. In their summary of the second group they state: (3)

  The provisional conclusions drawn from the second series and the combined first and second series are much in agreement with the original conclusions drawn from the first series which were as follows: First that measurable brain can be correlated with testable mind in the low and high orders with fairly positive results. That is the small simple brains represented the low intellects or idiots and the most complex brain patterns corresponded to the high grade, moronic and subnormal types of feeble-mindedness.

    The lessons from the primitive races demonstrate certain procedures that should be adopted for checking the progressive degeneration of our modernized cultures. If, as now seems indicated, mal-development with its production of physical, mental and moral cripples is the result of forces that could have been reduced or prevented, by what program shall we proceed to accomplish this reduction or prevention?

   I have presumed in this discussion that the primitive races are able to provide us with valuable information. In the first place, the primitive peoples have carried out programs that will produce physically excellent babies. This they have achieved by a system of carefully planned nutritional programs for mothers-to-be. It is important to note that they begin this process of special feeding long before conception takes place, not leaving it, as is so generally done until after the mother-to-be knows she is pregnant. In some instances special foods are given the fathers-to-be, as well as the mothers-to-be. Those groups of primitive racial stocks who live by the sea and have access to animal life from the sea, have depended largely upon certain types of animal life and animal products. Specifically, the Eskimos, the people of the South Sea Islands, the residents of the islands north of Australia, the Gaelics in the Outer Hebrides, and the coastal Peruvian Indians have depended upon these products for their reinforcement. Fish eggs have been used as part of this program in all of these groups. The cattle tribes of Africa, the Swiss in isolated high Alpine valleys, and the tribes living in the higher altitudes of Asia, including northern India, have depended upon a very high quality of dairy products. Among the primitive Masai in certain districts of Africa, the girls were required to wait for marriage until the time of the year when the cows were on the rapidly growing young grass and to use the milk from these cows for a certain number of months before they could be married. In several agricultural tribes in Africa the girls were fed on special foods for six months before marriage. The need for this type of program is abundantly borne out by recent experimental work on animals, such as I have reported in Chapters 17, 18 and 19.

    Another important feature of the control of excellence of child life among the primitive races has been the systematic spacing of children by control of pregnancies. The interval between children ranged from two and a half to four years. For most of the tribes in Africa this was accomplished by the plural-wife system. The wife with the youngest child was protected.

    The original Maori culture of New Zealand accomplished the same end by birth control and definite planning. In one of the Fiji Island tribes the minimum spacing was four years.

    These practices are in strong contrast with either the haphazard, entirely unorganized programs of individuals in much of our modern civilization, or the organized over-crowding of pregnancies also current. The question arises immediately: what can be done in the light of the data that I have presented in this volume to improve the condition of our modern civilization? A first requisite and perhaps by far the most important is that of providing information indicating why our present haphazard or over-crowded programs of pregnancies are entirely inadequate. This should include, particularly, the education of the highschool-age groups, both girls and boys.

    In the matter of instruction of boys and girls it is of interest that several of the primitive races have very definite programs. In some, childbirth clinics supervised by the midwife are held for the growing girls. With several of these tribes, however, the ease with which childbirth is accomplished is so great that it is looked upon as quite an insignificant experience. Among the ancient Peruvians, particularly the Chimu culture, definite programs were carried out for teaching the various procedures in industry, home-building and home management. This was accomplished by reproducing in pottery form, as on practical water jugs, the various incidents to be demonstrated. The matter of childbirth was reproduced in detail in pottery form so that it was common knowledge for all young people from earliest observation to the time the practical problems arose. Many of the problems related directly were similarly illustrated in pottery forms.

    It is not sufficient that information shall be available through maternal health clinics to young married couples. If pigs need several months of special feeding in order that the mothers-to-be may be prepared for adequate carrying forward of all of the inheritance factors in a high state of perfection, surely human mothers-to-be deserve as much consideration. It is shown that it is not adequate that sufficient vitamin A be present to give the appearance of good health. If highly efficient reproduction is to be accomplished there must be a greater quantity than this. There is no good reason why we, with our modern system of transportation, cannot provide an adequate quantity of the special foods for preparing women for pregnancy quite as efficiently as the primitive races who often had to go long distances without other transportation than human carriers.

    The primitive care of a newborn infant has been a matter of severe criticism by modernists especially those who have gone among them to enlighten them in modern ways of child rearing. It is common practice among many primitive tribes to wrap the newborn infant in an absorbent moss, which is changed daily. A newborn infant, however, does not begin having regular all over baths for a few weeks after birth. While this method is orthodox among the primitives it is greatly deplored as a grossly cruel and ignoble treatment by most moderns. Dr. William Forest Patrick of Portland, Oregon was deeply concerned over the regularly occurring rash that develops on newborn infants shortly after they are first washed and groomed. He had a suspicion that Nature had a way of taking care of this. In 1931 he left the original oily varnish on several babies for two weeks without the ordinary washing and greasing. He found them completely free from the skin irritation and infection which accompanies modern treatment. This method was adopted by the Multanomah County Hospital of Oregon which now reports that in 1,916 cases of unwashed, unanointed babies only two cases of pyodermia occurred. They record that each day the clothing was changed and buttocks washed with warm water. Beyond this the infants were not handled. Dr. Patrick states that within twelve hours after birth by Nature's method the infant's skin is clear, and Nature's protective film has entirely disappeared. In my observations of the infant's care among primitive races I have been continually impressed with the great infrequency with which we ever hear a primitive child cry or express any discomfort from the treatment it receives. Of course, when hungry they make their wants known. The primitive mother is usually very prompt, if possible, to feed her child.

    Among the important applications that can be made of the wisdom of the primitive races is one related to methods for the prevention of those physical defects which occur in the formative period and which result in physical, mental and moral crippling. When I visited the native Fijian Museum at Suva, I found the director well-informed with regard to the practices of the natives in the matter of producing healthy normal children. He provided me with a shell of a species of spider crab which the natives use for feeding the mothers so that the children will be physically excellent and bright mentally, clearly indicating that they were conscious that the mother's food influenced both the physical and mental capacity of the child. The care with which expectant mothers were treated was unique in many of the Pacific Islands. For example, in one group we were informed that the mother told the chief immediately when she became pregnant. The chief called a feast in celebration and in honor of the new member that would come to join their colony. At this feast the members of the colony pledged themselves to adopt the child if its own parents should die. At this feast the chief appointed one or two young men to be responsible for going to the sea from day to day to secure the special sea foods that expectant mothers need to nourish the child. Recent studies on the vitamin content of crabs have shown that they are among the richest sources available. We have then for modern mothers the message from these primitives to use the sea foods liberally, both during the preparatory period in anticipation of pregnancy and during that entire period. In Fig. 129 will be seen a woman of one of the Fiji Islands who had gone several miles to the sea to get this particular type of lobster-crab which she believed, and which her tribal custom had demonstrated, was particularly efficient for producing a highly perfect infant.

FIG. 129. This Fiji woman has come a long distance to gather special foods needed for the production of a healthy child. These and many primitive people have understood the necessity for special foods before marriage, during gestation, during the nursing period and for rebuilding before the next pregnancy.

    For the Indians of the far North this reinforcement was accomplished by supplying special feedings of organs of animals. Among the Indians in the moose country near the Arctic circle a larger percentage of the children were born in June than in any other month. This was accomplished, I was told, by both parents eating liberally of the thyroid glands of the male moose as they came down from the high mountain areas for the mating season, at which time the large protuberances carrying the thyroids under the throat were greatly enlarged.

    Among the Eskimos I found fish eggs were eaten by the childbearing women, and the milt of the male salmon by the fathers for the purpose of reinforcing reproductive efficiency.

    The coastal Indians in Peru ate the so-called angelote egg, an organ of the male fish of an ovoviviparous species. These organs were used by the fathers-to-be and the fish eggs by the mothers-to-be.

    In Africa I found many tribes gathering certain plants from swamps and marshes and streams, particularly the water hyacinth. These plants were dried and burned for their ashes which were put into the foods of mothers and growing children. A species of water hyacinth is shown in Fig. 130. The woman shown in Fig. 130, with an enormous goiter, had come down from a nine-thousand-foot level in the mountains above Lake Edward. Here all the drinking water was snow water which did not carry iodine. She had come down from the high area to the sixthousand-foot level to gather the water hyacinth and other plants to obtain the ashes from these and other iodine carrying plants to carry back to her children to prevent, as she explained, the formation of "big neck," such as she had. The people living at the six-thousand-foot level also use the ashes of these plants.

FIG. 130. This African woman with goiter has come down from the 9000 foot level in the mountains in Belgian Congo near the source of the Nile to a 6000 foot level to gather special plants for burning to carry the ashes up to her family to prevent goiter in her children. Right, a Nile plant, a water hyacinth burned for its ashes.

    Among many of the tribes in Africa there were not only special nutritional programs for the women before pregnancy, but also during the gestation period, and again during the nursing period.

    As an illustration of the remarkable wisdom of these primitive tribes, I found them using for the nursing period two cereals with unusual properties. One, was a red millet which was not only high in carotin but had a calcium content of five to ten times that of most other cereals. They used also for nursing mothers in several tribes in Africa, a cereal called by them linga-linga. This proved to be the same cereal under the name of quinua that the Indians of Peru use liberally, particularly the nursing mothers. The botanical name is quinoa. This cereal has the remarkable property of being not only rich in minerals, but a powerful stimulant to the flow of milk. I have found no record of the use of similar cereals among either the English or American peoples. In Chapter 14, I presented data indicating that the Peruvians, who were descendants of the old Chimu culture on the coast of Peru, used fish eggs liberally during the developmental period of girls in order that they might perfect their physical preparation for the later responsibility of motherhood. These fish eggs were an important part of the nutrition of the women during their reproductive period. They were available both at the coast market of Peru and as dried fish eggs in the highland markets, whence they were obtained by the women in the high Sierras to reinforce their fertility and efficiency for childbearing. A chemical analysis of the dried fish eggs that I brought to my laboratory from Alaska as well as of samples brought from other places has revealed them to be a very rich source of body-building minerals and vitamins. Here again, I have found no record of their use in our modern civilization for reinforcing physical development and maternal efficiency for reproduction. As I have noted in Chapter 15 special nutrition was provided for the fathers by tribes in the Amazon jungle, as well as by the coastal tribes.

    Professor Drummond, a British bio-chemist, in discussing the question of the modern decline in fertility, before the Royal Society of Medicine (4) suggested that the decline in the birth rate in European countries, during the last fifty years, was due, largely, to the change in national diets which resulted from the removal of vitamins B and E from grains when the embryo or germ was removed in the milling process. He called attention to the fact that the decline in the birth rate corresponded directly with the time when the change was made in the milling process so that refined flour was made available instead of the entire grain product.

    Of the many problems on which the experience of the primitive races can throw light, probably none is more pressing than practical procedures for improving child life. Since this has been shown to be largely dependent upon the architectural design, as determined by the health of the parental germ cells and by the prenatal environment of the child, the program that is to be successful must begin early enough to obviate these various disturbing forces. The normal determining factors that are of hereditary origin may be interrupted in a given generation but need not become fixed characteristics in the future generations. This question of parental nutrition, accordingly, constitutes a fundamental determining factor in the health and physical perfection of the offspring.

    One of the frequent problems brought to my attention has to do with the responsibility of young men and women in the matter of the danger of transmitting their personal deformities to their offspring. Many, indeed, with great reluctance and sense of personal loss decline marriage because of this fear, a fear growing out of the current teaching that their children will be marked as they have been.

    On the presumption that all mentally crippled individuals will be in danger of transmitting these qualities to their offspring there is a strong movement continually in operation toward segregating such individuals or incapacitating them by sterilization. Several primitive racial stocks have produced large populations without criminals and defectives by means of an adequate nutritional program which provided normal development and function. May it not be that even our defectives, when they have resulted from poisoning of germ cells or interference with an adequate normal intrauterine environment, may be able to build a society with a high incidence of perfection, that will progressively return toward Nature's ideal of human beings with normal physical, mental and moral qualities? Because of its interpretation of the individual's responsibility for his mental and moral qualities, society has not only undertaken to protect itself from the acts of so-called unsocial individuals but has proceeded to treat them as though they were responsible for the injury that society has done to them. Does it not seem inevitable that this apparently false attitude will change if it be demonstrated that they are the result of a program of inadequate nutrition for the parents.

    As we have seen, the children born in many of the families of primitive racial stocks after the parents have adopted our modernized dietary, may have marked changes in the facial and dental arch forms. In our modernized white civilization this change occurs so frequently that in a considerable percentage of the families there is seen a progressive narrowing of the dental arches in the succeeding children of the same family. Since the position of the permanent teeth which erupt at from seven to twelve years of age, can be determined by x-rays early in child life, this procedure provides an opportunity to anticipate deformities that will make their appearance with the eruption of the permanent teeth.

    In Fig. 131, may be seen the x-rays of the upper arches of three children. Even under conditions causing the permanent teeth to develop irregularly the deciduous dental arch will not show the deformity that will be expressed later in the permanent dental arch. The abnormal placement of the developing permanent teeth, however, will show the deformity that is later to be produced in the face even though the deciduous arch is normal in design. Both deciduous and permanent teeth can be seen at the same time. In Fig. 131 it will be seen that there is a progressive deformity revealed in the position of the permanent teeth in these three children. (Most severe in the youngest.) This narrowing of the curve made by the permanent teeth is a condition characteristic of a large number of individuals, occurring in at least 25 per cent of the families throughout the United States; in some districts the percentage will reach 50 to 75 per cent.

FIG. 131. X-rays of teeth of three children in one family show in the teeth and upper arch a progressive injury in the younger children as indicated by the progressive narrowing of the placement of the tooth buds of the upper permanent teeth. Note the narrowing curve of the arch.

    Another striking illustration of this progressive injury in the younger members of the family, detected early by the x-rays, is shown in Fig. 132. Note the breadth of the arch of the permanent teeth of the oldest child (to the left), and the marked narrowing of the arch of the two younger children (to the right).

FIG. 132. These x-rays illustrate the progressive injury in the two younger children in this family. Note the progressive narrowing of the permanent arch illustrated by the lapping of the laterals over the centrals in the youngest, and decreasing distance between the cuspids.

    While the application of orthodontic procedures for the improve- ment of the facial form and arrangement of the teeth will make a vast improvement in facial expression, that procedure will not modify disturbances in other parts of the body, such as the abnormal underdevelopment of the hips and pelvic bones. If an improvement in nutrition for the mothers-to-be is adequately provided in accordance with the procedures of the primitives, it should be possible to prevent this progressive lowering of the capacity of our modern women to produce physically fit children.

    Fig. 133 is another illustration. The oldest child, ten years of age, is shown at the upper left. She has a marked underdevelopment of the width of the face and dental arches. The nostrils are abnormally narrow and she tends to be a mouth breather. She is very nervous and is becoming stooped. In the lower left photograph, is shown an x-ray of the narrowed upper arch. At the right is shown her younger sister, six years of age. It will be seen that the proportions of her face are much more normal and that she breathes with complete ease through her nose. She has none of the nervous trouble of her older sister. In the x-rays, below, at the right, it will be seen that her permanent arch, as indicated by the positions of the permanent teeth, although not so far advanced as that of her sister, has good design. The history of these pregnancies is of interest. The duration of labor for the first child was fifty-three hours and for the second three hours. Following the birth of the first child the mother was a partial invalid for several months. Following that of the second child the experience of childbirth made but slight impression on the strength and health of the mother. During the first pregnancy no special effort was made to reinforce the nutrition of the mother. During the second pregnancy the selection of foods was made on the basis of nutrition of the successful primitives. This included the use of milk, green vegetables, sea foods, organs of animals and the reinforcement of the fat-soluble vitamins by very high vitamin butter and high vitamin natural cod liver oil. It is a usual experience that the difficulties of labor are greatly decreased and the strength and vitality of the child enhanced where the mother has adequately reinforced nutrition along these lines during the formative period of the child.

FIG. 133. In this family the first child to the left was most injured in the formative period as shown in the form of the face and dental arches above and x-rays below. The first child required fifty-three hours of labor and the second three hours, preceded by special nutrition of the mother.

    The problem of maternal responsibility with regard to the physical capacity of their offspring to reproduce a healthy new generation comprises one of the most serious problems confronting modern degenerating society. In a previous chapter I have discussed the difficulty that zoological garden directors have had in rearing members of the cat family in captivity. It has been a very general experience until the modern system of feeding animal organs was instituted, that unless the mothers-to-be had themselves been born in the jungle the lack of development of the pelvic arch would frequently prevent normal birth of their young. In the Cleveland Zoo a very valuable tigress, that had been born in captivity, found it impossible to give birth to her young. Although a Caesarian operation was performed, she lost her life. The young also died. One of the veterinaries told me that the pelvic arch was entirely too small to allow the young to pass through the birth canal. Studies of the facial bones of this animal showed marked abnormality in development.

    The result of disturbance in the growth of the bones of the head and of the development of general body design is quite regularly a narrowing of the entire body, and often there is a definite lengthening. Statistics have been published relative to the increase in the height of girls in colleges during the last few decades. This is probably a bad rather than a good sign as actually it is an expression of this change in the shape of the body. I am informed by gynecologists that narrowing of the pelvic arch is one of the factors that is contributing to the increased difficulties that are encountered in childbirth by our modern generation.

    A typical case illustrating the relationship between the lack of pelvic development and deformity of the face, is presented in Fig. 134. This girl presented a very marked underdevelopment of the lower third of the face which produced the appcarance of protrusion of her upper teeth so that it was quite difficult or impossible for her to cover them with her lips. An operation to improve her appearance consisted in removing the first bicuspid on each side above and then moving the bone carrying the anterior teeth backward with appliances, the width of the two removed teeth. This changed the relationship of the teeth as shown in the two upper views in Fig. 134. The operation greatly improved her facial appearance and she lost the inferiority complex which had prevented her from mingling with young people. When she went to the hospital for her first child, there was special concern because of her weak heart, and every effort was made to obtain a normal birth rather than one by Caesarian section. This proved impossible and the Caesarian operation was done. Great difficulty was experienced in saving the life of the mother and child. Her boyish figure, of which she had been so proud, and which had been a part of her serious deformity, during her formative period had nearly resulted in her undoing. She nursed her baby for some time but the overdraft of reproduction on her frail body was so great that she aged rapidly, her back weakened and she stooped forward as shown in Fig. 134, lower right. In the view at the lower left, it will be seen that the teeth remained in their new position. A point to keep in mind is that her physical deficiency was probably directly caused by an inadequate nutrition of her mother during the intrauterine development and prior to conception. It is, of course, possible that the father also contributed a poisoned germ cell that constituted a disturbance in the architectural design of the offspring. In this connection, it is important to have in mind the tragic influence of a program of deliberate starvation of mothers-to-be in order that the bones of the baby may be soft and thus provide an easy birth. Some literature has been published indicating the foods that would be efficient in accomplishing this. This means almost certain wreckage or handicapping of the child's life.

FIG. 134. This girl suffered with a serious deformity of her face. She also had very contracted pelvic arch. The facial deformity was improved as shown. She nearly lost her life with the birth of her first baby which was removed by Caesarian operation. Note her badly deformed back from the overload of reproduction.

    Information from many sources may suggest that the expectant mother needs more calcium and more vitamin D. She may go to the pharmacy with a prescription or on her own initiative obtain calcium tablets and so-called vitamin D as a synthetic preparation. We are concerned here with data which will throw light on the comparative value of the treatment the modern mother will thus give herself with that that the primitive mother would provide.

    Dr. Wayne Brehm who is associated with two Columbus, Ohio, hospitals has recently published the results (5) of a study of the effect of the treatment received in 540 obstetrical cases divided into six groups of ninety individuals each, on the basis on which their nutrition was reinforced in order to study the comparative effects of the different treatments. The reinforcement of the diet consisted in Group 1 of taking calcium and synthetic vitamin D as viosterol; Group 2, calcium alone; Group 3, viosterol alone; Group 4, calcium and cod liver oil; Group 5, cod liver oil alone and Group 6, no reinforcement. For those receiving the calcium and viosterol there was extensive calcification in the placentae, marked closure of the fontanelle (the normal opening in the top of the infant skull) and marked calcification in the kidneys. For those receiving calcium alone there was no placental calcification, slight closure of the fontanelle and no calcification of the kidneys. Group 3 receiving viosterol had moderate to marked placental calcification, moderate closure of the fontanelle and no calcification of the kidneys. Those receiving cod liver oil alone had very slight placental calcification, slight fontanelle closure and no calcification in the kidneys. Those receiving no reinforcement had very slight placental calcification, normal fontanelle closures and no calcification of the kidneys. The effect on the mother was a prolonging of labor in Group 1 and at birth the fetal heads were less moulded not being able to adjust their shape to the shape of the birth tube. These infants had a general appearance of ossification or postmaturity. This strongly emphasizes the great desirability of using Nature's natural foods instead of modern synthetic substitutes.

    It is a matter of great importance that the most serious disturbances in reproduction and childbirth are occurring in the most civilized parts of the world. In Chapter 19 I have referred to the important work of Dr. Kathleen Vaughan entitled "Safe Childbirth." She has not only had wide experience among several tribes in India and in the British Hospitals but has collected a large quantity of information regarding the experience of many races throughout the world. Her data strongly emphasize the necessity that the growing girl shall be allowed to have an active outdoor life not only until the completion of the building of her body at about fourteen years of age, but through the child-bearing period. In practically all countries a restricted sedentary indoor life greatly increases the complications associated with childbirth. She quotes Whitridge Williams to the effect that: "At the onset of pregnancy the (males) are 125 to 100 (females), and he adds that sex is determined in the germ cells, primarily or immediately after their union, and is immutable by the time segmentation of the ovum begins." Notwithstanding this advantage, prenatal and infant mortality reduces the proportion of boys to a level below that of girls. Dr. Vaughan in her reference to the data on the annual report of the chief medical officer, the Minister of Health, states as follows:

    Our infant mortality returns show that over half the number of infants dying before they are a year old die before they have lived a month (and 6,744 of them before they are twenty-four hours old), strongly suggesting that their vitality was impaired by the process of birth. The figures of those who did not survive one month are 20,060, and of these more than half are males. So we lose over ten thousand boys every year under a month old! (Public Health Report, No. 55, British). Hear what Dr. Peter McKinley has to say on the subject. "The death rate of infants in the period immediately subsequent to birth is nine times as high as that which occurs later in the first years of life." He shows how the difficulty experienced by the mothers during parturition leads to the death of infants at and just after birth, and says in this connection, "Infant deaths under a month are significantly associated with the death rates of mothers in childbearing." He quotes Netherland statistics showing that of stillbirths due to difficulty during birth, male stillbirths predominate, and says, "These figures might be taken in support of the view that the greater size of the male head is a cause of some greater difficulty in labour than there is with a female birth." Here, indeed, in civilized childbirth is the laboratory where the sex of the population is finally determined-the actual births of boys and girls are nearly equal in number, but the small ones slip through; the larger children are the ones who are killed during birth, or so damaged that life is heavily handicapped, and we are left with an enormous surplus female population. This destruction of male infants, which goes on day by day and year by year, puts the consequences of the Great War into the shade. Our surplus female population (now reaching over one and a half million in excess of the male) is directly due to it. We have no need of Pharaoh's midwives to kill our boys off at birth (Exodus i. 16). Civilization does it unaided, for all civilized races as they pass their zenith and are on the downgrade have eventually had to face the same problem, the outnumbering of men by women, and most of them have met it as the East does to-day by female infanticide. A more intelligent policy would be to prevent the males dying at birth. We see that difficult childbirth leads to a high maternal mortality, but it is also the cause of a high infant mortality falling most heavily upon the male infants, and it is also responsible for the production of mental defectives in ever-increasing numbers.

    Dr. Vaughan's work places emphasis on the necessity that the human body be properly built, especially that of the mother-to-be. She shows clearly that the shape of the pelvis is determined by the method of life and the nutrition. In all primitive tribes living an outdoor life childbirth is easy and labor is of short duration. She shows that this is associated with a round pelvis and that the distortion of the pelvis to a flattened or kidney shape, even to a small degree, greatly reduces the capacity and therefore the ease with which the infant head may pass through the birth canal. In Dr. Vaughan's wide experience she has observed two ways by which a rough estimate of the pelvic shape and capacity may be anticipated: first, by the gait of the individual, because the angle of the hips is determined by the shape of the pelvis; and second, by the teeth and jaws. She has recognized an association between facial and dental arch deformities and deformed pelvis.

    During my investigations in eastern Australia I was informed that the birth rate among the whites had declined over a large area and to such an extent that many families had no children and many women could produce only one child. The diets used in that district were very largely refined white-flour products, sugar, polished rice, vegetable fats, canned goods and a limited amount of meat. The alarm regarding the declining birth rate in Australia has recently been a matter of discussion by the New South Wales legislature as indicated by an Associated Press dispatch from Sydney, Australia, dated August 1, 1938: "A 'stork derby' with sweepstakes prizes was proposed in the New South Wales Legislature today to boost Australia's falling birth rate."

  A report just received from the Bureau of Home Economics, Department of Agriculture, Washington, presents figures for the average amount of the various foods used in different income groups in different parts of the United States. These showed that in general about one-third of the income up to $2500 was spent for food per family; further, that the total flour equivalent ranged from 0.39 to 0.50 pound per capita per day. These quantities will furnish about 829 to 1063 calories per day, per capita. It will be seen at once that this provides a large number of the calories required for growing children and sedentary adults per day. With this number of calories derived from refined flour products there is no adequate provision for a normal amount of such body-building materials as minerals and vitamins. These have been removed, largely, in the milling process, and are largely denied to our modern civilization insofar as the cereal foods are concerned. This includes vitamin E, so essential for the functioning of the pituitary gland, the master governor of the body.

    One of the most important lessons we may learn from the primitive cultures is the detail of their procedures for preventing dental caries. Since I have devoted an entire chapter (Chapter 16) to this I will make only a brief comment here. Simply stated, the practical application of the primitive wisdom for accomplishing this would involve returning to the use of natural foods which provide the entire assortment of bodybuilding and repairing food factors. This means the recognition of the fact that all forms of animal life are the product of the food environments that have produced them. Therefore, we cannot distort and rob the foods without serious injury. Nature has put these foods up in packages containing the combinations of minerals and other factors that are essential for nourishing the various organs. Some of the simpler animal forms are able to synthesize in their bodies some of the food elements which we humans also require, but cannot create ourselves. Our modern process of robbing the natural foods for convenience or gain completely thwarts Nature's inviolable program. I have shown how the robbing of the wheat in the making of white flour reduced the minerals and other chemicals in the grains, so as to make them sources of energy without normal body-building and repairing qualities. Our appetites have been distorted so that hunger appeals only for energy with no conscious need for body-building and repairing chemicals.

    A first requisite for the control of tooth decay is to have provided an adequate intake of the body-building and repairing factors by the time the hunger appeal for energy has been satisfied. A sufficient variety of foods must be used to supply the body's demand for those elements which it needs in large quantities, that is, calcium and phosphorus, and the other elements which it needs in smaller quantities, though just as imperatively. One of the serious human deficiencies is the inability to synthesize certain of the activators which include the known vitamins. This makes necessary the reinforcement of the nutrition with definite amounts of special foods to supply these organic catalysts, especially the fat-soluble activators, including the known vitamins, which are particularly difficult to provide in adequate quantities. I have shown that the primitive races studied were dependent upon one of three sources for some of these fat-soluble factors, namely, sea foods, organs of animals or dairy products. These are all of animal origin. I have indicated in Chapter 16 the nutritional programs that have proved in clinical testing adequate for providing the body with nutrition that will not only prevent tooth decay, but check it when it is active. The stress periods of life, namely, active growth in children and motherhood, do not constitute overloads among most of the primitive races because the factor of safety provided by them in the selection of foods is sufficiently high to protect them against all stresses. I have indicated the type of nutrition that is especially needed for these stress periods in our modern civilization. Also, that it is not necessary to adopt the foods of any particular racial stock, but only to make our nutrition adequate in all its nutritive factors to the primitive nutritions. Tooth decay is not only unnecessary, but an indication of our divergence from Nature's fundamental laws of life and health. (See Chapter 16 for primitive menus.) The responsibility of our modern processed foods of commerce as contributing factors in the cause of tooth decay is strikingly demonstrated by the rapid development of tooth decay among the growing children on the Pacific Islands during the time trader ships made calls for dried copra when its price was high for several months. This was paid for in 90 per cent white flour and refined sugar and not over 10 per cent in cloth and clothing. When the price of copra reduced from $400 a ton to $4 a ton, the trader ships stopped calling and tooth decay stopped when the people went back to their native diet. I saw many such individuals with teeth with open cavities in which the tooth decay had ceased to be active.

    In undertaking to make practical application of primitive wisdom to our modern problems, the field is so broad that only a limited number of items may be included. It is important to emphasize the difference between the procedures used in the preparation of boys and girls for life in many of the primitive groups, and in our modern social organization. Few people will realize the remarkable training given the primitive children, with the fathers and mothers as tutors. To illustrate, among the Indians of the far North in Canada near the Arctic Circle, the girls rather than the boys select a companion for life. This is done with the help of her parents. Before a boy is considered worthy of consideration he must demonstrate that he can build the winter cabin, provide the firewood for maintaining the home of the parents, and all of the provisions of wild game, during the trial period of several weeks. After an adequate demonstration of bravery as well as of skill, in which the boy must kill a grizzly bear, he is accepted into the home for a period of trial marriage. The girl has the privilege of making her choice by trial, but when the choice is made there is complete faithfulness on the part of both. Girls are prepared for life's duties by being taught to make clothing, prepare food, care for children and assist in the maintenance of the home. I have seldom, if ever, seen such happy people as these forest Indians of the far North.

    In Chapter 10, in discussing the Australian Aborigines, I have similarly described the preparation of boys for the responsibility of manhood. No modern college graduate has to win his spurs under more exacting examinations and tests than do those boys.

    In Africa several specialties call for special training. The medicine men spend several years under the training of a tutor. Each boy must provide a specified number of cattle per year which are eaten by the group.

    Probably the most indelible impression that is left by my investigations among primitive races, is that which came from examining 1,276 skulls of the people who had been buried hundreds of years ago along the Pacific Coast of Peru and in the high Andean Plateau, without finding a single skull with the typical marked narrowing of the face and dental arches, that afflicts a considerable proportion not only of the residents in modernized districts in Peru, but in most of the United States and many communities of Europe today. I know of no problem so important to our modern civilization as the finding of the reason for this, and the elimination of the cause of error. Perhaps few will recognize the significance of this important point. This may be the reason why the prospect is not encouraging.

    One of the important lessons we should learn from the primitive races is that of the need for maintaining a balance beween soil productivity, plant growth and human babies. Even in a country with so low a fertility as obtains in the greater part of Australia, the Aborigines for a very long period were able to maintain this balance. Their system of birth control was very efficient and exacting.

    A survey made by a committee appointed by the League of Nations indicates the need per capita of approximately one-half acre of land for wheat, two acres for dairy products, and ten acres for beef producing pasture for the supply of meat. When we realize that Ohio has been occupied by our modern civilization for only one hundred fifty years and that it is estimated that during that time approximately half of the topsoil has been lost through water and wind erosion we realize that Nature's accumulated vegetable enrichment has been greatly reduced in this area within a short time from this one source alone. In Chapter 20 I have shown that there is only enough phosphorus in the top seven inches of agricultural land for approximately fifty crops of high-yield wheat or one hundred crops of moderate-yield. Other grains make similar drafts upon the land. I have given data indicating a relationship between progressive soil depletion and progressive increase in heart disease.

    It is apparent that the present and past one or two generations have taken more than their share of the minerals that were available in the soil in most of the United States, and have done so without returning them. Thus, they have handicapped, to a serious extent, the succeeding generations, since it is so difficult to replenish the minerals, and since it is practically impossible to accumulate another layer of topsoil, in less than a period of many hundreds of years. This constitutes, accordingly, one of the serious dilemmas, since human beings are dependent upon soil for their animal and plant foods, for body-building. The minerals are in turn dependent upon the nutritive factors in the soil for establishing their quality. The vitamin and protein content of plants has been shown to be directly related to availability of soil minerals and other nutriments. A program that does not include maintaining this balance between population and soil productivity must inevitably lead to disastrous degeneration. Over-population means strife and wars. The history of the rise and fall of many of the past civilizations has recorded a progressive rise, while civilizations were using the accumulated nutrition in the topsoil, forest, shrubbery and grass, followed by a progressive decline, while the same civilizations were reaping the results of the destruction of these essential ultimate sources of life. Their cycle of rise and degeneration are strikingly duplicated in our present American culture.

    Various therapeutic measures in use today have come to us from primitive peoples. One of the greatest scourges of the world is malaria fever. Everywhere it has been fought successfully with quinine. Indeed, many parts of the world would not have been tenantable for whites without it. Yet few people realize that quinine was the gift of the ancient Peruvian Indians.

    In Chapter 15 I presented data regarding the treatment used by several primitive races for preventing and correcting serious disturbances in the digestive tract. This consisted in the use of clay or aluminum silicate which modern science has learned has the important quality of being able to adsorb and thus collect toxic substances and other products. Important new light is now thrown on the probable role of this substance in the primitive diet and its possible application in our modern problems of sensitization reactions or allergies. In the first volume of my work on "Dental Infections," I presented data relating toxic sensitization reactions to dental infections. These were shown in both animals and human beings. I discussed the relation of these reactions to histamine and emphasized their similarity to the effect produced by inocculation with histamine. An important new chapter has recently. been added to this problem by the work of Dr. C. F. Code for which he has received an award by the American Association for the Advancement of Science. He reported his findings before the Association meeting at Richmond, Virginia, in December, 1938. Dr. Code has apparently discovered that histamine is the actual product responsible for the symptoms of the various allergies. Its excess accumulation in the blood is the actual cause of the symptoms whether expressed as asthma, hay fever or skin eruptions such as produced by pollens, various foods, dust and other sensitizing agents. He has shown that the eosinophils, a type of white blood cell, are the source of excess histamine in the blood. It is accordingly indicated that the primitive treatment by the use of kaolin, aluminum silicate, as an adsorbent was used directly for controlling such symptoms. It is now further indicated that this treatment can be helpful for the prevention of modern allergies. Previous investigations have shown that histamine is produced in the alimentary tract as a putrefaction product of proteins by the action of certain micro-organisms of the colon group.

    Modern science boasts the discovery of vitamin C, lack of which took its toll of thousands of the white mariners through hundreds of years with scurvy. The first recorded cure of that disease was made by the Indians in Canada when the British soldiers were dying in large numbers. The Indians taught them to use a tea made from the steeped tips of the shoots of the spruce. When I was among the Indians of the far north I asked a chief why the Indians did not get scurvy. He then proceeded, as I have related in Chapter 15, to explain to me how the Indians prevented scurvy by the use of special organs in the animals. While it is true that we have come to associate the absence of vitamin C as the causative factor in scurvy, we do not know how many other affections may be due to its absence in adequate quantity in our foods. Almost weekly, new diseases are being associated with vitamin deficiencies in our modern dietaries.

   One of our modern tendencies is to select the foods we like, particularly those that satisfy our hunger without our having to eat much, and, another is to think in terms of the few known vitamins and their effects. The primitive tendency seems to have been to provide an adequate factor of safety for all emergencies by the selection of a sufficient variety and quantity of the various natural foods to prevent entirely most of our modern affections. Their success demonstrates that their program is superior to ours. An important advance in modern international relationships provides for exchange of professorships and, thus, interchanges of wisdom. We have shown a most laudable and sympathetic interest in carrying our culture to the remnants of these primitive races. Would it not be fortunate to accept in exchange lessons from their inherited knowledge? It may be not only our greatest opportunity, but our best hope for stemming the tide of our progressive breakdown and also for our return to harmony with Nature's laws, since life in its fullness is Nature obeyed.

    As I have sojourned among members of primitive racial stocks in several parts of the world, I have been deeply impressed with their fine personalities, and strong characters. I have never felt the slightest fear in being among them; I have never found that my trust in them was misplaced. As soon as they had learned that I was visiting them in their interest, their kindness and devotion was very remarkable. Fundamentally they are spiritual and have a devout reverence for an all-powerful, all-pervading power which not only protects and provides for them, but accepts them as a part of that great encompassing soul if they obey Nature's laws.

    Ernest Thompson Seton has beautifully expressed the spirit of the Indian in the opening paragraph of his little book "The Gospel of the Red Man":

    The culture and civilization of the White man are essentially material; his measure of success is, "How much property have I acquired for myself?" The culture of the Red man is fundamentally spiritual; his measure of success is, "How much service have I rendered to my people?"

   The civilization of the White man is a failure; it is visibly crumbling around us. It has failed at every crucial test. No one who measures things by results can question this fundamental statement.

    The faith of the primitive in the all-pervading power of which he is a part includes a belief in immortality. He lives in communion with the great unseen Spirit, of which he is a part, always in humility and reverence. Elizabeth Odell in the following lines seems to express the spirit of the primitives,

Flat outstretched upon a mound
Of earth I lie; I press my ear
Against its surface and I hear
Far off and deep, the measured sound
Of heart that beats within the ground.
And with it pounds in harmony
The swift, familiar heart in me.
They pulse as one, together swell,
Together fall; I cannot tell
My sound from earth's, for I am part
Of rhythmic, universal heart.


  1. JACOBSON, A. C. Genius (Some Revaluations). New York, Greenburg, 1926.
  2. BRASH, J. C. The etiology of irregularity and malocclusion of the teeth. Dental Board of United Kingdom, London, 1930.
  3. Waverly researches in the pathology of the feeble-minded (Research series, cases XI to XX). Mem. Am. Acad. Arts & Sci., 14:131, 1921.
  4. DRUMMOND, J. C. The Medical Aspects of Decline of Population. J.A.M.A., 110:908, 1938.
  5. BREHM, W. Potential dangers of viosterol during pregnancy with observations of calcification of placentae. Ohio S. M. J., 33:990, 1937.

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