walkitout (walkitout) wrote,

Not a book review: _Another Person's Poison_

I'm going to switch to skimming, before giving up, because the idea of a history of food allergy is awesome. It's just ...

Okay, here. In the historical summary of ancient passages maybe to do with food allergy, maybe not, p. 26 in the hardback:

"Other anecdotes described by Galen are also reminiscent of food allergy. One such case involved a baby who was covered with sores (or ulcers) after drinking the breast milk of a wet nurse who "lived on a diet of wild vegetables from the countryside, for it was spring time and a food shortage was pressing." Although the sores bring to mind some of the skin conditions that have been associated with milk allergy (for example, eczema), Galen's assertion that the wet nurse and others in the area also suffered from similar sores suggests that the problem lay not with the milk itself but with the wild vegetables. Indeed, strange dermatological reactions to other seasonal fruits and vegetables such as strawberries and asparagus, which are eaten in quantity for a short period of time, have long been cited by other physicians. Nevertheless, many have claimed that this is an instance of Galen describing milk allergy."

Where to start?

The number 38 refers to multiple sources, including one entitled "Cow's Milk Allergy", a chapter in a book which is at least partly available in google books. The Galen reference is a single sentence, referring back to O'Keefe in note 2 for support. Here is the O'Keefe paper, which hardly seems relevant to Galen or food allergy!


Turns out the other source at number 38 is just the same fucking article, with the same fucking one sentence reference to Galen, with the same fucking reference then to O'Keefe.

(1) It's abundantly clear that Galen is not referring to cow's milk allergy in this particular story. _It is a wet nurse._ Human milk, not cow's milk.

(2) The citation is so dishonest it is actually a little breathtaking.

This was published by Columbia University Press. I will now treat Columbia University Press as a Be Wary Of publisher.

This has a recommendation on the back by Rima D. Apple. That is a distinctive name, and I've read and disliked her work before:


Hey, good news! I got it from the library! I'll skim for a few minutes then abandon; I'll post further complaints if anything really compelling shows up. But this is just shoddy and dishonest work.

ETA: There's another book about allergy, _An Epidemic of Absence_ that pops on amazon when searching for a history of food allergy. If anything, I think it might be worse! It has gone so whole hog for a hygiene hypothesis it is a little breathtaking.

Here is what we did to Sardinia after WW2.


Yikes! Seems like it might be a problem, right?

Here is an excerpt from the other book about allergy:


Might DDT be causing that horrible outbreak of autoimmune diseases? Well, NIH thinks it might!


I'm gonna go back to ignoring the experts on allergy again. They always disappoint me. Your best bet, if you have sensitivities to random stuff, is to identify the random stuff and, if possible, avoid it. If that isn't possible, rotate through OTC meds, using as little as possible for as short a time as possible, to get relief (zyrtec, claritin, etc.). But watch it with the benadryl, because you might discover it becomes harder to pee after a while, especially if you are a guy. Also, it can make you sleepy and not safe to drive. Whatever you do, stay the heck away from decongestants, because those things are trouble, and rebound congestion is a bitch.
Tags: not-a-book-review
  • Post a new comment


    default userpic

    Your reply will be screened

    Your IP address will be recorded 

    When you submit the form an invisible reCAPTCHA check will be performed.
    You must follow the Privacy Policy and Google Terms of use.