Color-Blind People May Not Notice That They’re Bleeding!

Unusu­al bleed­ing or dis­charge is one of the clas­sic sev­en warn­ing signs of can­cer. Blood in the stool could be a sign of colon can­cer. It’s also a com­mon sign of diver­tic­u­lo­sis of the colon. Unfor­tu­nate­ly, peo­ple with red-green col­or blind­ness might not notice that they are pass­ing blood with their bow­el move­ments. Here’s an arti­cle about three col­or-blind men who didn’t notice that they were pass­ing blood with their stool. One of them had colon can­cer. Anoth­er had diver­tic­u­lo­sis; he was bleed­ing heav­i­ly but mis­took the blood for diar­rhea. The third patient had bleed­ing from hem­or­rhoids. The men didn’t notice the blood because they can’t see the col­or red. For­tu­nate­ly, their wives saw the blood and had them seek med­ical atten­tion.

Red-green col­or-blind­ness is far more com­mon in men than in women. That’s because men have only one copy of the X chro­mo­some in each of their cells. If one of the genes on their X chro­mo­some is defec­tive, they don’t have a spare X chro­mo­some to serve as a back­up. Women don’t get red-green col­or-blind­ness unless they inher­it a defec­tive ver­sion of the gene from both par­ents. That’s why women rarely get red-green col­or-blind­ness, but even a woman with nor­mal col­or vision can have col­or-blind sons.

For­tu­nate­ly, the intesti­nal prob­lems that these men had are pre­ventable by diet. Colon can­cer is rare in pop­u­la­tions that eat a low-fat, plant-based diet. So are diver­tic­u­lo­sis and hem­or­rhoids, which result from con­sti­pa­tion.

Note: Since I wrote this post, glass­es that cor­rect for red-green col­or­blind­ness have become avail­able!

How Gorillas Celebrate Christmas–With Brussels Sprouts!

Just Make Sure You Stay Upwind of Them

At Christ­mas­time last year, the Chess­ing­ton World of Adven­tures, in Sur­rey, Eng­land, gave their goril­las some Brus­sels sprouts. The goril­las loved them, but the after­ef­fects hor­ri­fied the zoo vis­i­tors.

Goril­la keep­er Michael Rozzi said: “We feed the goril­las Brus­sels sprouts dur­ing the win­ter because they are packed with vit­a­min C and have great nutri­tion­al ben­e­fits. Unfor­tu­nate­ly, an embar­rass­ing side effect is that it can cause bouts of flat­u­lence in humans and ani­mals alike. How­ev­er, I don’t think any of us were pre­pared for a smell that strong.” The goril­las didn’t seem to care, nor did any of the goril­las ask any­one to pull their fin­ger. The zoo keep­ers solved the prob­lem by giv­ing the goril­las their Brus­sels sprouts after clos­ing time. On Christ­mas Day, when the zoo was closed to the pub­lic, the goril­las got to eat Brus­sels sprouts all day long. It was a solu­tion that worked for every­one.

I eat a lot of Brus­sels sprouts in the win­ter, and I eat oth­er mem­bers of the cab­bage fam­i­ly and lots of beans year-round, but I nev­er have a gas prob­lem. I’m grate­ful for that, but it means I can’t use myself as a sub­ject to test pos­si­ble reme­dies. Some peo­ple rec­om­mend Bean-o, and oth­ers rec­om­mend spices and herbs such as cumin, fen­nel, car­away, dill, pep­per­mint, chamomile, sage, and thyme.

Many peo­ple who think that they hate Brus­sels sprouts real­ly only hate over­cooked Brus­sels sprouts. Over­cook­ing releas­es a stinky sul­fur com­pound called sin­i­grin. Try cook­ing your sprouts for only 6 to 7 min­utes, and see if that makes a dif­fer­ence. The sin­i­grin will stay put, until you digest the sprouts.

Sin­i­grin may stink, but it’s prob­a­bly good for you. It evi­dent­ly caus­es can­cer cells in the colon to com­mit sui­cide, which could help to explain why pop­u­la­tions that eat a lot of cab­bage and oth­er mem­bers of the Bras­si­ca fam­i­ly, includ­ing Brus­sels sprouts, have a low risk of colon can­cer.