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Medical Mavericks -

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(generated from captions) CC Good evening, Virginia Haussegger with an ABC news update. Police they have their man but no motive with an ABC news update. Police say help explain the horrific axe they have their man but no motive to of a woman and help explain the horrific axe murder in Cowra. A 69-year-old man of a woman and her two grandchildren in court today charged in Cowra. A 69-year-old man appeared murders. He was arrested last night in court today charged with the after he checked into a motel and

spotted by a retired detective who after he checked into a motel and wa recognized him from a The legislative assembly has passed recognized him from a TV news story. new laws to new laws to overhaul the way children are protected in the ACT. The new laws to overhaul the way childre 800-page bill is the biggest

legislation to come before the 800-page bill is the biggest piece o assembly. The Government says the changes ensure the rights are paramount but the Opposition is changes ensure the rights of childre worried the sheer size legislation makes it unworkable. worried the sheer size of the Canberra's weather legislation makes it unworkable. And with strong winds. A bit Canberra's weather - cloudy tomorrow around the ranges. A top of 13 and a with strong winds. A bit of rain low five. Sydney - 19. 15. Adelaide - 16. More news low five. Sydney - 19. Melbourne -

love is the love of food... It's been said that the truest about the objects of our desire? But what do we really know not much... The answer is, until recently, between food and health. have learned about the links This film reveals what we experimenting on themselves. knowledge came from doctors And how much of this hard-won they did unbelievable things... In their search for understanding, seal blubber for months on end. or trying to live on nothing but dining on human excrement And some died for their beliefs. he was heading to a disaster. I don't think, he knew that that he'd been onto something. were actually beginning to realise Shortly before his death, people It's absolutely repellent. such extraordinary discoveries... risk everything could have made But perhaps only those prepared to he was crazy Somebody once asked me, do you think fine line between lunacy and genius." and I said, "No, there's a on the whole, been remarkably slow The medical profession has, between food and health. to investigate the connection When I did my medical training lecture on nutrition in five years. I think we got just one interested in how food affects us. Since then I've become really the result of self experimentation Now, a lot of what we know is to do an experiment on myself... so in that spirit, I've decided involving fish. Anyone want some kipper... going to go on a major fish binge.' but for the next two months I'm 'I've never liked fish check where Alex is... Can you go and wants some bacon... in bed and ask him if he He's probably still upstairs It's fish oil... Down the hatch, want to try some... oil can change my blood.' 'I want to see if eating fish It is absolutely repellent... Ugh! Really? A little bit? Do you want some fish? No, thanks. No, thanks. blood clotting... reduces the risk of 'It's claimed that eating oily to measure my bleeding time.' of my experiment I'm going 'So at the start and the end shave off some of the hair The first thing to do is sphygmomanometer which is a Next I've got to stick on a got to get the blood pressure up, blood pressure cuff because you've I've got to build this up to 40ml to make the blood squirt nicely, and really begin to spurt. and the blood should as soon as I make an incision Now stopwatch, ready to go Yep that's great. at exactly the same time. and I will press the stopwatch the blood should flow Ouch! Should take a few seconds blood welling up nicely there. there's the seconds all I've got to do Bright and red. After 30 wait another 30 seconds... is dab a bit and then I should take about five minutes... think it's going to dry up. Getting a little bit thicker, Yep, that seems to have stopped. four minutes 11 seconds. That was pretty well then see if there's a change. Now it's weeks of fish, fish, fish doing, but they're small... There are risks in what I'm really gambled with their lives. The early pioneers however, benefits of different food types. little was known about the In the 18th century didn't matter what the fuel was. which burnt fuel and it really The human body was simply a machine did an experiment on himself In 1769, Dr William Stark that this was not true. which graphically demonstrated and he had come to cut up bodies. He had recently arrived in London known as the Enlightenment. It was a period theorising but by experimenting. understand the world, not by Men like Stark set out to Stark's specialism was anatomy. how the body is sustained He became fascinated in it had never been attempted before. and set up an experiment so extreme to systematically study Stark was the first person a human being, in this case himself. the effects of different foods on good for you and which are bad. He wanted to know which foods are rigorous eating regime. So he decided to design a He would take bread and water add new ingredients. and he would slowly one by one Actually it was insane... Sounds reasonable enough? month at a time He's restricting himself one but bread and water and things at a totally spartan diet of nothing we would consider unhealthy them like sugar and animal fat, that he consumed in the large quantities was heading to a disaster. I don't think he knew that he the man was asking for trouble. Stark was absolutely meticulous. from the weather to his mood. He kept records about everything in his bowels and he would record, He was particularly interested every single stool he passed. weigh and measure on his "nightly urges". he measured the effects of food Also for posterity, of weeping sores on his body. dispassionately noted the appearance After ten weeks, Stark near a bad tooth, in the lower jaw inside of my cheeks, particularly "I now perceive small ulcers on the and bled when pressed with a finger. were swelled and red "the gums of the upper jaw and very painful. internally red or purple "The right nostril was also "I had one thin stool." He started getting itches on his legs and a feeling of listlessness and tiredness and fatigue which he didn't seem to really think was caused by the food. By January he was really ill, so he went off to see his doctor, Sir John Pringle. Now Pringle is one of the great experts of the day and he does a thorough examination of Stark and concludes that Stark's problems are caused by too much salt. Stark cut back on salt but his symptoms continued. He now moved on to eating nothing but bread and honey pudding. He tells us that he ate a pound of this at a time and found that a little bit too much. The texture is absolutely awful, it's a bit like chewing gum that's been chewed for three or four hours. After nine months of total commitment to his experiment, Stark recognises that he has scurvy. "In the evening my gums, particularly on the inside, were hot and somewhat swelled, "a beginning scorbutic symptom, "at bedtime I was a little griped, and had a soft, or rather a loose, stool." And yet Stark continued. Fortunately he now decided to add fruit to his diet. Unfortunately he changed his mind. Instead he moved on to Cheshire cheese. And that decision cost him his life. "I was chilly, sometimes with shivering, was listless and uneasy, "though the uneasiness was chiefly in my bowels. "I had not the smallest appetite for food. "I continued all day extremely uneasy, sighing and moaning. "Owing to my feebleness, I lay most of the time in bed, but without being sensible of any relief." There was to be no last minute reprieve. On February 18th 1770, two days after starting the Cheshire cheese, he died. He was 29 years old. Stark's death was tragic. If only he'd eaten the fruit which he'd originally planned, it would have cured his scurvy and he would have survived. He may have gone on to become one of the early pioneers of vitamin research. Instead he became the first martyr of nutritional science. Stark's scurvy was due to the complete lack of vitamin C in his diet. But Stark was clearly totally unaware of this, and that's not surprising. In the 18th century no-one had a clue about vitamins or how important they are for human health. It would be over a century before another self-experimenter would make that intellectual leap. He would solve a mystery, save tens of thousands of lives and force governments, for the first time, to intervene in what people ate. In 1914, a Jewish New Yorker, Dr Joseph Goldberger arrived in the Deep South. He had been sent by the Surgeon General to investigate an epidemic that was ravaging the southern states. Pellagra was a hideous disease. It was known as the "The Sharecroppers Plague". Pellagra begins with what looks like mild sunburn on the back of the hands. Then it spreads to a characteristic butterfly rash on the face. Then comes depression, confusion, dementia. And in 40% of cases, death. It is a horror. It is killing many many thousands of Americans every year and making tens of thousands of others sick. Goldberger's job was to track down the cause. It had come from nowhere, and in houses where one person had it, there was an 80% chance that others would get it. Not surprisingly, it was regarded as highly infectious, and those who had it were shunned like lepers. Goldberger had the backing of the Surgeon General, but as the child of immigrants, he'd always saw himself as an outsider, a maverick. Throughout his life, Joseph Goldberger was fascinated by the American West and by Westerns. Cowboys were swashbuckling heroes. And Goldberger envisioned himself as sort of a swashbuckler himself. And so a lot of his medical detective work and his epidemic fighting... was an extension of that desire to be an adventurous spirit, to really accomplish something in the world. He could see part of himself as a cowboy, as the loner going against the tide. He wasn't shooting from the hip, he was shooting with scientific bullets. With guns loaded, Goldberger set off to hunt down pellagra. He criss-crossed the States below the Mason Dixon-Line, tracking the disease through prisons, orphanages and asylums. And he noticed something striking. Pellagra affected the inmates but not the staff. Goldberger realised it couldn't be an infectious disease as most of his fellow doctors insisted. It had to be something else.

# Beans and cornbread had a fight # Beans knocked cornbread outta sight # Cornbread said "Now that's all right" # Meet me on the corner tomorrow night... # This is a typical southern food and 100 years ago many people, particularly the poor, would have been eating this and nothing else. You've got your meat, your maize and your molasses. Goldberger became convinced there was something about this diet that was causing pellagra. In order to get his peers to accept the direction that his thinking is taking, that pellagra is a dietary deficiency, and not a germ disease, he needs evidence, he needs proof. He needs something that people of science will accept. Goldberger knew that as a northerner coming to the South and criticising their food would not be popular, in fact about as unpopular as dropping his trousers in church. So he devised a controversial experiment. He decided he would take 12 perfectly healthy men and give them pellagra. And the "volunteers" would come from a Mississippi prison. All they had to do was just eat the normal food, and no fresh meat, no eggs, no vegetables. Initially the participants thought it was just fantastic, and they ate quite a large amount of this food. After six months, the prisoners all developed pellagra. So Goldberger stopped the experiment He was now utterly convinced that a dietary deficiency was the cause of pellagra. But the scientific community didn't agree. They were critical of his methodology, they were still critical of the results and they believed whatever Goldberger had shown, this was still a germ disease, Goldberger had not found the germ. Goldberger was furious. "The blind, selfish, jealous, prejudiced asses braying forth their so-called criticisms." By now he was so desperate, he was prepared to do almost anything. To silence his critics and really prove beyond all reasonable doubt that pellagra was not an infectious disease, Goldberger now decided to do something even more controversial. He was going to experiment on himself. 'No restraint of any sort was imposed... 'No attempt was made to avoid "natural infection".' So, the first thing he did was he went to the local pellagra hospital, and using a swab he collected mucus from the noses of the patients. This he shoved up his own nostril. "The time elapsing between collecting and inoculating was less than two hours. "Incidentally it should perhaps be noted that some of the secretions applied to the nasal pharynx "must have been eventually swallowed." Next he collected urine, skin samples and faeces. Goldberger rolled up the ingredients with wheat flour to make a pill. He took that pellagra pill and he swallowed it. I mean, when one thinks of ingesting the faeces of others, when one thinks about ingesting the scabs of pellagrins, even in capsule form, there is certainly a disgusting quality to it. Goldberger even persuaded colleagues to join in. He called these experiments his "filth parties." I think the fact that he called these filth parties is a demonstration, again, of his sense of humour. It was such a disgusting event. And as if faeces and urine weren't enough, Goldberger had one final surprise for them - blood. He collected some blood from a patient and now he was going to inject it into each of his volunteers, including his wife, Mary. I think my grandmother wanted to help do whatever she could do to help quiet his critics. "The men would not consent to my swallowing the pills, "but I was given by hypodermic in the abdomen an injection of the blood of a woman dying of pellagra." Any number of diseases could have been transferred on that needle. "This was an act of faith. "It took no courage." Mary's faith was rewarded. None of the volunteers became ill. Goldberger had finally done it. He had covered his bases. He had dotted his I's and crossed his T's. His case was absolutely bullet-proof. Time to go public and accept the applause. There was a fire storm of Southern response to what Goldberger was saying. Whether it was because he was Jewish, New Yorker, and federal also played a role in in how they denounced him and berated him, or if it was just because of what he was saying, well, of course, we'll never know. Goldberger finally realised he was never going to convince the doctors that Pellagra was caused by a dietary deficiency, unless he found a cheap and simple cure. In 1923, Goldberger finally found what he was looking for, and it came about in a curious way. He'd been doing experiments with dogs trying to give dogs pellagra and he did this by getting them to eat a Southern diet. The trouble was the dogs didn't want to eat the Southern food. So he had added what he called an appetite stimulant just to get them going. The months went by, the dogs stayed absolutely fine. And what Goldberger finally realised was the stimulant was the thing he'd been looking for all of these years. And here it is. It's yeast. In 1927, Goldberger's moment finally came. Flooding had led to another outbreak of pellagra. Goldberger took yeast to the refugees. It was astonishing. Just a few teaspoons daily was all it took to cure them. Goldberger was at last proclaimed a hero. A few years later, a chemist did finally isolate the pellagra-preventing factor in yeast. It's a vitamin called niacin. There is a direct relationship, what we eat, to how we live, to what will make us sick, and that is exactly the relationship that Dr Joseph Goldberger wanted Americans, wanted the entire world to understand. Come on, guys, supper's ready. 'My own modest self-experiment with fish was taking over my life.' This is not bad. I had some haddock for breakfast, I had some tuna for lunch, and some sardines, which actually weren't too bad. I think I'm beginning to lose some weight which isn't a bad thing. The prospect of staying on a fish diet for weeks, let alone months would drive me demented. The great thing about the fish is you just slap it in there. One really interesting thing that has happened is... that I have noticed that my appetite has gone down. The fish is suppressing it. When I started doing this a few weeks ago, I was 85 kilos, now I'm down to about 82 kilos. So I've lost about three kilos and am not sure how that happened. I wasn't trying anything special. I still have a few more weeks to go before my blood test. By the 1950s, nutritional science had really taken off, but so had the food industry. What they did was they went for production. They abandoned the idea that you had to link the nature of food with its nutrients and with the health of the population. It was just quantity, quantity, quantity. Having seen what junk food did to his patients, in 1961, a young doctor decided to put himself on a junk food diet - with dramatic results. His name was Victor Herbert. Herbert was a really interesting man. His parents died when he young and he grew up in orphanages. When he was in medical school, he supported himself by driving cabs and flogging insurance to teachers. In 1959 Herbert got a job at one of the most competitive research labs in America, the Thorndike Laboratory at Harvard. He moved there with his wife and three children. When we first got married and really, perhaps even earlier than that, he had said that medicine would always come first... and that I would come a close second. But I would be second. Herbert was a haematologist specialising in blood disorders. His new job was at the Boston hospital where his colleagues had a reputation for the unorthodox. He discovered a place where self-experimenting had achieved almost cult status. And he was desperate to join what he called the kamikaze school of research. "I wanted to be part of that courage, "to be included in that company." Victor was always willing to take risks. Oh, I shouldn't...I'll tell you this. I think Victor wanted to show up other people in the haematology unit. There were people he did want to show that he was a real experimenter of the old school. Herbert became fascinated by the link between food and disease, in particular, between a blood disorder called megaloblastic anaemia and a vitamin called folic acid. He wanted to see if a diet containing no folic acid could make him seriously ill. To maximise the chances of developing a potentially fatal illness, he had to shop really, really carefully. Herbert didn't know how long it would take to get megaloblastic anaemia, but he knew he could look forward to weakness, diarrhoea, and anal ulcers. Herbert collected a whole range of foods which he took back to the lab, and most of them contained at least some traces of folic acid. Spinach, dark green, foliage, folate, far too healthy. Tomatoes... No, far too healthy. Too healthy. Too healthy. Much, much, much too healthy. At last, something with almost no nutritional value - frankfurters. Jell-O, also known to the English as jelly, and in either culture, it is guaranteed folic acid free. I think I'll have loads of that. And on his diet, he was allowed fizzy drinks. It's lime, it's green, it's almost certainly bad for you. I'll have one of those. Another food that Herbert identified as being good for his experiment was marshmallows, so they go in there. Might get a bit hungry later - let's have one of those... Let's have half a dozen. And finally, for protein, he chose chicken. I think this was once a chicken. He'd got his food. Next, he had to persuade his wife to cook it. One day he came home and he said, "I want you to cook a plain chicken. "No seasoning, nothing. Just boil it. "And I want it boiled for at least two hours. "And I want Jell-O." I said, "Why?" He said, "I just want you to do this. Can you do that?" I said, "Sure, I can do it." So I boiled the chicken until it looked pretty disgusting and it smelled. He didn't tell Jackie that she was helping him conduct a medical experiment. With my mother's cooking, it's surprising we all didn't develop megaloblastic anaemia. By the way, I can't stand chicken. I haven't eaten it, and I certainly have never cooked chicken since 1962. Herbert had blood samples taken every week to measure his folate levels, and every fortnight, excruciating bone marrow aspirations. I did not envy Victor at all, and I don't think Lou and all of us who were there envied Victor. Let's face it - we considered Victor crazy, and this was just Victor. After 120 days eating frankfurters, marshmallows, Jell-O and boiled chicken, Herbert still hadn't developed megaloblastic anaemia. But he was getting skinny, forgetful and irritable. He became irascible, and I didn't like it, and I told him, "Don't behave that way." Despite his family's frustration, Herbert wouldn't give up his grim diet, not even for Christmas. On Christmas morning when he woke up, he could barely move. He was almost totally paralysed. Jackie and the kids had left him to rest, so he was alone. As he lay there, he wondered what could have gone wrong. He was mystified. This was not an expected side effect. He ran through possibilities in his head, and then he remembered something. "I had just read in the Annals Of Internal Medicine that potassium depletion could produce paralysis, "and I thought immediately that the diet I was eating was removing potassium as well as folic acid." This was good news and it was bad news. The good news was, if he could get hold of potassium, it was reversible. The bad news - he was probably on the brink of a fatal heart attack. And here's something we really hadn't thought about, that you boil all this food and you're going to get rid of more than just folic acid. Fortunately, he happened to have some potassium iodide in his bedside cabinet. He took it, and within a short time he was well enough not only to get out of bed but also to get himself to hospital. I came into the first floor, found Victor sitting on the stairs, and I said, "What's going on here?" And he said, "I'm weak. "I can't move my legs." Dr Arky put him in a wheelchair, took him up to a ward, and gave him life-saving potassium. He wasn't panicked. I can assure you he didn't panic, but that was Victor - he very rarely panicked. Herbert spent Christmas afternoon recovering alone in hospital. Despite what he'd been through, he still didn't tell Jackie about the experiment. I would not have permitted it, not at all. Why would he jeopardise his health like this? I would have certainly put a stop to it. If I were the person doing the experiment, at that stage, I'm sure I would have stopped. But Herbert didn't stop. He simply added potassium to his appalling diet and went right on. Finally, after more than four and a half months, he got the result he'd been waiting for. A lab report confirmed he had megaloblastic anaemia. So, he'd proved that lack of folic acid alone could cause it. He celebrated by taking some folic acid supplements, and within 48 hours, he made a full recovery. He published his results, and his reputation was made. It turns out that folic acid is essential for building and maintaining new cells and is particularly important for the prevention of spina bifida. In fact, folic acid is so important that in many countries it's now compulsorily added to flour. Somebody once asked me, "Do you think he was crazy?" And I said, "No, there's a fine line between lunacy and genius." Oxford University has certainly produced a fair number of both lunatics and geniuses. But in the pursuit of knowledge, few have taken as great a risk with their health as Dr Hugh Sinclair.

Hugh Sinclair was a tutor and don here at Magdalen College in Oxford. He was an outrageous snob, a brilliant scientist, and a true British eccentric. It was just lovely to be with him because you could never have a dull moment with Hugh. He was just a bit weird. But very nice. By the 1950s, there had been an enormous surge in heart disease, linked to the increased consumption of saturated fats. It seemed obvious the way to reduce heart disease was to eat less fat. Hugh Sinclair, however, disagreed. Sinclair went public with a controversial idea. He argued that the epidemic of heart disease was caused not by eating too much fat, but by eating too little. He felt it wasn't fat that was to blame, but the type of fat. His ideas stemmed from a visit he'd made to Canada, where he'd become intrigued by the Inuit diet. The diet is quite bizarre. No bread, no milk, a lot of meat, fishy meat, and a lot of oil. No vegetables, no sugar. It's... And certainly no alcohol. With a diet like that, you might imagine the Inuit would be dropping dead of heart attacks all over the place, but in fact, rates of heart disease were less than 4%, which is extremely low, and Sinclair began to wonder why on Earth that might be. When Hugh visited the Inuits, the first thing he noticed was the clarity of their eyes. So he drew the conclusion that whatever these people were eating, it was not depositing a lot of cholesterol in their eyeballs, and very probably not in their arteries. Sinclair thought that the essential fatty acids found in oily fish might be protecting the Inuit from heart attacks. In 1956, he wrote a letter to The Lancet, which is an absolute case study in sabre-rattling. It was fun and hugely provocative. "Scant attention seems to be paid by the medical profession "to a very important change in the dietaries of the more civilised countries. "Your readers with stereotyped minds should stop reading at this point." Having thoroughly insulted his colleagues, Sinclair went on to outline his epic theory. He argued that a deficiency in essential fatty acids was linked to what he termed "the very serious diseases of civilisation". The letter caused a furore, not least because Sinclair had little published research to back his claims.

Three years after his letter was published, Sinclair was ejected from his department, and his readership was not renewed. He withdrew into the scientific wilderness. And for 20 years, he stayed out of the mainstream, pursuing his own ideas through an institute for nutrition he'd set up in the grounds of his own family home. Then in 1976, he went back to the igloos of the Inuit. He planned a experiment to assess the effects of fish oils on a volunteer. I did think of bringing three young male hunters south to study in our laboratories, but when we came to look into it, this was an impossibility, and I think probably would not be ethical to do. So, the only alternative, really, was to go on the diet myself. Sinclair wanted to see what the effects of going on an Inuit diet would be, so he started eating huge amounts of seafood. This is what I've been eating for the last three months, anything from the sea. There's scallops. This is Greenland halibut, typical food the Eskimo eat a lot of. Smoked eel, which is very fatty. In fact, all these foods are quite fatty. It was a pretty grim diet. And I know what it's like to eat a lot of fish oil, you start to smell like an old walrus. As well as fish, Sinclair started eating large amounts of an Inuit speciality, seal blubber. This is what I normally have for my evening meal. It consists of 400g of seal muscle, in the centre, about 100g of fat, which is on the top here, which is a very large amount of fat. And 200g of seal liver. Since the muscle is very tough, I find the best way of dealing with it is to mince it. It tends to clog up the mincer after a bit, I'm afraid. Sinclair had no idea when he started on this diet how long he would have to stay on it to get a result. He did know that a diet rich in saturated fats will clog up the arteries with cholesterol, making it harder for blood to squeeze through. Fish oils produce less cholesterol, they also reduce the risk of blood clots forming and blocking off arteries. But if fish oils interfere with blood clotting, that meant there were significant dangers. The Inuits bruised easily and suffered spontaneous nosebleeds. They were more prone to bleed to death after an injury. He would have had a risk of having severe gastric bleed on that diet and possibly having a stroke, that could have left him paralysed, or fatal. Throughout his experiment, Sinclair measured his bleeding time. His weight fell, and he records that his sperm became immobile and then disappeared. He had spontaneous nosebleeds and bruising. Sinclair cut himself every week to track the rise in his bleeding time. It changed from a normal four minutes to a terrifying 50, but it was the result he'd been hoping for. He increased his bleeding time so much that the doctors insisted that he stopped the diet after three months. He'd finally proved the potency of essential fatty acids. I'm not suggesting for a moment that the public should eat seal and fish. I've gone to the extreme of the traditional Eskimo diet in order to study the mechanism that protects them against heart disease, cancer and our other prevalent diseases. His methodology was deeply flawed, he drove his colleagues mad, and he never finished any of his experiments. Yet what Sinclair discovered has turned out to be hugely significant. Shortly before his death, people began to realise that he'd been on to something, what he had to say was really important. Inspired by Sinclair, I did my own self-experiment to see if a more modest fish diet would have an effect. I've been on my fish diet now or just over two months. I've been existing on six portions of fish a week, and just over two grams of disgusting fish oil a day. Unlike Sinclair, I haven't had any serious side effects. In fact, I've been feeling pretty good. I've lost a little weight, and acquired a taste for fish! But the whole point was to see if it would affect my bleeding times. That's what I'm doing. This is my favourite part of the experiment when I cut myself. Ow! Nice blood, good. Every 30 seconds or so, I've got to dib away the blood. So that's 30 seconds. Right. So that's one minute. I seem to be bleeding rather more freely than last time. It'll be interesting to see how far it goes. It seems that fish oils affect the ability of platelets in my blood to form clots. I think it's beginning to dry up now. I suspect it's starting to become much stickier. I think it's going to be any moment now. Right. There it is, eight minutes and 12 seconds. My new official bleeding time. That's very satisfying. Almost twice the level it was before I did the fish experiment. That is really, really pleasing. Doubling my bleeding times should, in theory, be a good thing. I'm less likely to develop blood clots and so less likely to have a heart attack. Since I have a family history of heart disease, that is something I'd much rather avoid. My experiment over, I'm cutting back on oily fish. But I will continue eating some, because of the benefits of the omega-3 fatty acids in fish. And now, of course, there is a very great amount of work that has shown that he was right, that omega-3s in particular are very important for the health of the heart and brain. If Hugh were alive today, he would think, "I told you so". We now know that too much processed food and too few vitamins can shorten life. What we don't yet have is a diet that can lengthen it. There is, however, a small group of self-experimenters who are currently testing a radical new diet which they hope will dramatically extend life. The first proof that diet can delay ageing came in 1935 from an experiment done by Dr Clive McKay on mice. The results were incredible, the mice lived 30% longer than normal. Since then, the experiment has been repeated many times, not just on mice, but on rats, worms and flies. 20 years ago a similar experiment began with these monkeys. They get plenty of vitamins and minerals, but little actual food. It's called calorie restriction, and seems to be keeping them younger, longer. But would it work on humans? There is a core of probably 50 people who are doing a real experiment on themselves, because they are the people who are convinced that calorie restriction

will allow them to live longer, probably 140 years. Of course, to really know if their maximum lifespan will be higher, we have to wait until they will die. The mechanisms behind calorie restriction are not well understood. Eating little seems to put the body in survival mode, reducing harmful free radicals, boosting the immune system and dropping blood sugar levels. Dave Fisher has been living on less than 2/3 the normal calories for 17 years. So how old does he look? 35. I think the one in the shirt looks late 30s, early 40s. Er, well, he looks late 20s. 30, 35? 40s, in their 40s. Early 40s. 38, 40. I think the one in the blue looks younger, but the one in the black is more attractive! So what's the truth? How old is Dave? I'm 49 now. Snap. I'm 49 as well. When's your birthday? 16th April. And mine's 22nd March. So we are... We're brothers! We are very, very close.

How long would you hope to live for? Your optimistic figure? My most optimistic figure, if I happen to be in that small percentage of population with the best genes, would be kind of 120. 120. Do you regard yourself as a self-experimenter? Yes, I do, in a sense. Although the experiment's been tried on many animals and found to work on most of them, nobody's ever done it for the full term as a human being. The diet is experimental. There are people who think it's not going to work. This is one hell of a gamble, one hell of a self experiment. How long before you get results? Um... Well, death! That's it? I wanted to see if I was missing out by not being a calorie restrictor. We're exactly the same age, which makes it interesting to do comparisons. OK. 180. Do that fully clothed. OK. The first thing they do is take our vital statistics, which is when the embarrassment began. Just let it all hang out. No, of course I can't! I have to hold my breath! What's the news? It's 92. 92? Can you translate? Which is 36. Argh! Damn! 'Hi, welcome to the age scan test. 'I think you'll find this testing section to be a lot of fun. 'In this test, we'll check how fast your brain makes decisions, 'and sends messages out to your finger to move in response.' At this health clinic, they test sight, hearing, lung capacity and reaction times. Go for speed! Get ready. I'm going to speed, go! These are all functions we know deteriorate with age. 'Press any button to start the digits flashing.' Cunning machine. 'Hold the box in your hand like you would a closed book. 'Not this way, but this way.' 'Inhale as deeply as you can. 'Now expel all air.' That's two down, one to go.' 'How embarrassing. I hadn't realised how competitive I am!' Bloody hell! "Don't blow." I'm going to pass out. Oh! And after all that, it'll tell me I have the lungs of a 90-year-old. Hello? Try using your lungs, not your voice. It might help. Thank you. You're right, you could hear me downstairs! That was... What do you mean, more?! That was all I had, love. She's remorseless. She's wearing me out. 'You have now finished all the tests.' So now Dave and I are going to compare results. We are both 49 years old, and we will see who has the body of a lean athlete and who doesn't. It'll be interesting. These are your results. 'Most of Dave's results are better than mine, 'but thankfully, I did beat him with my lung function test.' If you are looking to be optimally healthy, you'd work on your lung function by looking at breathing exercises,

cardiovascular work-out, things like that. I was expecting that to be low, actually. I don't do a lot of physical exercise. Is that part of calorie restriction? Well, in a sense. I can't expend any more calories than I consume. So there's no scope for doing a vast amount of exercise. But I wouldn't really say... It's a measure of your overall fitness and function at the moment. And I'm more interested in intrinsic ageing. OK. As far as I'm aware, there's no scientific test of pure intrinsic ageing. Really interesting. Thank you very much. If calorie restricting really does prolong Dave's life, I probably won't be around to congratulate him. But I do hope his decades of self-denial produce, at the very least, some extra years. Having been through it myself, I am deeply impressed by self-experimenters, and what they did to solve the great mysteries of our relationship with food. Personally, I will try to keep on eating fish, and may even cram down a few more green vegetables. After what others went through to bring us the knowledge, it would seem somehow ungrateful not to. Subtitles by Red Bee Media Ltd 2007



CC. Good evening a 69-year-old

man is in custody 'Today Tonight' charged with the axe

murders of his wife and two

grandchildren. He was arrested

last night after checking into

a motel 400 kilometres from the

scene of the murders in central

west NSW. Simon Palan reports

from Cowra where people are

trying to come to terms with

the full horror of yesterday's

attack. It was an emotional day

at St Raphael's where the two

young victims went to school. Delightful children who

are just lovely, country

kids. But their lives ended

yesterday. The girl was 5 years

old, her brother was 7. At

their grandparents' house they

were allegedly killed with an

axe by their 69-year-old

grandfather. The children's 52-year-old grandmother was

also killed in the attack. And

their police officer mother is undergoing surgery in hospital

with serious head

injuries. She's certainly

trying to cope as best she can

with what's happened. After a

statewide manhunt last night

police arrested the suspect at

a motel 400 kilometres away.

Charged with murder the suspect

was led from the court handcuff

ed and hidden from view. His

lawyer did not apply for

bail. The police commissioner

says he's happy with the

community's input into the

investigation but he

acknowledges any motive for the

attack remains a complete

mystery. The case will return

to court in Wagga next week.

The political couple at the

centre of the so-called Iguana-gate investigation have

been warned by their bosses.

Belinda Neal and John Della

Bosca have refused to be

interviewed by police but they

have provided written

statements. The Prime Minister

says he expects Ms Neale to

cooperate. The NSW Premier says

it's essential that Mr Della

Bosca be interviewed. Police in

Western Australia are

investigating an international

fraud in which mobile phone

users are being threatened with

death unless they pay thousands

of dollars. Dozens of people

have reported receiving a

series of sinister text

messages in the past few days.

The messages warn the mobile

phone user that a hit man has

been paid to kill them unless

they wire $5,000 to an account

in Thailand. Make sure all the

doors and windows were locked

an it was pretty disconcerting

that somebody would send that

sort of message and had my

number and details and really

unsure about who it was,

whether it was someone overseas

or someone likal. Police say

the threat is not genuine but

they suspect some people have

already fallen prey to the scam

and sent money offshore.

More news in 'Lateline' rr at 10:30.


Welcome to Foreign Correspondent. I'm Mark Corcoran. Tonight - into the eye of Burma's storm. Incredible stories of surviving Cyclone Nargis. These children are just happy to be back home. And the Master of Light - the man who makes Paris look like a heavenly city. First, though, to Burma. It's been two months since Cyclone Nargis struck Burma's vast Irrawaddy Delta, leaving 138,000 people dead or missing. The government says the damage tops $11 billion. For many weeks the devastated area was cut off