See also BSE/CJD pages on warmwell

EXTRACT: .... the absurd, irrational and totally unscientific reasoning behind the British Ministry of Agriculture's (MAFF's) rejection of my proposal for a three year grant funding project

- which their minister had invited me to submit in the public forum of a BBC film.
This project could have advanced some major discoveries/developments into the causes and prevention of these diseases - for a minute percentage of the two million pound award that went to various conventionally acceptable professors for re-assessing quesstimates of the future incidence dynamics of the vCJD epidemic - an epidemic which never came.
One of the reviewers of my proposal had misread the number of samples that I had proposed for each cluster location - by twenty fold less - and accused me of proposing too few samples per cluster location to be scientifically valid. If this were the case, you could just increase the number of samples to be taken, surely ? But despite my pointing this major error out to the Ministry, they heralded this up as the key criticism, later promoting that reviewer to their expert panel for assessing BSE research. Their appraisal got worse still; splitting hairs over the fact that I had used the term "slice" of soil when referring to the section of soil that is dug out with my sampling trowel ! One of the reviewers actually asked what the word "slice" meant, despite widespread use of this term in the 'gospel' of soil sampling guidelines decreed in the Natural Resources Management Ltd instruction book . NRM are the most reputable sampling lab in the UK !! Having been falsely accused of not including soil pH, redox potential in my analyses, the Ministry also disapproved of my intention to use small cardboard boxes for holding the soil samples - the very boxes supplied by the NRM !!
Well, I suppose I should have learnt the lesson by now that the Ministries and their global corporations like to hide their mega manganese or organo phosphate interests behind farcical disputes over the suitability of cardboard boxes or the terminological confusion surrounding soil slices. But how do they have the heart to place these fastidious nit-pickings in front of this crippled young girl ? don't they have children themselves ? As my anger eventually drained itself out in the afternoon heat , I stopped myself short of getting into imaginary spear and machete attacks on the Ministry of Agriculture's offices in London. Was the manganese beginning to get to my very own serotonin receptors by now, I wondered ?


That morning , Kandy came to pick me up from the Mission. Former health
officer on the miners' union, she had been emailing me for ages since my BBC
film about Manganese and mad cow was shown on ABC Four Corners. Kandy had
lived on Groote with her husband for twenty years, having done the hippy
trail around the world back in the 1970s. Both of them had been employed in
the mines, and she had become concerned since her own blood tests had shown
high manganese and low magnesium.

 Kandy  took me to meet a group of concerned woman in the local hall of the
mining village at Alyangula, many of whom had young children and were
connected to the mine in some way.

This seemed a good opportunity for promoting the importance of magnesium
supplementation as a prevention against some forms of  manganese
intoxication. Particularly important in any children who are concieved on
this island. For when magnesium is low and manganese is high, manganese can
substitute itself into vacant sites on magnesium activated enzymes, with
disastrous repercussions causing total  inactivation of those enzymes as I
have mentioned previously..

What needs to be of the greatest concern to pregnant women, is the fact that
manganese can induce mutations in genetic material when high manganese / low
magnesium circumstances cause an  inactivation of  the magnesium ribosomal
enzymes - producing the genetic problem of Groote syndrome that is so widely
seen in the Aboriginal community down the road at Angurugu. Whilst
Aboriginals are no doubt more susceptible to this specific mutation for
dietary and genetic reasons, the Caucasian miners could well start developing
these and other types of mutations in their offspring.

Amazingly, the potential of  high Manganese  to invoke mutations is
ironically being exploited in pharmacology  to positive uses in the fight to
suppress the AIDS syndrome. Manganese can inactivate the magnesium activated
enzyme, reverse transcriptase, once the manganese to magnesium ration gets
too high in cells . This deprives the HIV virus of its ability to make
multiple copies of itself ; thereby severely suppressing the development of
the AIDS disease process.

Kandy then took  me up to the headquarters of the mine, where I had been
scheduled for a tour and then a meeting with the big brother of the company
!! One of the Union bosses then drove me around the different mine sites to
view the techniques of open cast mining - felling the forest, blasting,
stripping off the upper crust of laterites, mining the black manganese
dioxide ore bed, backfilling, then replanting.

I must say that  I was highly impressed with the replanted rainforest after
the mining operations had been  completed. Indigenous saplings had been
utilized, managed and maintained by Aboriginal labour until it was certain
that the trees had taken root. I honestly could not distinguish between
original rainforest and replanted - save the height of the trees. It was
overtly apparent that this mining corporation was not operating like some of
the more dubious operations at work in S America and New Quinea.

In the worker's canteen I met one of the miners who was pleased to meet with
me. He had been bereaved and left with two young children a few years earlier
after his wife had died of a motor neurone type disease identical to that of
the Aboriginal's Groote syndrome. Maxine had worked in the laboratory at the
mine where I was guided to next. I met the chief chemist in the lab who
showed me the black samples of manganese dioxide - referred to as the black
magic metal back in Byzantine times -which they spent all day analysing .

Whilst it was reasonably apparent that the mining company had been doing a
highly impressive job
regarding the preservation of the environment and safeguarding some of the
socio-economic interests of the Aboriginal community, I did however feel that
there could have been an insidious problem with the issue of airborn
manganese being kicked up by the dust factor. Although the mine had been
attempting to dampen down the dust from time to time with water, there were
storage heaps and tailings heaps of manganese very close to the village of
Angurugu ( just a few hundred metres from some houses ) and storage heaps
around the jetty very close to the mining village of Alyangula. All residents
had been complaining of black dust settling inside their houses - even the
houses that had air conditioning.

 It did seem to me that the problems of this community were fundamentally
based upon the high manganese bedrock so close to the surface - with all
local water and home grown food supplies being contaminated. But the dust
from the mining operation had considerably exacerbated the problem. It should
be remembered that once manganese is inhaled - like aluminium and silver, etc
- it does not need to travel to the lungs and cross into the blood,  etc; it
can be absorbed directly into the brain via the nasal-olfactory tract.

I was then ushered into the manager's office who seemed more interested in
tape recording every thing that I was up to for an hour whilst failing to
divulge anything that they were up to - I could not even extract a map of the
main manganese outcrops on Groote from them !! Nonetheless, he seemed a nice
straight forward guy who was fresh to the job and genuinely interested in
environmental issues surrounding metals when his company hat was off.

The manager was also keen to continually direct me onto the mining company
funded work at the Menzies School of Medicine in Darwin which had concluded
that Groote Syndrome was solely a disease linked to the genetics of a
specific aboriginal clan which had interbred with the Macassan sailors who
used to visit for trepang three hundred years ago.  So why did'nt the disease
 strike many years ago, and, furthermore,  amongst all of those other races
around the world where the Macassans had interbred ?

But I kept on reminding myself of Gayangwa lalara's  words of local wisdom on
the first cases of Groote Syndrome. She categorically says that there was no
Groote syndrome around  when she was a child. The first case struck her
father which happened after they had settled full time at Angurugu and after
the initial mining explorations had just began. The Aboriginal Elder of
Angurugu confirmed this to me. In fact, the only people who have stated
otherwise were the 'expert' authors of a spate of publications on studies at
the Menzies school of  Medicine that had been funded by the mining
corporation itself. They had alleged that the aboriginees had stated that
Groote syndrome existed in the 18th century.  I know whose observations  I
can trust !!

I returned back to Angurugu little the wiser. Much of the manganese dioxide
was going from this mine for incorporation into products that were being
manufactured all over the world - bricks, steel, aluminium / uranium alloys,
dyes, batteries, paint pigments,  animal minerals and fertilisers - other
industries whose workforces have been associated with a raft of high
incidence clusters of  these same classes of neurodegenerative disease.

In the afternoon , we went out yamming. This entails parties of woman working
the woodlands to track down the particular species of vine that nourishes the
edible yam .I felt honoured to be able to push Roseanne out to the woods in
her wheelchair -  a skeletal  33 year old victim with a stunningly beautiful
face. Like all Aboriginal people, she just accepts her faoldte. No self pity,
just a buddhistic way of living with her condition.  I secretly wanted to
steal her back to the UK and somehow get her right again ! I could feel her
pain, a few faded traces of red nail varnish still smudged across her nails,
as though she had just about given up her final hopes of getting married and
living some semblance of a normal Aboriginal lifestyle.  The other women
brought the crowbars, hatchets, and spades for digging and extracting the
yams; whilst Gayangwa's 9 year old grandson was monkeying around through the
mangroves with his machete, pairing back spearheads from the saplings and
then giving a poor tree snake hell - the one I had just seen coiled up a
tree..

It was like a spiritual ceremony working with these people. Gayangwa walking
around the forest forever staring upwards, surveying the canopy of the forest
in order to pinpoint any tell tale signs of  the edible yam. I began to
wonder how she was not hypnotised by the bright sunlight stroboscoping its
way down the stringybacks to the forest floor. Where was that withered vine
that bore the crisp, heart shaped leaves of the edible yam ? The breeze
caught the leaves, their flipsides fluttervalving out a kind of mantra of the
forestfloor. Every so often Gayangwa had to break off her concentration to
scold her grandson  who was tarzaning  across our tracks on the vines .

After about half an hour, one of the girls called across in Aboriginal
language. I soon got the gist that she had found one; a scorched up vine
which trailed downwards, going earthbound beside the roots of  a mangrove
trunk . After alternate digging with the crowbar and then scratching the soil
out with our barehands, we eventually uncovered the first sightings of the
yam - laid out right across the backbone of the manganese bedrock.. As we dug
around the rest of it, I got embarrassed when I realised that I had  ineptly
dug the spade straight through the middle of it - its sap already exuding
from the bruising !

I was interested in yams, because all of the victims who I had interviewed
had consumed them in high quantities. And  analytical tests already conducted
 had revealed manganese at excessive levels of 1000 ppm in the yam roots. The
women were telling me that the yams made you itch all over if you ate them
uncooked, which made me wonder what other toxic substances could be lurking
in their tissues - some allergic photosensitising  agent perhaps ? My
enthusiasm and  desire to investigate this further immediately reminded me of
my total lack of funding resources and inability to take this whole research
any further forwards - until I had some firm offer of funding . This was very
frustrating.

As we left , I could see the poor helpless Roseanne waiting back at the
trackside for us in her wheelchair - in desperate need for some line of hope.
God, at her age, she deserves it, surely ? . My anger surged again , as I
remembered the absurd , irrational and totally unscientific reasoning behind
the British Ministry of Agriculture's rejection of my proposal for a three
year grant funding project - which their minister had invited me to submit
in the public forum of a BBC film. This project could have advanced some
major discoveries/developments into the causes and prevention of these
diseases - for a minute percentage of the two million pound award that went
to various conventionally acceptable professors for re-assessing
quesstimates of the future incidence dynamics of the vCJD epidemic - an
epidemic which never really came !!

One of the reviewers of my proposal  had misread the number of samples that I
had proposed for each cluster location - by twenty fold less - and accused me
of proposing too few samples per cluster location to be scientifically valid.
If this were the case, you could just increase the number of samples to be
taken, surely ? But despite my pointing this major error out to the Ministry,
they  heralded this up as the key criticism, later promoting that reviewer to
their expert panel for assessing  BSE research. Their appraisal got worse
still; splitting hairs over the fact that I had used the term "slice" of soil
when referring to the section of soil that is dug out with my sampling trowel
! One of  the reviewers actually asked what  the word "slice" meant, despite
widespread use of this term in the 'gospel' of soil sampling guidelines
decreed in the Natural Resources Management Ltd instruction book . NRM are
the most reputable sampling lab in the UK !! Having been falsely accused of
not  including soil pH, redox potential in my analyses,  the Ministry also
disapproved of my intention to use small cardboard boxes for holding the soil
samples - the very boxes supplied by the NRM !!

Well, I suppose I should have learnt the lesson by now that the Ministries
and their global corporations like to hide their mega manganese or organo
phosphate interests behind farcical disputes over the suitability of
cardboard  boxes  or the terminological confusion surrounding  soil slices.
But how do they have the heart to place these fastidious nit-pickings in
front of this crippled young girl ? don't they have children themselves ? As
my anger eventually drained itself out in the afternoon heat , I stopped
myself short of  getting into imaginary spear and machete attacks on the
Ministry of Agriculture's offices in London !! Was the manganese beginning to
get to my very own serotonin receptors by now, I wondered ?