Saturday, October 24, 2009


Research undertaken by Cardiff University on a sample of 121 patients who have had major surgery, (because of cancer of the pancreas, stomach or oesophagus)has shown that feeding via tubes has speeded up recovery times. Apart from benefiting patient welfare, this research will also be attractive because of its potential cost savings.

In the past it was believed that introducing nourishment to such patients would hamper recovery. It was commonplace for there to be nil by mouth or fasting for up to ten days post-operatively.  What a thought. Patients would have to be selected for a strong constitution to survive that level of nourishment deficiency.

In the process of [disproving] the old theory, the Cardiff team introduced feeding by tube into the intestines, then observed and measured the results. Recovery times shortened as much as by three days.

I can't help but think, on a lay level you understand, that anyone deprived of balanced nourishment at a time when they are medically, highly vulnerable on many fronts, would physically struggle to overcome such a major trauma. Common sense has always supported 'keeping up your strength'. It's not just an adage is it. I am pleased that the deprivation theory has been challenged and found wanting.

Today, when there are so many medical techniques available that did not exist previously, it would not surprise me to see other older theories re-examined. A cautionary note though, unless the bottom line can be satisfied in some way, it could be much more difficult for a new process to develop, irrespective of how medically successful it might be.

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