Things That Matter

This Boy Ate A Ton Of French Fries And Pringle’s And Now Doctors Blame His Poor Diet For His Blindness

A British teenager is the first believed to have gone blind solely due to a poor diet of junk food. This has to be one of every young person’s worst nightmares. How many of us were raised to believe that it’s in those formative teen years we are able to indulge in all the bad foods we want before our slower metabolism kicks in with age? 

Before we did that bizarre experiment in tenth grade, where you put a penny in Coca-Cola and it dissolves due to the acids, I singularly lived off of soda. I did not drink water. My Dominican abuela would put a teaspoon of sugar in my brother and I’s Sunny Delight orange juice. I am not saying this is right (it’s definitely not the best way to live), I am just saying it is not uncommon for young people to make the worst possible food choices when left to their own devices. And of course, junk and fast food companies aren’t so innocent. 

The combination of aggressive marketing along with food scientists who make artificial flavors taste better than real food and more addictive, has had damaging effects on public health. So while it might be your first instinct to roast this boy, let’s consider all the social factors that made his blindness possible in the first place.

How can junk food make you go blind? 

Scientists from the University of Bristol examined the case of a young boy who slowly lost his hearing and vision over the course of four years. The boy who was a picky eater since elementary school, only ate Pringles potato chips, white bread, processed ham and sausage, and avoided many nutritious foods.

He first saw a doctor at 14, complaining of tiredness. He was not on medication and had a normal BMI. Tests revealed he had low vitamin B12 levels and anemia. After treating him with B12 injections, a year later, he showed signs of hearing loss and vision. Doctors were baffled. By the time he was 17, he became legally blind. Doctors detected low vitamin B12, low copper, selenium, vitamin D and bone level density, along with high levels of zinc.

Essentially, he was malnourished. 

Developing countries face similar health hurdles.

Researchers from the Bristol Medical School and Bristol Eye Hospital determined he had nutritional optic neuropathy. For the patient, the blindness was permanent, although it is reversible if detected early. Typically, a case like this in the developed world would be the result of bowel problems or medication that obstructs the absorption of nutrients. 

However, poor diet was the cause for the 17-year-old. Nutritional optic neuropathy is typically found in patients from developing nations with poverty, famine, drought, and war. 

A cautionary tale. 

“Our vision has such an impact on quality of life, education, employment, social interactions, and mental health,” said study lead author Denize Atan, an ophthalmologist at Bristol Medical School and Bristol Eye Hospital. “This case highlights the impact of diet on visual and physical health, and the fact that calorie intake and BMI are not reliable indicators of nutritional status.”

Researchers believe this is an extreme case but caution against a junk food diet. This doesn’t mean you can’t eat the Popeye’s Fried Chicken sandwich, it just means it can’t be the only thing you eat over the course of a decade.

“Although it is an extreme example, it highlights the importance of having a wide and varied diet to ensure that you get the profile of nutrients and micronutrients that are needed for healthy development,” Gary Frost, a professor of nutrition and dietetics at Imperial College London, told CNN.

Because this teenager is anonymous lots of questions remain. Why didn’t the parents intervene sooner? Will they be held accountable? Why weren’t doctors able to address the seriousness of the child’s diet sooner? 

We should hold food companies more accountable.  

Food scientists intentionally make foods unnaturally delicious and addictive because their goal isn’t to make people healthy, it’s to sell more food products.

“Humans have an inherited preference for energy-rich foods — like fats and sugars — and thus natural selection has predisposed us to foods high in sugar and fat,” Jennifer Kaplan, a teacher at the Culinary Institute of America, told Salon. “Food scientists know this and create ingredients that are far higher in fat and sugar than occur in nature. The most common such sugar is high-fructose corn syrup and is therefore intrinsically addictive.” 

study in 2013, showed that high fructose corn syrup, the artificial sweetener used in most prepackaged foods, is as addictive as heroin and cocaine because of the way it releases dopamine, the “feel-good” hormone that tells your brain it is being rewarded.

When society ain’t looking out for you and the adults in your life ain’t looking out for you, well it is hard to stand a chance. Let’s hope this patient’s cautionary tale helps someone make more thoughtful food choices.

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Oprah Winfrey Just Revealed She Was Physically Abused As A Child

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Oprah Winfrey Just Revealed She Was Physically Abused As A Child

Updated May 10, 2021

Oprah Winfrey might be the queen whose success so many of us aspire to, but like so many her life is one built from a road of trauma. Her latest book What Happened to You? Conversations on Trauma, Resilience and Healing speaks to these traumas and stressful experience and was written alongside child psychiatrist and neurologist Bruce D. Perry, MD, Ph.D.

In her most recent appearance on the Dr. Oz Show, Winfrey revealed that part of her trauma which she touches on in the book, includes the abuse she experienced from both her parents and grandparents.

Speaking about her experience with child domestic and physical abuse, Winfrey revealed that one beating from her grandmother left her bloody while in her church dress.

“One of the welts on my back opened up and bloodied the dress,” she revealed through tears. She went onto recall a time in her life when she woke up while in bed with her grandmother to find her grandfather strangling his wife.

“My grandmother and I slept in the bed together. My grandfather was in a room on the other side of the wall and one night in the middle of the night, my grandfather gets out of bed and comes into the room,” Winfrey explained. “And I wake up and he has his hands around my grandmother’s neck and she is screaming.”

Winfrey shared that after her grandmother managed to push her grandfather away, they both slept in the room after that her grandmother put a chair underneath their bedroom’s doorknob with tin cans around the chair. “And that is how we slept every night. I’m sleeping, I always slept with, listening for the cans,” she explained. “Listening for what happens if that doorknob moves.”

In her new book, Winfrey revealed that after her grandmother died, she moved from Mississippi to Milwaukee to live with her mother.

There, she was forced to sleep on the front porch of the house where her mother resided. “The night I arrived in Milwaukee, the woman my mother was boarding with, Ms. Miller, took one look at me and said, ‘She’ll have to sleep on the porch,'” Winfrey recalled in her book. “My mother said, ‘All right.’ As I watched my mother close the house door to go to the bed where I thought I’d sleep, I was consumed with a terrified sense of loneliness that brought me to tears.”

Winfrey went onto recall that the incident with the bloody dress happened after her grandmother caught her playing with water.

Speaking to Dr. Oz, she recalled how as a little girl she had been carrying a bucket of water to bring back home. “As I was bringing the water back, I was, like, playing with the water with my fingers like that in the water and my grandmother was looking out the window,” Winfrey recalled. “And when I brought the bucket in and I’m sloshing the bucket cause I’m a little girl, and she’s like “Were you playing in the water? Did you have your fingers in that water? That’s our drinking water.”

Winfrey’s latest book isn’t totally autobiographical, chapters dive into the connection between trauma and well-being, and Dr. Perry insight into who to handle traumatic experiences from their childhood. “The journey from traumatized to typical to resilient helps create a unique strength and perspective,” Dr. Perry write in the book. “That journey can create post-traumatic wisdom.”

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Users On Reddit Are Sharing Their Wild Experiences With Sperm Donation

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Users On Reddit Are Sharing Their Wild Experiences With Sperm Donation

With sperm donations, families of all sorts have access to planning and creating a family. According to the US National Library of Medicine
National Institutes of Health in 2015–2017, 440,986 families were estimated to have used sperm donation to start families.
Of course, while a benefit the circumstances of sperm donations can often spurn questions and odd scenarios.

Users on Reddit are speaking about their own sperm donation stories and the answers are pretty surprising.

Check them out below!

“So, I’m not the dad, but a kid. So my bio-dad donated sperm and gave permission to be identified. Didn’t even have to be after 18. In counting (because we’re not sure if we’ve found all of us yet) there are 53 half-siblings, all his kids. My full sister and I didn’t know we were donor babies until I was a freshman in college, and her a junior in high school. It was a few more years before we found out the scope of our family. As such, I never got to meet the man as he passed away in 2018, but I’ve been getting to know my half siblings and I’m sad to have missed him. He apparently engaged in annual reunions and was interested in getting to know all of the kids if they (and their families) were open to it. We all support each other basically by default even though we didn’t grow up together. What’s even wilder about him is that he got national news coverage for something besides his giant flock of kids. The guy got married to a woman the day he met her as a competition to be his bride in the Mall of America. It was apparently a heartfelt story and the two of them had a 20 something year marriage with 4 kids that they raised themselves. The Mall of America even has a plaque with his name on it now, so you can go find him if you really try. The man was a weirdo, but in the best way. He was kind and generous with his time and really seemed to care about *all* of his kids, or at least the ones he knew about.”-SilverRock75

“Oh hey, I can answer this! I’m not a donor, but I was donor conceived, along with my sister (same donor). I had a great dad and never had any desire to find out who my donor was, but I was always curious about siblings, especially when I learned there’s no legal limit on how many children you can father when you donate sperm in the US.

Well, one 23andMe test later, and the first result on the top of the list is a half sister in Texas. We get in contact, realize we have a TON in common, and it sparked a fire in her to find more siblings. She took an Ancestry DNA test and the top of that list was a man in California, listed as father.

She got in touch with him right away, turns out he’s a fantastic guy. He was adopted himself and also got in contact with his birth mom as an adult, so he had been on our side of the situation and was very open and willing to talk. His wife has been super supportive of us meeting too. He has three, uh, organically made kids of his own (I was especially ecstatic to learn that I’m a big sister), plus we’ve since found three more half siblings who’ve all been very cool and excited to find each other. At this point, I’ve met all but one of them in person, and I got to meet my biological grandmother too.” – racecarart

“A guy I know in his 70s got a call from a guy in his 50s saying ‘hey, I’m your son, oh and I just learned I have a genetic disease so your other kids should probably get tested’”- daxelkurtz

“Totally not an answer but my gf and I were just wondering about whether there were any protocols for how much of one donor’s sperm is allowed to be distributed within a given area.

Like, what could prevent 2 moms from having the donor’s offspring in the same area and having those kids grow up and meet as teens/adults, start a relationship and realize they’re related?”- MightyMaus1

“Some clinics will put a cap on number of families, but there are manh cases of people have dozens, even up to 40, 80, 100 half siblings. It brings up the ethics around this, and many donor conceived people are vehemently against this and believe there needs to be a limit in place.”- TheTinyOne23

“I donated for six months in university. Twice a week. I gave consent to be contacted. That was close to 20 years ago now.

I did call and ask once, my sperm resulted in 24 successful pregnancies. That was all the office could tell me.

I have not done 23andme or anything like that.”- ciroryder

“That’s quite crazy. You have 24 children as far as the spiralling coil DNA goes. They’ve all got half or full siblings they don’t know about (well, the full ones will surely know). That’s really crazy. In 1000 years, you might be the Ghengis Khan where your dna is traced to like 1 in 3 people on mars or something. The dna analysis will just show you, not the fact that your a donor.”- The_Queef_of_England

“My aunts had to get a donor for both children, and he happened to live in the same neighborhood (can’t remember if that was a coincidence or not). But he is a close family friend now! He comes over for their birthdays and other family events. They don’t refer to him as their dad really, only as a joke, but he is very close with our family.”-anniecakes22

“I was donor-conceived. I took a DNA test, his natural-born daughter took a DNA test. So really neither of us ‘gave permission’. There are 28 siblings so far. It was quite a shock. I wasn’t expecting it and didn’t know. I was 38.

I’ve met the donor and most of the half siblings. He’s a cool guy. I think it is eerie how I see many of my mannerisms in him and the other siblings. I know there is a wide range of emotions for people who experience this sort of thing, but for me it was generally positive.”-mynuname

“It is incredible how the similarities are passed down. My father-in-law had a daughter that was the result of a one-night stand and was adopted by a wonderful family. The adoption agency had a registration of birth parents and kids, who could each (blind to the other) give permission to be contacted, and only if both parties did, they’d put them in contact. So this happens in her early 20’s, and they make arrangements for her to fly to meet her birth family, including my wife and her brother (her half-siblings). My wife goes to pick her up at the airport since the parents live out of town. There were no arrangements, no pictures, nothing (this was pre-Facebook) – my wife saw her come out the doors, knew without question it was her, and she knew the same, they had a huge tearful hug without even any words. They just knew, by looks, by mannerisms, whatever.

The incredible thing is, I’ve shown pictures of the half-sister, with or without her birthfather and half-sister, and everyone agrees she doesn’t actually look much like them. But there’s something about the looks and how they act that is so similar between all of them, it really is incredible.

Edit – one more detail. We found out years later that the father and daughter contacted the agency to open themselves up to contact…within 24 hours of each other. A complete coincidence. The agency actually didn’t do it for a couple weeks because they were trying to contact the daughter’s adoptive parents (who had passed away, hence the delay) because they just assumed there had been contact since they were in touch so impossibly close together.”- mrdannyg21

“My step-mom was an early donation conceived baby. She’s done 23&Me and Ancestry. Last I heard she was up to 23 (!!) half-siblings. Their donor father died in the late 1980s and seems to have been a good man.”-MyMelancholyBaby

“My younger bro donated multiple times unbeknownst to me. Years later my wife and I did Ancestry.com to get an idea of how diverse our backgrounds were and wham! Started getting contacted by lots of people (over a dozen) saying we were close relatives. At first I was confused and asked the early ones about their parentage – they all had a similar stories. Single mom went to a sperm bank. Didn’t take long to guess what happened. Call my brothers and asked. Younger one fessed up and said yes – he went multiple times. In fact they told him he had to stop donating because there was a statistical probability his progeny could meet and date (at least they seemed ethical). I asked if it was okay if I gave them his contact – he was fine with it. The weird thing is that they all had his face – like one look at them and it was obvious who their father was. Anyway, this went on for a couple of years and they all connected with each other. Seems there is over 20 now, probably more. He has met a couple of them but it was all casual. The whole thing is super weird to the rest of family to have all these “close” relatives who somehow are part of the family but then again not really.”- ezagreb

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