Jeremy Clarke Jeremy Clarke

Low life | 17 September 2011

Jeremy Clarke reports on his Low Life

The pub was taken over for a meeting. Every chair was occupied. The speaker’s words were being recorded by a sound engineer standing at a portable mixing console. The middle-aged audience was rapt, the atmosphere one of political and moral seriousness. Few were drinking. I mounted the only vacant bar stool and mouthed the word ‘Peroni’ at the young lad behind the bar as though he and I were involved in a dangerous conspiracy.

The speaker, a woman aged around 50, was speaking articulately and authoritatively about something called the blood/brain barrier. To sustain it, she said, we need to maintain adequate levels of fatty acids, vitamin D and particularly iodine, which most people fail to do. Every woman in the West was iodine-deficient and their brains weren’t working properly, she said.

Recently she’d spent time in Ireland. She’d never in all her life seen so many people showing signs of a compromised blood/brain barrier. The statistics, she said, were that one in three of the Irish population had some kind of brain-related health issue. A telltale symptom of iodine deficiency is a shortening of the eyebrows. In Ireland, she said, the number of people with shortened eyebrows is amazing.

I looked at the audience. There was something like devotion in its engrossed attention. And who could blame them? All we seem to get these days is bad or misinformation, advertising disguised as fact, ideology disguised as truth, propaganda even. It was all so confusing. Who or what lay behind it all? But here at last was an undeceived woman with an intact blood/brain barrier, possibly the only one left in the Western world, telling them what sounded spookily like the truth.

But, for me, that eyebrow business put a big dent in her thesis.

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