Sunday, November 20, 2011

Robin Gibb And Cachexia

Cachexia is a wasting condition. No matter how much you eat, you lose weight. It's often accompanied by loss of appetite, so you don't want to eat, which exacerbates the condition.

When I saw this photo of Robin Gibb a few months ago, I thought, uh-oh. Cachexia is often seen in late-stage cancer patients. At the time, I read that he had been treated for "stomach problems" and was on the mend. This morning I read that Robin Gibb was diagnosed with liver cancer. He's 61.

Robin Gibb is one of my favorite singers from my youth, one of the brothers who formed the hugely successful group The Bee Gees. I enjoyed their pre-disco, tightly-harmonized sound. Here are two songs by Robin that have been real earworms for me over the years:

I Started A Joke:

Massachusetts: (The song was written in 1967, at a time when "young people believed in having a political voice." Robin said of this song, "it is not literally talking about people going back to Massachusetts but represents all the people who want to go back to somewhere or something." )



Bryan - oz4caster said...

His fate and that of Steve Jobs doesn't give me a good feeling about the long-term healthfulness of vegan diets.

Bix said...

How about that, I didn't know Jobs was a lifelong vegan. I've read that he ate seafood and that he tried various diets after he was diagnosed, one may have been vegan, I don't know. I will trust what you say though. Gibb I read was a vegan in later life, after his twin brother died? I don't know how long, but again I'll trust what you say.

Besides what these gentlemen ate, which in my life's work I've discovered is just about impossible to truly uncover!, I do wonder whether strictly vegan diets are the best for humans.

RB said...

Two data points don't confirm or dismiss the benefits of a vegan diet. I did a quick
Google search of vegan life expectancy. The results are that vegan life expectancy is either the same or slightly better than the general population - basically inconclusive. Total life style has a lot to do with life expectancy. Also, remember that there is a lot of junk food that qualifies as vegan including alcohol, soft drinks, chips, cookies and candies. Some vegetarians also eat fish and dairy.

Also, its not just life expectancy but morbidity we should worry about. I would think a long life, with a short morbidity near the end is better than a long life with a long morbidity due to life style diseases.

In the cases of Jobs and Gibb, I think there is much more going on than just diet.

I do think a diet of mostly plants with limited meat and dairy consumption is best for a long healthy life with short morbidity.

Anonymous said...

Two famous people get cancer and being vegan is the best way to get dead. A study of two! The selective data gathering is remarkable. All of the non-vegan, non-famous people dropping like flies and not enjoying a good quality of life are invisible/insignificant.

Angela and Melinda said...

So-called Blue Zones involved populations that were either vegetarian or omnivorous and were the longest lived people in the world. Of course their longevity also was due to factors beyond food--exercise/physical work, supportive networks of friends, and so forth. Nonetheless, I admire people who have the discipline to be vegan.

Angela and Melinda said...

"Earworms"--funny term! Very descriptive.

Bix said...

This was interesting:

Why Did Steve Jobs Die


Jake said...

And I finally died..

Unknown said...

I finally died..

Laurie Endicott Thomas said...

Steve Jobs' cancer was probably due to the chemicals he was exposed to when he started working in the computer industry, when was about 15 years old. If anything, his vegan diet extended his life. Robin Gibb was reportedly a vegan at the time of his death, but who knows what his diet was like at the time the cancer started. Colon cancer is extremely rare in populations that eat a low-fat, plant-based diet. It becomes more common in populations after they adopt the standard American diet. Biology is complicated. You have to look at the data as a whole, not just cherry-pick unusual cases.