A Potpourri of Price's Photos

   Reproduced below are only a few of the 134 plates in Nutrition and Physical Degeneration alongwith some of the comments that went with these photos. (Quotation marks are not used, as everything except the sub-titles found below, is a direct, unabridged quote from Price's book.) To enjoy and profit from the rest, and read a most interesting travelogue, buy the book.


   Communication is very difficult among many of these islands. It would be difficult to find more complete isolation than some of them afford. We tried to get to the islands of Taransay and Scarpa on the west coast of the Isle of Harris, but were unable to obtain transportation since the trip can be made only in special, seaworthy crafts, which will undertake the passage only at certain phases of the tide and at certain directions of the winds. On one of these islands, we were told, the growing boys and girls had exceedingly high immunity to tooth decay. Their isolation was so great that a young woman of about twenty years of age who came to the Isle of Harris from Taransay Island had never seen milk in any larger quantity than drops. There are no dairy animals on that island. Their nutrition is provided by their oat products and fish, and by a very limited amount of vegetable foods. Lobsters and flat fish are a very important part of their foods. Fruits are practically unknown. Yet the physiques of these people are remarkably fine.
   It was necessary sometimes for us to engage skilled seamen and their crafts to make a special trip to some of these isolated islands. These seamen watch critically the tide, wind and sky, and determine the length of time it will be safe to travel in a certain direction under conditions existing in the speed of the running tide and the periodic change of the wind. Some of the islands are isolated by severe weather conditions for many months of the year.
   These islands have been important in the whaling industry, even up to recent years. We visited a whaling station on the Isle of Harris, not active at this time, where monsters of the sea were towed into a deep bay.
   In the interior of the Isle of Lewis the teeth of the growing boys and girls had a very high degree of perfection, with only 1.3 teeth out of every hundred examined that had even been attacked by dental caries.
   An important part of the study of these islands was the observations made on conditions at the fringe of civilization. A typical cross-section of the residents of the seaport town of Stornoway can be seen assembled on the docks to greet the arrival of the evening boat, the principal event of the community. The group consists largely of adult young people. In a count of one hundred individuals appearing to be between the ages of twenty and forty, twenty-five were already wearing artificial teeth, and as many more would have been more presentable had they too been so equipped. Dental caries was very extensive in the modernized section of Stornoway. Since an important part of these studies involved a determination of the kinds and quantities of foods eaten, it was necessary to visit the sources available for purchasing foods in each town studied. In Stornoway, one could purchase angel food cake, white bread, as snow white as that to be found in any community in the world, many other white-flour products; also, canned marmalades, canned vegetables, sweetened fruit juices, jams, confections of every type filled the store windows and counters. These foods probably made a great appeal both because of their variety and their high sugar content to the pallets of these primitive people. The difference in physical appearance of the child life of Stornoway from that of the interior of the Isle of Lewis was striking. We found a family on the opposite coast of the island where the two boys shown in the upper half of Fig. 6 resided. One had excellent teeth and the other had rampant caries. These boys were brothers eating at the same table. The older boy, with excellent teeth, was still enjoying primitive food of oatmeal and oatcake and sea foods with some limited dairy products. The younger boy, seen to the left, had extensive tooth decay. Many teeth were missing including two in the front. He insisted on having white bread, jam, highly sweetened coffee and also sweet chocolates. His father told me with deep concern how difficult it was for this boy to get up in the morning and go to work.
   One of the sad stories of the Isle of Lewis has to do with the recent rapid progress of the white plague. The younger generation of the modernized part of the Isle of Lewis is not showing the same resistance to tuberculosis as their ancestors. Indeed a special hospital has been built at Stornoway for the rapidly increasing number of tubercular patients, particularly for girls between twenty and thirty years of age. The superintendent told me with deep concern of the rapidity with which this menace is growing. Apparently very little consideration was being given to the change in nutrition as a possible explanation for the failure of this generation to show the defense of previous generations against pulmonary tuberculosis. In this connection much blame had been placed upon the housing conditions, it being thought that the thatched-roof house with its smoke-laden air was an important contributing factor, notwithstanding the fact that former generations had been free from the disease. I was told that the incidence of tuberculosis was frequently the same in the modern homes as it was in the thatched-roof homes. It was of special interest to observe the mental attitude of the native with regard to the thatched-roof house. Again and again, we saw the new house built beside the old one, and the people apparently living in the new one, but still keeping the smoke smudging through the thatch of the old thatched-roof house. When I inquired regarding this I was told by one of the clear- thinking residents that this thatch collected something from the smoke which when put in the soil doubled the growth of plants and yield of grain. He showed me with keen interest two patches of grain which seem to demonstrate the soundness of his contention.
   I was particularly interested in studying the growing boys and girls at a place called Scalpay in the Isle of Harris. This Island is very rocky and has only small patches of soil for available pasturage. For nutrition, the children of this community were dependent very largely on oatmeal porridge, oatcake and sea foods. An examination of the growing boys and girls disclosed the fact that only one tooth out of every hundred examined had ever been attacked by tooth decay. The general physical development of these children was excellent, as may be seen in the upper half of Fig. 7. Note their broad faces.
   This is in striking contrast with the children of the hamlet of Tarbert which is the only shipping port on the Isle of Harris, and the place of export of most of the famous Harris tweeds which are manufactured on looms in the various crofters' homes. These Tarbert children had an incidence of 32.4 carious teeth out of every hundred teeth examined. The distance between these two points is not over ten miles and both have equal facilities for obtaining sea foods, being on the coast. Only the latter, however, has access to modern foods, since it supports a white bread bakery store with modern jams, marmalades, and other kinds of canned foods. In studying the tragedy of the rampant tooth decay in the mouth of a young man, I asked him regarding his plans and he stated that he was expecting to go to Stornoway about sixty miles away in the near future, where there was a dentist, and have all his teeth extracted and plates made. He said that it was no use to have any teeth filled, that he would have to lose them anyway since that was everybody's experience in Tarbert. The young women were in just as poor a condition.

   FIG. 6. Above: bothers, Isle of Harris. The younger at left uses modern food and has rampant tooth decay. Brother at right uses native food and has excellent teeth. Note narrow face and arch of younger brother. Below: typical rampant tooth decay, modernized Gaelic. Right: typical excellent teeth of primitive Gaelic.

   FIG. 7. Above: typical rugged Gaelic children, Isle of Harris, living on oats and sea food. Note the breadth of the faces and nostrils. Below: typical modernized Gaelics, Isle of Bardsey. Note narrowed faces and nostrils.


   One important phase of modern degeneration, namely, change in facial and dental arch form and other physical expressions, is of interest. It is a matter of great significance that the Eskimos who are living in isolated districts and on native foods have produced uniformly broad dental arches and typical Eskimo facial patterns. Even the first generation forsaking that diet and using the modern diet, presents large numbers of individuals with marked changes in facial and dental arch form. In Fig. 12 will be seen four Eskimo girls who are of the first generation following the adoption of modernized foods by their parents. All have deformed dental arches. It is important to note the pattern of the settling inward of the lateral incisors and the crowding outward of the cuspids. This facial design is currently assigned to a mixing of racial bloods. These girls are pure-blooded Eskimos whose parents have normally formed dental arches.
   We are particularly concerned with the foods used by these primitive Eskimos. They almost always have their homes on or near deep water. Their skill in handling their kayaks is most remarkable. During the salmon running season they store large quantities of dried salmon. They spear many of these fish from their kayaks; even young boys are very skillful. They land salmon so large that they can hardly lift them. They are expert in spearing seals from these light crafts. Seal oil provides a very important part of their nutrition. As each piece of fish is broken off, it is dipped in seal oil. I obtained some seal oil from them and brought it to my laboratory for analyzing for its vitamin content. It proved to be one of the richest foods in vitamin A that I have found.
   The fish are hung on racks in the wind for drying. Fish eggs are also spread out to dry, as shown in Fig. 13. These foods constitute a very important part of the nutrition of the small children after they are weaned. Naturally, the drifting sands of the bleak Bering Straits lodge upon and cling to the moist surfaces of the fish that are hung up to dry. This constitutes the principal cause for the excessive wear of the Eskimos' teeth in both men and women.
   The food of these Eskimos in their native state includes caribou, ground nuts which are gathered by mice and stored in caches, kelp which is gathered in season and stored for winter use, berries including cranberries which are preserved by freezing, blossoms of flowers preserved in seal oil, sorrel grass preserved in seal oil, and quantities of frozen fish. Another important food factor consists of the organs of the large animals of the sea, including certain layers of the skin of one of the species of whale, which has been found to be very high in vitamin C.

   FIG. 9. Typical native Alaskan Eskimos. Note the broad faces and broad arches and no dental caries (tooth decay). Upper left, woman has a broken lower tooth. She has had twenty-six children with no tooth decay.

   FIG. 12. While dental arch deformities or crowded teeth are practicallly unknown among many of the primitive groups of Eskimos, they occur frequently in the first generation of children born after the parents have adopted the white man's foods. Note the narrow nostrils and changed facial form of these children. This is not due to thumb sucking.

   FIG. 17. Wherever the Indians were living on their native foods, chiefly moose and caribou meat, their physical development including facial and dental arch form was superb with nearlyl complete immunity to dental caries. These two women and two girls are typical.

   FIG. 19. The blight of the white man's commerce is seen everywhere in the distorted countenances of even the first generation after the adpotion by the parents of the foods of modern commerce. These young people with their deformed dental arches are typical. Note the faulty development of the facial bones as evidenced by the narrow nostrils and crowded teeth.


  "There has been a very extensive development of sugar plantations on the larger islands of several of the Pacific archipelagos. The working of these plantations has required the importation of large numbers of indentured laborers. These have been brought chiefly from India and China. Since they are nearly all men, those who have married have obtained their wives from among the natives. This, the Chinese have done quite frequently. Since they are excellent workers they provide good homes and are good business men. They are, in many districts, rapidly becoming the landowners and are men of influence. This influx of Asiatics, together with that of Europeans, has had an important influence upon the purity of the native race around the ports and provided an opportunity to study the effect of intermingling of races upon the susceptibility to dental caries. No differences in extent of tooth decay due to ancestry were disclosed. The incidence of dental caries at the points of contact with imported foods was 30.1 per cent of teeth examined as compared with 0.42 for the more isolated groups living on the native foods of land and sea.
   "The physical changes which were found associated with the use of the imported foods included the loss of immunity to dental caries in practically all of the individuals who had displaced their native foods very largely with the modern foods. Dental caries was much worse, however, in the growing children and motherhood group due to the special demands of these individuals. These conditions are illustrated in Figs. 31 and 32. The boy shown in Fig. 32 (upper, left) typifies the suffering brought by modernization. Abscessed teeth often cause suicide.
   "Another important phase of the studies included a critical examination of the facial form and shape of the dental arches which include very definite and typical changes represented by the narrowing of the features and the lengthening of the face with crowding of the teeth in the arch. These are illustrated in the lower half of Fig. 32.
   "The members of the Melanesian race living on the Fiji Islands of the Pacific, whether volcanic or coral in origin, have developed a very high immunity to dental caries and well formed faces and dental arches. Their native foods consisted of animal life from the sea eaten with plants and fruits from the land in accordance with a definite program of food selection. In their primitive state only 0.42 per cent of their teeth were attacked by tooth decay. In the modernized groups this incidence increased to 30.1 per cent. The change in the nutrition included a marked reduction in the native foods and their displacement with white-flour products, sugar and sweetened goods, canned foods and polished rice. In the succeeding generations after the parents had adopted the modern foods, there occurred distinct change in facial form and shape of the dental arches."

   FIG. 29. [Fijians] The development of the facial bones determines the size and shape of the palate and the size of the nasal passages. Note the strength of the neck of the men above and the well-proportioned faces of the girls below. Such faces are usually associated with properly proportioned bodies. Tooth decay is rare in these mouths so long as they use an adequate selection of native foods.

   FIG. 31. These natives of the Fiji Islands illustrate the effect of changing from the native food to the imported foods of commerce. Tooth decay becomes rampant and with it is lost the ability to properly masticate the food. Growing children and child bearing mothers sufer most severely from dental caries.


   FIG. 36. Note the marked difference in facial and dental arch form of the two Samoan primitives above and the two modernized below. The face bones are undeveloped below causing a marked constriction of the arches with crowding of the teeth. This is a typical expression of inadequate nutrition of the parents.