Swine flu is a respiratory illness in pigs caused by a virus. Mexico's government is ordering closed schools nationwide as the suspected death toll from swine flu climbed to 149. Health Secretary Jose Angel Cordova says only 20 of the deaths have been confirmed to be from swine flu and the government was awaiting tests results on the rest. He says 1,995 have been hospitalized with serious cases of pneumonia since the first case of swine flu was reported on April 13. Alarmingly, the flu outbreak in Mexico is striking healthy young people -- a pattern that would be expected if a flu virus new to humans emerged.
Nations from New Zealand to France reported new suspected cases.
Governments including China, Russia and Taiwan have begun planning
to put anyone with symptoms of the deadly virus under quarantine.
Officials in Mexico and the U.S. are taking emergency steps to contain what is believed to be a new multi-strain swine flu. “If the confirmed deaths are the first signs of a pandemic, then cases are probably incubating around the world by now,” said Dr. Michael Osterholm, a pandemic flu expert at the University of Minnesota. The Mexican Swine Flu has elements of DNA from the following: avian flu, human flu Type A, human flu Type B, Asian swine flu, and European swine flu. Human and animal viruses from four or more continents suddenly recombine in a new flu during a non-flu season that spreads from human-to-human with a 10% fatality rating. Just last month Baxter Pharmaceuticals was caught shipping a mix of H3N2 seasonal flu viruses and unlabelled H5N1 viruses. Baxter released contaminated flu virus material from a plant in Austria, which contained live H5N1 avian flu viruses.
In Mexico City children rarely use the color blue when they paint the sky. The atmospheric pollution in the Mexican capital, one of the world's biggest cities, is one of the most severe air pollution cases in the world. Contaminated air hangs over its population of more than 20 million people doing damage to children’s lungs causing chronic lung diseases when they are adults. Perched at 7,300 feet in a bowl-shaped valley where the air is thin, vehicle fumes get trapped and you might as well be living in a gas chamber. It is that bad and this explains in part why we are finding deaths from the flu concentrated there with no deaths reported outside of Mexico to this date. Even the healthy are sick. Full of toxins, they are medically speaking “accidents waiting to happen,” so when a strong flu strain strikes such a population the death rate will be very high. The cause of death is debatable!
Should there be a pandemic -- something that is far from certain -- the CDC has already begun work on a vaccine, which should be ready by October, entirely too late to protect people from the present threat. Flu vaccines in general often fail miserably to protect old, young and healthy alike so there is really no loss from the delay.
There are four different drugs approved in the U.S. to treat the flu, but the new virus has shown resistance to the two oldest. The CDC recommends the use of the flu drugs Tamiflu and Relenza. Both drugs must be taken early, within a few days of the onset of symptoms, to be most effective though we already know that Tamiflu is deadly in and of itself so its only advantage is to those who make money from it. So basically the western medical establishment has no solution and offers no real help.
Infections cannot be separated from the conditions that
invite pathogens to proliferate. This seems to boggle the
minds of orthodox medical scientists, who like the blind men
and the elephant, seem to be able to focus on one thing at a time.
We live in a dangerous world and anything that throws us out of balance invites pathogens to take up residence in our bodies. If this is the beginning of the pandemic that health officials have been warning about it is best to begin preparing your body before the flu strikes. This article offers natural emergency medicine that addresses both the body’s terrain and the potential pathogens quickly. Starting with the most basic medicine, we need to address dehydration and the use of water and mineral salts as medicines first.
Complications of flu can include bacterial pneumonia, ear infections, sinus infections, dehydration, and worsening of chronic medical conditions, such as congestive heart failure, asthma, or diabetes. Many underestimate seasonal flu's severity and neglect treating dehydration, a survey of U.S. physicians and consumers found. Fifty-seven percent of doctors surveyed said they considered dehydration the single most dangerous flu side effect. "Severe flu symptoms like fever and body aches often keep patients from taking in adequate fluids," said Dr. Leanne M. Chrisman-Khawam of Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland. "By managing symptoms, one will be more likely to manage their dehydration as well."
Dehydration is one of the most overlooked and basic causes of disease. Physicians rarely prescribe water, and you'll never hear of a pharmaceutical firm recommending it, but water can prevent and cure many common conditions because it is a basic or underlying cause of disease. According to a study published in the Archives of Disease in Childhood, more than 70% of preschool children never drink plain water. Pediatric medicine does not pay attention enough to dehydration that occurs when acute diseases strike and children can pay with their life for this.The fact that one of the most common lawsuits in pediatric emergency room medicine is overlooking dehydration tells us of a gapping hole in pediatric medicine that need not be there.
The blood is 80 percent water thus hydration levels are extremely important in blood chemistry. Moderate dehydration, a 3-5% decrease in body weight due to fluid loss is sufficient to result in a substantial decrease in strength and endurance because of the decrease in oxygen carrying capacity of the blood signaling a drop in Zeta potential. Proper hydration is thus the most basic preventative medicine against death from any type of flu.
Mercury Exposure = Increased Vulnerability
Chronic mercury exposure is also a threat to our health and makes us especially vulnerable to flu infections. It has been shown that “prolonged exposure of mammals (white mice) to low mercury concentrations (0.008 – 0.02 mg/m3) leads to a significant increase in the susceptibility of mice to pathological influenza virus strains. This is shown by more severe course of infection. In the experimental group more mice died (86 – 90.3 %) than in the unexposed animals (60.2 – 68 %), additionally the experimental group died more quickly. The significant difference was in the appearance and degree of pneumonia in the effected animals,” wrote Dr. I. M. Trakhtenberg inChronic Effects of Mercury on Organisms.
Though everyone in the northern hemisphere is contaminated with mercury health officials have a mental block against suggesting anything that might reduce total mercury body burden. Though some dedicated health activists are cracking the FDA’s endorsement of mercury dental amalgam it will take a Martian death ray to get them to protect the public from the obvious. Natural chelation methods work safely to remove mercury but unfortunately, if this is the dreaded flu outbreak, there will be little time to reduce mercury levels. Much can still be accomplished with the emergency protocol suggested below. Mercury exposure will make flu symptoms worse and even more dangerous, and that is one reason the flu vaccine is deadly because most brands include thimerosal, which almost fifty percent mercury.
Several other mercury fighters have a place in the flu battlefield. In addition to binding mercury into a fairly harmless complex, selenium is a very good inflammation fighter even in small concentrations. N-acetyl L-cysteine, an antioxidant and glutathione precursor, stimulates production of this master antioxidant and, among other things, boosts the immune system and has anti-inflammatory properties. Alpha-lipoic acid, another mercury mover, acts as a powerful anti-inflammatory agent, while protecting the mitochondria and reducing cellular inflammation. Learn about them before you need them and add them to your medicine kit now.
Iodine, the Universal Pathogen Killer
As early as June 1, 1905 an article was printed in the New York Times about the successful use of iodine for consumption/tuberculosis. Though iodine kills most pathogens on the skin within 90 seconds, its use as an antibiotic/antiviral/antifungal has been completely ignored by modern medicine. Iodine exhibits activity against bacteria, molds, yeasts, protozoa, and many viruses; indeed, of all antiseptic preparations suitable for direct use on humans and animals and upon tissues, only iodine is capable of killing all classes of pathogens: gram-positive and gram-negative bacteria, mycobacteria, fungi, yeasts, viruses and protozoa. Most bacteria are killed within 15 to 30 seconds of contact.
Iodine is by far the best antibiotic,
antiviral and antiseptic of all time. Dr. David Derry
Dr. Derry says iodine is effective “for standard pathogens such as Staphylococcus, but also iodine has the broadest range of action, fewest side effects and no development of bacterial resistance.” Some doctors have reported that it is excellent for the treatment of mononucleosis. Iodine kills single-celled organisms by combining with the amino acids tyrosine or histidine when exposed to the extracellular environment. All single cells (pathogens) showing tyrosine on their outer cell membranes are killed instantly by a simple chemical reaction with iodine that denatures proteins. Nature and evolution have given us an important mechanism to control pathogenic life forms, and we should use it and trust it to protect us in ways that antibiotics cannot.
Dr. David Brownstein, author of Iodine – Why You Need It, uses iodine extensively in his practice and says, “Iodine is a wonderful antibiotic solution without question and most importantly I never see any of my patients complain of dysbiotic reactions from its use.” Because drug-resistant micro-organisms continue to emerge and the number of patients susceptible to these infections is increasing dramatically an approach that utilizes the innate powers of the immune system as a therapeutic agent will have the greatest benefit to sick patients. The body’s ability to resist infection and disease is hindered by long-term deficiency in essential vitamins and minerals including that of iodine. Poor immune response is correlated with impaired thyroid function; a deficiency in iodine can greatly affect the immune system because low levels of iodine lead to problems with the thyroid gland.
I personally talked to a missionary, Stephen Fisher, in Zambia on the phone last year who told me about his very successful use of iodine to treat people with malaria. He used 20 drops of Nascent Iodine in a half glass of water given 4 or 5 times during the first day and then decreased the dose to 10 drops of Nascent Iodine 4 times a day for 3 more days, although higher dosages can be administered for much longer since iodine is a nutritional medicine that is needed by the body. Such a protocol can be used for the swine flu or any other type of influenza. Brownstein and others use much higher dosages of other iodine forms, namely Lugol’s and Iodoral for cancer treatment. If you are interested in high dose usage, please read one of the books by Dr. Brownstein or myself for more details on how to do so.
The minimum number of iodine molecules required to destroy one bacterium varies with the species. For H. influenzae it was calculated to be 15000 molecules of iodine per cell. When bacteria are treated with iodine, the inorganic phosphate up-take and oxygen consumption by the cells immediately ceases. Thus the antiseptic properties of iodine are used to sterilize every surface and material in hospitals. Iodine is an excellent microbicide with a broad range of action that includes almost all of the important health-related microorganisms, such as enteric bacteria, enteric viruses, bacterial viruses, fungi and protozoan cysts.
The tremendous diversity and mutability of many infections and their ability to intelligently exploit the cells is one of the main reasons we should return to iodine as our favored broad spectrum antibiotic, anti-viral and anti fungal agent. Iodine provides us with a safe way to strengthen innate responses to invading microbes while simultaneously correcting or eliminating a basic nutritional deficiency that causes immunological unresponsiveness.
Iodine is able to penetrate quickly
through the cell walls of microorganisms.
Iodine is a deadly enemy of single cell microorganisms thus it can be our best friend in our fight against the most dangerous pathogens. Nature and evolution have given us an important mechanism to control pathogenic life forms and we should use it and trust it to protect us in ways that antibiotics can’t.
Dr. David Brownstein, one of a core group of iodine doctors had very kind words to say about myIodine - Bringing Back the Universal Medicine book. “Dr. Sircus has done it again. He has written a wonderful book on iodine that shows the benefits of iodine for treating a wide range of disorders and how you can incorporate iodine into your daily lifestyle. This book should be in everyone's library.” I would say the same about his book, which inspired my deeper study into the applications of Iodine.
An Important Note: Supplies of drinkable iodine are severely limited and unavailable in most parts of the world. It would be wise to stock up on both Nascent Iodine as well as Lugol’s. For those who can only get the inexpensive iodine at the drug store meant for cuts and bruises, know that you can paint the body with it quite heavily and frequently to get iodine into the body. Just monitor the skin for any reactions with small area applications first.
Influenza, Inflammation, and the Role of Magnesium
What makes avian-derived H5N1 strains, and the influenza strain underlying the 1918–1919 human pandemic so virulent is viral triggering of cytokine-mediated lung inflammation. Inflammation is the activation of the immune system in response to infection, irritation, or injury. Characterized by an influx of white blood cells, redness, heat, swelling, pain, and dysfunction of the organs involved, inflammation has different names when it appears in different parts of the body. Magnesium is central to immunocompetence, and plays a crucial role in natural and adaptive immunity in great part because of its dominance over the inflammatory response.
Magnesium is at the heart of the inflammatory process, it is the prime first cause when it is not present in sufficient quantities. Increases in extracellular magnesium concentration cause a decrease in the inflammatory response while reduction in the extracellular magnesium results in inflammation. Magnesium literally puts the chill on inflammation especially when used transdermally. “Magnesium deficiency induces a systemic stress response by activation of neuro endocrinological pathways,” writes Dr. Mazur. “Magnesium deficiency contributes to an exaggerated response to immune stress and oxidative stress is the consequence of the inflammatory response,” he continued.
A little bit of magnesium chloride can be added to the drinking water (the same as sodium bicarbonate mentioned in the next section). But both can be introduced in much greater dosages and concentration in baths to bypass digestive systems that may not be working properly. Many already know of the transdermal effect of magnesium chloride and magnesium sulfate. One can also apply both ‘magnesium oil’ and a self-made lotion of sodium bicarbonate to the skin for rapid absorption and this is most helpful for children. All can be put into a sterile solution and nebulized directly into the lungs if inflammation becomes life threatening. When all else fails, physicians can get both magnesium and sodium bicarbonate into the body with IVs.
Most people and children are already magnesium deficient, which would naturally increase complications or the possibility risk of death from influenza. Everything mentioned in this basic emergency protocol is preventive and can be started immediately. Don’t wait for the WHO to officially announce an international pandemic before you stock your emergency kit with the basics.
Using bicarbonate to change blood and full body pH is going to shift the environment of most pathogens making it more uncomfortable for them to inhabit a host. Malaria and influenza are often associated with abnormalities of fluid, electrolytes and the acid-base balance. Sodium bicarbonate is very useful and should not be overlooked just because it is one of the most simple medicines and food items you can buy in the supermarket.
Fluid and electrolyte imbalances easily occur in anybody with a severe flu. This is common in severe malaria, extremes of age, young children, malnutrition, and patients with high degree of fever and vomiting/diarrhea.
Sodium bicarbonate can be administered orally every two hours and can be put in the baths as well as mixed with mineral water to make a lotion. For oral use, Bob’s Red Mill Sodium Bicarbonate is the best but for baths the old Arm and Hammer product is fine. Sodium bicarbonate buffers and defends us from a host of complications, and is even used in chemotherapy to protect patients from the toxic effects of dangerous drugs.
Sodium bicarbonate along with magnesium chloride are workhorse medicines that are extremely useful in most all clinical situations. Certainly they are useful together in infectious diseases to support both the basic physiology and mitochondrial function.
One does not have to say much when it comes to the importance of Vitamin C in preparing the body for an aggressive attack of influenza of any type. If vitamin C levels are low, the body will be more vulnerable to complications. Also, an attack of the flu will lower already dangerously depleted vitamin C levels. Whole food vitamin C is often better tolerated than pure ascorbic acid in addition to the fact that whole food vitamin C comes with the necessary co-factors for its efficacy, which ascorbic acid does not.
There are many natural remedies on the market and many wives’s tales --and there is always Mother’s chicken soup! One will find an extensive list of possible herbs, formulas and foods that might help; however, they do not make up a core protocol that one can depend on in an emergency situation that can easily develop with a severe strain of influenza.
The Sun – Strong Medicine against the Flu
Medical scientists have noticed that people with the least D were most likely to have had a recent infection of the upper respiratory tract. We already know that getting plenty of vitamin D — more than diet can offer — appears to provide potent protection against colds, flu and even pneumonia. As the amount of vitamin D circulating in blood climbs, risk of upper respiratory tract infections falls and this is important when strong flu strains strike hard.
Dr. Adit Ginde, an emergency room physician at the University Of Colorado Denver School Of Medicine in Aurora says that in people with lung disease, low levels of the sunshine vitamin “magnify many-fold” the apparent vulnerability to infection seen in people with healthy lungs. Dr. Ginde findings appeared in the Feb. 23 Archives of Internal Medicine and concluded that in every season, people in the lowest vitamin D group were about 36 percent more likely to be suffering a respiratory infection than those in the highest group.
Grind’s study showed that low levels of vitamin D more than doubled the risk of respiratory infection for people with COPD — and boosted it almost six fold in people with asthma — compared with participants who had normal lung function and were in the highest vitamin D group. What was most disturbing about the findings was that the NHANES data he analyzed had been collected about 15 years ago, when almost twice as many people as today had vitamin D levels above 30 ng/ml. This is a crucial point. We are more vulnerable today then every before to a massive epidemic because we are more toxic and more deficient in crucial vitamins and minerals than at any point in modern history.
One of the most important and misunderstood vitamins is A, and it works hard to keep you healthy with vitamin D when in the right balance. Vitamin A plays a vital regulating role in the immune system also. Vitamin A deficiency leads to a loss of ciliated cells in the lung, an important first line defense against pathogens. Vitamin A promotes mucin secretion and microvilli formation by mucosa, including the gastrointestinal tract mucosa. Vitamin A regulates T-cell production and apoptosis.
If you are a sun lover, you do not need to take supplemental vitamin D; however you still need to consume adequate vitamin A. Animal studies show that even moderate amounts of vitamin D increase the body's need for vitamin A, whether the vitamin D is provided in the diet or by UV light. So, if you cut back or eliminate cod liver oil in the summer, you can also consume plenty of oily fish, liver, butterfat and egg yolks from grass-fed hens to ensure adequate vitamin A.
So throw away your sun screens and get out in the sun when it is high in the sky and roast yourself until slightly pink, and do that perhaps every other day as a replacement for dangerous antiviral medications, along with the rest of the anti-flu protocol. Drink lots of carrot juice with oranges and eat spirulina, which is extraordinarily high in beta-carotene.
In Summary, a Heart Felt Plea
Please, I beg people to be aware that in November of 2005 Japan's health ministry issued a warning of dangerous behavioral side effects linked to the anti-influenza drug Tamiflu. This came amid reports that several children in Japan died after taking the medication. Dr. Rokuro Hama, head of the Japan Institute of Pharmaco-Vigilance, had investigated eight suspicious deaths of children aged between two and 17, which he thinks are linked to Tamiflu. He reported his findings at a meeting of the Japan Society of Pediatric Infectious Diseases. Investigators say in one case last year, a 17-year-old boy, after taking the medication, left his home during a snowstorm, and jumped in front of a truck and died. Earlier that year, a 14-year-old boy, after taking one Tamiflu capsule, jumped or fell from the ninth floor of an apartment building. Doctors say in both cases the boys had not exhibited any abnormal behavior before taking Tamiflu.
Drug manufacturer Roche and US regulators have warned that influenza patients treated with oseltamivir (Tamiflu) may have an increased risk of self-injury and delirium. "People with the flu, particularly children, may be at increased risk of self-injury and confusion shortly after taking Tamiflu and should be closely monitored for signs of unusual behavior," says a warning that Roche has added to its official product information, according to a company letter posted on the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Web site.
Many reputable doctors and health activists are weighing in and we should be very scared for some very good reasons. Read Dr. Sherri Tenpenny’s essay. Read Bill Sardi’s pdf. Read the Huntington Post’s essay on the dire economic effect and the implications of declared health emergencies. The medical industrial complex and governments around the world are ready, willing and able to use this as an excuse to attack the human race with misinformation and extremely dangerous drugs and vaccines. Remember Dr. Eleanor McBean?
Dr. Eleanor McBean, lived through the 1918 Influenza epidemic, and testified, “As far as I could find out, the flu hit only the vaccinated. Those who had refused the shots escaped the flu. My family had refused all the vaccinations so we remained well all the time. There was seven times more disease among the vaccinated soldiers than among the unvaccinated civilians, and the diseases were those they had been vaccinated against.”
Vaccines, especially when given in multiple quantities in one sitting certainly have the potential to throw a person or child’s body out of balance as can nutritional deficiencies, dehydration, lack of exercise or a lack of sun and vitamin D. Almost everyone today is magnesium deficient, certainly every Mexican who eats white rice!
There are many who believe from the depths of their hearts that vaccines are bio weapons of mass destruction, which exist for both pharmaceutical profit and over bloated professional medical egos attached to status and power. No matter what we believe though and no matter what develops over the next few days it would be more than prudent to disseminate this information that will be helpful to both doctors and people facing the current public health crisis.
Cases FDA staff members reviewed 596 cases of psychiatric reports linked to Tamiflu. Most cases occurred in Japan, where Tamiflu is widely used to treat the flu. In Japan, three adults committed suicide in addition to the five children who died. The FDA uncovered reports of psychiatric side effects among children taking Tamiflu in 365 children from its U.S. approval in October 1999 through May 2007. Many relayed similar stories of children trying to ``flee or escape'' through windows, while others became violent. One child tried to strangle its mother, while others banged their heads against walls. Tamiflu prescriptions in Japan have declined since February 2007, when several teenage patients who were taking Tamiflu fell from buildings, Chugai Pharmaceutical Co. said in Nov. 5 statement. Chugai sells Tamiflu in Japan. Roche owns the majority of Chugai stock, with about 51 percent of shares. As a result, use of Tamiflu ``was reduced by almost half compared with previous years,'' Chugai said. The company said it would supply 6 million treatment courses in Japan this year, compared with 12 million in previous years. There were 115 cases of psychiatric events among patients taking Relenza from the time of its approval in July 1999 through August 2007, including 74 children. Seven patients became delirious and developed impulsive behavior, saying they were fearful or needed to flee. None of the patients died.
“Zicam survey: Flu's impact underestimated,” Phoenix Business Journal, Monday, October 3, 2005.
Children and adults easily lose too many fluids from: Vomiting or diarrhea. Excessive urine output, such as with uncontrolled diabetes or diuretic use. Excessive sweating, i.e., from exercise. Fever. You might not drink enough fluids because of: Nausea, Loss of appetite due to illness. Sore throat or mouth sores. Dehydration in sick children is often a combination of both -- refusing to eat or drink anything while also losing fluid from vomiting, diarrhea, or fever.
Trakhtenberg, I.M. From Russian translation. Chronic Effects of Mercury on Organisms. In Place of a Conclusion. Page 2.
Marani L, Venturi S. Minerva Med. 1986 May 7;77(19):805-9."Iodine was and is sometimes used therapeutically in various pathologies where the immune mechanism is known to play a dominant role. It has in fact been administered to patients with tubercular granulomatous, lepromatous, syphilitic and mycotic lesions where it facilitates cure. This effect does not depend on iodine's action on the micro-organism responsible. Iodine may also be used in Villanova-Panol Panniculitis, in erythema nodosum, in nodular vasculitis, erythema multiforme and Sweet's syndrome. Oral iodine is also very effective in the lymphatic-cutaneous form of sporotrichosis. In order to establish a relationship between dietary iodine and immune response, 607 infants residing in an area of endemic goitre were studied: 215 were given Lugol solution (2 drops a week for about 8 months) and 392 not. The immune response was assessed by the skin test method using tetanic toxoid and a clear correlation was shown between this and lymphocyte stimulation and monocytic chemotaxis tests. The test was considered positive when an infiltration of at least 5 mm in diameter was shown after 48 hours (in the U.S. 80% of paediatric cases aged 2-10 years old were positive). A significant difference was noted in the average diameter of the infiltrations after the tetanic toxoid skin test in the two groups considered (P less than 0.001). The results appear to indicate that an adequate iodine intake is necessary for normal retarded immune response. The molecular mechanism by which iodine increases immune response is still to be decided.
Retired biochemist and toxicologist Walter Last has this to say about Lugol’s: “Lugol's solution is an internal iodine solution designed to eliminate Candida and possibly viruses and other microbes from the bloodstream. Obtain 100ml of Lugol's solution, also labeled Aqueous Iodine Oral Solution B.P., from a chemist. Take a test drop in liquid other then just water to make it taste less strong. If this does not cause an allergic reaction, continue to take 4 x 6 drops daily in liquid or mixed with food, but not together with vitamins A, C, E, grape seed extract or cysteine. Iodine is an oxidant and it is best to reduce the intake of antioxidants while using it. If the blood was contaminated, then you may initially experience a die-off reaction of the Candida, causing weakness and possibly headache or nausea. If this happens cut temporarily back on the amount of Lugol's solution and drink plenty of water and diluted teas or juices. Continue for 3 weeks, but interrupt if you develop a serious reaction. Do not take the iodine for more than 3 weeks as that interferes with thyroid activity. If necessary repeat the course after several months.” Lugol’s can be purchased at www.herbhealers.com
Table 4: Microbiological Efficacy Activity of PVP-Iodine versus Bacteria, Yeasts and Molds, Actinomycetes and Rickettsia
Jeffrey A. Woods, PhD., and graduate student Tom Lowder at the Physical Fitness Laboratory, Department of Kinesiology, University of Illinois, recently reported that four consecutive days of moderate exercise in mice after they were infected with influenza protects them from dying, compared with mice that didn’t exercise. Woods and Lowder reported their findings at the American Physiological Society’s 2004 Intersociety Meeting, showing that 20-week-old mice that had exercised had significantly (p=0.008) higher survival rates (18 of 22) versus HCC of the same age (10 of 22). When all EX mice (47) were compared with all HCC mice (48), EX had twice the survival rate, 59% vs. 29.4% (p=0.003). They reported that none of the variables (food/water intake, random activity or symptom severity) proved to be reliable at predicting mortality.