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C. Alan B. Clemetson, MD
Charles Alan Blake "Alan" Clemetson MD, F.R.C.O.G., F.R.C.S.(C), F.A.C.O.G. (October 31 1923 – August 30 2006) was a medical doctor, scientist and researcher who published over 48 medical papers and a three-volume monograph, Vitamin C. During his hospital and teaching career he specialised in obstetrics and gynecology. After retirement in 1991 he devoted his time to researching and publishing papers on Barlow's disease (scurvy in infants), particularly arguing this to be the major cause of Shaken baby syndrome.
Dr. Clemetson was born in Canterbury, England, attending Wootton Court preparatory school, Wootton, Kent (1930-1935) and The King's School, Canterbury (1935-1942). After preclinical studies at Magdalen College, University of Oxford, he completed his training at Radcliffe Infirmary, graduating from Oxford University in 1948 with a Bachelor of Medicine & Bachelor of Surgery (B.M., B.Ch) degree.
He married Helen Cowan Forster, a physiotherapist, on March 29, 1947. They had four children.
After graduation, he became a Royal Air Force medical officer for two years, and then returned to Oxford University in 1950 for a MA degree. In 1950, as a research assistant in Obstetrics, he started to pursue research into preeclamptic toxaemia and started to publish medical papers in 1953. In 1951-1952, he was named a Nichols Research Fellow of the Royal Society of Medicine. From 1952 through 1956, he served at various hospitals in England as the House Surgeon of either Obstetrics or Gynecology, and, in 1956, became a lecturer in Obstetrics and Gynecology at London University.
Dr. Clemetson immigrated to Saskatoon, Canada (1958 -1961), becoming an assistant professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology at the University of Saskatoon. During this period he began to be interested in vitamin C, on an expedition to Rankin Inlet, Hudson Bay, when he was impressed by the good capillary strength of the local Inuit, surmising this to be due to raw fish in their diet.
Then, in 1961, he moved to California and assumed a position as an assistant professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology at the University of California Medical Center in San Francisco, and a lecturer in the Department of Maternal and Child Health with the University of California, Berkeley.
In 1967, he assumed a teaching position (1967–1972) as an assistant professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology with the State University of New York, Brooklyn. He also became the Director of the Obstetrics and Gynecology Department (1967-1981) at the Methodist Hospital of Brooklyn, New York. In addition (1972-1981), he served as a professor in the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at the Downstate Medical Center of the State University of New York, Brooklyn, New York.
Dr. Clemetson in 1981 moved to New Orleans, Louisiana, and became a professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology at Tulane University School of Medicine, and the Director of Obstetrics and Gynecology at the Huey P. Long Memorial Hospital, Pineville, Louisiana. He also became a consultant in Gynecology for the Department of Surgery, Veterans Administration Hospital, Pineville, Louisiana.
Upon his retirement in 1991, as a Professor Emeritus, Tulane University School of Medicine, Dr. Clemetson devoted his remaining years to writing and publishing medical papers concerning Shaken baby syndrome.
Near the end of his life he narrowly escaped the New Orleans disaster from Hurricane Katrina, having been warned by the meteorologist brother-in-law of his carer. He escaped with the latter over the Lake Pontchartrain bridge the day before it was destroyed. He lived in Houston, Texas for nearly a year while his family restored his house, but died of heart failure a few weeks after this was completed.
Dr. Clemetson had a long and distinguished academic career as a medical doctor, scientist and researcher. During his forty year professional career, he implemented numerous scientific studies and was instrumental in furthering scientific knowledge.
The following listed achievements are highlights of his life’s work that are contained in his extensive Curriculum Vitae.
Dr. Clemetson's most notable medico-legal achievement was as the father of the “Motherhood Bill”, which requires that all medical insurance carriers in the State of New York include coverage for pregnancy and complications of pregnancy. This so-called Donovan Bill rapidly spread to all 50 states.
University College Hospital – London – 1950-1952 / 1956-1958
Demonstrated the effects of cord around the neck and of preeclampsia on the oxygen saturation of newborn infants.
Published the first study of “small-for-dates” infants in his studies of “the difference in birth weight of human twins.”
Demonstrated impaired active transfer of amino acids from mother to fetus in preeclampsia.
Demonstrated aortic hypoplasia in some patients following severe early preeclampsia.
Performed and published successful open cardiac massage outside of hospital.
University of California Medical Center – San Francisco – 1961–1967
Bioflavonoids and catechins - Solved the old “Vitamin P” problem, by showing that bioflavonoids with certain structural characteristics act as indirect antioxidants for Vitamin C. See: Plant Polyphenols Monograph in New York Academy of Sciences.
Preeclampsia - Demonstrated a disturbance of ascorbic acid metabolism in preeclampsia and in abruptio placentae.
Methodist Hospital of Brooklyn – New York – 1967–1981
Developed a new method for measuring the bilirubin content of amniotic fluid.
In collaboration with the Department of Anesthesiology, he showed an improved oxygen saturation in the umbilical cord of blood of babies delivered by Caesarean Section under spinal anesthesia when the mother is placed in a left-side-down tilt position.
In collaboration with Drs. Mallikarjuneswara and Moshfeghi, he was able to measure the electrical charge on fertilized rat ova, and this was the first time that anyone had ever measured the electrical charge on any mammalian ovum.
He showed conclusively that women on the pill need more Vitamin C than usual, and, as a result of this, a special vitamin formula called “Feminins” was developed and marketed for women on the pill.
His research on the uterine luminal fluid in the rat showed that estrogen causes secretion and progesterone causes reabsorption of uterine luminal fluid.
In collaboration with Dr. J.K. Kim and others, he showed that the luteal phase of the human menstrual cycle is the reabsorptive phase, and not the secretory phase.
In recent research, he has shown that people with low vitamin C levels have very high blood histamine levels.
He was able to relate the above observation to abruptio placentae, as women with low ascorbate (Vitamin C) and high histamine levels are prone to develop premature separation of the placenta.
Tulane University School of Medicine 1981–1990
Wrote three-volume monograph, Vitamin C, published by CRC Press in 1989.
After Dr. Clemetson’s retirement from teaching in 1991, his work focused on developing the hypothesis that the hemorrhages seen in infants with Shaken baby syndrome are caused not by inflicted trauma, but by capillary damage due to Barlow's disease (subclinical scurvy) - a condition called by proponents Clemetson/Kalokerinos syndrome. The mechanism he argued to be high histamine levels associated with low serumvitamin C, the latter deficiency arising before birth due to factors such as the pregnant mother's malnutrition, and in the infant by recurrent infections and recent multiple vaccinations.
His four main papers on this topic, published in the journal Medical Hypotheses, are: The Key Role of Histamine in the Development of Atherosclerosis and Coronary heart disease; Barlow's disease (2002) ; Capillary Fragility as a Cause of Subdural Hemorrhage in Infants (2004); and Elevated Blood Histamine Caused by Vaccinations and Vitamin C Deficiency May Mimic the Shaken Baby Syndrome (2004).
Commission on Life Sciences - National Academies Press (USA)
“Water Soluble Vitamins – Vitamin C” Chapter 8 p 115 Clemetson, C.A.B. 1980. Histamine and ascorbic acid in human blood. J. Nutr. 110:662-668.
Biologic Markers in Reproductive Toxicology (1989)
“Cell Biology: Identifying Biologic Markers Expressed During Early Pregnancy” Chapter 20 p 227 Clemetson CAB, Kim JK, De Jesus TP, Mallikarjuneswara VR, Wilds JH. 1973 "Human Uterine Fluid Potassium and the Menstrual Cycle." J Obstet Gynaecol Br Commonw. Jun;80(6):553-61.
Vitamin C, Volumes I, II, III. Monograph by C.A.B. Clemetson, 1989 CRC Press, Boca Raton, Florida, ISBN 0-8493-4841-2
Clemetson, CAB (2006) "Caffey Revisited: A Commentary on the Origin of "Shaken Baby Syndrome.” J Am Phys Surg 2006; 11:20-21 (PDF)
Clemetson CAB (2004) "Capillary Fragility as a Cause of Substantial Hemorrhage in Infants." Medical Hypotheses And Research VOL. 1, No. 2/3, July 1, pp. 121-129
Clemetson CA (2004) "Shaken baby syndrome: a medicolegal problem." (Letter) N Z Med J. 2004 Nov 5;117(1205):U1160. PMID 15570337 No abstract available.
Clemetson CA (2004) "Was it "shaken baby" or a variant of Barlow's disease?" J Am Phys Surg 9: 78-80 (PDF)
Clemetson, CAB (2004) "Capillary Fragility as a Cause of Subdural and Retinal Hemorrhages in Infancy." Red Flags – Editorial – August 10
Clemetson CA (2004) "Individual reactions following vaccinations or inoculations are highly variable." (Letter) Mil Med. 2004 Feb;169(2):v. PMID: 15040623 No abstract available.
Clemetson CA (2004) "Elevated blood histamine caused by vaccinations and Vitamin C deficiency may mimic the shaken baby syndrome." Med Hypotheses. 62(4):533-6. Review. PMID: 15050101
Clemetson CA (2002) "Shaken baby or scurvy?" J. Orthomolecular Medicine 17(4):193-196
Clemetson CA (2002) "Barlow's disease." Med Hypotheses. 2002 Jul;59(1):52-6. PMID: 12160680
Clemetson CA (2002) Was the baby shaken? Townsend Letter for Doctors and Patients #222, p.112-13
Clemetson CA (1999) "Vaccinations, inoculations and ascorbic acid." J. Orthomolecular Medicine 14:137-142
Clemetson CA (1999) "The key role of histamine in the development of atherosclerosis and coronary heart disease." Med Hypotheses. Jan;52(1):1-8. Review. PMID: 10342662
Clemetson CA (1991) "Vitamin C and multifactorial disease." J. Orthomolecular Medicine 6:161-165
Champagne ET, Hinojosa O, and Clemetson CA (1990) "Production of Ascorbate Free Radicals in Infant Formulas and Other Media." J Food Sci 55(4):1133-6.
Clemetson CA, Cafaro V (1981) "Abruptio placentae." Int J Gynaecol Obstet. Dec;19(6):453-60. PMID: 6121727
Clemetson CA (1980) "Histamine and ascorbic acid in human blood."J Nutr. 1980 Apr;110(4):662-8. PMID: 7365537
Clemetson CA (1979) "Some thoughts on the epidemiology of cardiovascular disease (with special reference to women "on the pill"). Role of ascorbic acid." Med Hypotheses. Aug;5(8):825-34.PMID: 514120
Clemetson CA, de Carlo SJ, Burney GA, Patel TJ, Kozhiashvili N, Taylor RA (1978) "Estrogens in food: the almond mystery." Int J Gynaecol Obstet. 1978;15(6):515-21. PMID: 29799
Clemetson CA, Verma UL, De Carlo SJ (1977) "Secretion and reabsorption of uterine luminal fluid in rats." J Reprod Fertil. Mar;49(2):183-7. PMID: 557549
Clemetson CA (1976) "Ascorbic acid and diabetes mellitus." Med Hypotheses. Sep-Oct;2(5):193-4. PMID: 967063
Tantayaporn P, Mallikarjuneswara VR, de Carlo J, Clemetson CA (1974) "The effects of estrogen and progesterone on the volume and electrolyte content of the uterine luminal fluid of the rat." Endocrinology. Oct;95(4):1034-45. PMID: 4416234 No abstract available
Clemetson CA, Hassan R, Mallikarjuneswara VR, Wallace G (1973) "Tilt-bend cesarean section." Obstet Gynecol. 1973 Aug;42(2):290-8. PMID: 4721420 No abstract available
Clemetson CA, Kim JK, De Jesus TP, Mallikarjuneswara VR, Wilds JH (1973) "Human uterine fluid potassium and the menstrual cycle." J Obstet Gynaecol Br Commonw. Jun;80(6):553-61. PMID 4720532 No abstract available
Mallikarjuneswara VR, de Jesus TPS, Clemetson CA (1972) The effect of an intrauterine foreign body on the sodium and potassium concentrations of the uterine fluid of the rat." Contraception 6:499-512
Clemetson CA, Kim JK, Mallikarjuneswara VR, Wilds JH (1972) "The sodium and potassium concentrations in the uterine fluid of the rat at the time of implantation." J Endocrinol. Sep;54(3):417-23. PMID: 5071364 No abstract available
Kalesh DG, Mallikarjuneswara VR, Clemetson CA (1971) "Effect of estrogen-containing oral contraceptives on platelet and plasma ascorbic acid concentrations." Contraception 4:183-192.
Saroja N, Mallikarjuneswara VR, Clemetson CA (1971) "Effect of estrogens on ascorbic acid in the plasma and blood vessels of guinea pigs." Contraception 3:269-277.
Ansari I, Wallace G, Clemetson CA, Mallikarjuneswara VR, Clemetson CDM (1970) "Tilt caesarean section." J Obstet Gynaecol Br Commonw. Aug;77(8):713-21. PMID: 5452133 No abstract available
Clemetson CA, Mallikarjuneswara VR, Moshfeghi MM, Carr JJ, Wilds JH (1970) "The effects of oestrogen and progesterone on the sodium and potassium concentrations of rat uterine fluid." J Endocrinol. Jul;47(3):309-19. PMID 5465726 No abstract available
Clemetson CA, Moshfeghi MM, Mallikarjuneswara VR (1970) "Electrophoretic mobility of the rat blastocyst." Contraception 1:357-360
Mallikarjuneswara VR, Clemetson CA, Carr JJ (1970) "Determination of bilirubin in amniotic fluid. A new, simple, and efficient method." Clin Chem. Mar;16(3):180-4. PMID: 5437956 No abstract available
Clemetson CA (1969) "Menorrhagia rheumatica." La Vie Medicale, No Hors Serie, Decembre, pp 1-10: Symposium International – Paroi Vasculaire et Flavonoides – Comptes Rendus – Hospital Saint-Antoine, Paris, June 27.
Clemetson CA (1966) l Bioflavonoidi Quali Antioossidanti per L’AQcido Ascorbico Symposium sui Biolavonoidi, Stresa, Italy April 23, pp 584-593
Clemetson CA, Andersen L (1966) "Plant polyphenols as antioxidants for ascorbic acid." Ann N Y Acad Sci. Sep 30;136(14):341-76. PMID: 4961574 No abstract available.
Clemetson CA, Andersen L (1964) "Ascorbic acid metabolism in preeclampsia." Obstet Gynecol. 1964 Nov;24:744-82. PMID: 14227609 No abstract available.
Clemetson CA, Blair LM (1962) "Capillary strength of women with menorrhagia." Am J Obstet Gynecol. May 15;83:1269-79. PMID 13860008 No abstract available.
Clemetson CA, Blair LM, Reed DH (1962) "Estrogens and capillary strength." Am J Obstet Gynecol. May 15;83:1261-8. PMID 13879913 No abstract available.
Clemetson CA, Blair L, Brown AB (1962) "Capillary strength and the menstrual cycle."Ann N Y Acad Sci. Apr 15;93:279-99. PMID 13879912 No abstract available.
Brown AB, Clemetson CA (1961) "Influence of environmental temperature on survival of premature animals." Canad. Med. Assoc. J. 84:491-494
Clemetson CA (1960) "Aortic hypoplasia and its significance in the aetiology of pre-eclamptic toxaemia." J Obstet Gynaecol Br Emp. Feb;67:90-101. PMID 13810651 No abstract available.
Clemetson CA (1958) "Ectopia vesicae and split pelvis; an account of pregnancy in a woman with treated ectopia vesicae and split pelvis, including a review of the literature." J Obstet Gynaecol Br Emp. Dec; 65(6):973-81 PMID 13621295 No abstract available.
Clemetson CA (1956) "The difference in birth weight of human twins. Twin blood studies. III. Placental transfer of amino-acids." J Obstet Gynaecol Br Emp. 1956 Feb;63(1):15-8. PMID 13295857 No abstract available.
Clemetson CA (1956) "The difference in birth weight of human twins. Twin blood studies. II. Cord blood haemoglobin levels."J Obstet Gynaecol Br Emp. 1956 Feb;63(1):9-14. PMID 13295856 No abstract available.
Clemetson CA (1956) "The difference in birth weight of human twins. Twin blood studies. I. Oxygen analysis of umbilical cord blood." J Obstet Gynaecol Br Emp. Feb;63(1):1-8. PMID 13295855 No abstract available.
Clemetson CA, Churchman J (1955) "Plasma amino-acid levels following protein ingestion by pregnant and non-pregnant subjects." J Obstet Gynaecol Br Emp. Jun;62(3):390-4. PMID 14392520 No abstract available.
Clemetson CA, Churchman J (1954) "The placental transfer of amino-acids in normal and toxaemic pregnancy." J. Obstet. Gynaec. Brit. Emp. 61:364-371 PMID 13175066 No abstract available.
Clemetson CA, Churchman J (1953) "Oxygen and carbon dioxide content of umbilical artery and vein blood in toxaemic and normal pregnancy." J Obstet Gynaecol Br Emp. Jun;60(3):335–344. PMID: 13061996 No abstract available.
Clemetson CA (1953) "The oxygen saturation of umbilical artery and vein blood at birth, with special reference to cord obstruction." Proc. Roy. Soc. Med. 46:94-96
Past memberships in learned societies
Member of the British Medical Association
Fellow of the Royal Society of Medicine
Member of the New York Academy of Sciences
Member of the New York Obstetrical Society
President of the Brooklyn Gynecological Society
Member of the Medical Society of the County of Kings and Academy of Medicine of Brooklyn
Fellow of the American College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists
Fellow of the Royal College of Surgeons of Canada
Fellow of the American College of Nutrition
Notes and references
^ ab Yu MH. "Books: Vitamin C, Vols. 1 to 3", J AM Diet. Assoc90(5):756.