It causes a lot of unease to be told that what has been accepted for ages as incontrovertible truth is perhaps misguided. Recent health studies have found that vegetable oil-based fats are not only not harmful but are effective in preventing heart diseases. Now, a well-known doctor (Dr.B.M.Hegde) wonders if we have not demonised common salt a little too unintelligently:"Another curse of reductionism in science“The fact that salt is a powerful emetic as well as a potent laxative should convince the most skeptical that it is not meant to form an important part of the human diet.” — John H Tobe (in Salt and Your Health)There is an old adage in this part of the world. “There is no one more loving than a mother and there is no food tastier than salt.” Some of these sayings come from hundreds of years of observation-based holistic research which appears much more reliable than the present-day cross-sectional short-term studies of reductionism and surrogate end-points. Salt has got a bad name. If you have high blood prssure (BP) and heart conditon, eat a salt-free diet. Says who? Says a single study. The one-study basis of salt restriction in the world is a longitudinal study of Lewis Dahl which showed that higher salt intake seems to keep the blood pressure up. Further scrutiny of this study did show major fallacies in his calculations; but, for some unexplained reasons, the official stand has been to observe salt restriction, to stay healthy and be fit.A common diagnosis in elderly people hospitalised these days is hyponatremia which results in neurological manifestations ending in coma. In my younger days, we did not see it as frequently as we see it nowadays. There are many reasons for this increased incidence. The number of patients on diuretics, for various reasons, is increasing while, at the same time, salt restriction has become more and more aggressive in hospitals. Many other drugs in common day-to-day use also upset the electrolyte balance in the human system.