“I get up each morning, dust off my wits; Pick up my paper, and read the "Obits." If my name is missing, I know I'm not dead. So I eat a good breakfast, and go back to bed." (Author unknown)
The DOCTOR YOURSELF NEWSLETTER (Vol. 6, No. 3, February, 2006)
"Free of charge, free of advertising, and free of the A.M.A."
Copyright 2006 by Andrew W. Saul of http://www.doctoryourself.com , which now welcomes nearly two million visitors annually. Commercial use of the website or the contents of this Newsletter is strictly prohibited.
IN THIS ISSUE:
1) VITAMIN THERAPY CENSORSHIP
2) SELECTIVE REPORTING OF MEDICAL SCIENCE?
3) VITAMIN THERAPY BOOKS BY WILLIAM KAUFMAN, M.D.
4) FEATURE: INTERVIEW with DR. BRUCE NATHAN AMES
5) FIBROIDS, CANCER AND IODINE DEFICIENCY
6) WELLNESS CONFERENCE
7) Book Review: ADVENTURES IN PSYCHIATRY
VITAMIN THERAPY CENSORSHIP
It’s real, and it’s in America right now. The taxpayer-funded US National Library of Medicine still refuses to index the Journal of Orthomolecular Medicine on MEDLINE, even though the Journal has published the work of Linus Pauling and other major orthomolecular (megavitamin nutrition) scientists for nearly forty years.
Read the whole sordid story at the newest webpage at DoctorYourself.com: http://doctoryourself.com/medline.html (And, for some real fun, be sure to scroll down that page a ways and read about our famous, our one-and-only MEDLINE COMEDY CONTEST.)
Here is what one scientist thinks of MEDLINE’s bias:
SELECTIVE REPORTING OF MEDICAL SCIENCE?
(BMJ, Rapid Response, 27 December 2005 http://bmj.bmjjournals.com/cgi/eletters/331/7531/1487 ) Steve Hickey, PhD Department of Biological Sciences, Metropolitan University of Manchester Reprinted with the author’s permission.
Pubmed may be giving doctors a biased view of the progress of medical science. Recently, I presented a paper, on the microevolutionary model of cancer, to a meeting of the British Society for Ecological Medicine (BSEM), at the Royal College of General Practitioners in London. Afterwards, I happed to mention that I was looking into claims of bias in the selection of journals for indexing by Medline. I gave the example of the Journal of Orthomolecular Medicine (JOM). Although this journal has included papers by leading scientists and physicians, it has not yet been indexed, despite numerous applications to Medline. Dr Abram Hoffer, editor of JOM for over 35 years, believes this is a clear example of censorship in medicine.
Considering the widespread interest in nutrition and medicine, and the status of many of the journal’s contributors, JOM should be indexed because of its relevance to medical science. However, the decision to index a journal is based on selection by a panel, which appears to be privately appointed. Furthermore, the procedure lacks a set of published and objective criteria.
I was unable to obtain a viable reason for the rejection of JOM from the US National Library of Medicine. The ostensible reason was weakness of scientific content, which may be considered an inaccurate explanation, given the list of currently indexed magazines. These include many that would claim little scientific content, such as Time magazine, Newsweek, the Indian Journal of American Studies, and the Kansas Historical Quarterly. My offer to demonstrate the relevance of JOM to the medical profession, by providing an application signed by several thousand physicians, medical professionals and scientists, was not accepted.
Coincidentally, BSEM members told me that they had just had a meeting to discuss a second Medline rejection of the Journal of Nutritional and Environmental Medicine. They implied that a further application for indexing would be a waste of time, as their impression was that the selection process was biased against nutritional approaches to treatment.
Fortunately, this bias is less worrying than it might once have been, as Medline and Pubmed are gradually becoming redundant. These once definitive sources of information appear to be in the process of being replaced by Google Scholar, which is more open and covers a greater depth of scientific journals. At the time of writing, a search on Pubmed for the word “orthomolecular” generates 213 papers. Google Scholar yields 841 papers, while a standard Google search produces 228,000 responses.
DOCTOR YOURSELF ACTION TIP: If you would like to help fight for free user access to ALL nutritional research (and not just the wimpy low-dose stuff) please drop me a line at doctoryourself.com/contact.html .
RARE VITAMIN THERAPY BOOKS BY WILLIAM KAUFMAN, M.D.
Out of print for over 50 years, the last remaining examples of each of Dr. William Kaufman’s two rare, self-published nutrition books are now available for purchase.
Through the courtesy of the Kaufman estate, DoctorYourself.com is pleased to have acquired and exclusively offer these unique collectors’ items to its interested readers and patrons.
THE COMMON FORM OF JOINT DYSFUNCTION centers on Dr. Kaufman’s very extensive, and very successful, clinical experience using megadoses of vitamin B-3 to fight severe arthritis. Each of these very rare 1949 hardcover books is in mint condition, individually sealed in its unopened original box, just as it came from E.L. Hildreth and Co., Brattleboro, Vermont. The Common Form of Joint Dysfunction is 228 pages in length. The last time I knew of this book being offered for sale, the price was over $90.
In the interest of my readership, I have decided to make them available for considerably less than this. If you are interested, please look at http://www.doctoryourself.com/order.html .
I also have a limited number of examples of Dr. Kaufman’s even lesser-known, and even older, book on B-3 (niacin or niacinamide), entitled THE COMMON FORM OF NIACIN AMIDE DEFICIENCY DISEASE: ANIACINAMIDOSIS. Each one is likewise in mint condition, in a sealed and unopened original box, just as it came from the Yale University Press in 1943. The Common Form of Niacin Amide Deficiency is 62 pages, hardcover. For ordering information, please go to http://www.doctoryourself.com/order.html .
While I have ample quantities available of my own books, DOCTOR YOURSELF ( http://www.doctoryourself.com/saulbooks.html ) and the new one, FIRE YOUR DOCTOR!, ( http://www.doctoryourself.com/fyd.html ), I have rather few of these genuinely historic volumes by Dr. Kaufman, one of the great vitamin therapy pioneers. I therefore ask, if you want to purchase either or both, that you first reserve your copies by emailing me at doctoryourself.com/contact.html .
TO ORDER, please go to http://www.doctoryourself.com/order.html
For more about Dr. Kaufman and Niacin(amide) therapy for Arthritis:
and http://www.doctoryourself.com/news/v3n16.txt (towards the end)
THE DOCTOR YOURSELF INTERVIEW:
DR. BRUCE NATHAN AMES
Bruce Ames, PhD, is 78 years young and he is quite certain that good nutrition has kept him that way. Dr. Ames, Professor in the Division of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology at the University of California at Berkeley, has research interests that seem to closely coincide with those of this Newsletter’s regular readers. “Inadequate intakes of vitamins and minerals (less than 50% of the RDA) are very common,” says his UC Berkley webpage, adding that “inadequate intake of folate, B12, or B6 leads to chromosome breaks” just as if radiation caused those breaks. ( http://mcb.berkeley.edu/faculty/BMB/amesb.html ) In addition to emphasizing the dangers of zinc deficiencies in men, and iron deficiencies in women, Dr. Ames is an advocate of supplemental alpha-lipoic acid and acetyl-L-carnitine, and supports the use of high therapeutic doses of B-vitamins.
Dr. Ames is also a senior scientist on the staff of Children's Hospital Oakland Research Institute, with over 500 publications to his name. The very often-quoted, and very busy professor kindly agreed to this special interview conducted by Doctor Yourself Newsletter Editor Andrew Saul, which is presented below in edited form.
DOCTOR YOURSELF NEWS: Dr. Ames, I am especially interested your thoughts on our often-overlooked need for nutrients. How bad is the Standard American Diet?
Dr. BRUCE AMES: When you drink a soft drink, you get 10 teaspoons of sugar and no vitamins. Obesity is an epidemic. A third of the children coming into Children’s Hospital where I work now are clinically obese. The problem is worse in the poorer populations, chiefly Black and Hispanic. Obese people are at the bottom of the heap for micronutrients because they are eating this lousy diet. And, obese people are inflamed. The gut has all that food fuel, and a lack of micronutrients, which encourages the bad bacteria, the clostridium and others that overwhelm and give you inflammation, and then the bad bacteria start leaking through.”
DY NEWS: New government-sponsored food recommendations call for nine or ten servings of fruits and vegetables a day. Yet their seems to be trouble getting people to eat five. What's wrong?
AMES: There has been the least success with the poor. It all depends on thinking long-term. The problem is getting people to eat good diets. It is a struggle. So, I recommend taking a multivitamin as insurance. Everybody in the world should take a daily multivitamin. Many nutritionists don’t like that. But you need both good diet and nutritional insurance. My interest is preventive medicine.
DY NEWS: Government-sponsored nutrient levels, such as the RDA and DRI, have been widely criticized as being too low. What specific changes in these recommended levels would you support?
AMES: People are not even getting the current RDAs. I think some of the recommended levels might go up a bit, especially the B-vitamins, when we start to learn more about long-term damage.
DY NEWS: What are some of the major health problems caused by micronutrient deficiency?
AMES: Deficiency causes so much harm. For example, folic acid deficiency breaks chromosomes. If you do not have enough micronutrients, you are aging yourself fast. Whatever micronutrient group you look at, some group is low in it. A quarter of menstruating women are getting less than half the RDA of iron. Half of the poor used to take in less than half the RDA of folate, before folate fortification of flour in the U.S.. I think the first priority is getting the poor and obese up to the RDA for the vitamins and minerals. And the cost of supplements? They are really cheap.
DY NEWS: What aspects of high-dose nutrient therapy show most promise, in your opinion?
AMES: There are diseases that are curable by high B-vitamins. We’ve found 50 different genetic diseases where some doctor had shown that you can reverse the disease by feeding a high dose of B-vitamin. A high dose of a B-vitamin does raise the corresponding coenzyme level, as we have found.
DY NEWS: And as for B-vitamin safety?
AMES: You can take 50 times the RDA of most B-vitamins, though I don’t recommend that, they are safe. I may need more of a B-vitamin than you do. Roger J. Williams and Linus Pauling had the idea but never really showed that you could raise coenzyme levels, which I think is the mechanism of the effect.
DY NEWS: What quantities of supplemental nutrients do you personally take daily?
AMES: I take a multivitamin every day. Also, they do not have enough calcium or magnesium, so I take extra. I also eat a good diet.
DY NEWS: What public health improvements might result from all Americans taking nutritional supplements?
AMES: Particularly if you could get the poor to do it, you would see a considerable decrease in medical bills, and an increase in health and life expectancy. You’d get less degenerative disease of all sorts.
DY NEWS: Years ago, I showed my college classes some video footage of you being interviewed on national television. You were speaking about what really causes cancer.
AMES: People think cancer is due to some external toxin. But in fact, most of the cancers are due to the lousy diets people are eating, or their smoking. Smoking depletes all your vitamin C. It also depletes a number of other micronutrients.
DY NEWS: So would you say that, rather than focus on very small amounts of toxic chemicals, we should look at the fact that we are malnourished?
DY NEWS: And that is probably what is really causing cancer?
That’s my guess, yes. If you scare people about a thousand hypothetical minor risks, nobody knows what is important anymore.
DY NEWS: A well-publicized 1998 study was presented to the public as a claim that vitamin C is harmful to DNA. Your thoughts, please?
AMES: That was a lousy experiment. I know that paper. The epidemiology was not good, and the science wasn’t good. It was way over-hyped.
DY NEWS: Do you take extra vitamin C?
AMES: When I get a cold, or when I feel one coming on, I suck 500mg vitamin C pills frequently. When your white blood cells are fighting, they need a little help.
DY NEWS: So a sick body needs more vitamin C?
AMES: Yes, as inflammation uses it up.
DY NEWS: What about vitamin C as a treatment for cancer?
AMES: The Cameron-Pauling studies claimed to cure cancer. Moertel at the Mayo Clinic “repeated” the study and said they did not see any effect, but they gave the vitamin orally. The Cameron-Pauling study injected the vitamin C, and that makes a big difference. You can get really high blood levels of vitamin C when you inject it, and when you feed it you can’t get it that high. High doses will kill tumor cells preferentially. I think there is going to be a new interest in using vitamin C against cancer.
DY NEWS: A recent meta-analysis more than suggests that high doses of vitamin E are actually harmful. Your comments?
AMES: I think all that was exaggerated a bit. There are a lot of things wrong with some of those negative vitamin E analyses. It is best to take the natural vitamin E, with gamma tocopherol, as well as the d-alpha tocopherol. A mixed natural vitamin E, 200-400 IU per day, is a good idea. An excellent website is the Linus Pauling Institute. ( http://lpi.oregonstate.edu ) They have very good people running a very good site discussing each of the micronutrients.
DY NEWS: How long have you been at UC Berkeley?
AMES: Since 1968; 37 years.
DY NEWS: How many graduate students do you supervise?
AMES: Currently one, plus a dozen postdoc’s and a couple of physicians.”
DY NEWS: Would you please comment on the Juvenon company ( http://www.juvenon.com/about/scientific.htm ) and your interest in its products?
AMES: I founded Juvenon; all my stock is in a non-profit foundation and Juvenon profits fund clinical trials. I get no money from Juvenon at all. We demonstrated wonders for decayed mitochondria in old rats, and for cognition and energy level in the rats. There has been one successful clinical trial so far in people, and hopefully more to come. The two mitochondrial biochemicals in the product are acety-L-carnitine and alpha-lipoic acid.
DY NEWS: Should there be RDA/DRI's for alpha-lipoic acid, and acetyl-L-carnitine? If so, in what amounts?
AMES: There is not enough data in humans. However, I take 400 mg alpha-lipoic acid, 1,000 acetyl-L-carnitine daily.”
DY NEWS: What advice would you most like to offer to our readers?
AMES: You mean about diet? I’d say, “Your Mom knew.” Try and eat a good diet: lots of fruits and vegetables, less meat and more fish. Keep the meat within bounds. I try to never eat meat more than once a day, or even every day. Eat lots of whole grains, not so much refined, well, anything!. Avoid the cookies and white bread. Drink water instead of sugary soft drinks. Get some exercise. Get some sunshine. Your Mom knew all these things.
DY NEWS: What about vitamin D?
AMES: People who are dark skinned, or even many Caucasians, should take a vitamin D supplement. Vitamin D is going to turn out to be a very big thing for dark-skinned people. I think they are going to eventually increase the amount of vitamin D in a multivitamin. There’s now only 400 IU, and that’s not enough. You need at least 1,000 IU of vitamin D. The RDA should definitely be increased. You’d get 20,000 IU if you were out in the sun.
DY NEWS: So if you were asked by the RDA or DRI committee, what would you recommend for a daily intake vitamin D?
AMES: In the range of 3,000 IU per day for an adult. Certainly a minimum of 1,000 IU per day, for all ages. Eventually people will realize it, and they will raise the recommended level, but it is just taking a long time.
DY NEWS: If you had a personal motto, what would it be?
AMES: “Do what you are enthusiastic about.”
DY NEWS: You are clearly enthusiastic about nutrition research. What drew you into it in the beginning?
AMES: I was interested in cancer prevention. I recognized that the chromosome breaks due to folate deficiency were important. Zinc deficiency damages mitochondria, which are the “power plants” of your cells. So does B-6 deficiency, pantothenic acid deficiency, and biotin deficiency. When you are getting low levels, you are pouring oxygen radicals out; you’re battering up your DNA, and you are aging more quickly. The price the cell pays for being short of micronutrients is DNA damage, which leads to cancer in the future, and ages you faster. When you make human cells slightly deficient in either a vitamin or a mineral, I think you’re going to get DNA damage. A lot of the degenerative diseases of aging are being tied to mitochondrial decay. I think better diet and supplementation would result in less neurodegenerative disease, less cancer, less Alzheimer’s, less Parkinson’s, less diabetes.
DY NEWS: This being the Doctor Yourself Newsletter, what are your thoughts on the shortcomings of modern medicine?
AMES: There’s nothing wrong with doctors; it’s just that they have no training in nutrition and they’re not very interested in prevention. So you get a disease and they try to give you a pill.
DY NEWS: Do you have any plans for retirement?
AMES: None. I enjoy my work. I have no interest in retiring and playing golf. I was born without a sports gene. The most fun is just doing science.
Recommended for Further Reading:
Increasing Longevity by Tuning-up Metabolism. [B.N. Ames (2005) EMBO Reports, 6: S20-4] (1)
Heme deficiency may be a factor in the mitochondrial and neuronal decay of aging. [H. Atamna, D.W. Killilea, A.N. Killilea, and B.N. Ames (2002) Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U S A, 99: 14807-14812] (2)
Iron deficiency and iron excess damage mitochondria and mitochondrial DNA in rats. [P.W. Walter, M.D. Knutson, A. Paler-Martinez, S. Lee, Y. Xu, F.E. Viteri, and B.N. Ames (2002) Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA, 99: 2264-2269] (3)
Low intracellular zinc induces oxidative DNA damage, disrupts p53, NFkB, and AP1 DNA-binding, and affects DNA repair in a rat glioma cell line. [E. Ho and B.N. Ames (2002) Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA, 99: 16770-16775] (4)
High-dose vitamins stimulate variant enzymes with decreased coenzyme-binding affinity (increased Km): relevance to genetic disease and polymorphisms. [B.N. Ames, I. Elson-Schwab, and E.A. Silver (2002) Am. J. Clin. Nutr., 75: 616-658] (5)
Feeding acetyl-L-carnitine and lipoic acid to old rats significantly improves metabolic function while decreasing oxidative stress. [T.M. Hagen, J. Liu, J. Lykkesfeldt, C.M. Wehr, R.T. Ingersoll, V. Vinarsky, J.C. Bartholomew, and B.N. Ames (2002) Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA, 99: 1870-1875] (6)
Memory loss in old rats is associated with brain mitochondrial decay and RNA/DNA oxidation: partial reversal by feeding acetyl-L-carnitine and/or R-a-lipoic acid. [J. Liu, E. Head, A.M. Gharib, W. Yuan, R.T. Ingersoll, T.M. Hagen, C.W. Cotman, and B.N. Ames (2002) Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA 99: 2356-2361] (7)
Age-associated mitochondrial oxidative decay: improvement of carnitine acetyltransferase substrate binding affinity and activity in brain by feeding old rats acetyl-L-carnitine and/or R-a-lipoic acid. [J. Liu, D. Killilea, and B.N. Ames (2002) Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA 99: 1876-1881] (8)
FIBROIDS, CANCER AND IODINE DEFICIENCY
Robert Sarver writes:
“There is mounting evidence that a major cause of breast, ovarian, uterine and prostrate fibroids (cysts) and cancers is dietary iodine deficiency. Iodine deficiency probably also contributes to obesity, arthritis and mental illness. Virtually every older person I know has symptoms of iodine deficiency. Those symptoms may also include thyroid problems, dry eyes, compromised immune system functioning, reduced sex drive and a long list of other symptoms. Some young people already show symptoms of iodine deficiency such as Attention Deficit Disorder and excessive weight gain.”
Mr. Sarver’s excellent article on the tremendous importance of correcting iodine deficiency is now posted in its entirely at http://www.vitamincfoundation.org/iodine.htm http://www.ghchealth.com/iodine-deficiency.html
DR. SAUL AND WELLNESS CONFERENCE ON DVD I recently had the pleasure of being the keynote speaker at Wellness Journey 2005 in Albany, NY. The entire conference was video recorded, including my one-hour speech, “Essential Issues in Integrative Medicine.” If you’ve always harbored an irresistible urge to see and hear me in action, or maybe just to enjoy my shtick, here’s your opportunity.
To order the DVDs, and for more information on future natural-health conferences, please go to http://www.wellnessjourney.org or contact Ken Goewey at KGoewey@aol.com .
ADVENTURES IN PSYCHIATRY: The Scientific Memoirs of Dr. Abram Hoffer
by Abram Hoffer, M.D., Ph.D. (Kos Publishing Inc. 2005. ISBN 0-9731945-6-1. )
Reviewed by Helke Ferrie. and reprinted with her permission.
Dr. Abram Hoffer’s life could justly be described as being an essential nutrient in its own right. His research, being based on the right questions, correct observations, and relevant assumptions, has functioned like a vitamin, mineral, or essential fatty acid for the growth of medical knowledge. This is so because such research sustains and nourishes every branch of inquiry it comes in contact with. This book is a feast for the mind and the spirit. For those of us who have learned, through painful personal experience that drugs, surgery, and most of high-tech medicine offer only very temporary benefits, but rarely if ever a cure, this book tells the wonderful story of the rebirth of nutritional medicine. Here the reader gets a magisterial overview of the resurrection of nutritional medicine in the 20th century and its placement on new foundations of rigorous scientific methodology made possible through by the simultaneous developments in biochemistry. Over the past 60 years, Abram Hoffer’s life’s work has systematically transformed and informed major areas of modern medicine to the benefit of thousands of patients. And now we have a book in which he tells the story of a lifetime in research and clinical practice himself. Today, what is known about addiction, depression, schizophrenia, attention deficit disorders, the nutritional role in cancer prevention and treatment, the connection between stress and mental health, the nutritional deficiencies acting in synergy with vaccine toxicity in autism and the nutritional regimes to reverse this condition, as well as the nutritional treatment of cardiovascular/lipid disorders were either pioneered by Dr. Hoffer or co-developed alongside other giants in those fields, such as two-time Nobel laureate Linus Pauling (who coined the term orthomolecular medicine), Theron Randolph (the father of environmental medicine), Humphrey Osmond, Roger Williams (discoverer of Pantothenic acid and other B vitamins), Irwin Stone (vitamin C pioneer), Bernard Rimland (autism research pioneer) and many others. This book will enthrall those practicing naturopathy, pediatrics, environmental and addiction medicine. Medical historians will be fascinated. Patients looking for the basic science involved in the use of nutrition as prevention and treatment of mental disease will find it explained and contextualized for lay readers to get a better understanding of the block-headedness of much mainstream medicine. This book also has a virtually complete bibliography of Dr. Hoffer’s writings. Given that this octogenarian is currently working on several books, it is of course impossible to be completely up to date. Adventures in Psychiatry is dedicated to Tommy Douglas who was Premier of Saskatchewan when Dr. Hoffer was professor of psychiatry in Regina. Douglas energetically supported Dr. Hoffer’s efforts to humanize the appalling conditions in the mental asylums of that time and encouraged the research begun into the nutritional deficiency connections to mental disease. The unique tongue-in-cheek humor and coolly factual narrative style of Dr. Hoffer’s writing makes reading this book a pure delight. We follow the author from his Saskatchewan farm childhood, subsequent training in bio-chemistry and agricultural science, his early insights into the central importance of soil and plant food quality to human and animal health, to his specialization in psychiatry, professorship at the University of Saskatchewan, and above all his daily work with patients. We learn of his disillusionment with traditional methods of treating the mentally ill (e.g. lobotomies), and we share his excitement of discovery as we follow his dramatic case histories, which unfold like detective-stories, as he uncovers the connection between deficiencies in specific nutrients and mental illness. One example is that of the first patient successfully rescued in the early 1950’s from end-stage catatonic schizophrenia through vitamin therapy: “Ken … lay on his bed unresponsive, not able to eat or drink. Catatonic deaths [among schizophrenic patients] were not uncommon many years ago. We decided to make him the first patient to receive massive doses of the two vitamins … niacin and vitamin C. We were certain we could not do Ken any harm since he was so close to death. We inserted a tube into his stomach since he could not swallow. Then we poured in a mixture of five grams of nicotinic acid and 2.5 grams of ascorbic acid. We waited anxiously by his bedside …. he seemed to grow no worse as this regimen was continued. On the second day he was able to sit up and drink his solution of vitamins. One month later he was completely normal!” Thus, Hoffer’s work began to offer patients recovery, not merely death-watch maintenance-therapies. Long-time colleague Linus Pauling observed that “Dr. Hoffer has made an important contribution to the health of human beings and the decrease of their suffering through the study of the effects of large doses of vitamin C and other nutrients.” Most gratifyingly, we read how Dr. Hoffer patiently handled the insufferable stupidity and arrogance of medical authorities in government and at universities, often hell-bent on preserving their pride and the status quo rather than focus on the suffering of patients. You will laugh and weep reading this book and regain faith in both medicine and humanity. Harold D. Foster, who teaches medical geography at the University of Victoria in BC, noted about this book that Dr. Hoffer’s work with vitamins served to “undermine the reigning medical paradigms for psychiatry and cardiovascular disease. Fathering a new paradigm does not promote popularity. Fortunately, Dr Hoffer …. has consistently proven to be able to stand up for the truth, regardless of personal cost. Look around you, there are health food stores everywhere - now and thank Abram Hoffer for his courage.” Indeed, the first vitamin B tablets were made at the suggestion of Dr. Hoffer, back in the early 1950’s, by a compounding pharmacist. Since 1986 the Ben Gurion University in Israel has a chair for orthomolecular medicine, and the most prestigious universities in the world conduct research into the role of nutrition in the causation and treatment of mental and chronic disease. Some years ago, during an interview, Dr. Hoffer observed, “My idea of a typical meal toxic to the mind is a donut and coffee.” He was referring to the refined flour and sugar baked concoctions and the pesticide-laden coffee with antibiotic and hormone-laced cream ingested by millions every day. Such observations are no longer dismissed but have become the stuff of major research and political action. As I was writing this review, two scientific reports reached me by e-mail from the UK: one is a large report published this month by Sustain, the British Alliance for Better Food and Farming, entitled Changing Diets, Changing Minds: How Food Affects Mental Wellbeing and Behavior; the other is called Feeding Minds and published simultaneously by the British Mental Health Foundation (both available through www.sustainweb.org ). The scientific and clinical foundations for these amazing reports, as their bibliographies show, were laid by Dr. Hoffer. In his closing reflections Dr. Hoffer writes that “if research is to have any value at all it must explore outside what is currently known.” He muses also about the fact that advice from enemies and friends presents a major challenge to those who think outside the box. The enemies are easy to identify and their advice is easily dismissed, Dr. Hoffer writes, but the advice of friends is harder to deal with: “The most common bad advice I received from friends was not to continue what we were doing because it made us unpopular. It took me some thought and effort to reject this advice; I feel vindicated in this decision as I see that I have been very popular with my patients … for the past 50 years.” (Helke Ferrie is a medical science writer. She lives in Caledon, Ontario: Helke@inetsonic.com )
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