Category Archives: Neurological Disorders
Public Release: 21-Jul-2016
Transcript of video content:
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“I believe in it and I believe it’s the next generation in medicine, just like penicillin was,” said the Truro resident. “Regardless of what Canada and the U.S. says about it. They don’t know about it. I didn’t know about it, but I know about it now.”
After you have read the Truro Daily News story, go to https://ncimx.wordpress.com/2015/05/10/canadian-man-10-years-out-from-a-stroke-recovers-lost-body-functions-in-7-days-time/ to get additional details & links.
ALSO: See this 2-17-15 news release at http://www.onlineprnews.com/news/554299-1424179477-nova-cells-institute-announces-lewy-body-dementia-breakthrough.html/preview
AND: 2-18-15 news release at http://www.prunderground.com/nova-cells-institute-announces-lewy-body-dementia-breakthrough/0053956
Nova Cells Institute of Mexico (NCIM) has racked up a truly impressive track record in healing up all kinds of neurologic problems not to mention advanced cancer and other afflictions. And, their MDs do free case evaluations. To get your no cost evaluation just click the button below or go to http://www.novacellsinstitute.com/how-to-submit.html and “do it, to it”
Got 2 minutes to spare? Then sit back and enjoy a mix of fact, fantasy & tongue-n-cheek from “yours truly” (Dr. Anthony G. Payne)
GIVE ME THAT OLD TIME…THEORY
A SPOONFUL OF NATURAL MEDICINE
THOSE WHO DO NOT LEARN FROM LIFE & HISTORY ARE…..(YOU KNOW)
SEX GONE WRONG
BOOKS WORTH BORROWING, BUYING OR (AHEM) PILFERING
I have worked with a coenzyme called pyrroloquinoline quinone (PQQ) for quite a while now and think it is worth a “look see” by physicians and others for its preventative and therapeutic potential. Let’s dive into this now:
First, let’s “do the time warp, now”: During 1994-5 I worked in an Ag lab and large greenhouse complex outside Lincoln, Nebraska (Which was devoted to the testing of various nature-derived growth accelerants on culinary & medicinal mushrooms). One of the principle consulting researchers who rubbed elbows with me was Andy Anderson, PhD, who discovered a radioresistant bacterium back in 1956 while irradiating food at the Oregon Agricultural Experimental Station in Corvallis (As I recall from our chitchat, he was irradiating canned foods to see if this would reliably preserve them against spoilage). The bacterium was subsequently dubbed Deinococcus radiodurans and is indisputably the most radioresistant organism discovered to-date.
Anyway, while kibitzing with Dr. Anderson we discussed possible mechanisms by which Deinococcus radiodurans was able to escape destruction by intense gamma ray exposure. One of things we tossed about as a putative key player was, yes, pyrroloquinoline quinone (PQQ). There was, in fact, things pointing to this that went back in the literature to the 1960s (PQQ was discovered in 1964, as I recall).
Now, fast forward to modern times: Doctors, patients, consumer advocates and others are mindful that x-rays, SPECT scans, and other screening scans that involve radiation can have deleterious “downstream” effects — which got me to thinking about Dr. Anderson and our chat about pyrroloquinoline quinone (PQQ). Mind you, I’ve shared information on use of purified PQQ with physicians and others as a promising preventative/remediative measure with respect certain cardiovascular and neurologic conditions and insults for many years now (In part due to its ability to stimulate mitochondriogenesis). Granted, it is poorly assimilated in the gut but thankfully works at low levels and is, in fact, recycled many times over in vivo. But I hadn’t thought about PQQ as a possible radioprotective compound since 1994 and my days in “The little lab on the prairie”.
With that old chat-fest with Dr. Anderson in mind I shot over to PubMed and did a search to see if any contemporary studies had been done that linked PQQ to radioprotection. And, bingo, I struck pay dirt —
|Pyrroloquinoline quinone and a quinoprotein kinase support γ-radiation resistance in Deinococcus radiodurans and regulate gene expression.|
|Rajpurohit YS, Desai SS, Misra HS.|
|J Basic Microbiol. 2013 Jun;53(6):518-31. doi: 10.1002/jobm.201100650. Epub 2012 Sep 7.|
|Production and radioprotective effects of pyrroloquinoline quinone. (Mouse study)|
|Xiong XH, Zhao Y, Ge X, Yuan SJ, Wang JH, Zhi JJ, Yang YX, Du BH, Guo WJ, Wang SS, Yang DX, Zhang WC.|
|Int J Mol Sci. 2011;12(12):8913-23. doi: 10.3390/ijms12128913. Epub 2011 Dec 5.|
In light of the animal study especially, it follows that PQQ given well before & following an x-rays, SPECT scans & the like could (should?) afford radioprotection of those neural & other tissues it cycles through.
Now, this isn’t all there is to PQQ. While visiting with a physical anthropologist we got into discussing one of my favorite hominins (australopithecines), Paranthropus boisei (Also referred to as Australopithecus boisei) who is popularly referred to as “Nutcracker Man”. I knew from various recent papers & popular articles that Paranthropus boisei thrived on a tuber known as “tiger nuts”. See this article: http://www.sci-news.com/othersciences/anthropology/science-paranthropus-boisei-tiger-nut-diet-01680.html
Anyway, with PQQ on my mind I asked this anthropologist if she knew whether “tiger nuts” are rich in this coenzyme. She didn’t know so we did a literature search and found that PQQ tends to occur in very high amounts in tubers!
While it will take gas chromatograph testing to determine the exact PQQ content in tiger nuts, I think the fact they helped nourish & sustain such a robust hominin as Paranthropus boisei suggests they may also be worth consuming on the part of physically active folks (Athletes especially) as well as those predisposed to developing certain neurologic or cardiovascular diseases and conditions. I then did some on-line digging and came up with a US based firm that markets tiger nuts and has posted this tuber’s impressive nutritional profile: https://tigernutsusa.com/ ( Note Bene: I have no commercial or other interest in this firm or any other that grows, harvests, sells, markets, or processes PQQ or tiger nuts).
So, all told, I think there is (ahem) “food for thought” in all this with respect to the possible use of PQQ by radiologists, dentists and other health care professionals in patients of theirs doing radiation-based scans (pre & post exposure measure), and also for the inclusion of tiger nuts in various diet plans and programs.
Go to http://www.scribd.com/doc/223658050/PQQ-Nutcracker-Man-Tiger-Nuts-Radiation-protection-heart-nervous-system-benefits where you’ll find 52 citations from PubMed on PPQ. Among these you will find published papers suggesting PQQ might prevent and/or remediate Alzheimer’s disease related processes, neural damage due to methylmercury exposure, TBIs, and much more in patients (Granted, many of these studies involved cell culture work but there are also those involving animal models and a few, humans).
Choctaw Doc (Anthony G. Payne)
REVIEW ARTICLE ON PQQ & HEALTH:
REVIEW ARTICLE ON PQQ IN VARIOUS BIOLOGIC PROCESSES:
Many know me as “Anthony the writer”. Many doctors and clinics and labs know me as “Anthony the theorist”. Actually a more apt moniker might be “Anthony the behind the scenes guy” as so much of my work is on behalf of companies and individual docs who pay to get my ideas and handiwork and affix their name to it without any mention of my authorship. All this ghostwriting, ghost-editing and ghost-theorizing has helped carve out a niche for me as, well,…a living, breathing ghost (The working world’s invisible man).
However, some of the ventures and projects I am involved with can now be divulged albeit sans key details that could be ripped off and exploited by corporate competition aka money grubbing predators and scavengers.
Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS): Like cancer ALS is a hellacious nut to crack on all kinds of levels. However, evidence has emerged that suggests the disease is influence by aberrant proteins called prions and disease progress reflects the spread of these prions in the central nervous system (CNS). As part of my consultancy work for Nova Cells Institute of Mexico I crafted an experimental combination drug and nondrug anti-prion regimen which was entrusted to NCIM’s affiliated MDs (which they then approved and began using). This plus NCIM’s proprietary primed stem cells and unique cytokine-protein intravenous product dubbed “Beacon Factor” has, since 2009, slowed progression to a crawl in many treated ALS patients and has so far spared all of those treated from compromised respiratory functioning. Of the handful who have died all of them simply went to sleep one night and didn’t wake up (“A good death” in many people’s book).
One ALS patient’s neurology team at Duke University commented that “Whatever these Nova Cells people have come up with seems to be working. They know their business”.
Atherosclerosis (Arterial blockage): The challenge of reversing arterial blockage has intrigued and engaged me since the mid-1980s. In fact, back then I was working with a Tibetan herbal formula called PADMA 28 that had accumulated evidence (from lab studies and also randomized clinical trials) that it significantly reduced players in the arterial plaque-building process. I was, in fact, so impressed by the science that I approached the company that had brought PADMA 28 into the USA from Switzerland (where it is Swiss FDA approved to treated intermittent claudication), Berkley Health Network (BHN – later sold and reborn as Pacific BioLogic, Inc.), and began sharing ideas concerning other applications and experimental uses. It didn’t take long before their principle technical people asked me to serve as a scientific advisor which I did. Later I did experiments in which I took a large group of guinea pigs and divided them into 2 groups: Both ate a high saturated & trans fat rich diet geared to produce artery clogging diet which resulted in significant arterial blockage. However, one also was given PADMA 28 in their chow which eventually reversed their blockage. It did this, I think, because it dropped serum lipids and triglycerides so low that their bodies began mobilizing fats and such from their arterial plague. It also countered arterial and systemic inflammation which is a player in the plaque-building process.
In the years since I have added dietary and other measures to the PADMA 28 (now marketed as PADMA BASIC®) to increase plague reversal. Since I am not a physician and cannot diagnose or prescribe treatments, I have entrusted my ever-evolving ideas & resulting regimens to licensed MDs and DOs for their discretionary use. What has emerged is simply this: Many cases have accrued in which people with significant arterial blockage have demonstrated reversal to the point whereby angina and other symptoms ceased.
Note bene: I have no commercial interest in PADMA in any of its incarnations nor in any firm or such that markets or sells it.
Cancer especially advanced metastatic malignancy: Back in 1999 Wake Forest University researcher Zheng Cui, MD, PhD showed that there are super cancer-fighting immune cells called granulocytes in young animals that could obliterate cancer in old ones (mice). Borrowing a page from Dr. Cui’s animal work I created a regimen in which I proposed that pooled granulocytes isolated from the blood of young folks would be given daily to advanced cancer patients over a 10 to 14 day period (But given only to those who have exhausted conventional cancer fighting treatments and whose cancer is spreading and is predicted to end their lives in short order).
This approach was entrusted to a group of Mexican hematologists including one of the leading ones in all of Mexico and was approved for experimental clinical use (with the number of granulocytes and the frequency of their infusions to follow a strict protocol I worked out). The types of cancer subsequently treated included prostate, breast, lung, stomach and colorectal.
There is a <1% risk of a graft v. host reaction even months after a treatment cycle is concluded which all the patients doing it were informed of as part of informed consent.
To-date all advanced, end stage cancer patients treated have responded favorably with no graft v. host reactions occurring at all. Half of those treated experienced partial remission and half, full remission. Some have been technically cancer free for many, many years now.
Eczema: Back in the early 1990s J.I. Harper, MD at the Hospital for Sick Children in London, England put an ancient Chinese herbal eczema tea to the test in a double-blind placebo-controlled clinical involving children with eczema. The tea produced a tremendous diminution in itching, pustules, and scales, for example, while the children who sipped the placebo tea (the control group) did not significantly improve.
The herbs in the eczema tea were published but not the amounts of each. I decided to figure out this out carry out my own line of research. I recruited a large number of eczema patients – children, adolescents, and adults – mixed together the botanicals in varying proportions, and then gave out various versions. (Unlike the London study, however, I opted to use an encapsulated form as opposed to a foul-tasting tea).
It took over two years working at it part-time to arrive at the most effective combination for managing eczema, but effective it is! (My results paralleled those seen in the London-based clinical trials). And it’s not effective for eczema, but for other conditions in which certain species of free radicals and highly inflammatory substances called leukotrienes and prostaglandins play a role. The conditions which have shown a significant response to the eczema formula include asthma, emphysema, psoriasis, certain rheumatic conditions, and numerous neurological maladies.
I turned over the Eczema or E-Tea formula to a company I was consulting for at the time, Prestige Chinese Teas, in 1993. I’d known and collaborated with PCT founder and President Sunny Wong since 1986 and knew he’d so all he could to get E-Tea into the hands of medical consumers at a cost they could afford, which he did. I did not ask for and ever received any proceeds from the sale of E-Tea (as I did not want to add to its cost by doing so) and ceased to be paid as a consultant for PCT in 1999 when I left the USA to teach in Japan. As I anticipated, PCT has continued to make E-Tea available at a cost that is kind to consumer purse strings: http://www.teastohealth.com/skin.html
Sunny and his people have received many, many letters and statements from eczema patients, nurses and dermatologists down through the years attesting to E-Tea’s efficacy.
There are many more vexing medical challenges I have tackled down through the years (as a theorist) and a whole litany of them which has been placed on my plate by doctors, companies and even sufferers seeking answers that I am currently working on. And while I “live and move and have my being” for the most part in the Shadowlands you may come across my solutions down the line — albeit you likely will not know I am behind it.
© 2014 by Anthony G. Payne. All rights reserved.
Back in the 1980s I served as a scientific advisor to the firm (Berkley Wellness Network) that first brought the Tibetan vasocative product PADMA28 into the USA (BHN was bought by businessman Curtis Jaquot in the early 1990s and became “Pacific BioLogic, Inc.) In the mid-1990s I fed PADMA28 laced chow to guinea pigs with induced arterial blockage. Animals fed high doses showed a reversal of blockage.
Note: I have no financial or other commercial interest in PADMA or any firm that makes, sells, markets, distributes or otherwise promotes it.
My 2007 article on PADMA 28: http://www.scribd.com/doc/158030311/TIBETAN-VASOACTIVE-HERBAL-BLEND-PADMA28
PubMed search results: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/?term=PADMA+28
HYPOTHESIS: Two ways in which cytomegalovirus carrying male germ cells may play a role in the genesis of autism spectrum disorder
Recently a paper was published showing that 33 of every 10,000 children born to older men (40 years of age or older) have autism spectrum disorder compared to 6 of every 10,000 children born to younger men (<30 years of age). Excerpts from a report in Nature News titled “Male biological clock possibly linked to autism, other disorders” will help flesh this out:
“In a study of more than 100,000 people, along with records about their parents’ ages, Avi Reichenberg at King’s College London and his colleagues found that 33 out of every 10,000 offspring of men 40 years or older had autism spectrum disorder—a 475% increase compared to offspring of men younger than 30, who fathered afflicted children at a rate of 6 per 10,000 (Arch. Gen. Psychiatry 63, 1026–1032; 2006). This association is now being tested in a larger study, says Reichenberg. A study this September showed a similar but less pronounced association of parental age with bipolar disorder (Arch. Gen. Psychiatry 65, 1034–1040; 2008).
“Spontaneous mutations can arise in both sperm and eggs. As women age, for example, they have an increased risk of delivering a child with Down’s syndrome and other disorders caused by large-scale chromosome problems in eggs, such as trisomy. But unlike eggs, sperm arise from stem cells that continuously divide—about 840 times by the time a man is 50 years old (Cytogenet. Genome Res. 111, 213–228; 2005). The theory is that the chances of mutations increase with each round of DNA replication—a process that could underlie estimates that the mutation rate in males is about five times that in females (Nature 416, 624–626; 2002).
“Any mutation you can think of occurs more frequently in the sperm of older men,” says Sebat.
For a very long time it was thought mutations associated with the passage of time was something primarily peculiar to the ovum (A woman’s unfertilized egg). The belief that the genetic material in male sperm was somehow spared age-related mutations was driven home to me by a stem cell biologist I interacted with from 2008 to 2010, who was convinced that the male body had mechanisms in place that help insure that few if any mutations wound up in mature male sperm in healthy males regardless of age. This struck me as wishful thinking and I was quick to lock horns with this chap over this. Now comes tentative evidence – again, the results of the study just announced (above) – that would appear to vindicate my position. Although it is always fun to be right, I got to wondering what other players besides normal aging might be producing mutations in at least some men’s semen that set the stage in their progeny for the development of autism and other neurological conditions. The first thing that popped to mind was pathogenic microorganisms – especially viruses. A quick check of published research brought up one particular bit of research that seemed to signal I was on the right track:
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3143078/pdf/2042-4280-2-7.pdf – “Detection of human cytomegalovirus in motile spermatozoa and spermatogenic cells in testis organotypic culture”
The long story short with respect to this study is that it found HCMV in male germ cells from semen samples (91 fertile and 47 infertile men) and in testis tissue culture. There was a decrease in the number of immature germs cells that is believed attributable to the HCMV. In short, the presence of the HCMC in a man’s reproductive tract – and, mind you, 50-80 of every 100 Americans harbor the HCMV according to the CDC – tosses a monkey-wrench in the genetic apparatus of sperm resulting in infertility. There are undoubtedly other viruses that populate the male reproductive system including others of the herpes family that may well have a similar effect.
What if the genetic changes go beyond infertility? What if HCMV produces genetic mutations in fertile men’s sperm? Some of these, I conjecture, could set the stage for producing autism in children they father.
Now – and here is where my off-the-cuff theorizing gets really interesting – what would happen if a HCMV-infected spermatozoon fertilizes a female ovum? In some instances it becomes activated and effects varying damage to one or more developing fetal tissues/organs including the brain and even generates defects severe enough to result in miscarriage. However, what I propose is that most HCMV transmitted to a fetus at conception by an infected male germ cell (sperm) is latent (inactive)and winds up in various tissues though primarily the CNS [The virus preferentially infects neurons probably brain stem & progenitor cells too (This is the case in mouse models of CMV infection)]. Though not active in the sense it produces clinical symptoms it could conceivably cause subtle neurologic changes and damage that is later manifest as autism spectrum disorder (One murine study notes: “Infection of neurons may tend to become persistent by evasion of immune reactions, anti-apoptotic effects and neuron-specific activation of the e1-promoter, presumably causing functional neuronal disorders. It has also been shown that CMV infection in developing brains may become latent in neural immature cells”. These effects were observed in active infections. However, it may affect subtle genetic damage in neurons in a child’s developing brain though the virus is latent or largely inactive).
This body of conjecture is testable. And, if it turns out HCMV is damaging some men’s germ cell DNA in ways that set the stage for autism (and possibly other neurologic disorders) in children they father and/or the virus is being passed on to zygote (by the male gamete) and ultimately the embryo’s developing CNS where it sets the stage for the development of autism or other neurologic disorders years after birth, testing for the HCMV’s presence in semen and (when determined to be present) interfering with the HCMV in the man’s reproductive tissues by treating with extant antiviral drugs are measures that might reduce the likelihood the virus will wreck biologic havoc either in the developing embryo or later in the developing baby or child.
I hope some enterprising grad student or researcher transforms my ruminations into suitable bench experiments and runs with it.
Additional Reading: This paper titled “Neuropathogenesis of Congenital Cytomegalovirus Infection: Disease Mechanisms and Prospects for Intervention” delves deeply into technical issues I only touched on above as well as prevention and treatment aspects of HCMV infections.
© 2012 by Dr. Anthony G. Payne. All rights reserved. If you are a grad student or researcher who runs with one or both of the ideas articulated above, please let me know what you do and the outcome: email@example.com
You can access this hypothesis as a PDF document by clicking this link: http://www.healingcare4u.org/articles/HYPOTHESIS%20-%20HCMV%20and%20autism%20-%209-9-2012.pdf
Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS): Stimulating Proteasome Activity in Motor Neurons to accelerate degradation of misfolded proteins
http://bit.ly/wcr7bP Nota bene: Three (3) people with ALS who began using this regimen on their own have reported experiencing significant weight and energy gains plus enhanced muscle strength. All 3 have been on this regimen for more than 5 months as of 3-26-12.
Regimen subsequently improved with users reporting additional gains.
Jim Haverlock shares how he found it all by losing it all. A great antidote to the Gospel of Unbridled Consumerism that dominates the thinking and actions of so many folks: http://14ushop.com/haverlock/articles/1-giving%20it%20all%20up%20for%20freedom.pdf
The reasons people seek answers to health challenges in the world of CAM (Complementary & Alternative Medicine) or integrative medicine are as varied as people themselves, though in my experience a great many do so owed to real or perceived failures on the part of their mainstream doctors to diagnose or treat or otherwise address their ills (Again, real or perceived). My interaction with patients and “natural medicine” (Is there an unnatural medicine?) practitioners from chiropractors to naturopathic physicians to just about everything else under the “alt med sun” is extensive – stretching from my childhood in the 1960s to the present – and has taught me a great deal firsthand about how disappointment with conventional or mainstream medicine plus hope, wishful thinking, the placebo effect, lack of critical thinking, and sometimes desperation have sent my folks into the arms of those who offer seemingly definitive diagnoses and/or solutions (Or at least less personally intimidating non-invasive diagnostic methods plus gentler therapies often dispensed or administered with a great deal more TLC than some overworked MDs can understandably muster).
Do these people get positive results? By all means. But as to why, this isn’t always a clear cut case of “I took or did this and it worked”. Many of the diagnostic methods used on these patients have been disproved and utterly discredited, as are some of the treatments prescribed. For more than a few I’ve followed – some for years—their illness is psychosomatic and their improvement the end result of their vested faith in their practitioner and expectancy that his or her therapy will prove efficacious. Others attribute improvement to a non-standard treatment when it was more likely a prior mainstream treatment or just the disease or condition having run its course.
Back when I first began exploring nonstandard medical and paramedical modalities (1960s as a boy of 8 or so) many specific herbal, nutritional and other forms of intervention had not been formally evaluated in well-designed and executed clinical trials. As a result there was the very real possibility some of these would pan out once put to the test. And if some of these gentler remedies could bring about remediation of disease with few if any of the side effects associated with their pharmacological counterparts, their promotion and use seemed a reasonable course of action or recourse for both practitioners and patients. This line of reasoning apparently informed and motivated many to offer them at the retail and professional level and scores of ailing folks to seek them out in health food stores and in the offices of clinicians of various stripes.
The years and subsequent rigorous evaluation has not been kind to many cherished non-standard diagnostic tests and remedies (Nor to many accepted mainstream techniques and treatments either). What should have happened is that treatments and diagnostic methods that didn’t pan out following rigorous evaluation should have gone the way of the dinosaurs. But they didn’t. Why? The reasons are varied but among the recurring ones I have run across down through the years among medical consumers and many integrative practitioners are: (1) A refusal to accept scientific valid consensus findings from multiple studies (Many I’ve confronted with this have said something to the effect that “I know this, but I also know it works no matter what and I won’t set it aside”. True believers whose reasons have more in common with the kind of faith articulated in revival meetings than anything else); (2) A vested interest in the therapy or therapeutic agent that makes it difficult to relinquish it; and (3) A lack of exposure to the methods of science and critical thinking and how to apply them when it comes to evaluating a given therapy, diagnostic method or treating compound, drug, herb or such.
In my own case, I took my childhood interest in the promise of natural medicine and eventually ran with it over time. Mine was a wide-ranging course whose first stop was another childhood passion, physical anthropology (and especially dietary patterns throughout human evolution). To my way of thinking, the best way to approach diet, human disease and even psychology was through an evolutionary lens, something given increasing credence by subsequent developments and discoveries. Following this I studied and did hands-on work with various mainstays of what is now known as integrative medicine such as homeopathy (German school), orthomolecular nutrition and psychiatry, therapeutic nutrition, botanic medicine or phytotherapy, and much more. Along the way I came up with and shared various ideas with such notables in science such as Stephen Jay Gould (Nonstandard but seemingly promising approaches to the mesothelioma that had him in its grip plus my thoughts on the possible effects of ultra low levels of iridium during the Cretaceous-Tertiary asteroid impact on bacteria that populated the guts of prehistoric animals, insects and such), Karl Folkers (CoQ10 for treating various avian diseases) and Carl Sagan (Feasibility of going a Cosmos type program focused on human evolution as well as one that focused on medicine including the impact of the CAM movement)……many whose work was quite controversial such as Michael Persinger (Application of his extremely low frequency electromagnetic technology to induce hallucinatory states aimed at pain attenuation or rallying immune response in terminally ill cancer patients)….…and still others who were regarded as being solidly on the fringe such as Roy Kupsinel, MD (Shared with him information and thoughts on a botanic drug called PADMA 28 which had shown efficacy for Peripheral Artery Disease in 5 randomized double-blind, placebo-controlled trials done in Europe). I was, in short, “all over the map” in the sense I was working with and acting on knowledge, ideas, therapies and forms of therapeutic intervention that spanned the gamut from the realistically possible or promising to tentatively proved on one end, to the far-fetched and virtually impossible on the other. This was not a pattern peculiar to me though, but one that seemingly characterizes if not defines a large segment of the CAM movement (Both practitioners and proponents).
Thankfully though, I listened to the skeptics and critics of many of things I had studied or was otherwise involved with. As a result of their well reasoned writings I decided I needed to master aspects of the scientific method that was not part of my education and hands-on work or which was but which I’d sometimes glossed over in my erstwhile rush to help suffering people. I thus went on to teach myself such things as the principles of medical statistics and clinical studies design and then applied this body of knowledge and methods to help evaluate many of the ideas, therapies and treatments in my repertoire. The outcome was predictable: I found many which failed to hold water and thus had to be ditched, while others garnered evidence that suggested a more circumspect use or dose than proponents had originally declared effective. Among those I tossed was homeopathy (though Jacque Benveniste’s published paper in the Nature in 1988 made me take a second look – until the methodological flaws which invalidated his work became apparent) plus many botanic medicines and individual herbs.
I also tested things for myself using the tools of science; the methods that as Carl Sagan rightly contended reliably “delivers the goods” (Truth in the tentative scientific sense of “successive approximations” as pioneering astronomer Edwin Hubble put it; that is, findings that might be overturned or subject to modification as new evidence turns up). One prime example was EAV testing, the use of what amounts to a computerized galvanometer to diagnose or otherwise detect allergies, organ deficiencies and bodily needs for various nutrients and such.
During the late 1980s I was introduced to EAV (Electroacupuncture according to Voll) or electrodermal testing using a Vegatest device and trained in it as part of my staff duties for a prominent CAM physician (Later this unit was replaced with a computerized Interro device). As a baby boomer I’d grown up watching such venerable sci-fi classics as the Outer Limits, Twilight Zone and Star Trek, and as such had a special fondness for high tech medical, scientific and robotic devices. Anything along this line that might make medical diagnostics as easy and forthright as Dr. Leonard “Bones” McCoy’s medical tricorder was especially appealing to me– which the EAV machine in some ways was purported to be.
To understand what EAV or electrodermal testing is all about you have to first understand the principle behind it. In-a-word, these machines are purported to measure changes in the body’s flow of “energy” along “acupuncture meridians”. According to proponents there are specific points on people’s hands and feet that can be used to gage health in various organs and also test drugs, hormones, nutrients and such to see what will remedy any detected abnormalities. This is how it works: The patient holds a moist gauze covered conductive metal cylinder in one hand which is connected to the device (A tiny electric current is sent through this wire by the machine). A second wire runs from the device to a probe held by the technician or doctor who does the testing. When the probe is touched to specific “acupuncture points” a low voltage circuit is completed and the flow of current is measured by the EAV machine and a reading is displayed that indicates organ status (Healthy or unhealthy and, if unhealthy, to what degree). The operator can supposedly determine what will bring the meridian flow back up or down to normal by testing various substances housed in small vials (These vials are introduced one-by-one or in combinations into receptacles into the machine or a plate that connects probe and/or cylinder to the machine). In addition, allergy testing is can supposedly be done by placing vials of known/suspected allergens in the receptacles or on the plate and watching for responses (A jump in the readings).
Even if the principle behind the machine were true – that meridians exist and can be tapped into in a meaningful way to diagnose – it is obvious that if the skin stays at the same level of moisture the readings can be influenced subtly or grossly by the pressure the operator using when he or she applies the probe. This alone would tend to throw off readings. And in practice I saw this for myself. In fact, I quickly realized that what I was doing with the machine was essentially a variation on psychic parlor cold readings – that is, by combining my own perceptive reading of body language and asking leading questions I would come up with “findings” that agreed with the patient’s known medical history and expectations.
This said, what intrigued was the use of the machine to determining drugs, hormones and such that “balanced” a patient’s readings. The readings would supposedly indicate what single or combination of drugs and such would benefit the patient, as well as the dose. This was something I could actually put to the test in a strictly scientific way.
With the assistance of a research engineer friend of mine named Jim this is what we did:
First we filled glass vials (identical to the others in the EAV testing kit) with arsenic, mercury, cadmium and other toxic substances plus samples of deadly herbs and toxic weeds and labeled each one. I then had my buddy go to a separate room and cover the labels on all the vials in the kit – the original ones plus those we created — with other labels bearing an alphanumeric code which he recorded on paper and locked away. Jim then mixed up all the vials and brought them to me. I proceeded to perform tests on a succession of about 40 people, both healthy and ill over a five (5) day period. The end result? Eighty-three percent tested out as “needing” arsenic, mercury, cadmium, etc. (That is, the EAV device clearly indicated 83% of those tested would especially benefit from pure, toxic doses of various heavy metals, toxic herbs, poisons, etc.)
I shared my findings with the clinic director, of course. The EAV machine found its way to a storage closet not too long afterwards.
In the ensuing years I watched many more CAM diagnostic devices and treatments fail to hold up to testing, both those I carried out as well as more formal and rigorous ones conducted by others. Conversely, some herbal medicines, individual herbs, therapeutic dietary measures and such were shown to be effective for various health conditions in formal clinical studies. This said, a great many of these studies were not so rigorous in design or poorly designed and/or executed. And the number proved effective in well designed and executed randomized controlled trials (RTC) appeared to be quite small. Naturally, until these remedies and such pan out in RTCs their effectiveness remains an open question.
Given the paucity of hard scientific evidence underlying many cherished CAM diagnostic methods and treatments, one is compelled to ask if it is it ethical or wise to run a clinical practice based largely on such unproved testing and/or remedies? Certainly not if the practitioner admits patients who have foregone undergoing proper diagnostic work-ups and scientifically validated medical care for his or her clinical offerings (Unless the practitioner is qualified to do this sort of testing and treatment and competently does so). But what if the practitioner and his methods or treatments are not substituted for standard medical care by the patient, do no harm and largely inspire hope? It could be argued that even if the CAM practitioner’s fare is medically ineffective or even worthless, the positive aspects such as the placebo effect and corresponding reductions in anxiety or fear make it worthwhile provided the cost is not outrageous. Perhaps so. As for squaring the ethical issues involved, at the very least CAM practitioners should clearly label unproved diagnostic methods and treatments as such and disclose any known hazards or potential side effects, making them de facto experimental. Many in fact do.
Of course, the fact that unproved treatments are being used at all by CAM practitioners of various stripes and also by legions of people doing dietary and supplement self-experimentation is galling to many mainstream physicians, medical consumer advocates, journalists and others. More than a few of these would tightly regulate these remedies and severely reduce access to them, something the vast majority of Americans appear to oppose. In an ideal world unproved diagnostic methods and disease-specific treatments would be speedily and thoroughly evaluated, and those that indisputably bomb would be swiftly abandoned by CAM practitioners. But testing has often moved at a snail’s pace and even when specific remedies have been repeatedly shown to have no efficacy, many proponent CAM practitioners and medical consumers refuse to relinquish them. Some of this is likely a reflection of human ignorance or stubbornness (as in “it’ll be vindicated somehow”) or both. Some people just flat out prefer to live on the other side of looking glass even when so doing lands them squarely in a land of illusions and delusions. But since illusions and delusions help many folks cope with the vicissitudes of life including illness, these discredited CAM tests and treatments is unlikely to vanish anytime soon – if ever.
Want to learn more about how many CAM modalities and treatments hold up to scientific scrutiny? How to think critically about CAM as well as other heterodox beliefs and practices?
PIER (American College of Physicians) – Provides information on specific diseases and includes interpretations of the extant evidence
Snake Oil Science by R. Barker Bausell, Ph.D.
The Demon Haunted World by Carl Sagan, Ph.D.
The Undercover Philosopher by Michael Philips
© 2009 by Dr. Anthony G. Payne. All rights reserved.
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|Citation: Payne AG. ,’Experimental regimen targeting the ependyma slows disease progression in four patitents with ALS,’ Med Hypotheses (2009), doi:10.1016/j.mehy.2008.12.032
Dr. Anthony G. Payne*
In this paper the author proposes that at least some forms of sporadic ALS (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis) arise due to the effects of neurotoxic compounds synthesized by defective ependymal cells in the brain. These cells produce cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) that is laden with neurotoxic compounds that bring about motor neuron die-off. Evidence is garnered from various animal studies to demonstrate the toxicity of CSF taken from ALS patients and by virtue of the proposed mechanism (defective ependymal cells). In addition, a regimen created by the author is introduced; a regimen that has been used by four (4) sporadic ALS patients since 2005 resulting in what appears to be a slowing of disease progression. All four patients have significantly outlived best estimates of their survival tendered by their neurologists. 2009 Published by Elsevier Ltd.