Nutritional Medicine Today
Meeting Review By Robert Sealey
On 30 April, 2004, I went to Vancouver to volunteer at Nutritional Medicine Today, the 33rd conference of the Intnl Society of Orthomolecular Medicine (ISOM). I organized and helped to present the FOR OM networking and public education evening meeting at the Fairmont Waterfront Centre Hotel. Friends of Restorative Orthomolecular Medicine included five recovered patients and three authors who encouraged the public to consider restorative o-medicine for mental and medical problems, episodes or conditions. Optimum care and good health using natural molecules.
Margot Kidder shared her story of recovering and living well with bipolar I manic depression. Stable taking her daily orthomolecular regimen, Margot continues to make public appearances and support quality care. The FOR OM evening started by showing the 1998 film Masks of Madness: Science of Healing which features Margot as one of 6 recovered patients and 6 orthomolecular health professionals. After the film, 5 people who appeared in that 1998 film gave positive five year progress reports. They continue to cope and live well, in spite of whatever problems life sends their way, demonstrating the staying power of orthomolecular medicine.
Margots inspiring recovery reminded me that accurate diagnosis and restorative care is not the norm for mental disorders. My bipolar II condition was not diagnosed accurately or treated properly -- for 28 years! Painful episodes corroded my peace of mind. Without good information or proper treatments, I suffered recurring episodes of depression and periodic hypomanias. Stable since 1996, I keep well, working and productive by taking a daily orthomolecular regimen which includes vitamins, minerals, aminos and gingko biloba. My books Finding Care for Depression, Mental Episodes & Brain Disorders and the 90 Day Plan for Finding Quality Care encourage patients and families to question substandard short cuts as they explore the mental healthcare maze.
Author David Moyer, from Sacramento California spoke about his book: Nutrients Quiet the Unquiet Brain, a Four Generation Bipolar Odyssey. Too Good to be True? David Moyer shared his medical search and recovery story about his bipolar son Chris who uses the True Hope system. That involves taking supplements similar to the regimens of vitamins, minerals and amino acids that orthomolecular health professionals recommend and customize to suit each patient.
At a special moment, the room-capacity crowd of 200 patients, families, caregivers and health professionals rose in a standing ovation to honour Dr. Abram Hoffer after an award for five excellent visions which enlightened Dr. Hoffers successful career as a biochemically-oriented psychiatrist. After founding the fascinating field of orthomolecular medicine and helping thousands of schizophrenics and other patients, for over 50 years, writing hundreds of papers and over 20 books and editing the Journal of Orthomolecular Medicine, Dr. Hoffers work remains little-known by the public and disputed, discounted and dismissed by conventional psychiatrists. Busy prescribing powerful psychiatric medications which often make sick people worse, todays head doctors face an epidemic of mental illness. Too many rely on the tradition of nihilism in psychiatry rather than taking the time to assess Dr. Hoffers research or recommend restorative treatments.
During the day sessions for medical professionals and interested students, the 33rd ISOM conference presented orthomolecular health professionals from Canada, US, and UK, eager to share their research, knowledge and clinical success stories. They brought information about nutrition and behavior and effective treatments for brain conditions commonly misdiagnosed as learning or personality disorders. The researchers reported positive progress using orthomolecular treatments for depression, bipolar disorder, autism, Downs syndrome and schizophrenia.
Barbara Stitt, PhD shared a wonderful story from Appleton, US. The children at a local high school had become rude, uncooperative, disruptive and downright unmanageable. The owners of a US company called Natural Ovens, offered to help. They wanted to research what would happen if the school board removed junk, fast food and snack machines, for a test period -- replacing pop (sugar water) and other food substitutes with natural whole food, either fresh or carefully prepared to maximize its nutritional value. A good food experiment - easy to understand.
Within days, the Appleton students transitioned from impossible teenagers to calm, pleasant, reasonable individuals, eager to learn and willing to cooperate with teachers, friends, and families. Filmed evidence showed the students before and after eating good food. This experiment in healthy living did NOT change any variables except the diet that the students ate during the school day. Six years later, that school population continues to behave well and enjoy the benefits of a diet of healthy food. The Appleton good food experiment, a reminder that common sense is not always common, teaches us to pay attention to what our children eat. While were at it, we might as well nourish ourselves properly to fuel our own brains for optimum performance.
Alexander Schauss, PhD shared positive progress in improving the behavior of test populations of extremely difficult adults, whose criminal misbehaviors landed them in prison. Bernard Gesh, from Oxford, UK, reported on two sets of adult test subjects: one received the RDA levels of vitamins and minerals; while the other received no supplements. Behavior in the supplement group soon improved. Note that these adult test subjects were locked up for serious crimes. Good nutrition moderated their bad behavior patterns by feeding their brain cells.
I did not expect the ISOM conference to present research about students and prisoners who improved their behaviors after eating healthy food. Thought-provoking, to say the least. The other ISOM lectures shared orthomolecular progress researching medical and mental illnesses - episodes, conditions and disorders such as depression, bipolar, schizophrenia, autism and even Downs syndrome and cancer. The lesson: orthomolecular treatments can restore good health.
Kent MacLeod, a pharmacist from Ottawa, author of Downs Syndrome and Vitamin Therapy, told us what happened after several parents asked him to assess nutritional status, identify metabolic problems and customize supplement regimens for Downs children. His research showed that Downs children responded well to therapeutic doses of vitamins, minerals and other nutritional supplements. Long considered untreatable due to the genetic abnormalities of Downs syndrome, Kent verified the research of three orthomolecular health professionals whose progress caused skeptical colleagues to scoff and deny Downs patients treatments with vitamin supplements. Kent challenged researchers and clinicians to either prove these findings wrong; or use the research results to help Downs patients live up to their potential.
On Saturday May 1, 2004, the ISOM conference held the first Orthie awards. Host Andrew Saul, MD inducted nine orthomolecular pioneers (posthumously) into the Orthomolecular Hall of Fame: Nobel prize winner Linus Pauling, PhD who defined and promoted the field of orthomolecular medicine; William McCormick, MD who pioneered the idea that vitamin C deficiency could contribute to a range of treatable diseases; Roger Williams PhD whose laboratory found vitamin pantothenic acid, originated key orthomolecular concepts including biochemical individuality, genetotrophics and used nutrition to treat alcohol abuse; Dr. W. Shute and Dr. E. Shute whose work with vitamin E helped thousands of cardiovascular patients; Irwin Stone, PhD who introduced Linus Pauling to vitamin C and researched why many human beings lack sufficient vitamin C to live well; Carl Pfeiffer, MD, PhD who identified biochemical abnormalities in several forms of schizophrenia and recommended restorative treatment regimens; Alan Cott, MD who learned how to help patients by using dietary adjustments; William Kaufman, MD, PhD who reported in 1949 that vitamin B3, (niacin or niacinamide), can restore range of joint motion in arthritic patients and Humphrey Osmond, MD who pioneered investigation into the chemistry of consciousness and cooperated with Dr. Abram Hoffer and Dr. John Smythies to develop the adrenochrome theory of schizophrenia as well as restorative orthomolecular treatments using B3 & C -- in the 1950s. The Orthomolecular Hall of Famers networked with Dr. Abram Hoffer and cooperated to conceptualize, research and develop orthomolecular medicine. Their work teaches us the medical benefits of nutrition and supplements.
Orthomolecular medicine uses the life science of biochemistry to justify the therapeutic use of natural molecules such as vitamins, minerals, amino acids, energy and enzyme co-factors, customized to suit each patients diagnosis and biochemical individuality. The 2004 ISOM conference presented information about restorative healthcare, practical help and encouraging support, based on scientific research presented by competent scientists and qualified medical practitioners. Restorative orthomolecular medicine - beautiful treatments for beautiful minds.
Consider learning how to stabilize, restore and maintain mental health. For info on SEAR laymans guides, orthomolecular medicine, articles and links, visit www.searpubl.ca.
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