By Hakeem Alexander
(Exercising Your Mind)
As Deltron says “Upgrade your gray matter; cuz one day it may matter”.
Layman: -noun, plural -men
1. a person who is not one of the clergy; one of the laity.
2. a person who is not a member of a given profession, as law or medicine.
abbrev. /prefix “lay-” i.e lay-medical=not medical.
In 1984, a young boy named Lorenzo Michael Murphy Odone, was diagnosed with a disease called AdrenoLeuko Dystrophy (ALD).
It is a sex linked disease carried by the mother and expressed only in young boys which causes the myelin on the axons of nerves to deteriorate.
This deterioration leads to a breakdown in the ability of the nerves to transmit impulses and usually kills the person within two years after diagnoses.
However, this no longer happens to many young boys because Lorenzo’s parents, both lay-medical, sought out and discovered an effective treatment which halts this dreadful affliction.
The treatment can be considered Orthomolecular Medicine in my opinion because it varies the concentration of substances naturally occurring in the body.
In this case, the treatment is the elimination of saturated fatty acids from the diet and the concurrent inclusion of mono-unsaturated fatty acids into the diet.
The life saving mono unsaturated fatty acids in this treatment are oleic acid from olive oil and erucic acid from rapeseed oil. The treatment is now affectionately known as “Lorenzo’s Oil”
ALD is characterized by the accumulation of saturated fatty acids, elongated to the form of very long chain fatty acids (VLCFAs) in the brain and adrenal glands primarily, but also occurs in all cells of the body.
These saturated fatty acids are obtained through food in the diet and also from the body’s production of them which is known as biosynthesis.
Saturated fatty acid build-up is toxic, causes inflammation and the resultant degradation of the white colored nerve covering called myelin.
This build-up of toxic fatty acids is the result of a defect in the gene that codes an ATP (adenosine triphosphate) binding protein that grabs hold of the fatty acids and brings them into what is called a peroxisome, which is an organelle (cellular organ) and breaks the fatty acids down through oxidizing enzymes.
Lorenzo’s parents discovered that the same enzyme which is responsible for elongating the potentially toxic saturated fatty acids, is also the enzyme that elongates the harmless monounsaturated fatty acids.
Since there is only one enzyme responsible for the elongation of both types of fatty acids, they rationalized that by introducing large amounts of the harmless fatty acids to be elongated by this enzyme, the elongating enzyme would be too “busy” to elongate the harmful ones.
This is called Competitive Inhibition.
So the toxic saturated fatty acids are forced to compete with the good, monounsaturated fatty acids.
Since there are more good ones, they are chosen by the enzyme to elongate more often than the bad ones which are inhibited by this competition.
Since then, Lorenzo’s parents Augusto and Michaela (R.I.P 2000) have founded the Myelin Project, which is an organization dedicated to restoring the demyelination damage inflicted upon Lorenzo and other boys by ALD, and also to restore the damage done by other leukodystrophy diseases and demyelinating diseases such as multiple sclerosis.
A docu-drama about the Odones’ inspiring story was released in theaters in December of 1992 and is now on DVD as of 2004. It is called Lorenzo’s Oil of course.
In the process of discovering a treatment for ALD, the Odones faced much skepticism from ALD support groups, doctors and scientists because they were not themselves medical professionals and ALD treatment appeared so hopeless.
It could hardly be believed that a couple of lay people integrating extracts of two cooking oils would have any therapeutic effect on this condition.
This did not stop them from continuing the search for the effective remedy, and their perseverance, focused determination and dedication to their son “paid off” big.
The Odones were able to organize the first symposium on ALD ever held which brought doctors, researchers and other neuroscientists together.
It was a very difficult task because as I understand it from personal experience, those in the scientific, medical and research communities fail to communicate and work in isolation from laboratories with related objectives because they would like to be the first to discover something, or are perhaps otherwise occupied.
In addition, lay-persons are not considered valid sources of information because rather than analyze and contrast and challenge “authorities” we have been conditioned for the past two centuries to revere in an almost deified (godly) way the academic degrees conferred upon medical and scientific professionals. [Vandana Shiva, The Corporation-2004]
This in itself is an analogue of Competitive Inhibition, which has the effect of inhibiting the communication of vital and life-changing data, that may come from us lay people and our so-called anecdotal evidence.
A fine example of this which so inspired this briefing, comes from the mental health industry and pharmaceutical giants.
It so happens that I am very, very close with someone who has become dependent on psychiatric medications.
I did not know this upon first meeting “them” but found out when they informed me they desired to be free of the drugs and find an integrated approach to resolving their personal exploration topics (pets) in more natural and humane ways.
It was they who introduced me to the film Lorenzo’s Oil and was the primary inspiration for this website and my entering into studies to begin the process of mastering biochemistry and neural science.
Since then I have interviewed and otherwise communicated with mental health professionals, patients, institutions and a multitude of other research sources including my new Library and the internet.
I have observed evidence of the efficacy of antioxidants such as vitamin E and Vitamin B6, in treating toxic and oxidative damage done by the appropriately named “nerve seizing” drugs or neuroleptics used to “treat” bipolar mania, psychosis found in schizophrenia, autistic children; and how certain of these ‘nutraceuticals’ may even treat the underlying conditions as well.
I have talked to Orthomolecular Psychiatrists, organizations and Universities that have successfully treated hundreds of thousands of patients using substances naturally found in the body such as essential fatty acids, minerals and vitamins and whole organic foods.
Abram Hoffer, M.D. says that Orthomolecular therapy does not reverse the “tranquilizer psychosis” but is for early treatment and prevention.
It may be somewhat of a premature and limiting conclusion.
Tranquilizer Psychosis is analogous to saturated fatty acid build-up, in that the long-term use of these neuroleptics may inflict what appears to be irreversible damage to the brain cells as the neurotoxin builds up in the nervous system.
But just as a river once polluted by the effluence of a paper mill and subsequently annihilating all life therein may revive once the offending source is eliminated, so may the human body and brain-mind.
Before I really aligned myself with purpose, I was irritated and confused and behaved that way.
For a time, many of my findings have been met with hostility and even violence when giving seminars.
My anecdotes have been harshly criticized by otherwise brilliant and educated persons who have not yet expanded their experience into this area of research.
I have been accused of being a Scientology Cult Member, Doctors have told me outright that it has been empirically proven that nutrients can not treat any mental condition, and others have told me it could be dangerous to use them.
Family members of patients have threatened my life and accused me of selling snake oil (though I don’t sell any supplements at all) and have even quipped that I should have been aborted before birth.
It appears as if many are quick to doubt the validity of certain methods and treatments, based solely on their ignorance regarding the existence of nutritional psychiatry, Orthomolecular Therapy and many others.
Many people would like to see peer reviewed, double blind, placebo controlled trials, and doubt that they exist regarding these natural approaches.
All one must do is seek and you shall find.
I have faith that many more people will take personal responsibility for their personal health and well-being.
There are many honorable and valid institutions conducting research on the efficacy of Nutrition in Psychiatry.
You may find many of these in such widely circulated, peer reviewed trade papers such as the American Journal of Psychiatry, the Journal of Clinical Psychiatry, and the International Journal of Clinical Practice.
Is it possible that for political and financial reasons that our best interests as consumers and citizens may not be priority?
There is much evidence pointing to a “dumbing down of society” and incredible secrecy for varying reasons that must be explored and peacefully remedied.
“…as I warm my hands upon the flames of the flag; and I recall our downfall and the businesses that burned us all. See through the news and the views that twist reality, enough I call the bluff, on manifest destiny…” rings the rapped lyrics of “Bombtrack” by the band Rage Against the Machine in 1992,
“…Don’t! don’t believe what you see; Don’t! don’t believe what you read, No!!!…” as grunted out by another of my favorite Thrash Metal bands Sepultura, also in ’92
“…Propaganda, don’t believe the hype; what lies do you read? Tell me what do you believe…” belted out by Stuck Mojo around the same time.
My point is that we have been exposed to numerous messages, in an attempt to “wake” US up from the big illusion, that we especially in the United States are relentlessly programmed by.
Our tunnel vision is made sure by the popular media, pro-drug bias, money-mad rather than service oriented corporations, power hungry politicians, military might and covert fear tactics imposed.
It is indeed a testament of the human spirit that we are so naturally faithful of the “authorities” entrusted to serve and protect us – while at the same time a sad reminder of our herd mentality and Pavlovian Dog like train-ability.
Pharmaceutical companies lie to the Doctors they are supposed to be serving.
They fix drug trials and pay off the FDA (fraud & drug administration).
They fund the University based “Research” Institutions where they keep a close eye on the results.
The market is flooded with toe-nail fungus products like Lamisil which has killed at least a dozen people while no toe fungus ever has; Vioxx supposed to be safer on the stomach than aspirin which has murdered 55,000 people; sleeping pills and antianxiety ‘medications of the benzodiazepine class which claims untold millions as addicts.
Yet we still ignore the many Black-Box Warnings from the FDA who probably know you aren’t reading it anyway.
These warnings mostly on the so called anti-depressants tell us that they make you more depressed, cause chemical imbalances in your brain, produce dangerous withdrawal when you stop taking them, diminish your sex drive and may drive you to bizarre behavior, suicidality and homicidal violence.
The American Psychiatric Associations billing bible, the so called Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-IV-TR) says “Symptoms like those seen in a Manic Episode may also be precipitated by antidepressant treatment such as medication…”
These include Prozac, Sarafem, Luvox, Celexa, Zoloft and Paxil, Remeron, Serzone, Wellbutrin, Zyban and Effexor.
Is it any wonder that the Virginia Tech Shooter and 18 other school shooting mass murderers including the Columbine boys were either under the influence of or withdrawing from anti-depressant drugs and psychiatric cocktails?
It almost seems silly to me now that I actually once believed that synthetic non-biocompatible substances were superior to nature; that marijuana is a “killer weed” for example.
I had faith in the established systems set in place to provide sustainable resources and secure, safe land to dwell upon.
I once went to a criminal justice institute and nearly joined up with the local police and almost enlisted in the marine corp.
I even wrote a death metal song in 2001 entitled “AntiTerrorist“, a product proving my brain had been thoroughly washed, in which the first verse screams:
‘I pledge my allegiance to the flag, with a f–king gun in my hand;
Ready to enlist in the corp for the war that we fight against the terrorist land.
Raise up your red, white and blue, rise up and be not subdued;
Show the world old glory’s anew, and we’re not afraid to prove this is true.
Hiding out in the shadows, your just so pitiful, ’cause your afraid of America the Beautiful!
-and we remain defiant, you have awakened a sleeping GIANT.
Fear will not imprison us, we will not be enslaved,
When I woke up this morning it was still, the land of the free and the home of the brave… AntiTerrorist!!!”
Well, as Robert Nestor Marley sang accompanied by the Wailers:
“…You can fool some people sometime, but you can’t fool all the people all the time,
so now we see the light, we got-to stand up for our rights!…
I have been aslumber far too long.
I have a brand new Network these days and “I’m mad as hell, and I’m not gonna take it anymore!”
I am not really “mad” however, but greatly impassioned.
I can verily relate to the desperation, commitment and boundless love that the Odones felt for their son Lorenzo when they sought out and found an effective, natural treatment for him and his fellow brothers.
I finally get it.
I love my friend (CAS) and the world so much that I can not help but nearly shorting out my lap-top with tears at this moment.
But since my goal is to enrich myself and others through freedom of choice and personal empowerment by “breaking the spell” that has been cast like a spider’s web upon us, I wipe my eyes and repeat the refrain from a tune I wrote some time ago.
I will close out with this because I have something else I want to write about.
Understand that it is your right to have Medical Independence and Complete Healing may be found within your own seeking.
Taking steps to increase mass collaboration as the Odones accomplished, by convening the first ever ALD Symposium for example; may serve as one means of moving patients and many families into a more informed and interactive role.
By empowering ourselves we remove the temptation to sacrifice ecology for personal gain.
Replacing competition with creation, replaces inhibition with healthy living and advancement for one and all.
“Blame the world if you wish
But counting tears will not make you rich.
Just move on, don’t explain,
Find yourself and Divide the Pain”
8 Weeks to Optimum Health and Spontaneous Healing DVD, Andrew Weil, M.D.-2000
Principles of Neural Science, Eric R. Kandel, James H. Schwartz, Thomas M. Jessell-2000,