ORTHOMOLECULAR MEDICINE HALL OF FAME: 2008
Hall of Fame 2008
Orthomolecular Medicine Hall of Fame Inductees for 2008
by Andrew W. Saul, Master of Ceremonies and Assistant Editor, Journal of Orthomolecular Medicine.
WELCOME to the Fifth Annual Orthomolecular Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony. Tonight, once again, as we honor the pioneers of nutritional medicine, we get to see who will take home the “Orthie.”
Many years back, my 6th grade teacher taught me to debate fairly, by the rules and by the book. The facts were the issue, she said, and they would speak for themselves; whether or not people liked your position wasn't crucial. On this, she is wrong. Facts simply do not speak for themselves. As Dr. Abram Hoffer has said, “No amount of evidence can persuade someone who is not listening.” Dr. Hoffer has also frequently stated that we need a new paradigm of nutrition, one where “nutrition as treatment” replaces the old “nutrition as prevention” paradigm.
Yes, there are two paradigms. Two paradigms is more than just 8 nickels. Who writes this material?
But striving for change, real innovation, is no laughing matter.
The great Chinese philosopher Chuang Tzu told this story:
Once there was a big tree full of monkeys. They hung by their tails, they ate and they chattered, and they scurried about the tree. Along came a hunter, who shot an arrow up at them. One of the monkeys casually caught the arrow, harmlessly holding it in his hand. The hunter, intrigued, shot another arrow at that monkey. The monkey caught that arrow just as effortlessly, in its other hand.
"This is incredible!" the hunter said to himself. "I must go tell the emperor."
He immediately went to the palace and described what they had seen. Of course the emperor wanted to see it too, so he and a dozen of his best warriors rode their horses at a gallop to the monkey tree.
Things looked just as before, with monkeys chattering, eating and scurrying about. You couldn't tell one monkey from another.
"Which monkey is the clever one?" asked the emperor.
"I can't tell, your highness," said the hunter.
"Then we'll find out. Archer, shoot an arrow at the monkeys."
The king's best marksman let an arrow fly. It was caught by the clever monkey, in his right hand.
"Another arrow," said the emperor.
This time the archer aimed straight at the clever monkey. The monkey easily caught the arrow with his left hand.
"Again," said the emperor.
The archer shot a third arrow, which the monkey caught using his right foot.
The emperor watched the monkey, now hanging by his left foot, grasping three arrows, and chattering away.
"I've never seen anything like that!" exclaimed the emperor. "Now, all of you archers shoot at once."
The twelve warriors all shot arrows together, and killed the monkey.
The pioneers of nutritional medicine, the orthomolecular innovators, have suffered many arrows in their time.
Ignoring therapeutic nutrition carries a high price: The United States now spends well over two million million dollars ($2,000,000,000,000; two trillion) per year on disease care, and yet has well over a million people die annually just from cardiovascular disease and cancer.
Now, however, the public and the professions are hearing a lot more about orthomolecular medicine. Google Scholar indexes the Journal of Orthomolecular Medicine. Indeed, any Internet search engine can find the new, free, online JOM archives at http://orthomolecular.org/library/jom.
The Journal of Orthomolecular Medicine is now indexed by the French Institute of Scientific and Technical Information (http://international.inist.fr/rubrique4.html), British Library Direct (http://direct.bl.uk/bld/Home.do), EBSCOhost
But not the U.S. National Library of Medicine’ MEDLINE. (http://www.doctoryourself.com/medlineup.html) Well, not yet, anyway. To be fair, it must be admitted that in May 2007, NLM said, “While we hold the Journal of Orthomolecular Medicine in our print collection here at NLM, it is not currently indexed for MEDLINE/PubMed.”
One might well wonder why NLM, a taxpayer-supported public library, physically archives a journal, and yet refuses to index it. JOM Associate Editor Harold Foster has wryly observed that “Medline treats the Journal like a dirty magazine: to be read privately, but the fact kept hidden from the public.”
Therefore, to increase public awareness, the Orthomolecular Medicine News Service has been very active since 2005. OMNS has now (May 2008) issued a total of 39 press releases emphasizing the positive side, the safety and effectiveness of nutritional medicine. (Read any or all of them at http://orthomolecular.org/resources/omns/index.shtml )
All this must be done, and can be done, due to the very important contributions by the scientists whose work we are pleased to honor tonight:
Joseph Goldberger, MD
Michael Lesser, MD
Richard Kunin, MD
Adelle Davis, MSc
Joseph Goldberger, M.D.
Only a few years ago, Dr. Hugh Riordan said that “Orthomolecular is not the answer to any question posed in medical school.”
Such was definitely the case in
1895, when Joseph Goldberger completed his medical degree, with honors, at
The justification was official: in 1914, a governmental commission declared that pellagra appeared to be infectious, and that it certainly had nothing to do with diet. Fortunately, such dissemination of official misinformation downplaying the role of a nutrient has never, ever, EVER happened again. Right.
It was when, that same year, the US Public Health service assigned Dr. Goldberger to the problem that things began to look up. Goldberger had the very politically incorrect idea that pellagra was related to the malnutrition of poverty. He personally observed what patients ate, and concluded that the cause of this tragedy was the "three M's": a tryptophan- and niacin-deficient diet of some fatty Meat, some Molasses, and a whole lot of corn Meal.
Today it is sometimes forgotten just how big the tragedy actually was. In addition to the infamous “three D" symptoms of pellagra (diarrhea, dermatitis, and dementia), there is a fourth “D”: death. It was as difficult then as it is now to think that a nutrient deficiency could kill. Well, it can, and it did. Of three million American cases of pellagra in the first half of the 20th century, some 100,000 people died from it. A far higher number were permanently disabled with mental illness.
In later years, we learned that the solution is supplementation with a vitamin: nicotinic acid, or niacin. Simple? Sherlock Holmes was given to say that “All problems are simple when they are explained.” But in 1914, the year World War I began, science was winging it. I used to tell my students that science is built upon the mistakes of those who came before us. Not this time. Dr. Joseph Goldberger was innovative, and orthomolecular. He got it right the first time.
Goldberger believed that the amino acid tryptophan was likely the “pellagra-preventive factor,” and that supplemental yeast was the therapy. He was right on both counts. In weeks, he cured pellagra right and left. In children. Orphans. Prisoners. Psychotics.
Tonight, nearly eighty years after his death, we remind the world of the work of a great public health pioneer who went against conventional medicine when he insisted, unto his death, that a dreadful, fatal disease could be treated simply “by varying the concentration in the human body of substances that are normally present in the body.”
That is Linus Pauling’s own definition of orthomolecular medicine. Of course, Pauling had just turned 13 when Goldberger first practiced it.
Tonight we proudly welcome Dr. Joseph Goldberger into the Orthomolecular Medicine Hall of Fame.
(For introductions to 2008 inductees Michael Lesser, M.D., and Richard Kunin, M.D., please click here: http://orthomolecular.org/hof/hof2008.pdf)
Adelle Davis, M.Sc.
You know, you simply have not
lived until you’ve milked a herd of cows before the sun is even up.
Yes, I’m a former dairyman. I used to milk 100 head twice a day.
Starting at 4 AM. Somehow that makes the connection with Adelle Davis
somewhat personal for me. Her real first name was Daisie, and she was brought
up on a farm in rural
But even the most senior of us
were in short pants when Adelle Davis earned her Masters degree in
biochemistry. That was truly an uncommon achievement for a woman in 1939
No mere health nut,
Biased commentators have made much of a handful of well-publicized deaths alleged to be due to readers following Adelle Davis’ writings. It is interesting that her critics have rather less to say about the 106,000 acknowledged deaths from prescription medication each year. In the 61 years that Adelle Davis’ books have been in widely in print, literally millions of people have been killed by pharmaceutical drugs, properly prescribed and taken as directed.
On the other hand, tens of millions of people have improved their health because of Adelle Davis. I am one of them. I first came across Adelle Davis’ work in the 1970s, right about the time I was a farmhand. I remain profoundly glad that I read what I did.
I left the farm, and kept the books.
Some of Adelle Davis’ readers have especially moving stories tell.
I have one right here, from a grandmother:
"In November, 2003, my 3-year-old grandson was diagnosed with muscular dystrophy. The next day I visited the local health food store with only my 30 year old copy of Let's get Well by Adelle Davis. It was there, on pages 235 and 243-245, that I found evidence that vitamins helped. Then, I drove 100 miles to my daughter and her husband's house to deliver a basket filled with bottles of vitamins and other food supplements. Within the first week of supplementation there were dramatic changes. For the first time in his little life, he left his mother's side to run around and play with other children at a school function. Soon afterwards, he began climbing steps without her help and up the ladder to his brother's bunk bed. On my weekly visits I have witnessed all these changes in his health, strength and personality. On Easter he rode his two wheel bicycle with training wheels all the way down the street.
"My daughter received no nutritional guidelines or any help from her pediatrician or the university hospital. When she asked physicians about nutrition and dietary supplements they told her, 'There are no studies that indicate that diet and nutrition make a difference.'
The grandmother writes, one year later:
“Just wanted to let you know the latest about our MD grandchild. In early September, he was at the hospital for a complete cardiac exam. They found his heart to be perfectly normal. The doctor at this clinic also told my daughter: ‘All that you see there of your son is healthy and normal muscle.’ He had the boy on lie the floor and asked him to get up. The doctor smiled as he watched as he did so, shook his head and said, ‘There is even no sign of the Gower.’”
(Usually, because of extreme weakness of the hip muscles, a child with MD can stand up only by first lying face down, then extending the elbows and knees to raise the body, then bringing them together, and finally crawling upright. This is called the Gower sign.)
And this, in 2007:
“The doctors told my daughter in 2003 that Aaron would be in a wheel chair by the age of seven. Yesterday was his seventh birthday and my present to him was a mini trampoline that he enjoyed very much.” (http://www.doctoryourself.com/dystrophy.html)
Pediatrician Dr. Robert Mendelssohn was absolutely correct when he said, “One grandmother is worth two M.D.s.” Adelle Davis great legacy is that she empowered grandmothers, and children, and all ages of people everywhere to use nutrition to get well.
Tonight, it is our great pleasure, on behalf of kids like eight year old Aaron, who at age 8 walks, runs, and jumps up and down on his trampoline, to induct Adelle Davis into the Orthomolecular Medicine Hall of Fame.
Reference: Marilyn Bailey Ogilvie and Joy Dorothy Harvey, editors. The Biographical Dictionary of Women in Science: Pioneering Lives from Ancient Times to the Mid-20th Century. NY: Routledge, 1999, p 328-329.
In the early 1970s, one of the first nutrition zingers I ever read was Dr. Carlton Fredericks’ comment (in Food Facts and Fallacies) to the effect that diabetics could be weaned off of insulin with extremely high doses of B-complex vitamins. One may reasonably entertain doubts if a Type I diabetic could ever be free of the need to take insulin. On the other hand, I have seen diabetics require significantly less insulin when they take a high-potency B-complex supplement every two to three hours. The action is so profound that diabetics need to demand a suitably cautious therapeutic trial, with insulin dosage adjustment made and supervised by their physician.
Jack Challem writes, “In the
early 1980s, Carlton Fredericks, Ph.D., reported that high intake of the
B-complex vitamins, plus extra choline and inositol, helped the liver break
down estrogen into estriol, a non-carcinogenic form of the hormone. He said, "Not only does inadequate intake of
these vitamins interfere with the breakdown of female hormone by the liver,
but estrogen itself may cause vitamin B-complex deficiency." (January
1984 Let's Live.)
Searching the shelves back in 1945, you would have found that one of Carlton Fredericks’ first books was entitled "Living Should be Fun." Forty years later, the title of one of his last books was “Arthritis: Don't Learn to Live with It.” The man was nothing if not consistent. He promoted life and health. Nothing wrong with that, except he also asserted that you needed vitamin supplements for both.
Criticized by many, vilified by a
And he was a health nut.
Health nut is such a wonderful epithet. I have often asked people if they are not a health nut, than what kind of a nut are they?
Hoffman, M.D. tells the story how
Another fan wrote that “When
asked about the efficacy of vitamin and mineral supplements by a hearer whose
doctor said they aren’t necessary, nutrition professor Dr. Alan Gaby
quoted Carlton Fredericks, who had been asked this same question by a doctor.
Yes, like all pioneers,
The government was wrong. Dr. Fredericks was right.
To this day, all orthomolecular physicians, nutrition researchers, and health writers owe a debt to Carlton Fredericks, who led the media charge and took the heat.
Robert Fulton Cathcart III, M.D.
I saw Bob on Phil Donahue’s television show over twenty years ago. I still remember it well. Part of an on-stage expert panel, he could barely get a word in until the end of the program. When Phil finally turned to him, Dr. Cathcart mentioned bowel-tolerance, saturation doses of vitamin C. He called pneumonia “the 100-gram cold.” Suddenly, the audience was alive with interest. Questions continued at a rapid pace all the way through the show’s closing credits.
It was not easy to get the message about the benefits of massive vitamin C therapy on television.
“In 1978, a NBC reporter who had just won the
“Photographers from PBS came to my office in
“For 3 years straight, back in the early '80s, writers who claimed to be writing for the National Enquirer interviewed me about massive doses of C. The last time, I refused the interviews at first saying that they would never print it and we would be wasting out time. The reporter was a nice guy and said they printed stuff like this all the time. So I gave him the interview. Three months later he called me and said that I was correct, they would not print it.” (From Cathcart’s website, orthomed.com)
To this, I have my own story to add. When I taught for the State University of New York during the 1990s, I got into trouble for recommend that my students read up on Bob’s clinical work. When they did, they read things like this, one of my favorite Cathcart quotes: “Since 1969 I have taken over 2 tons of ascorbic acid myself. I have put over 20,000 patients on bowel tolerance doses of ascorbic acid without any serious problems, and with great benefit."
A block of registered dietitians in my department complained to the chair. It seems that a number of my students were now questioning party-line statements about vitamin C dosage, its value against viral infection, allegations of kidney stones, and such. And right during these other instructors’ nutrition classes. As my daughter, at the time a college junior herself, said, "Gee, we can't have college students questioning things, now can we!"
I learned my lesson. Thereafter, in lectures, I would specifically instruct my university students to not go to Cathcart’s website. Heh, heh, heh.
A few years later, I would meet Bob on the internet. He knew of my then-brand–new doctoryourself.com website, and he linked to a number of my articles. I asked him for advice. He told me to forget trying to publish in the print journals, and not to waste time trying to convert physicians. Instead, he said, go straight to the people by way of the internet. It was good advice, and I took it.
All Dr. Cathcart’s advice was grounded in hard-won experience. He wrote that he had “been consulted by many researchers who proposed bold studies of the effects of massive doses of ascorbate. Every time the university center, the ethics committee, or the pharmacy committee deny permission for the use of massive doses of ascorbate and render the study almost useless. Seasoned researchers depending upon government grants do not even try to study adequate doses.” (“Delay By Intellectualization,” July 9, 1999)
But some researchers did. Linus Pauling, for one. Pauling had great respect for Dr. Cathcart, and as early as 1978 featured him in the Linus Pauling Institute of Science and Medicine newsletter.
The honor that Pauling commenced exactly thirty years ago, we are happy to continue tonight. As Abram Hoffer says, “Bob Cathcart’s work will live on forever.” Right and right again.
For additional biography of each 2008 Orthomolecular Hall of Fame inductee, please click here: http://orthomolecular.org/hof/hof2008.pdf
Andrew Saul is the author of the books FIRE YOUR DOCTOR! How to be Independently Healthy (reader reviews at http://www.doctoryourself.com/review.html ) and DOCTOR YOURSELF: Natural Healing that Works. (reviewed at http://www.doctoryourself.com/saulbooks.html )
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