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31 Orthomolecular Medicine Meeting Highlights Toronto 2007 by Jeffrey Dach MD

Orthomolecular Medicine Meeting in Toronto

Honoring Abram Hoffer, MD

Highlights of the Orthomolecular Medicine Meeting

I just returned from attending the Orthomolecular Medicine Meeting in Toronto April 2007, and I wanted to share with you a few highlights from this historic meeting. (1) In addition to the scientific meeting, we attended the black-tie tribute dinner honoring the 90 year old Abram Hoffer, MD, the original founder of the orthomolecular medical society and a prolific writer and researcher.(2)(3)  My wife and I were lucky to be seated at a family table with Garry Vickar, M.D. Hoffer’s nephew. Garry Vickar is an orthomolecular psychiatrist from St. Louis, and proudly informed us the family had endowed the Hoffer-Vickar chair of orthomolecular psychiatry at Ben Gurion University.(4)

What is Orthomolecular Medicine? (5)

You probably never heard of this word, “orthomolecular”. It was coined by Linus Pauling 50 years ago and means substances in the human body like vitamins, minerals, and hormones used to treat disease.(5)(5A) It sounds a lot like natural medicine, holistic medicine, and integrative, complementary medicine, doesn’t it?  In actuality, all of these definitions are blurred together, and we are really talking about the use of non-toxic natural substances, instead of patented drugs which can be toxic and produce adverse side effects.  Abram Hoffer, Linus Pauling and Humphrey Osmond founded the orthomolecular medical society in the 1950’s, and Hoffer is still active as editor-in-chief of its journal.(6)

Gala Dinner Honoring Abram Hoffer MD

Margot Kidder at Jeffrey Dach MDThe April 2007 award dinner in Toronto was a touching and moving tribute to a great pioneer and scientist.  Dr. Hoffer graciously allowed us to introduce ourselves and speak with him briefly, and I can report to you that he is charming, pleasant, and has the intellect of much younger person.  He was the final speaker at the podium, and spoke for about 10 minutes recapping the highlights of his career and thanking everyone involved in the dinner.

The actress Margot Kidder was the master of ceremonies at the dinner. Remember, she played Lois Lane in the superman movies.  Kidder was successfully treated by Hoffer after having her own personal problems in 1996. She is now a grateful recovered Abram Hoffer patient, and also a political activist for orthomolecular medicine as the first line of treatment of mental illness. (7)

Above Left Image: Actress Margot Kidder at the 2005 Canadian National Expo. Courtesy of Wikipedia

Abram Hoffer is well known for his research investigating the use of high dose niacin, vitamin B3, as a treatment for schizophrenia. Hoffer noticed the association of pellagra, niacin deficiency, with dementia, and speculated some people needed higher niacin (B3) intakes to avoid mental illness. Hoffer found niacin (B3) to be quite effective and treated 4,000 schizophrenics with three grams of B3 per day with a 90% success rate. His original paper was published in Lancet in 1962, Massive Niacin Treatment in Schizophrenia. Review of a nine-year study.(8)

A new study of niacin (B3) for schizophrenia is underway at Ben Gurion University, entitled, Treatment of Acute Schizophrenia With Niacin Vitamin Therapy. This study is currently recruiting patients at Beersheva Mental Health Center. The director is RH Belmaker, MD, who is also the Hoffer-Vickar chair in orthomolecular psychiatry.(9)

Over his long career, Abram Hoffer has touched the lives of many Canadians, and many of the people at the meeting were there because Hoffer had treated family members with dramatic improvements. Dr. Hoffer's autobiography, "Adventures in Psychiatry: The Scientific Memoirs of Dr. Abram Hoffer", is a must read. We were all given gift copies of the book, personally autographed by Dr. Hoffer.(10)(11)(12)(12A)(13)

First Day of Meeting,  I.V. Vitamin C Treatment for Cancer

Vitamin C at Jeffrey Dach The scientific meeting started the next day bright and early. And the first day was devoted to Vitamin C as a treatment for cancer, and all the big names were there. Steve Lawson from the Linus Pauling Institute appeared first.(14)  He gave a short history of the original Cameron-Pauling Clinical Trials of Vitamin C treatment for cancer, which showed that cancer patients who received vitamin C lived 4 times longer than those who didn’t. One hundred terminal cancer patients were given 10 grams of vitamin C daily (2.5 grams four times per day) and followed clinically until they succumbed to their underlying cancer. The Vitamin C group lived 4.2 times longer (210 days), compared to 1,000 "matched controls" who averaged only 50 days till death from cancer. (15)(16)(17

Above Left image is chemical sctructure of Vitamin C Courtesy of Wikipedia.

In spite of these encouraging results by Linus Pauling, Vitamin C research was halted early on because of subsequent negative studies at the Mayo Clinic. Some say the Mayo Clinic studies were intentionally designed to fail and discredit vitamin C. The Mayo Clinic docs changed the Pauling protocol and failed to demonstrate the beneficial findings. (18)

Jeanne Drisko

Jeanne Drisko MD However, after all these years, interest in vitamin C as an adjunctive cancer treatment appears to be reviving. One of those responsible for this renewed interest in Vitamin C as a treatment for cancer is Jeane Drisko, MD, Professor of Orthomolecular Medicine at University of Kansas who discussed her ongoing clinical trial investigating intravenous vitamin C as a treatment for ovarian, uterine and cervical cancer at the University of Kansas.(19)(20)

Left Image: Courtesy of Jeanne Drisko MD and U of Kansas.(20)

John Hoffer, MD (Abram Hoffer’s son) from the Jewish General Hospital of Montreal reported three well-documented cases of advanced cancers, confirmed by pathology biopsy.  All three patients had unexpectedly long survival times after treatment with intravenous vitamin C.(21)

Mark Levine

Mark Levine, MD, (22) Section Chief for Vitamin C Research at the NIH, presented his work showing intravenous Vitamin C kills cancer cells and infectious agents by producing Hydrogen Peroxide in the extracellular space. (23)(24)(25)(26)(27)  Dr Levine also studied vitamin C in volunteers and then recommended increasing the current RDA of 60 mg daily to 200 mg daily(27). Steve Hickey, PhD. author of Ascorbate, the Science of Vitamin C also spoke at the meeting.(28).

Second Day of Meeting, Bio-Identical Hormones for Women

Phyllis Bronson

The second day of the meeting was devoted to Women’s Bio-Identical Hormone Replacement, Phyllis Bronson, PHD (29) discussed the biochemistry of estradiol and progesterone and their effects on mood, depression and brain function. She explained how hormonal imbalance causes PMS which can be treated with supplemental progesterone rather than SSRI anti-depressants.

Dr. Bronson discussed I3C and DIM for the beneficial effect on estrogen metabolism, and as nutritional supplements for breast cancer prevention. Indole 3 Carbinol (I-3-C) and Di-Indole Methane (DIM) and Iodine are the basic breast cancer prevention program that we use in our office.(30)  We have discussed the role of Iodine as a cancer preventive agent in a previous article, Breast Cancer Prevention and Iodine Supplementation by Jeffrey Dach MD.(31)

Kenton Bruice

Dr. Bronson was followed by Kenton Bruice MD,(32) a practicing OB/Gyne doc who routinely prescribes bio-identical hormones. He summarized the medical literature showing safety of bio-identical hormone replacement. Dr. Kenton Bruice cited the French Cohort study which showed no increased risk of breast cancer from bio-identical hormones. (The RR = 1.005, which is identical to the control group.) (33)  He also discussed the medical literature on heart disease risk, and showed that women using bio-identical hormones (estradiol and progesterone) have atually less heart disease risk.(34)

Mark Starr
Mark Starr, M.D. presented his talk on Type Two Hypothyroidism, and announced the new edition of his book.(35)   His information on hypothyroidism was covered in my previous articvle, Hypothyroidism Type Two and Thyroflex.(36)  I had previously heard his talk and met him at an ICIM (Integratice Medicine) meeting in Grand Rapids, MI, so it was a pleasure meeting him again, and I was glad he remembered me from the last meeting.  One change he mentioned in his office protocol: He is now giving iodine supplementation along with natural thyroid and having better results.

Third Day of Meeting Orthomolecular Treatment for

Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD)

James Greenblatt

OCD Handwashing at Jeffrey Dach MD James Greenblatt MD (37) from Waldon Behavioral Care (38) gave a very good talk discussing orthomolecular treatment of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD). What is OCD? This is a fairly common mental disorder which affects kids and adults who have obsessive thoughts such as phobias, or fears (such as fear of contamination), and in order to deal with these thoughts they have repeating behaviors called compulsions such as handwashing, counting, hoarding, etc.

Left Image Compulsive Handwashing in OCD, Courtesy of Wikipedia.

Kids who are interrupted from their compulsive activities can become violent. The standard treatment is SSRI antidepressants, which may work initially, however, they come with a price of well known side effects. Dr. Greenblatt has had dramatic success in OCD patients using non-toxic supplements such as 5-HTP, and Inositol (18 grams per day). (39)(40). 5-HTP is an amino acid precursor to serotonin, and Inositol is a non-toxic sugar like molecule.

William Shaw Great Plains Lab

Dr. Greenblatt discussed the use of lab testing for the opiate peptides, Gliadorphin and Casomorphin, which can be done on urine samples sent to the Great Plains Laboratory (41) run by William Shaw.(42)(43) Apparently the cause for OCD, depression, bulimia, panic disorders etc. has been found to be these Gliadorphin and Casomorphin peptides which mimic neurotransmitters in the brain. Fortunately, these unwanted peptides can be degraded by digestive enzymes, and Greenblatt uses a digenstive enzyme product called Serenaid with much success.

Dr. Greenblatt presented cases showing dramatic clinical improvement in kids with OCD with the use of othomolecular medicine, 5HTP, Inositol, digestive enzymes and probiotics. These children recovered dramatically from their OCD symptoms of hoarding, repeating activities, handwashing, phobias and social withdrawal etc. This is orthomolecular medicine at its best.
Latest Update to This Article: 

Sadly, Abram Hoffer died in Victoria on May 27, 2009 after a brief illness. He was a giant in his field, and an inspiration to all of us,  and will be greatly missed. Obituary can be found Here.

Articles of Related Interest: Predicting the Future of Medicine

Jeffrey Dach MD
7450 Griffin Road Suite 190
Davie Florida 33314

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Orthomolecular Medicine Society Presents 36th Annual Meeting Nutritional Medicine Today
May 11, 2007 Toronto Canado and gala dinner Honoring Abram Hpffer MD/

Abram Hoffer MD Wikipedia Entry Biogaphy. Abram Hoffer (born 1917) is a Canadian psychiatrist known for the use of nutrition and vitamins in the treatment of schizophrenia,  orthomolecular psychiatry. 

The International Schizophrenia Foundation Lifetime Achievement Gala Dinner honouring Abram Hoffer, MD, PhD with Margot Kidder as Master of Ceremonies, Thursday, April 19, 2007,  The Fairmont Royal York Hotel Toronto, Canada

R.H. Belmaker, M.D., Hoffer-Vickar Professor of Psychiatry, Ben-Gurion University.  Beer-Sheva.

What is Orthomolecular Medicine? Stephen Lawson, Adminstrative Officer Linus Pauling Institute
The word "orthomolecular" was introduced by Linus Pauling in "Orthomolecular Psychiatry", his seminal 1968 article published in the journal Science.

On the Orthomolecular Environment of the Mind: Orthomolecular Theory by Linus Pauling, Ph.D.
Journal Of Orthomolecular Medicine Vol. 7, No. 1, 1995 "Varying the concentrations of substances normally present in the human body may control mental disease." - Linus Pauling

Orthomolecular Medicine is the practice of preventing and treating disease by providing the body with optimal amounts of substances which are natural to the body. The key idea in orthomolecular medicine is that genetic factors affect not only the physical characteristics of individuals, but also to their biochemical milieu. Biochemical pathways of the body have significant genetic variability and diseases such as atherosclerosis, cancer, schizophrenia or depression are associated with specific biochemical abnormalities which are causal or contributing factors of the illness.

Margot Kidder born October 17, 1948 is a Canadian-American film and television actress best known for playing Lois Lane in the Superman movies of the 1970s and 1980s.

Massive niacin treatment in schizophrenia. Review of a nine-year study. OSMOND H, HOFFER A. Lancet. 1962 Feb 10;1(7224):316-9.

Treatment of Acute Schizophrenia With Vitamin Therapy, This study has been completed.
Sponsors and Collaborators:  Beersheva Mental Health Center. Supported by a Hilton Family Foundation grant to International Schizophrenia Foundation. Therefore, this proposal is to study in a controlled manner carefully defined first onset schizophrenic patients using the protocol advocated by Osmond and Hoffer (1962) (high dose niacin).

Adventures in Psychiatry: The Scientific Memoirs of Dr. Abram Hoffer by Dr. Abram Hoffer, Kos Publishing Inc

Vitamin B-3 and Schizophrenia: Discovery, Recovery, Controversy by Abram Hoffer, MD Quarry Press, Kingston, Ontario Canada (1998) Review by Andrew W. Saul

Hoffer's Home Page -Orthomolecular Treatment of Cancer.

Hoffer's Home Page -The Schizophrenias

Abram Hoffer MD, PhD Interviewed by Peter Barry Chowka On Orthomolecular Medicine.

Linus Pauling Institute

Supplemental Ascorbate in the Supportive Treatment of Cancer: Prolongation of Survival Times in Terminal Human Cancer.  Ewan Cameron and Linus Pauling. PNAS, October 1, 1976, vol. 73, no. 10, p3685-3689.

Supplemental Ascorbate in the Supportive Treatment of Cancer: Reevaluation of Prolongation of Survival Times in Terminal Human Cancer. Ewan Cameron and Linus Pauling. PNAS, September 1, 1978, vol. 75, no. 9, 4538-4542.

The orthomolecular treatment of cancer II. Clinical trial of high-dose ascorbic acid supplements in advanced human cancer, Ewan Camerona, a and Allan Campbellb, Chemico-Biological Interactions Volume 9, Issue 4, October 1974, Pages 285-315.
Failure of high-dose vitamin C (ascorbic acid) therapy to benefit patients with advanced cancer. A controlled trial. Creagan ET, Moertel CG, O'Fallon JR, Schutt AJ, O'Connell MJ, Rubin J, Frytak S.N Engl J Med. 1979 Sep 27;301(13):687-90.

Jeanne A. Drisko, MD Riordan Endowed Professor of Orthomolecular Medicine, Director, Program in Integrative Medicine

Safety of Antioxidants During GYN Cancer Care. University of Kansas, June 2008
Principal Investigator:Jeanne Drisko, MD University of Kansas      

Intravenously administered vitamin C as cancer therapy: three cases
Sebastian J. Padayatty, Hugh D. Riordan, Stephen M. Hewitt, Arie Katz, L. John Hoffer, and Mark Levine.CMAJ. 2006 March 28; 174(7): 937–942.

Mark A. Levine, M.D.Molecular and Clinical Nutrition Section, Chief Digestive Diseases Branch
NIDDK, National Institutes of Health Building 10, Room 4D52 Bethesda, MD 20892-1372

Study: Vitamin C May Fight Cancer Sept. 12, 2005 -- Vitamin C may have some cancer-fighting potential, new research shows.

Vitamin C Pharmacokinetics: Implications for Oral and Intravenous Use. Sebastian J. Padayatty, MRCP, PhD; He Sun, PhD, CBS; Yaohui Wang, MD; Hugh D. Riordan, MD; Stephen M. Hewitt, MD, PhD; Arie Katz, MD; Robert A. Wesley, PhD; and Mark Levine, MD. Ann Intern Med. 2004 Volume 140 Issue 7, Pages 533-537.

Vitamin C Pharmacokinetics: Implications for Oral and Intravenous Use Sebastian J. Padayatty, MRCP, PhD; He Sun, PhD, CBS; Yaohui Wang, MD; Hugh D. Riordan, MD; Stephen M. Hewitt, MD, PhD; Arie Katz, MD; Robert A. Wesley, PhD; and Mark Levine, MD  Ann Intern Med. 2004;140:533-537.

Reevaluation of Ascorbate in Cancer Treatment: Emerging Evidence, Open Minds and Serendipity . Sebastian J Padayatty, MRCP, PhD and Mark Levine, MD, FACN
Journal of the American College of Nutrition, Vol. 19, No. 4, 423-425 (2000)

Vitamin C pharmacokinetics in healthy volunteers: Evidence for a recommended dietary allowance (ascorbic acid / bioavailability) Mark Levine et al. Vol. 93, Issue 8, 3704-3709, April 16, 1996, "the current RDA of 60 mg daily should be increased to 200 mg daily, which can be obtained from fruits and vegetables. Safe doses of vitamin C are less than 1000 mg daily, and vitamin C daily doses above 400 mg have no evident value."

The Science of Vitamin C by Steve Hickey

Phyllis Bronson, Ph.D., the primary researcher Aspen Philanthropist. Degrees in  neurobiochemistry and an extensive scientific background in biochemistry. I run a clinical practice in Aspen, Colorado, and am a research associate at The University of Denver, Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry. I conduct my chemical research in the physical chemistry laboratory of Dwight Smith, Ph.D., who also serves as a scientific advisor in much of my research. I am also on the faculty of both The American Academy of Environmental Medicine and The International Society of Orthomolecular Medicine.

The Cruciferous Choice: DIM or 13C? Phytonutrient Supplements for Cancer Prevention and Health Promotion - diindolyl-methane, indole-3-carbinol. Townsend Letter for Doctors and Patients,  August, 2001  by Michael A. Zeligs

Breast Cancer Prevention and Iodine Supplementation by Jeffrey Dach MD

Bruice Kenton MD Board Certified Gynecologist. Natural Hormone Replacement Therapy with Bio-Identical Hormones  

Combined hormone replacement therapy and risk of breast cancer in a French cohort study of 3175 Women. De Lignières B. et al. Climacteric. 2002 Dec;5(4):332-40. Paris, France. French Cohort Study showing no increased risk of breast cancer from bio-identical hormones.

Estrogen Therapy and Coronary-Artery Calcification. JoAnn E. Manson, M.D. et al.  NEJM Volume 356:2591-2602 June 21, 2007 Number 25 NEJM study which shows that estrogen therapy prevents heart disease.

Mark Starr MD Type Two Hypothyroidism

Hypothyroidism Type Two and Thyroflex by Jeffrey Dach MD

Dr. Greenblatt is a dually board certified in child and adult psychiatry. He received his medical degree and completed his adult psychiatry residency at George Washington University in Washington D.C. He completed a fellowship in child and adolescent psychiatry at Johns Hopkins Medical School. Dr. Greenblatt is founder and Medical Director of Comprehensive Psychiatric Resources, Inc. and a clinical faculty member at Harvard Medical School, Department of Psychiatry.

About Walden Since its founding in 2003, Walden Behavioral Care has become a national leader in the treatment of eating disorders and psychiatric disorders.

Inositol treatment of obsessive-compulsive disorder. M Fux, J Levine, A Aviv and RH Belmaker
Ministry of Health Mental Health Center, Faculty of Health Sciences, Ben Gurion University of the Negev, Beersheva, Israel.
Am J Psychiatry 1996; 153:1219-1221

Inositol and OCD By Frederick Penzel, Ph.D.

The Great Plains Laboratory helps children and adults with conditions such as autism & PDD,  ADD/ADHD, Down's Syndrome with autistic-like symptoms, Fibromyalgia, Chronic Fatigue, MS or MS-like symptoms, Irritable Bowel Syndrome, Brain Fog, Depression, Psychosis, GI disorders, and many other diseases and conditions.

Dr. William Shaw received a Ph.D. in biochemistry and human physiology from the Medical University of South Carolina. He is board certified in the fields of clinical chemistry and toxicology by the American Board of Clinical Chemistry. He has supervised large endocrinology, nutritional biochemistry, and toxicology and immunology departments in positions at the Center for Disease Control (CDC) and Smith Kline Laboratories in Atlanta. He was Director of Clinical Chemistry, Endocrinology and Toxicology at Children’s Mercy Hospital, the teaching hospital of the University of Missouri at Kansas City School of Medicine. Dr. Shaw is now the Director of The Great Plains Laboratory for Health, Nutrition and Metabolism in Lenexa, Kansas specializing in urine metabolic testing for autism spectrum disorders. He is author of “Biological Treatments for Autism and PDD” and is a frequent speaker at autism conferences worldwide. He is the stepfather of a child with autism and has helped thousands of parents and physicians successfully contribute to improving the lives of autistic children.

Biological Treatments for Autism and PDD, by William Shaw, Ph.D.

Abram Hoffer B3 Niacin for Schizophrenia

The Discovery of Kryptopyrrole and its Importance in Diagnosis of Biochemical Imbalances in Schizophrenia and in Criminal Behavior by Abram Hoffer, M.D., Ph.D. Journal of Orthomolecular Medicine: The Discovery of Kryptopyrrole and its Importance. Vol. 10, No. 1, 1995 

What really Causes Schizophrenia by Harold Foster

Orthomolecular Treatment for Schizophrenia By Abram Hoffer Published 1999 McGraw-Hill Professional Schizophrenia 

Schizophrenia & Orthomolecular Treatment Townsend Letter for Doctors and Patients,  April, 2001  by Jule Klotter

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