FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Orthomolecular Medicine News Service, January 15, 2010
NLM Censors Nutritional Research
Medline is Biased, and Taxpayers Pay for It
Comment by Andrew W. Saul
Editor-In-Chief, Orthomolecular Medicine News Service
(OMNS, January 15, 2010) Did you know that there are “good” medical journals, and that there are “naughty” medical journals?
No kidding. The good journals are easy to access on the internet through a huge electronic database called Medline ( http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed ) This wonderful, free service is brought to you by the US National Library of Medicine and the National Institutes of Health. In other words, by you. By your tax dollars. Generally it is money well spent, until you go searching for megavitamin therapy research papers. Then you will find that you can’t find all of them. That is because of selective indexing.
The National Library of Medicine (NLM) proudly describes itself as “the largest medical library in the world. The goal of the NLM is to collect, organize and make available biomedical literature to advance medical science and improve public health.”
Hmm. Collect. Organize. Make available. Improve public health.
So, after over 40 continuous years of publication, why is the Journal of Orthomolecular Medicine NOT indexed by Medline?
And what are the consequences of such exclusion? In a nutshell, it stops the public from using their computers to learn about all of the scientific research and clinical reports demonstrating the effectiveness of megavitamin (orthomolecular) therapy. It also greatly hampers professionals from seeing pro-vitamin studies. Have you ever wondered why your doctor simply does not know about vitamin therapy? Well, wonder no longer. He or she can’t read what isn’t “collected,” electronically indexed, or otherwise “made available” to them. If the vast majority of journals indexed by Medline are pharmaceutical-friendly, and yet nutritional research is censored, what can you expect?
Your taxes should not be used to fund censorship in a public library, especially the largest medical library on the planet. It is un-American.
Of course, Medline doesn’t censor everything nutritional. Here is a current example of some research that Medline does in fact choose to index:
PIZZA PREVENTS HEART ATTACKS
Gallus S, Tavani A, La Vecchia C. Pizza and risk of acute myocardial infarction. Eur J Clin Nutr. 2004 Nov;58(11):1543-6.
“Some of the ingredients of pizza have been shown to have a favourable influence on the risk of cardiovascular disease. However, there is no single explanation for the present findings.”
PIZZA PREVENTS CANCER
Gallus S, Bosetti C, Negri E, Talamini R, Montella M, Conti E, Franceschi S, La Vecchia C. Does pizza protect against cancer? Int J Cancer. 2003 Nov 1;107(2):283-4.
“We analyzed the potential role of pizza on cancer risk, using data from an integrated network of case-control studies. . . Pizza appears therefore to be a favorable indicator of risk for digestive tract neoplasms in this population.”
But be careful of that olive oil:
Wong GA, King CM. Occupational allergic contact dermatitis from olive oil in pizza making. Contact Dermatitis. 2004 Feb;50(2):102-3.
Here is my all-time favorite: yet another article that Medline actually is indexing. It is not even from a medical journal. I am not making its mile-long title up, either. It is there at Medline, right now, just a few clicks away from you:
Simon HB. “My husband subscribes to Harvard Men’s Health Watch, but I read it even more than he does. I hope you can help us resolve a disagreement. He wants to have pizza two to three times a week for his prostate, but I don’t think it’s a healthy food. Who is right?” (Harvard Men’s Health Watch. 2003 Jun;7(11):8.)
Evidently the very name “Harvard” is enough to get your foot inside the Medline door. That, or “everything but anchovies.”
Oddly enough, the Journal of Orthomolecular Medicine has not published a single article on pizza. At least not so far. Maybe if it did, it would make the cut at Medline.
On the other hand, the Journal of Orthomolecular Medicine has a review board including medical doctors, university faculty, and hospital-based researchers. Since 1967, it has published over 600 papers by renowned authors including Roger J. Williams, Emanuel Cheraskin, Carl C. Pfeiffer, Bernard Rimland, Abram Hoffer, and Nobel Prize winner Linus Pauling. You should be able to access abstracts (concise summaries) of these papers, instantly and for free, via Medline.
Well, you can’t.
To contact the US National Library of Medicine/Medline and tell them what you think: firstname.lastname@example.org
“The National Library of Medicine refuses to index the Journal of Orthomolecular Medicine, though it is peer-reviewed and seems to meet their criteria.” (Psychology Today, Nov-Dec 2006)
NOTE: Four decades of papers from the Journal of Orthomolecular Medicine are now online for you to read, Medline or no Medline, at http://orthomolecular.org/library/jom/ The JOM Archive is a free service with no advertising.
(Andrew W. Saul taught nutrition, health science and cell biology at the college level. He is the author of Doctor Yourself and Fire Your Doctor! and, with Dr. Abram Hoffer, co-author of Orthomolecular Medicine for Everyone and The Vitamin Cure for Alcoholism. Saul is featured in the documentary film Food Matters. He is on the Editorial Board of the Journal of Orthomolecular Medicine.)
Abram Hoffer M.D., Ph.D.
Nov 17th 1917 – May 27th 2009
Abram Hoffer was a mentor – infinite in his compassion, encouragement and inspiration.
It is an oxymoron, breath-taking as it is bewildering, that such a potent and persistent force for health and life has passed on.
I credit so much of what I do well for my patients to this fine doctor – a true scientist and teacher whose successful, innovative orthomolecular practice offended lesser physicians. Fully deserving of the Nobel Prize in medicine, alas his remedies were natural, not patentable, and his life-transforming work was therefore shunned by the medical industrial complex. Who will miss this man? The suffering and those who strive to help them. We can recall the words of the 14th century physician, Paracelsus in reflecting upon the career of Abram Hoffer - “I pleased only my patients.”
Abram pleased his patients (and his students and his orthomolecular colleagues) but he terrorized those doctors whose remedies were neither scientific nor beneficial. Primum non nocere – first, do no harm – described Abram’s work and tens of thousands of lives are more whole and fulfilling, more taxes are paid, because he brought the psychotic back into productive and rewarding life.
What will we do now without Abram to guide us? Who else stands astride the entire history of modern psychiatry and remembers the relevant old studies which hold orthomolecular keys to new therapies? I find some solace in the words of ee cummings:
i carry your heart with me
i carry your heart with me(i carry it in
my heart)i am never without it(anywhere
i go you go,my dear; and whatever is done
by only me is your doing,my darling)
no fate(for you are my fate,my sweet)
no world(for beautiful you are my world,my true)
and it’s you are whatever a moon has always meant
and whatever a sun will always sing is you
here is the deepest secret nobody knows
(here is the root of the root and the bud of the bud
and the sky of the sky of a tree called life;which grows
higher than the soul can hope or mind can hide)
and this is the wonder that’s keeping the stars apart
i carry your heart (i carry it in my heart)
Thusly, my every effort in caring for the ill will be accomplished with Abram’s heart in my heart – so indebted am I to his teaching and so inspired am I by his humanity.
And the words of Goethe are a balm for the soul:
“The thought of Death leaves me entirely unmoved;
for I hold the firm conviction that our spirit is something
altogether indestructible in nature, something that lives on from eon to eon, something like unto the sun, which only seems to set to our mortal eyes while indeed never setting, but shining on forever.”
The force of someone of the majesty of Abram Hoffer indeed shines on forever.
Obituary sent by John Hoffer, M.D. – son of Abram Hoffer.
Abram Hoffer died in Victoria on May 27, 2009 after a brief illness and a long, healthy, productive and brilliant life.
Born November 11, 1917 on a farm in Hoffer, Saskatchewan, Abram Hoffer attended a one-room schoolhouse and studied on horseback, eventually graduating from the University of Saskatchewan (BSA, MSA), the University of Minnesota (PhD in nutrition) and the University of Toronto (MD). He specialized in psychiatry and was, for many years, director of psychiatric research for the Saskatchewan Department of Public Health and associate professor of medicine at the University of Saskatchewan, Saskatoon. In these capacities he carried out groundbreaking research in several areas, ultimately authoring more than 500 peer-reviewed and popular articles and more than 30 academic monographs and popular books.
He challenged the then-dominant view of schizophrenia as a psychological disorder caused by poor mothering, and contributed importantly to the formation of the field of neuropsychopharmacology. He co-authored research on the genetics of schizophrenia with the renowned geneticist, Ernst Mayer. He co-discovered the first effective lipid-lowering agent, the B vitamin niacin. He developed a controversial treatment for acute schizophrenia based on the principles of respect, shelter, sound nutrition, appropriate medication and the administration of large doses of certain water-soluble vitamins, in the process carrying out among the first controlled clinical trials in psychiatry. He advanced a plausible biochemical hypothesis to explain the cause of schizophrenia and how niacin and vitamin C could eliminate its symptoms and prevent relapses. Intrigued by the concept of metabolic “models of madness,” he and his research colleagues, notably his close collaborator Humphry Osmond, studied the properties of the hallucinogens and pioneered the use of LSD, which in conjunction with skilled compassionate psychotherapy, was found to be an effective treatment for alcoholism. His work with alcoholism led to a close friendship with Bill W., the founder of Alcoholics Anonymous. He organized a self-help organization for people with schizophrenia, Schizophrenics Anonymous. Participants at SA meetings occasionally exchanged the friendly greeting, “Salutations and hallucinations!” His colleague and friend, the American chemist Linus Pauling, championed the biochemical model for treating schizophrenia that was developed in Saskatchewan and provided a conceptual underpinning for the notion that large doses of certain naturally occurring substances can favorably alter disordered brain biochemistry, coining the term “orthomolecular psychiatry.”
Abram Hoffer moved to Victoria in 1976 where he practiced psychiatry for many years, becoming a founding member and president of the Senior Physicians Association of British Columbia. Sometimes criticized from afar for his controversial views, he was beloved by his many patients and close colleagues. He devoted his life to the goal of curing – not palliating – schizophrenia. His son Bill died in 1998 and his wife Rose died in 2001. He is survived by his daughter, Miriam (and her husband Guy Ewing), by his son John (and his wife Yehudit Silverman), and by four grandchildren: Adam, Megan, Joshua and Rebecca. At his request, the funeral will be private. We are immensely grateful to the nurses and physicians on West 2 of the Royal Jubilee Hospital. We are indebted to Dr. James Spence for his thoughtful and compassionate attention. Donations can be sent to the International Schizophrenia Foundation, founded by Abram Hoffer.