Tuesday, May 20, 2014

On Developing Cancer and How to Stop It

There is exciting new research taking place on this serious disease.  And obviously, it has to do with epigenetics.  What epigenetics really comes down to is experience.  What kind of experience do we have and when? Because that is the harbinger of serious disease later on.

There is so much new research that points to gestation, pre-gestation and birth trauma as heavily influencing the advent of afflictions such as cancer and Alzheimers later in life.

We know now that one of the key ingredients for this change is a process called methylation. Genes borrow part of the methyl group and change their own evolution; making some more expressive and active, while others are repressive and passive or inactive.  And this depends on what experiences the baby has from the very start of life.  And there may be a similar mechanism that is behind many types of cancer, and dementia, as well. Catastrophic diseases get their start early in life when cells are rapidly forming; and the fact of a catastrophic disease often indicates a catastrophic and life-endangering trauma.  In an era when cells are coming into life is the time when bad events can detour and damage them. Damage during this time can be life-endangering, engendering  diseases that become life-endangering, themselves.  These diseases, therefore, often foretell of severe trauma very early on. They are like measuring gauges that point to times of deleterious effects.

It is not cancer that damages adult cells; these cells already underwent trauma and were weakened by it. Adult stress finishes the job.
The same may be true of heart disease and other common maladies. The on and off changes produced by methylation may be a major element in any number of cancers. One obvious reason is that the cells have been altered in radical ways by this methyl process. So what seems normal to us adults may not be normal at all. Our changes occurred so early that they now seem like “us.” And the doctor examining us asks, “Have you undergone any serious trauma in you life,”  and you say, “Not at all.”   You feel normal as an adult even when you became someone and something else before you had a way of knowing anything.  That is why we can suffer from chronic serious allergies after living a womb-life where the parents were constantly bickering.  “Tell me did you have any serious trauma in your life?"  "No not at all." Alas, the symptoms are screaming the contrary.   And asthma is explaining it all in its own language.

We began a cancer and Alzheimer’s study with a medical clinic which did begin to point to early trauma, but for a variety of reasons we could not complete it.  The point is that epigenetics can either favor cancer development or abort it.  Our future study will be to see if our therapy by demethylating trauma can block the trajectory of deformed cells before they become lethal.  My hypothesis is that it can, but we will see. This means that early damage, a mother smoking or taking pain-killers, can imprint  a cell change, which, when allowed to go on can result in disease.   Altering the epigenetics will right the system and stop the detour.   Voracious cancer has been awaiting its chance; we are not going to let that happen. We already see that in the very few cases of cancer we have among our patients. And I believe it is because in our therapy we travel down to the far reaches and depths—the antipodes-- of the brain where serious illness starts its life.

I recently wrote that parents don’t have to do anything to hurt a child; what they exude (tension or depression) can do it all.  This is especially true during our womb-life where depression and/or anxiety can “exude” from the placenta to affect the baby.  He is being “spritzed” with all kinds of chemicals which affect his development.   And in those "spritzes" are elements that are associated with cancer in later life.  (March 27, 2014  Univ. of Calif. Davis)

Tell me, “did you have any trauma?   Nope. That early trauma does enormous damage; more than almost anything we can think of in our adult life.  If you ask that question in a different way, as we do, and examine primordial events to the fetus, we may find an answer.  As the fetus develops, the mother is informing her baby about herself;  is she depressed, anxious, tense, worried, apprehensive?  That information, seemingly benign, impacts him and affects his evolution and personality.  She doesn’t have to act “nervous.”  The chemicals will do it for her.  But the baby imprints “nervous,” and we wonder where it all came from.

When the carrying mother is nervous she chews up her vitamins; the baby needs those vitamins to synthesize methyl groups.  So when the mother is deficient, so is the baby. And that again can change everything. It is becoming more and more clear, as I have insisted for almost 50 years, that our early life is critical; that problems in the womb redound in later life and account for so many illnesses.  The real question by doctors should be, “Tell me about your gestation and birth. Tell me about your parents during that time.”

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Here It Is At Last: Confirmation of Primal Therapy

 Whoa, wait a  minute they never mention primal but the work is totally primal.   Here is the headline from Science Daily: Life Stressors Trigger Neurologic Disorders. (see http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/04/140422113430.htm)  How big a step would it be to take to place  this research into the proper context, give it a frame of reference and help it find its home?  And help it make sense of the research and a proper therapy for the result. This is the work done at Yale University. (See http://news.yale.edu/2014/04/10/yale-researchers-search-earliest-roots-psychiatric-disorders and look for publication May 7, 2014 in the journal Neuron).

Here is the research summary: When mothers are exposed to trauma, illness, alcohol or other drug abuse, these stressors may activate a single molecular trigger in brain cells that can go awry and activate (serious) conditions, such as schizophrenia, post-traumatic stress syndrome and some forms of autism.

What they are showing is how neglect, lack of love and trauma seep deep down in the brain to impact single neural cells.
They point out that when a carrying mother is exposed to abuse, drugs or emotional she experiences the kind of trauma that can lead to a psychiatric illness later on in the child.  Wait a minute; isn’t that a quote from the Primal Scream?  Gee I hope so.

What is new is that they have identified a molecular mechanism in the prenatal brain that indicates how cells go off track.   What is interesting is that even though the trauma may have different origins it still affects this minute cell.  This cell becomes a trigger for a myriad of effects throughout the baby’s system.  And depending on the genetic vulnerabilities the impact will travel to the weakest link;  kidneys, liver, heart, etc., and sets the stage for serious afflictions later on.   It makes the system more vulnerable which is what the researchers discovered.   The affected cells were much more sensitive to later stress, lack of love, neglect and drug abuse.  In other words, compounding.   It seals in the imprinted memory and makes it much tougher to root out or even to have access to; we have to go through layers of neglect in childhood, lack of love, indifference, violence and other traumas before resonance will carry us all the way back to the origins of it all.  That is not to say that we can always get back to original imprints but we do come close and in some cases we do get there.  The point is that in therapy we need to wend our way slowly through later and lesser traumas before we can ever hope to reach way back into our fetal life.

So can we imagine treating patients with cognitive therapy hoping for results when the beginnings precede verbal memory? And recuperating memory has nothing to do with ideas or explanations?   Luckily, there is something called resonance which is the link among all levels of brain function so that the current ideational level will eventually lead down the chain of pain to fetal life.  If we try to get there fast, the strength of the pain down deep is such that it will immediately flood the top level brain and produce terrible results.   We need to follow evolution in reverse, take our time and not induce flooding.  But if we never go there the patient has no chance.

Trauma changes behavior; first among neurons (yes they do behave) and then throughout the system.  All this reinforces our theory and frame of reference.  And shows how very early trauma changes things.   So here we are in front of a patient with migraines, for example.  And we try to change her attitude about it or we try to rationalize something to make the person strong in the face of it.   In short, we stay on the top brain level; yet we have found that the origin is often (not always) from lack of sufficient oxygen at birth and the cells become so constrained to try to conserve oxygen that we produce migraine.  We see this clinically time and again.  Yes we do need proper research but our clinical work, wanting to know, rather than knowing what we want tells us a story of origins. Why migraines?  Nothing happens “out of the air.” There are reasons and it is our job to suss them out.   If we never look there then there is no sussing out of  anything.

Review of "Beyond Belief"

This thought-provoking and important book shows how people are drawn toward dangerous beliefs.
“Belief can manifest itself in world-changing ways—and did, in some of history’s ugliest moments, from the rise of Adolf Hitler to the Jonestown mass suicide in 1979. Arthur Janov, a renowned psychologist who penned The Primal Scream, fearlessly tackles the subject of why and how strong believers willingly embrace even the most deranged leaders.
Beyond Belief begins with a lucid explanation of belief systems that, writes Janov, “are maps, something to help us navigate through life more effectively.” While belief systems are not presented as inherently bad, the author concentrates not just on why people adopt belief systems, but why “alienated individuals” in particular seek out “belief systems on the fringes.” The result is a book that is both illuminating and sobering. It explores, for example, how a strongly-held belief can lead radical Islamist jihadists to murder others in suicide acts. Janov writes, “I believe if people had more love in this life, they would not be so anxious to end it in favor of some imaginary existence.”
One of the most compelling aspects of Beyond Belief is the author’s liberal use of case studies, most of which are related in the first person by individuals whose lives were dramatically affected by their involvement in cults. These stories offer an exceptional perspective on the manner in which belief systems can take hold and shape one’s experiences. Joan’s tale, for instance, both engaging and disturbing, describes what it was like to join the Hare Krishnas. Even though she left the sect, observing that participants “are stunted in spiritual awareness,” Joan considers returning someday because “there’s a certain protection there.”
Janov’s great insight into cultish leaders is particularly interesting; he believes such people have had childhoods in which they were “rejected and unloved,” because “only unloved people want to become the wise man or woman (although it is usually male) imparting words of wisdom to others.” This is just one reason why Beyond Belief is such a thought-provoking, important book.”
Barry Silverstein, Freelance Writer

Quotes for "Life Before Birth"

“Life Before Birth is a thrilling journey of discovery, a real joy to read. Janov writes like no one else on the human mind—engaging, brilliant, passionate, and honest.
He is the best writer today on what makes us human—he shows us how the mind works, how it goes wrong, and how to put it right . . . He presents a brand-new approach to dealing with depression, emotional pain, anxiety, and addiction.”
Paul Thompson, PhD, Professor of Neurology, UCLA School of Medicine

Art Janov, one of the pioneers of fetal and early infant experiences and future mental health issues, offers a robust vision of how the earliest traumas of life can percolate through the brains, minds and lives of individuals. He focuses on both the shifting tides of brain emotional systems and the life-long consequences that can result, as well as the novel interventions, and clinical understanding, that need to be implemented in order to bring about the brain-mind changes that can restore affective equanimity. The transitions from feelings of persistent affective turmoil to psychological wholeness, requires both an understanding of the brain changes and a therapist that can work with the affective mind at primary-process levels. Life Before Birth, is a manifesto that provides a robust argument for increasing attention to the neuro-mental lives of fetuses and infants, and the widespread ramifications on mental health if we do not. Without an accurate developmental history of troubled minds, coordinated with a recognition of the primal emotional powers of the lowest ancestral regions of the human brain, therapists will be lost in their attempt to restore psychological balance.
Jaak Panksepp, Ph.D.
Bailey Endowed Chair of Animal Well Being Science
Washington State University

Dr. Janov’s essential insight—that our earliest experiences strongly influence later well being—is no longer in doubt. Thanks to advances in neuroscience, immunology, and epigenetics, we can now see some of the mechanisms of action at the heart of these developmental processes. His long-held belief that the brain, human development, and psychological well being need to studied in the context of evolution—from the brainstem up—now lies at the heart of the integration of neuroscience and psychotherapy.
Grounded in these two principles, Dr. Janov continues to explore the lifelong impact of prenatal, birth, and early experiences on our brains and minds. Simultaneously “old school” and revolutionary, he synthesizes traditional psychodynamic theories with cutting-edge science while consistently highlighting the limitations of a strict, “top-down” talking cure. Whether or not you agree with his philosophical assumptions, therapeutic practices, or theoretical conclusions, I promise you an interesting and thought-provoking journey.
Lou Cozolino, PsyD, Professor of Psychology, Pepperdine University

In Life Before Birth Dr. Arthur Janov illuminates the sources of much that happens during life after birth. Lucidly, the pioneer of primal therapy provides the scientific rationale for treatments that take us through our original, non-verbal memories—to essential depths of experience that the superficial cognitive-behavioral modalities currently in fashion cannot possibly touch, let alone transform.
Gabor Maté MD, author of In The Realm of Hungry Ghosts: Close Encounters With Addiction

An expansive analysis! This book attempts to explain the impact of critical developmental windows in the past, implores us to improve the lives of pregnant women in the present, and has implications for understanding our children, ourselves, and our collective future. I’m not sure whether primal therapy works or not, but it certainly deserves systematic testing in well-designed, assessor-blinded, randomized controlled clinical trials.
K.J.S. Anand, MBBS, D. Phil, FAACP, FCCM, FRCPCH, Professor of Pediatrics, Anesthesiology, Anatomy & Neurobiology, Senior Scholar, Center for Excellence in Faith and Health, Methodist Le Bonheur Healthcare System

A baby's brain grows more while in the womb than at any time in a child's life. Life Before Birth: The Hidden Script That Rules Our Lives is a valuable guide to creating healthier babies and offers insight into healing our early primal wounds. Dr. Janov integrates the most recent scientific research about prenatal development with the psychobiological reality that these early experiences do cast a long shadow over our entire lifespan. With a wealth of experience and a history of successful psychotherapeutic treatment, Dr. Janov is well positioned to speak with clarity and precision on a topic that remains critically important.
Paula Thomson, PsyD, Associate Professor, California State University, Northridge & Professor Emeritus, York University

"I am enthralled.
Dr. Janov has crafted a compelling and prophetic opus that could rightly dictate
PhD thesis topics for decades to come. Devoid of any "New Age" pseudoscience,
this work never strays from scientific orthodoxy and yet is perfectly accessible and
downright fascinating to any lay person interested in the mysteries of the human psyche."
Dr. Bernard Park, MD, MPH

His new book “Life Before Birth: The Hidden Script that Rules Our Lives” shows that primal therapy, the lower-brain therapeutic method popularized in the 1970’s international bestseller “Primal Scream” and his early work with John Lennon, may help alleviate depression and anxiety disorders, normalize blood pressure and serotonin levels, and improve the functioning of the immune system.
One of the book’s most intriguing theories is that fetal imprinting, an evolutionary strategy to prepare children to cope with life, establishes a permanent set-point in a child's physiology. Baby's born to mothers highly anxious during pregnancy, whether from war, natural disasters, failed marriages, or other stressful life conditions, may thus be prone to mental illness and brain dysfunction later in life. Early traumatic events such as low oxygen at birth, painkillers and antidepressants administered to the mother during pregnancy, poor maternal nutrition, and a lack of parental affection in the first years of life may compound the effect.
In making the case for a brand-new, unified field theory of psychotherapy, Dr. Janov weaves together the evolutionary theories of Jean Baptiste Larmarck, the fetal development studies of Vivette Glover and K.J.S. Anand, and fascinating new research by the psychiatrist Elissa Epel suggesting that telomeres—a region of repetitive DNA critical in predicting life expectancy—may be significantly altered during pregnancy.
After explaining how hormonal and neurologic processes in the womb provide a blueprint for later mental illness and disease, Dr. Janov charts a revolutionary new course for psychotherapy. He provides a sharp critique of cognitive behavioral therapy, psychoanalysis, and other popular “talk therapy” models for treating addiction and mental illness, which he argues do not reach the limbic system and brainstem, where the effects of early trauma are registered in the nervous system.
“Life Before Birth: The Hidden Script that Rules Our Lives” is scheduled to be published by NTI Upstream in October 2011, and has tremendous implications for the future of modern psychology, pediatrics, pregnancy, and women’s health.