Friday, December 14, 2012

Brain scans, plant power, and the immune system

Those of you who follow my blog will know that I often italicize the word "schizophrenia" because I find it a catch-all term used by the medical profession for a condition they know little about. Many people attribute their schizophrenia to early childhood trauma, others claim that their schizophrenia cleared up after an undetected medical condition was discovered and treated, and some claim that the medication they were on triggered psychosis. I have a foot in all camps for a very simple reason. If the medical profession doesn't know what causes schizophrenia in individuals, then, in order to help my son, I should try to find a likely explanation for what caused his condition, and then learn how to heal it. In practical terms, this means that Chris and I try many kinds of healing modalities. These methods aren't offered by your general practitioner or psychiatrist.

Chris and I have been on two recent adventures that I haven't written much about. The first adventure began last June when Chris and I underwent scalar energy work. You can read about our experiences here, so I won't go into the details now of what the therapy involved. The shaman, or "scalar energy guy," as I like to call him, was puzzled by the results of the work he did on Chris. He felt he had cleared Chris of all his early traumas, but a blockage continued to show up when Chris performed the color exercise. So, he took a new photoimaging of Chris's brain. What he found were two dark masses. The first covering the entire pre-frontal cortex and the second in the temporal lobe area behind his ear. I then wrote to the hospital that did Chris's original MRI when he was first hospitalized almost nine years ago. The MRI had revealed nothing abnormal. I then sent the original MRI with the superimposed photoimaging of Chris's brain to the neurologist husband of a friend of mine. The neurologist found nothing abnormal about the areas the scalar energy guy was concerned about. While the neurologist's findings were a huge relief to me at least, the scalar energy guy feels that there is something going on that remains undetected. "Welcome to schizophrenia!" is all I can say. Short of drilling into Chris's brain, the mystery remains for now.

Today Chris came along with me for his first visit with the "plant power guy," who has been treating me for several months with energy captured from plants, not plant extracts. There's a difference. It's power, not actual plant extracts like you would find in homeopathy. Apart from that, I can't explain what this guy does, and one reason is that the two-way conversation is in French. I'm just not that good in French to probe into this latest subject. The scalar energy guy knows the plant power guy, and was curious to find out what he would see in Chris.

Keep in mind that the plant power guy, who is actually trained as a medical doctor, does not want to know the patient's medical complaint or past diagnoses. All he wants to see is a recent blood test, and all he wants to know is if the patient has ever had an operation or suffered a broken bone. So, knowing nothing about Chris's schizophrenia diagnosis, he would not be able to leap to conclusions based on the diagnosis.

The plant power guy, after running his tests, told Chris that he has an almost non-existent immune system. That's pretty dramatic, I'd say. It's weird, too, because if that were the case, I would have thought that Chris would have a history of colds and various other immune-related illnesses, which he doesn't.

Unless, of course, schizophrenia, Chris's particular "illness," is a manifestation of a disorder of the immune system.

I  pulled an abstract (1999) from off the Net, which, as usual, makes me wonder if the authors were funded by pharma. I've underlined the juicy bits below. The authors claim that antipyschotic medication activates the specific immune system and increases antibody production. This may very well be true, except that Chris is on an antipsychotic and yet his immune system continues to set off alarm bells. My conclusion is that whatever the antipsychotic may be doing for Chris, it isn't working on his immune system, and I certainly don't want him on higher doses of an antipsychotic to bring his immune system up to par. What remains to be see is what plant power will do for Chris over the course of the next year.

1. Eur Arch Psychiatry Clin Neurosci. 1999;249 Suppl 4:62-8.

The role of immune function in schizophrenia: an overview.

Müller N, Riedel M, Ackenheil M, Schwarz MJ.
Psychiatrische Klinik, Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität, München.

Immune alterations in schizophrenia have been described for decades. However, modern immunological methods and new insights into the highly developed and functionally differentiated immune system allows an integrative view of both, the older and also recent findings of immunological abnormalities in schizophrenia. Both, the unspecific and the specific arm of the immune system seem to be involved in the dysfunction of the immune system in schizophrenia. The unspecific "innate" immune system shows signs of an overactivation in unmedicated schizophrenic patients, as increased monocytes and gamma delta-cells point to.

Increased levels of Interleukin-6 (IL-6) and the activation of the IL-6 system in schizophrenia might also be the result of the activation of monocytes/macrophages. On the contrary, several parameters of the specific cellular immune system are blunted, e.g. the decreased T-helper-1 (TH-1) related
immune parameters in schizophrenic patients both, in vitro and in vivo. It seems that a TH-1-TH-2 imbalance with a shift to the TH-2 system is associated with schizophrenia. During antipsychotic therapy with neuroleptics, the specific TH-1 related immune answer becomes activated, but also the B-cell system and the antibody production increases.

PMID: 10654111 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]


  1. I am taking my daughter to get Neurofeedback treatment, and very happy with the results.It has stopped her aggressive, wandering and mood behaviors. It is supposed to be a permanent fix. She has already had 40 sessions. Now she is starting cognitive rehabilitation for certain parts of the brain. Have your son tried this?

    1. Hi,Maria,
      No, my son has not done neurofeedback or cognitive rehabilitation therapy, but I am delighted to hear that your daughter is benefiting from these therapies. I have found that whatever therapy my son tried that was outside of the mainstream's emphasis on drugs, usually moved my son to a higher level of healing.


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