Tuesday, June 17, 2008

J.B. Symes, DVM. v. Epilepsy, et. al. (part 1)

J.B. Symes, DVM (aka DogTorJ), sent me a link to his website where he provides the details to his research into food intolerance and how they affect animals and humans. His examination and research on the topic is immense. I encourage anyone interested to check it out on his website.

For the purpose of the next few posts, I am going to simplify Symes' massive thesis into one brief sentence: Food intolerance and allergens damage cells and reduce the effectiveness of immune systems to deal with tissue bound viruses and cell mutations.

So how does that apply to epilepsy? Epilepsy is not a disease, but a condition where a person experiences re-occurring seizures. Seizures themselves are not a disease, but a response by the body to some stress. The re-occurring stress to the body/brain is what "causes" epilepsy.

The most common way that doctors combat seizures is simply to use drugs which inhibit the bodily response to the stress - hence the mind-numbing side effect of many of the drugs. In cases where the stressor is a tumor or brain damage, one way to stop the repeated stress on the brain is to surgically remove the offending tumor or brain area. In cases where the doctors cannot determine from where the seizure-causing stress is emanating, they call it Idiopathic Epilepsy.

Now, consider that doctors are frequently faced with having to treat Idiopathic Epilepsy with some selection of the available anti-epileptic-drugs (AEDs). If you read the white-papers on nearly all of these medications, one thing stands out: they all say that the doctors/manufactures are not clear on the details of how the medication helps stop seizures. Wow... talk about a tough job; trying to treat some unknown cause with unknown solutions!

Here is where Symes research comes in. He painstakingly pieces together historical and medical research to come up with a comprehensive theory on what the stressor is that causes a number of conditions, including idiopathic epilepsy. (It is like M. Night. Shyamalan's "Sixth Sense" when at the end of the movie is all becomes clear and you realize that the protagonist is a ghost.)

What I am going to do over the next few posts is apply theories laid out by Symes to my own medical history and see if his theories match my symptoms/seizures. To be clear, I am applying his theories - this is not a diagnosis by Symes.


DogtorJ said...

Hi Emeriol.

I appreciate the attention that you are giving my work. However, I need to clarify a few things that you have stated as my "theories". on epilepsy.

First of all, it is my belief that "idiopathic epilepsy" is ultimately VIRAL in origin. There are mounds of scientific evidence to support this, starting with the fact that over 25 viruses in humans have been shown to cause seizures, most of which are chronic. latent, and ubiquitous viruses such as Epstein Barr and numerous other Herpes viruses, measles, mumps, Coxsackie, and a slew of others.

Vaccinations clearly play a role in the development of epilepsy in the dog and human as the onset of seizures frequently follows the administration of these inoculations. The role of these vaccines is either to stimulate viruses that are in situ, to depress immmunity and allow them to flare up, or to actually provide new viruses (man made, engineered modified live vaccines) that are actually doing the harm themselves. All of these scenarios are possible and if I hear from one more mother whose child develops epilepsy 3 weeks after their last MMR vaccine, I'll scream...again.

So, you can label my conviction that Idiopathic epilepsy (and even those seizures induced by head trauma) is viral as being "theory" but it is backed with scientific research and it simply makes sense. To further support that, the cells that are dysfunctioning in epilepsy are glial cells that support the neurons. It is these same cells that develop into the most common forms of brain cancer, the malignant gliomas (oligodendroglioma, astrocytoma), the kind that Sen. Kennedy developed. Cancer is viral in origin (it is likely that you will hear that all cancer is viral in your lifetime)so it makes sense that the dysfunction in those same cells causing epilepsy is also viral in origin.

You are sort of over-simplifying the role of "allergens" or at least getting the cart before the horse. Inhalant allergens can clearly play a role in the triggering of seizures but that role is tertiary at best. Changes in season and the fluctuations in serotonin levels play a MUCH bigger role and this is all explained on my Website. This is not theory but applied knowledge.

The main thing that people need to grasp from my work is the role of food intolerance in the development and perpetuation of epilepsy. They also need to see how "The GARD" (an elimination diet) I have developed has yielded astounding results in the dog and a rapidly rising number of people who have employed it. And like the concept that viruses are the ultimate "cause", this should make perfect sense to the reader. (Again this is covered extensively on my Website at www.dogtorj.com)

I will get into the meat of it next.

I hope this helps.

John B. Symes, DVM

Emeriol said...

I in no way mean to dismiss your finding by labling it "theory". I do over-simplify your findings, but, it is a stretch to get people to read more than around 500 words on a blog before they go on their way. I managed to read about 50 pages on your site and feel that your research is on target. However, it is much harder to convey that information in an informal way - much less convince someone in a few paragrhapsh that the theories their neurologist told them may not be correct. How about I re-word the "theories" to read: "Informal Application of Symes' Research:"

Let me know. My goal on this site is to bring simplified, but accurate, information to readers that would compell them to explore further the work you have done.

DogtorJ said...

The Role of Food Intolerance in Idiopathic Epilepsy

Again, this is covered at length on my Website. I recommend that those who are interested start by reading "The Epilepsy Diet Made Simple". It walks you through the pathophysiology of food intolerance and how it relates to seizures.

But in an nutshell, there are 4 food that can induce serious damage to the intestinal villi, those finger-like projections that are responsible for absorbing our nutrients. These are gluten (from wheat, barley, rye), casein (from dairy products), soy and corn. These are what I call "the big 4", or "the four horsemen of the apocalypse" once we really grasp the degree of harm they can do.

In sensitized individuals, these sticky proteins (all of which are used to make industrial adhesives) cause damage to the villi which results in the malabsorption of essential nutrients, such as calcium, iron, iodine, B complex (including folate), vitamin C, and trace minerals such as zinc, lithium, boron, magnesium, and many other crucial elements.

That alone should perk up the ears of those suffering from chronic illnesses, especially when the recovery from that illness depends upon a healthy immune system. But we are far from done when it comes to the damage done by these 4 foods.

These foods also contain staggering amounts of non-essential amino acids (those we don't need in our diet) that have profound neurological activity. These amino acids, glutamate and aspartate (the parent proteins of MSG and aspartame/Nutrasweet, respectively) have been termed "excitotoxins" and play a HUGE role in the development and manifestation on epilepsy, ADHD, autism, and other neurodegenerative diseases (MS, Alzheimer's, Parkinson's, et al).

These amino acids over-stimulate the diseased neurons/glial cells and lead to seizures. Again, this is not "theory" as we KNOW that MSG and Nutrasweet can trigger seizures and, over the past 7 years, I have been observing dogs have seizures on foods rich in these amino acids and then completely stop when these foods are eliminated.

These foods also have estrogenic activity that adds to the inflammation. Estrogens are inflammatory, immune suppressive, and neurologically stimulating (PMS anyone), a bad combination when viral activity is taking place in diseased neurons. Dairy, soy and wheat all have estrogenic activity in the body and are THE main reason so many people, women and men, are suffering from estrogen dominance.

But there is another HUGE piece to this food-related puzzle and that is a proven entity- the LECTIN- and it's relationship to cell function, something that most (including doctors) have not read about. I will not go into great detail here but again refer you to my site. Let it suffice to say that these antibody-sized proteins that we derive from "the big 4" play a MAJOR role in the development of numerous "autoimmune diseases" (thyroid, rheumatoid, lupus, asthma, etc.) as well as neurodegenerative diseases by inducing cellular dysfunction and inflammation when they attach to the cells of sensitized individuals.

The sensitivity (the "allergy", if you will) starts when these proteins damage the gut. BUT, when they enter the bloodstream, the "fun" has only begun. These inflammatory glycoproteins can induce numerous changes in cell function, from death to tumor formation. This is accomplished by the response of the VIRUS inside that cell. How the viruses that are residing inside that cell- both in its cytoplasm and in its very DNA- respond to the challenge determines what that cells response will be. Again, this is not theory but applied knowledge.

So, we have come full circle. There is an intimate relationship between the viruses that "cause" epilepsy and the food intolerance (e.g. celiac disease, casein intolerance or soy and corn intolerance). In other words, the food intolerance is the GUN but the virus is the BULLET. Without the bullets, the gun would not produce seizures. Without the gun, the bullets can't go off.

There are numerous contributing factors, such as air pollution (which is HUGE in neurological conditions), seasonal changes that alter serotonin levels, seasonal allergies that release histamine and also "tax the immune system as Emeriol writes), lack of restorative sleep, insane lifestyles, too much caffeine, too much sugar, too many prescription drugs and other crazy things that humans do.

BUT, the main thing under our control- and that is TOTALLY OUT OF CONTROL- is our diet. Over 75% of the calories in the standard American diet (that's S.A.D.) come from "the big 4", which are pounding away at the intestines, cells, and immune systems or millions of sensitized humans, dogs and cats.

The official incidence of celiac disease (gluten intolerance) is now 1:120 people. That is bad enough. BUT, researchers now estimate that the real number is close to 1:30. But prominent doctors now think that 1:3 people are having some manifestation of gluten intolerance without full-blown celiac disease. WOW! And that is only 1 of the "big 4".

So, wrap yourselves around the idea of food intolerance and you will take the "gun" (lectins) away and be left with a bunch of harmless "bullets" (viruses).

I hope this helps,


PS. Now what part of that is "theory"? It is ALL backed up by current medical knowledge and experience. I just had to dig it all out. And that took seven years. Remember: Just because your doctor or a veterinarian hasn't heard of it does not mean that it is a "theory".

John B. Symes, DVM

Emeriol said...

I'm not saying your research and the research you cite is incorrect. But, cause and effect is not entirely clear in ALL cases of epilepsy. Some people do have seizures due to brain injuries or growths which are not directly related to the viral and other causes you cite. In my specific case, I have had brain injuries and have had tissue removed from my head. The theory of the doctors that treated me at that time was that the tissue caused the seizures - they can't tell 100 percent, but that was their theory. I still have seizures, so their "theory" may not entirely have been correct.

My most recent E.E.G. shows that my brain is not getting into the deepest sleep stages. One of my Dr.'s current theories is that the brain's sleep depravation may be triggering the seizures. One thing I noted in your research is that removing the specific food types from one's diet helped with sleep. So I intend to try out the diet for that and many of the other reasons you site.

Back to Theories - I don't use this word to mean "guesses unsupported by research". When I use the word "theory", I mean solid research that has a very high correlation with actual results. As in "Theory of Relativity" - which works really really well in astophysics - in the vast majority of situations - hence it is not "Law of Relativity".