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Steven Fowkes (Part 1 of 2): How to Cure Alzheimer’s and Herpes

A correspondent asked me to review a video presentation by Steven Fowkes, “Nutrients for Better Mental Performance,” one segment of a 9-part series on preventing and curing Alzheimer’s that was mentioned recently by an SBM commenter. Fowkes is an organic chemist without a PhD; he says this means:

I am not institutionalized [This begs for a joke, but I will refrain.] and see the world differently. Everything I know I learned outside the system.

He is associated with CERI, the Cognitive Enhancement Research Institute and has written extensively on nutrition and health. I’ll comment on his claims for Alzheimer’s and herpes first, and then return to the “Nutrients for Better Mental Performance” video next week.

Alzheimer’s

He says he can prevent Alzheimer’s disease and cure it in the early stages, although later damage will not be reversible. And yet he doesn’t actually specify the details of how he accomplishes that miracle: apparently it’s complicated (I would imagine so) and varies with the individual. Science doesn’t know what causes Alzheimer’s, but Fowkes does. The current thinking of scientists is that it is due to genetic factors interacting with environmental factors, and it might be a natural consequence of the aging process that would eventually affect anyone who lives long enough. Fowkes says it involves a complicated domino cascade of effects, but the cause boils down to loss of glutathione cycling and failure of sulfhydryl enzymes, which  interferes with the detoxification of mercury in the brains of Alzheimer’s patients.

He says the brain is special and is more sensitive to thyroid imbalance, inflammation, and other factors. Aerobic metabolism is particularly important in the brain, since it is far more efficient than anaerobic metabolism and is needed to support multicellular life, the central nervous system, and consciousness. He goes into great detail about the energy production mechanisms in metabolic processes, discussing the Krebs cycle, phosphorylation, microtubules, antioxidant defenses, NADH, NADPH, recycling of glutathione, how sulfhydryl enzymes are poisoned by mercury, etc.

He assumes that Alzheimer’s patients have increased mercury levels in their brains. There are a couple of older studies that appeared to show that they do, but these are contradicted by studies done since showing that they don’t. If there is not extra mercury in the brains of Alzheimer’s patients, all the rest of his reasoning fails. He has built a huge house of cards on a tiny wobbly foundation. He assumes that removing the mercury or correcting an imbalance between mercury and glutathione ought to improve Alzheimer’s, but he has no clinical data.

The fact that Alzheimer’s is reversible should be front page news. He says the news has been suppressed because:

  • The breakthrough came through the back door (research done by a few dentists).
  • Mainstream dentists rejected the information because it showed that amalgams and root canal procedures were not safe.
  • The medical establishment rejected it because it undermines prescription options and points to supplements everyone can buy.

He tries to relate complicated biochemistry diagrams to clinical topics.  Cardiovascular conditions impact cognitive function. Hypercoagulability is caused by inflammation. There are blood gas impairments in lung disease. pH disturbances alter O2 binding in the blood. Hiccups and tachycardia are examples of CO2 deficiency and are more common in people with senility and low energy metabolism.

Plaque can cause cognitive dysfunction by restricting blood flow.  Plaque is sometimes caused by impaired collagen maturation which he says can be readily reversed by Mathias Rath’s vitamin C, lysine, and proline treatment and by more complex mixtures.  (For readers who don’t recognize his name, Rath is an infamous quack who is notorious for causing thousands of deaths in South Africa by substituting vitamins for effective AIDS treatment). Soft tissue calcification in plaque can be reversed with magnesium, high dose vitamin D, strontium, and potassium, with or without adjunctive EDTA chelation therapy (Note: There is no evidence for this, and there is evidence against chelation therapy). Vasoconstriction occurs with deficiency of Mg or vitamin D and impaired NO. NO accounts for cognitive improvement with gingko, vinpocetine, arginine. (Note: there is no evidence of cognitive improvement to account for.)

Ketosis trains the brain to use body fat as a source of energy. Toxins are released when body fat is mobilized. Exercising in and out of ketosis makes the process more efficient.

Mercury is toxic to microtubules. He says amalgam fillings and root canal procedures must be avoided.

The genetic risk factors are due to the fact that apoE modulates mercury toxicity. Mercury toxicity causes Alzheimer’s but, paradoxically, fish consumption is protective. The anti-inflammatory effects of fish oil apparently outweigh the toxic effects of mercury.

He displays a tree of steroid effects, some good and some bad. The menstrual cycle postpones a wide range of anti-aging effects. Other factors are involved: allergies, the leaky gut syndrome, oxidative stress from heavy metals, nutritional deficiencies, chemical exposures, and alcoholism. The great variety of factors means treatment for Alzheimer’s must be individualized. To individualize treatment, patients can be tested in various ways before and after an intervention or a supplement to see what works best for them.

Cognitive testing can be done by an extensive, expensive battery of neuropsychological tests that assess cognitive, motor, balance, proprioception, and sensory functions. But these functions can be tested just as well at home by monitoring performance on:

  • Computer games like Tetris.
  • Concentration game with stopwatch.
  • Finger to nose and other tests.
  • Bridge, chess, juggling, handwriting, crossword puzzles.

Home self-testing allows constant feedback to improve compliance. Does he offer any evidence from controlled studies or peer-reviewed journals that Alzheimer’s patients have actually improved with this plan? Not a scrap.

How to Cure Herpes

In his books, one of which is available free on the CERI website, he also offers a “biologically sustainable solution to chronic viral diseases” via two options:

  • Taking BHT.
  • Using a natural combination of foods, nutrients, hormones, and lifestyle changes.

These cause a metabolic shift that some people will not perceive, but others will notice better sleep, improvement in skin quality, reduced asthma symptoms, decreased sensitivity to cold weather, and fewer migraine headaches. He says that his program has been successfully applied to recurring herpes, shingles, herpes encephalitis, “raging intestinal CMB,” and hepatitis C.

So he says. But there are no clinical studies. Of course, he knows lots of doctors who have prescribed BHT and gotten fantastic results, but they won’t let him release their names because they don’t want to get into trouble for using a nonstandard treatment. (I would think they’d want to publish case reports and case series and become famous!) His extensive writings on herpes amount to (1) complicated speculations based on biochemistry, (2) testimonials, and (3) bashing the medical establishment.

Conclusion

Fowkes is good at explaining complicated relationships in biochemistry, but he does not seem to understand medicine and the errors that occur when you jump from speculation to therapy without clinical trials. I am not impressed. I would love to be proven wrong, because we need effective treatments for these diseases; but I must provisionally conclude that he has not found the cure for Alzheimer’s or herpes. I will cover his ideas about nutrients for better mental performance next week.

 

 

Posted in: Herbs & Supplements, Neuroscience/Mental Health

Leave a Comment (26) ↓

26 thoughts on “Steven Fowkes (Part 1 of 2): How to Cure Alzheimer’s and Herpes

  1. windriven says:

    “He goes into great detail about the energy production mechanisms in metabolic processes, discussing the Krebs cycle, phosphorylation, microtubules, antioxidant defenses, NADH, NADPH, recycling of glutathione, how sulfhydryl enzymes are poisoned by mercury, etc.”

    What, no quantum effects?

  2. cervantes says:

    Just thought I’d go OT for a second and give a shout-out to Dr. Atwood, Who is in Minnesota trashing homeopathy. Apparently a grand protest is planned thereafter.

  3. ConspicuousCarl says:

    He says the news has been suppressed because:

    I notice that his list of reasons for “suppressing” the “news” curiously fails to include the possibility that it is being ignored because the failed lookout-your-amalgams-are-killing-you theory is not news.

  4. tmac57 says:

    I recommend ‘Harriet for Enhanced Mental Performance’ ;)

  5. WilliamLawrenceUtridge says:

    Everything I know I learned outside the system.

    …and thus diminishes his credibilty and my interest. There’s a delicious website about scientifically accurate science fiction whch has a nice piece on respecting science which itself links to a checklist of alternative science respectiability. Both are excellent reading which apply to medicine as well as physics.

    …interferes with the detoxification of mercury…

    Strike two!

    He says the news has been suppressed because…

    …and you’re out! Geez, I’m not even half-way through the article and he’s already lost at pseudoscience baseball.

    I have herpes (oral cold sores) and eat a massive amount of fruits and vegetables (seriously, you’d be amazed, possibly frightened), exercise daily, get 7.5-8 hours per night, and would be considered healthy by any standard. I still get ‘em. And doesn’t he know that BHT is used in jet fuel, electrical transformer oil and embalming fluid? Oh Flying Spaghetti Monster, won’t you protect our precious fluids from such an obviously toxic substance?!?!?!? It’s used in JET FUEL!!!!!

  6. ConspicuousCarl says:

    windriven on 25 Oct 2011 at 8:57 am

    What, no quantum effects?

    I don’t know, there must be some kind of strange duality going on if he thinks he can cure both the disease which makes it hard to remember where you put something AND the disease which is supposed to make sure you never forget.

  7. windriven says:

    @ConspicuousCarl

    “there must be some kind of strange duality going on”

    Maybe he’s Schroedinger’s rat?

  8. Jeff says:

    @WilliamLawrenceUtridge: There’s industrial grade BHT and then there’s food grade BHT, which is FDA-approved for use as a preservative. Here’s an article about BHT:

    http://www.thenhf.com/article.php?id=605

    We know now that BHT occurs in nature. In 2008 researchers discovered four species of freshwater phytoplankton that produce BHT.

    The present study confirms the production of BHT in all four of the studied freshwater phytoplankton and suggests that these species constitute a potential source for producing natural BHT.

  9. JPZ says:

    This guy is an embarrassment to the nutritional sciences.

  10. tmac57 says:

    Jeff-I think WLU was engaging in a bit of satire.

  11. Jeff says:

    tmac57: Agreed. Maybe my comment was a bit too earnest.

    JPZ: What exactly does BHT have to do with the nutritional sciences?

  12. I remember befoer the alzheimer’s drugs were approved. i am aware of their efficacy, incl. limits of efficacy.

    we aren’t really in all that different of a position from way back before there might have been a pharma-profit motivation to suppress info.

    we were eager for aricept, etc., and appreciate them, but surely any clinician hearing a respectable whisper of any evidence-based, relatively safe interevntion would have jumped at the chance.

    surely a non-pharma-funded psychologist like me would have shared such revelatory news with the MDs on the block. just like I have challenged ideas and presented info here, in comments.

    this “they are suppressing the data” story is simply ludicrous.

    i believe talk therapy is generally better for a great range of psychological problems, compared to pharmacotherapy. the data are all there. it is just a matter of what patients prefer, what the health care system is organized to deliver, what physicians believe in, and have the ability to provide, etc.

    “suppressing data.” ;p

    OK: time for wikileaks, the medical version.

  13. nybgrus says:

    @Jeff:

    Oh I don’t know. The fact that you continually hawk for supplements like mad and then link to an article on a website called the “National Health Federation” after an obvious satire regarding BHT.

    You are either oblivious, a true believer, or simply not smart enough to come up with anything more than one liner replies via dubious (or otherwise limited) citations in a complex discussion.

    JPZ says you are an embarrassment because he actually engages in promoting in the same field as you attempt to, but in a much more sophisticated and science based way. It’s like two adults having an intelligent discussion and you’re the 8 year old piping in trying to prove how much he knows.

  14. nybgrus says:

    @medsvtherapy:

    OT here, but I agree with you that in many cases across a wide range of psych problems talk therapy is just as good if not better than meds. I’ve actually argued that a number of times as an effort to delineate that there are different etiologies for what we consider the same clinical pathology.

    But, as you say, it depends on what the system is geared to provide. And especially in the US, meds are much more profitable and easy to provide – which is a negative IMO.

  15. JPZ says:

    @Jeff and nybgrus

    “This guy is an embarrassment to the nutritional sciences.”

    I wasn’t referring to Jeff! Sorry, sorry, sorry! I was referring to Steven Fowkes. I REALLY should have been more clear.

    Jeff doesn’t claim to have THE answers like Steven Fowkes. Jeff is more the garden-variety true believer. I’m just hoping some of this groups skepticism rubs off on him so that he can start to take his information sources with a grain of salt.

  16. JPZ says:

    @Jeff

    BHT is used to prevent oxidation in food. Byproducts of oxidation and anti-oxidants are significant fields of study in the nutritional sciences.

  17. nybgrus says:

    @JPZ:

    Ah, fair enough. I still think my characterization of Jeff in our discourse is accurate. But fair enough – as a lone true believer it is hard to be an embarrassment to nutritional sciences. Though really, Fowkes is more or less the same just more vocal and prolific in his own right. Though the distinction you make about having THE answers is a fair one.

  18. gziomek says:

    Interestingly, I spent the previous academic year doing research in a lab that showed there is a complicated link between Alzheimer’s and herpes infection.

    I doubt that Fowkes is aware of this connection.

  19. I think Jeff’s question was accurate. What does Fowkes have to do with nutrition? It just needs the addition of a ;)

    The rationale that Harriet Hall discussed in her article were pretty disjointed. I thought that perhaps HH had rushed a little or left something’s out in her summary, so I visited Steven Fowkes website and came upon an article “Allergies, Hyperactivity, Phobias & Dyslexia” http://www.ceri.com/dyslexia.

    Where he concludes chronic ear infections cause hyperactivity and speech language delay. The ear has to do with balance, imbalance is distressing, therefore dyslexia is really a related to cerebellar-vestibular dysfunction, so motion sickness medications can correct dyslexia. (as far as I can work out his rational).

    oh, Turns out HH’s summary is not disjointed, that’s just Steven Fowkes.

    Oh and parents of children wishing to get motion sickness medications for their child with dyslexia, or phobia, OCD, temper tantrums, stomach pain, bed wetting, neurosis* have meet with resistance from healthcare professionals. So sad, that.

    *which are all sign of vestibular related dyslexia, even if the child reads, by SF’s assessment.

    I used to live next door to a goose farm and I didn’t hear that much quacking.

  20. WilliamLawrenceUtridge says:

    Jeff, you’re missing the point. It’s used in Jet Fuel. Do we need Jet Fuel? NO! SO WHY WOULD WE POISON OUR PRECIOUS FLUIDS WITH JET FUEL!?!?!??!

    Anyway, I’m sure there are substances produced in nature which are antioxidants for some and are active poisons for us. Either way, if BHT actually works in the ways Fowkes hypothesizes, then it’s unethical to prescribe it until it has been demonstrated. All this “grand conspiracy/Big Pharma” BS spouted by quacks is crap. They should test their theories and it is unethical not to. If it doesn’t work, they’re frauds milking hope to make a profit. If they’re genuinely on to something, by failing to demonstrate this with good science they’re preventing millions of people from benefiting from it.

  21. Just as aside, (cause it’s Michele’s crazy ideas week) BHT is one of the preservatives I avoid buying due to a concern that some preservatives/colorings seem to acerbate some negative behaviors in one of my children.

    Do you know how hard it is for the laymen to find anything resembling testing on common preservatives or colorings that look at behaviors in children? Seems that every article I find, (besides the British artificial food coloring, sodium benzoate study) is either really out there or concludes there is no problem based on
    the safety testing for cancer risks, birth defects, etc.

  22. “Oh and parents of children wishing to get motion sickness medications for their child with dyslexia, or phobia, OCD, temper tantrums, stomach pain, bed wetting, neurosis* have meet with resistance from healthcare professionals. So sad, that.”

    Exactly.

    How difficult is it to get hold of motion-sickness meds? I cannot imagine a decent physician-patient relationship where the physician would not be willing to facilitate a trial if a script is needed.

    Alternately, just go in and claim that you have a fishing trip with some colelge buddies, and [insert drug] worked for this exact purpose five years ago.

    Take it for five days. If you have OCD, you will certainly know whether [motion sickness drug] has made a dent at all, because it is likely you have trialed at least a few drugs already.

    Putting all of this together might be hard for a mom or dad who does not know pharmacology, but eventually there will be a friend or family member who has a decent idea worth trialing.

    I heavily recommended prazosin for restless, lively-dream sleep in a relative with dementia (not alzheimers), based on its safety (person did not have BP problems or Rx) and its efficacy for reducing PTSD nightmares.

    I gave 3 or 4 refs, and icoached an involved family member how to talk the doc into the Rx, including noting the contra-indications, and telling them to double-check drug-drug interactions.

    It totally worked.

    Prazosin for restless sleep in PTSD is not “suppressed,” it just is not heavily promoted, since the patent expired long ago.

    Trialing a drug for restless sleep in dementia when it is known to work in PTSD is not rocket science, but just plain old off-label trial-and-error. Some recent study has noted that some huge protion of Rx drugs are off-label. So, obviously, this concept is not limited to me.

    With ppl like me – there have got to be thousands of know-it-alls with an opinion around – and the many support groups and networks – you simply could not “suppress” some motion-sickness-med-to-OCD relation. Or motion-sickness-med-to-ADHD.

    Ludicrous. I love a good conspiracy theory as much as the next black-ops sleeper drone, but SRSLY.

  23. nybgrus says:

    I can’t comment on any efficacy or mechanisms here, but can add that dimenhydrinate, cinnarazine, and meclozine are all available over the counter in the US. So how are physicians holding back and suppressing anything there?

  24. @nybgrus – Well, I’m guessing the typical pediatrician isn’t recommending dramamine for a child with dyslexia, temper tantrums or phobias and may actually express some concern with the parent reports that it works great for their child’s hyperactivity, since one of the side effects of dramamine is drowsiness, perhaps any positive results are just mild sedation.

    So it must be a plot, a conspiracy, to withhold information and approval from parents about this wonder cure. (irony)

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