To Sen. Elizabeth O'C. Little:
Your letter of May 22 states that health care spending comprises the largest share, by far, of annual state expenditures. If so, New York should be searching for ways to reduce them. May I suggest that a fertile field for investigation is costs for treating the seriously mentally ill.
Long ago in England it was found that the natural cure rate for schizophrenia was about 50 percent. In other words, half such patients were able to recover without benefit of drugs or medical services. This was confirmed by the Quakers' insane asylum near Philadelphia which provided no drugs, but a safe environment, respect and good food to its patients, around the time of the Civil War, and was able to release 45 percent of them as cured and 25 percent as improved. In comparison, only about 10 percent of American schizophrenia patients are cured today. Many are supported by state governments in jails and flophouses. A few years ago New York state was reported to be spending hundreds of millions of dollars a year for this purpose.
On the other hand, in nearby Canada, Abram Hoffer, Ph.D., M.D., recently deceased, turned 5,000 such patients into taxpayers using orthomolecular psychiatry. His technology was validated by six double blind studies, the first in the history of psychiatry. The American Psychiatric Association decided not to give Americans the benefit of this technology based on a report of a committee of American psychiatrists. There is reason to believe that this report was seriously flawed. Objections to it by Hoffer and Linus Pauling, Ph.D., were published in the Journal of Orthomolecular Medicine, which MEDLINE has refused to abstract for more than 35 years. The book "Orthomolecular Psychiatry," edited by Nobel laureate Linus Pauling, provides information about the scientific basis of such therapy.
Abram Hoffer, the father of orthomolecular psychiatry, stated that if schizophrenia or bipolar patients were treated with orthomolecular psychiatric technology within two years of their diagnosis, 95 percent of them could be cured in a short time. He also claimed that if everyone took one gram per day of niacin, there would be few people in insane asylums.
While a few hundred million dollars is small potatoes is relation to total health care expense, I believe it is worth saving, along with the potential of between 2 and 5 percent of our population whose valuable lives are being wasted by the present medical fixation on psychiatric drugs.
Jack Phillips, S.B, S.M., MBA
Author of "Suppressed Medical Science"