Dr. Vinograd – “There is a space between the gums and teeth that is traditionally one or two millimeters deep, however, once the sulcus start getting deeper, it’s very difficault to get in there and remove bacteria. So it is a good practice to get the bristles of the toothbrush in that space between the tooth and the gums. So I usually advise my patients to break this up into two different sessions – the first session is actually addressing your gums, and the sulcus between the tooth and the gum. And you do that by either a very soft, manual or even electrical toothbrush with soft bristles.
The idea is basically to get those bristles to really penetrate the space between the tooth and the gum. I usually ask the patients not to use toothpaste for this part of the procedure because when you use toothpaste you brush very quickly, and in order for this procedure to be effective, we have to get in there and really clean those spaces out. So if you have a really mild toothpaste, or want to use one of the toothpaste recipes we have online, you can do that – for this part of the procedure, you want a toothpaste that will not have an abrasive element.
If you are not going to use a toothpaste, that is fine, just soak your toothbrush in water, and then youre going to take the toothbrush and place it on the space right between the tooth and the gum at 45 degrees. So lowers are going to be 45 degrees downward, and the upper teeth are going to be 45 degrees upward. So these are the bristles that you actually want to penetrate the space between the tooth and the gum. So it would look something like this – we would start back here, the bristles right in the space between the gums, and then spend a good 20 seconds just dislodging that bacteria from the space. We would continue to move forward, 20 seconds on each spot, all the way around the outside – and then actually do the same on the inside, which is 45 degrees down into the sulcus, and again vibrate gently. This is not a procedure that has to be rough or harsh. So we’re going to do the inside, and when we’re done then we go with the uppers, obviously 45 degrees up – and again all of the outside, and all of the inside.
Once you have performed this part of the treatment, you can now either use the same or even a little harder toothbrush with your toothpaste, and begin to brush your teeth. After that you want to floss them as well – and in addition to this, you can use a waterpik with plain water, or with ozonated water to be more effective in reducing the pathogenic bacteria.”
Looking at the relationship between stress and GABA levels, again, the impact that stress has on dopamine and norepinephrine levels. Stress and aggression, stress playing a role with glutamate. Again, if you do not do anything else, just get the stress and glutamate balance not only for your children but for yourself.
The level of stress exacerbates MS in adults. Glutamate is going to increase reactive oxygen species. So, that ties together with the talk we had earlier on NOS, and if we don’t have sufficient levels of BH4, we have reactive oxygen species. So, glutamate is also going to add to that picture and an increase in some of the key inflammatory mediators.
So, lead is going to exacerbate some of these problems. Some of the types of formulas that we use to address this pathway, trying to keep stress in balance, deal with inflammation, deal with cytotoxin issues and deal with the mental imbalance.
Again, stress causes the shift from TH1 to TH2. That’s going to be an inflammatory response and a lot more humeral response so a lot more B cells. Maybe where some of those antibodies are coming from. Cellular immunity which is the T cells, we’re going to have a little bit more trouble with those T cells because we don’t have enough building blocks for new T cell synthesis, but also, if the stress is shifting us to a B cell response, we’re moving away from the regulatory T cell and T cell response. We have a lack of building blocks to make the T cells we need.
Again, stress is really causing a major shift in the TH1, TH2 patterns, increasing cytokines. Cytokines we talked about earlier with microglial activation causing inflammation as well as susceptibility to disease. Lack of BH4 can cause mast cell degranulation, and one of the particular slides in this presentation showed you that mast cell degranulation leads to that release of histamine that’s tied to aggression. Again, another place where BH4 plays a role and another good reason to look at having sufficient BH4 in the system.
Stress has an effect on infection as well as wound healing. Again, wound healing will have an impact on your methylation cycle because you need the building blocks to make new cells. Stress is stressful. You’re going to be more likely to have chronic viral infections with stress, and we’re already trying to address this chronic virus in the matters we can. We’ll talk about that more tomorrow. Upper respiratory infections and colds are more of a problem with stress.
Stress triggers IL-1, one of the key inflammatory mediators that I pointed out to your earlier today. Also, IL-6 and stress triggers levels of IL-6. So, it’s no surprise that when you’re under constant stress, you don’t feel good. You’re not well. You’ve got inflammation in your body, and you’re more likely to be sick, to be depressed and have negative consequences.
So, if we look at the tie in between bacterial infections, we already said that chronic viral infection increases stress. We see, again, this cascade with MAP-38 kinase that ties in that protein kinase C and aggression, high levels of IL-6. Remember, without adequate methylation, we can’t remyelinate the nerves. Again, IL-6 and stress.
Chronic stress is like a house of cards. This can all fall apart pretty easily. We talked earlier about the matrix metaloproteinases that are upregulated in autistic individuals as well as the levels of IL-6 and TNF-alpha, IL-6, and NF-kappa-B. Again, VEGF is tied in with the progression of cancer and tumors. So, when you have problems in your TH1 to TH2 shift, you start to see the kind of magnitude of response you have going on in the body, the type of damage this can cause, and the drain on the body for the repair to fight that damage. This is the map of how connected TNF-alpha is. So, once you’ve got the levels of TNF-alpha up from an inflammatory cascade or infection, you’re triggering inflammatory responses all over the body.
Needless to say, stress has an impact on your immune system and also the whole mind-body conversation. During the break, I had an interesting conversation with someone who came to the conference today, and this is a good moment to reiterate the effect that spirituality and mind can have on health and wellness and healing. I know in our autism answer site, we have one of the forms of prayer, and all of you know that I pray for the children I work with every single day, but also to put out positive message, positive affirmations, positive feedback.
What this individual was telling me was before she used the RNA, she actually holds them in her hand and thinks good things and positive things and love before she administers it, and it only takes a few minutes to do something like that. You certainly have nothing to lose even if it’s not in your list of things you might believe in, but there is a connection known between the mind and how it affects the body. It’s actually mediated by these key inflammatory mediators. So, one of the reasons why on the autism answer site I’m so insistent about no negativity to help people, why I sign everything with love and hope, and I really mean that, and why I want everyone to pay it forward because I think that with the right mindset as well as all the medical tools will help to the place that we need to be. It’s always nicer to do it by helping each other.
Stress affects memory. We’ve all experienced that, testing in schools. The higher levels of cortisol, even though they help us to modulate that stress effect, can hurt us in terms of learning and memory. I know my own girls have always found that phosphatidyl serine which helps to modulate cortisol levels really helps them with their memory before test in school because stress will trigger that memory loss. So, stress and memory. We see the tie in between a mediator and aggression as well as stress that may be playing a role in impairing memory. Stress early in life can affect your memory later in life. Stress can play a role in attention, and, again, high levels in norepinephrine can trigger on attention and behavior.
Inflammation and stress can play a role in hypertension as well as metabolic syndrome, and this inflammatory triggered by stress plays a role in numerous conditions, whether it’s diabetes, whether it’s heart disease, whether it’s cancer, low blood sugar.
What can we do about some of this? Well, looking at your diet as Dr. Gordon talked about earlier makes a big difference because stress will make you gain weight. Stress is really a major culprit in the system, especially abdominal weight gain. Work-related stress plays a role in weight gain as well as that pain. Work stress and the effect it can have on infection. I think when we’re talking about work, it’s no different than the work of a caregiver for your children. So, whether we’re talking about infection, whether we’re talking about weight gain, whether we’re talking about aggression, inflammatory process, back pain, or atherosclerosis, heart disease, stress is playing a role with all of these. It’s mediating it’s effects with epinephrine and norepinephrine, and every time we see that, we’re drawing methyl groups from other important aspects of our body. Also, vascular function, heart function, and, again, I’ve gone through these more slowly in the past.
Even skin conditions. Inflammatory skin conditions are exacerbated by stress. Sometimes, we’ll see posts where parents are talking about rashes that kids are getting. Part of that is the detox rash. How much of it is triggered by the stress on the system of detox and the inflammatory cascades is hard to separate. What we do about it is still the same thing, but keep in mind that it is relate. Even the relationship between psoriasis and the methylation cycle. So, we really can’t separate what’s going on in the methylation cascade from some of what’s going on physically if we’re looking at skin conditions.
Stress also plays a role in fertility, and I know I was talking with some of the moms during the break about the type of supplementation or if you’re looking to have more children, look to supplement. Also, keep in mind the effect of stress on your system, getting pregnant as well as development. Stress and inflammation is a disease of aging and all the diseases that can occur as a result of chronic inflammation triggering your body by chronic infection as well as stress.
Stress may shorten your life by pruning DNA. So, now, we’re back in a molecular level that it may be that stress directly affects DNA levels, and stressed to death that mental stress affects your life span. We already talked about the relationship of stress and cancer. Again, stressful conditions will cause that.
Now, how do we address this? I already mentioned phosphatidyl serine. Phosphatidyl serine helps us to control cortisol in the body. Other things that we can look at in terms of stress would be things like rude ola, muscle support RNA, stress support RNA. In using DMG to balance the system, DMG will help us to slow down the BHMT enzyme, the back door, which is why early on, I don’t want to use DMG because I want to get that shortcut working. Once we have it working, we look to tone it down and make that shift to the long way around the pathway with DMG and SAMe. Again, DHMT is right here, early on in this. Overtime, with DMG and SAMe, we look to get through the MTR and MTR pathway.
Again, look at the diet you’re eating. Go out in nature. It sounds a little bit trite, but just going for a walk or taking a break will make a difference. Humor makes a tremendous difference in lowering stress as well as helping your immune function. Even your natural killer cell activity can be naturally increased.
Magnesium we’ve already talked about, and the role of magnesium in substance P as well as serotonin levels. A pet, although that’s extra stress, it does put it over the top. Art, music, as well as just finding 5 minutes to take a break and think positive because positive thoughts make a big difference.
As I’ve said so many times before, what we’re doing is a marathon. Erin mentioned to you earlier she and I have been working together for four years. Her boys aren’t 100%, but they’re most of the way there. Some children recover in six months. Some are going to take four years. Some will take five years. It’s a marathon, and it’s also a rollercoaster ride when we’re having detox. When you’re getting the black lines across the page, are you at the top or the bottom of the roller coaster? It’s a little hard to say, but you really need to pace yourself and not be in a rush because it’s a long haul. I’m not going anywhere. I’m on the other side of the keyboard. We’re getting the information about there, and really, it’s about taking a deep breath and pacing yourself for it.
This is a quote from Dr. Valerie Hunt: “When one represses emotion, one’s body hurts; when one represses consciousness, one’s mind aches; when one represses spirituality, one’s soul hurt.” So, again, keeping in mind the whole mind, body, spirituality that follows this and helping to get back balance, recovery, and getting through the process.
I really do believe with belief, with hope, and with a knowledge of molecular pathways, we really can make a difference and help to recover every child and adult. Thank you.
What happens is your feel good neurotransmitters, serotonin and dopamine, we shift more to a fight or flight response where we’re making adrenaline and norepinephrine, and the calcium in our bones to keep us strong and the magnesium in our muscles to make our muscles more flexible, what happens is we get a shift in this balance. So, calcium can now be in your muscles. That’s why your muscles feel more rigid because it’s helping to protect you from that wild animal, but it’s causing problems in your system. We see a shift in T cell function from TH1 responses to TH2 responses. So, we’re having more of an inflammatory cascade, and where we would normally use the DNA and RNA that we have for new cell synthesis and wound healing, this is going to be reduced under those situations.
We’re draining a lot of our resources from our methylation pathway over here instead of having them for DNA and RNA and building blocks. If you recall, if we need new DNA and RNA for building blocks, we also need this process to make GTP to make our DH4. So, we sitting over here, all the types of things we talked about earlier today that are going to have an impact on the methylation cycle are going on in your body or your children’s body.
Just looking at this again, here is the cycle we’re used to looking at. What we’re talking about is shifting the focus of the methyl groups from this pathway to make adrenaline, to deal with norepinephrine, and shifting over to this portion rather than keeping the methyl groups that we need in our methylation cycle for DNA and RNA to make their creatinine to methylate the phospholipids in the membrane for membrane fluidity.
We also use that COMT enzyme in order to break down epinephrine. Again, we’re shifting the focus when we’re under stress to other intermediate than balancing our dopamine levels. Just going backwards a little, we talked about vitamin C earlier in the role that it plays in terms of BH4 levels. It also plays a role in trying to help to balance this system. So, certain drug companies are looking at covalently linking basically vitamin C to drugs to help for transport across certain barriers, and one of the reason I like to use powdered vitamin C is to take advantage of this without having to have covalent linkage.
Increased norepinephrine leads to increased cortisol and increased conversion of norepinephrine to epinephrine. Again, we’re using our methyl groups. SAMe is our methyl donor. If our SAMe is acting over here, we don’t have SAMe for all those other lovely things I talked about. SAMe needs to do other parts of the pathway. Earlier today, we spoke about the role of glucose, how it plays a role with CBS and insulin, and, other than in Cushing’s disease, what happens is that this is all tied together.
So, the BHMT enzyme we were talking about for the shortcut leads to an increase in norepinephrine. Stress increases the shortcut, increases norepinephrine. So, we get that imbalance in norepinephrine and dopamine levels. Some of the glucocorticoids can play a role, and cortisol can play a balance in this. That, again, is going to be affected by insulin and glucose levels which also play a role in CBS. Again, all of these same players that we keep talking about keep coming up over and over again. Looking at this globally, you want to be supporting to address CBS issues. You want to be supporting the pancreas, looking at your VDR issues. You want to have some activity through that shortcut, but we want to make sure we are also supporting the long route along the pathway. We want to do things to address stress and make sure we keep these mediators in balance.
Again, methyls play a role. Environmental, genetic, and infectious issues all come together every step of the way. So, if we have lead inhibiting this enzyme, we’re stuck at norepinephrine rather than epinephrine, and that can cause issues with attention or hyperactivity.
Earlier today we saw a version of this slide, talking about what happens with CBS and SUOX mutations or low molybdenum levels. We’re going in depth with higher levels of sulfides which play a role here, high copper levels playing a role in this symptomatic pathway inhibited by lead. The norepinephrine receptor itself is inhibited by this higher sulfur, and we need to have sufficient methylation pathway function to generate the SAMe that we need for this conversion assuming it’s not inhibited by the lead.
So, increase CBS activity can lead to a stress response due to the excess sulfur and its effect on cortisol levels. Then, the norepinephrine receptor is inhibited by high sulfur. So, between these two, we can end up with a situation where we have very high circulating levels of norepinephrine. Looking at the fact that acute stress leads to norepinephrine increase, this in turn, leads to an increase in certain enzymes in the body but not increase in dopamine. So, we end up with this imbalance that you see in neurotransmitter tests with high norepinephrine relative to dopamine.
Again, the pathway we’ve been looking at but thinking about it a little differently, looking at the role of BH4 in this pathway so that the A1298C and CBS mutations will play a role here. This enzyme is also shared by the tryptophan pathway so if we have chronic bacterial infection, we’re diverting this enzyme elsewhere for breakdown of tryptophan.
The role of heavy metals in this portion of the pathway and excess sulfur groups that we just talked about and the fact that we need methylation and SAMe for this portion of the pathway so that when you’re triggering this response, as a protective response, your body will trigger the fight or flight cortisol response over anything for survival. You’re playing a role in impacting everything else we’ve talked about here as we make this shift.
Also, sulfur-containing amino acids will increase norepinephrine release, and that runs through glutamate receptors and excitotoxin mechanism. So, again, dealing with excess sulfur, dealing with CBS upregulations, and keeping the glutamate and GABA in balance.
Hydrogen sulfide we were talking about earlier today. We talked about the effect that has on the brain, that it causes brain fog, and the role that stress proteins play related to hydrogen sulfide exposure. Also, the impact of thyroid hormones, and we’ll talk a little bit about that tomorrow in terms of bacterial infection, the tie in between the stress response and the effect on the thyroid. Again, we’ve mentioned over and over again today, nucleotide requirements, why we need RNA, why we need to add nucleotides. When you have cortisol and the stress response, what happens is we end up with inhibition of RNA synthesis, and so, on top of any methylation cyclomutations, we have a difficulty of making our building blocks. We have a decrease in the synthesis via the second pathway.
Chronic stress promotes tumor growth. So, keeping your body in better balance, taking care of yourself, pulling down that stress response will help to protect you against some types of diseases that none of us would like to have. Also if we think about I just finished saying that the stress response will pull from your methylation, and we started the day talking about the importance of the methylation cycle and how that plays a role in cancer, if you’re diverting your methylation cycle to deal with stress, it’s not surprising that you’re going to increase cancer or cancer aggressiveness because it’s as if you’ve depleted your methylation cycle with mutations, and that tie in to mutations in that pathway in cancer.
The level of invasion of ovarian cancer cells. So, how aggressive that cancer is is directly related to the stress hormone in your body. Again, chronic stress promotes tumor growth and angiogenesis in mouse models of ovarian cancer, and more on the same topic. So, stress has an effect on the methylation cycle. Methylation cycle mutations will predispose us to cancer. Stress will create a situation where the cancer could be more aggressive, and the stress directly impacts the methylation cycle, drawing from it to create a greater likelihood of issues with cancer. So, again, we need to break this cycle and look at what we can do to stop the constant stress and aggression on the pathways.
Stress also triggers high levels of VEGF, and VEGF is a key mediator in problems with tumor vascularization and aggressiveness of cancer. So, look at the type of change one might see. Two weeks after tumor inoculation, stressed mice had two to threefold more tumor nodules with similar increases in tumor weight gain compared with unstressed controls.
Getting back to what we were talking about earlier with the ACE deletion, the angiotensin I and angiotensin II and those higher levels of aldosterone, in order to create these higher levels of aldosterone that we’re seeing, we’re also using some of the same enzymes. So, again, we need SAMe for this conversion. So, we’re drawing methyl transferases, and we’re drawing from our methylation cycle when we’re dealing with stress.
So, the ACE deletion causes this increase in aldosterone which, of course, is competing with cholesterol for calming down the stress response, and ultimately, we end up with lower levels of dopamine. So, we want to keep this in balance. Using the anxiety support formula helps. Looking at a balance of topical progesterone cream can help to support another pathway, too, but again, moderation. Remember that the ACE deletion is going to bring down our bradykinin faster. Breaking bradykinin is going to help us with the stress aggression response.
Again, everything in moderation. More isn’t always better. Small amounts of a variety of herbs, supplements, RNAs to try to keep the system in better balance so that we’re toning down this effect without having a negative impact on the breakdown of bradykinin.
Now, aldosterone can cause essential mineral loss during detoxification stress leads to increased aldosterone. ACE deletions lead to increase aldosterone. When you see elevated excretion of potassium, that’s a sign this is going on, and then, the higher aldosterone triggers epinephrine which is using an enzyme that’s drawing our methylation groups from our methylation cycle.
We’ve talked about this before. Signs of aldosterone excess and aldosterone deficiency, and as I just mentioned, hormones will play a role also. Progesterone will compete with aldosterone to pull it down. Estrogen actually increases aldosterone levels. Aldosterone plays a role in terms of potassium excretion so if we’re seeing high levels of potassium dumping we want to think about if the aldosterone levels are too high.
Licorice, which I alluded to earlier, inhibits and enzyme in this pathway, and this can lead to inactive of cortisol and aldosterone excess. Even in the absence of ACE deletion, if you’re eating a boatload of licorice, it’s going to have a similar effect on the system.
So, overall consequences of the stress response: Weight gain in the belly, muscle aches, reduced calcium in bones, reduced responses because of the TH1 to TH2 shift, infection, memory issues, reduced wound healing. We’re depleting or hijacking the methyl groups from our methyl pathway, and that, of course, has an impact on cancer. Increased levels of aldosterone and also cortisol levels. That’s not a happy picture.
Stress, calcium, and muscle. Just a reference for the fact that stress depletes your calcium from your muscles, and it is replaced with calcium. Looking at how the bones are compromised and the calcium depletion of calcium from the bone. Stress also stimulates breakdown of serotonin, and we’ve talked about the swinging and fluxes of serotonin levels that we don’t want to see. We want nice, even serotonin. So, stress is going to work against us when it comes to serotonin levels as well as allergic reactions.
Stress and magnesium levels again, and that MAP38 kinase pathway that’s involved with protein kinase C. Stress is able to trigger that same pathway related to aggression and the protein kinase C pathway. Inflammation in the brain as a result of this. I’ll go through some of these fairly quickly because I talked at this at length in February, and I’d like to leave some time for questions today.
Serotonin is tied to the tryptophan pathway, and we’ll be talking about this tomorrow. When we have chronic bacterial infection, it causes the breakdown of tryptophan which diverts our tryptophan and affects our serotonin levels. In addition, if we have inadequate levels of BH4, we don’t have the BH4, and we need to convert thee tryptophan to serotonin. So, again, all the pieces are coming together, and if we have all of these factors in play, we’re more likely to have problems with serotonin levels that impact mood as well as aggressive behavior.
Catecholamines, serotonin and dopamine, and the role of COMT and MAO-A. These systems are very well known to be involved in the regulation of aggression. So, again, keeping in mind your COMT status, your MAO-A status, watching the intake of methyl donors for those that are COMT++. One of points I noticed was a lot of new people get confused one is yes there may be methylation cycle mutations. So, in general, you would think you need more methyl donors, but if you’re COMT++, we look to supplement that pathway without directly adding too many groups. So, look toward hydroxyl-B12 than methyl B12 so that we don’t trigger aggressive mood swings.
Part of the reason we see some of this is serotonin as well as dopamine have negative feedback inhibition and auto inhibition. If the serotonin levels get too high, they will feedback and inhibit themselves so they will drop too low just as we see with too much dopamine. Because the dopamine will be higher if you’re COMT++, it can feedback and inhibit itself, and it’s the mood swings that create the issues. Someone who would be COMT- – and MAO- – is going to be much more even all of the time. If we have COMT++, MAO++, and on top of that, we’re layering detox, it’s part of the reason we see the mood swings and aggressive behavior. Again, just the role of COMT and MAO polymorphisms in aggression.
Just a side note: Those of you who have dabbled in cigarette smoking in the past, part of the reason people are attracted to it is it does inhibit MAO-A. So, it’s going to temporarily increase your serotonin levels and make you feel better. Again, inhibition of MAO-A will cause aggressive behavior. So, in the long term, it’s not a great idea.
Again, back to nitric oxide which we were talking about earlier. Again, we see the same mediators and the same pieces coming together in different ways all the time. There’s an interactive activity between nitric oxide and serotonin. So, when we see mutations that pull down the level of nitric oxide too low, it actually causes elevated and sustained aggressive behavior. Again, everything in moderation. We don’t want nitric oxide too high. It will deplete certain mediators. It has negative effects, but if it gets too low, we’re going to have aggressive behavior. The same thing is true when it comes to serotonin. Try to use small amounts overtime so that we keep the levels much more even.
So, a lack of nitric oxide can cause aggressive behavior, and we already talked about the relationship between nitric oxide synthase and BH4 levels and also a lack of 5HTP receptor function can play a role. So, balance and moderation, whether we’re talking about BH4, NOS, or serotonin.
Balances in dopamine and dopamine receptors will play a role in aggressive behavior. If the dopamine is fluctuating all over the place, we’re going to see mood changes. The relationship between this membrane fluidity that I keep talking about and the ability of the dopamine receptor to move in a fluid membrane and that we need methylation for that. The role of 5-methyl THF and SAMe in keeping this system functioning as well as SAMe directly to keep histamine levels in balance so that we’re not keeping this inflammatory aggression cascade.
There is actually a tie in between altruism and risk taking behavior, and the type of snip that you have or what’s going on at the D4 receptor as well as balances with respect to attention. So, certain polymorphisms, certain snips of certain bases, related to dopamine seem to play a role when it comes to altruism. Again, back to that same D4 receptor that Dr. Deep’s working on. The opposite snip might create the opposite behavior and altruism which would fit in with some of what we see with aggression and non-ideal behaviors.
In order to get the binding and the changes that we need in that dopamine receptor, again, we need GTP. GTP is generated by the methylation cycle or supporting with nucleotide bases, and the other types of receptors in the membrane utilize protein kinase C which, again, is tied together with aggression.
This is one we talked about earlier today, the need for a methyl transferase and methyl groups in order to have the appropriate signaling in that pathway. Again, looking at the role that the methylation cycle, methionine synthase, as well as membrane fluidity has in the ability to move these methyl groups around on dopamine receptor function. If this isn’t functioning properly, we get imbalances in the dopamine signaling pathway. It can play a role in aggression as well as attention and learning.
I’ve mentioned before this imbalance between dopamine and norepinephrine. If the norepinephrine levels are too high relative to dopamine, we sometimes see attention issues, and the shortcut pathway through the BHMT enzyme is going to make more norepinephrine relative to dopamine. So, in some of those cases, we can look at the attention formula, look at SAMe, look at DMG to try to get this pathway in better balance because norepinephrine as well as epinephrine can react at that same receptor as dopamine.
So, again, dopamine has been implicated as having strong role in aggressive behavior. When we look at increased rates of schizophrenia and violence, they are very related to dopamine dysfunction. So, if we’re having problems with dopamine levels because of the inability to have signaling act as we would like to in those fluid membranes, it will play a very strong role with potential aggression problems and imbalances in behavior.
So, what we find is that violent population increased norepinephrine metabolites. So, again, we want an appropriate balance between dopamine, norepinephrine, and adrenaline. Adrenaline’s going to be signaled by the fight or flight response, the cortisol pathway, and cortisol levels play a roles here, too. So, while cortisol doesn’t have a direct effect on aggressive behavior, it has a moderating effect that plays a role tied in with testosterone levels.
So, if we go back to the slide where we talked about the ACE deletion and the ACE deletion will help you to break down bradykinin so you’re not triggering aggression through bradykinin, but the ultimate end point with the increased conversion from angiotensin I to angiotensin II is that we end up with higher levels of aldosterone. Aldosterone is going to compete with cortisol. So, having those ACE deletions may give you less bradykinin but more problems in the calming effect of cortisol. So, low levels of cortisol are also tied to aggressive behavior. This is a segway into the whole stress talk because cortisol is very related to the whole fight or flight response and stress reaction. So, being under chronic stress, whether it’s physical stress from detox or emotional stress from having your child detoxing all the time, is tied right in with aggressive behavior and imbalances in this pathway.
Now, this, I thought, was a lovely analogy. It was sent to me by one of the parents, and what that parent was saying was what phosphatidyl serine does which helps to keep the cortisol response in balance does for the body is to help the body to be more sensitive to cortisol. Cortisol is a hormone that is secreted in response to stress. So, cortisol helps to keep the stress response under control. If a child is constantly having their chemistry thrown out of balance, they’re going to have high levels of norepinephrine and other fight or flight hormones in their system. They’re walking around in a state of constant stress, and their body can’t compensate. So, you may read that cortisol causes stress, but it’s actually the opposite.
Stress is a sign that this person has been under stress for a long time, and the constant levels of this create a situation where the cortisol is no longer effective. What I really liked was this parent’s analogy to what happens with insulin and type II diabetes because there, the body is no longer sensitive to insulin. What he’s proposing is when you’re under constant stress, you’re no longer sensitive to cortisol and its modulating effects. That’s why we look at phosphatidyl serine not just to feed into our methylation pathway and to help with membrane fluidity but also to help us be more sensitive to this cortisol response so that you don’t wear out your ability to produce cortisol and end up with adrenal burnout.
The tie in between hormones and stress and aggression is really a vicious cycle. So, we can look at this feedback response between the stress response and the aggression systems in the body. Stimulating aggression leads to higher stress hormones, and activating the aggression system plays a role on the stress response. So, you end up in this cycle of stress and aggression.
What we’re talking about when I talk about stress and aldosterone is two molecules in the body that look very, very similar. What happens is that there’s only one receptor that binds both of them. So, they’re both competing for the same receptor. In order to get cortisol to bind, we need lower amounts of aldosterone, but if we have ACE deletions, we end up with a lot of aldosterone relative to cortisol. So, the modulating effects of cortisol are not as effective on the system with ACE deletions. The other thing I want to mention is that there’s an enzyme in the body that will play havoc with this system, and using too much licorice can have negative consequences on this system.
So, what is stress? Well, distress is what we’re talking about, and it’s a state in which an animal cannot escape from or adapt to the internal or external stressors or conditions it experiences, resulting in negative effects of well-being. Again, this is really what all of you in this room are in all the time, not just your children. I alluded to earlier to earlier today that genetics come from somewhere, and if you’re seeing some of these mutations in your children, consider supporting yourselves because my guess is all of you are operating under distress all the time. You have some of these mutations in your pathway. So, just as when you’re on an airplane and they tell you to put your oxygen mask on before you put the one for your children, I know you can’t really do that. You have to get your kids well before you can work on yourselves, but try to do a little something for yourselves so that you don’t burn out.
The stress response is a very old response. It’s back from we were going to chase after dinosaurs or run from dinosaurs. That’s why it’s fight or flight response, but the problem is that it was designed to protect you from animals in the wild. Your body really can’t tell the difference between stress from a wild animal or stress from being up all night because a child is detoxing, and your system feels the same way and needs to address it. While acute stress actually does some positive things for your system, long term chronic stress can be debilitating. So, we want to occasionally have that acute burst of adrenaline, but what we would like to do is stay away from the chronic stress in the body whether it’s chronic viral infection, chronic bacterial infection, chronic emotional stress, chronic physical stress.
see the video: http://vimeo.com/28441817
In February, I did talk about the relationship between stress and inflammation, but one of the problems, especially during times of active detox, that many of the kids encounter is aggression. There is a tie in that goes on with aggression and the stress pathway. So, I’ve been spending a bit of time since February looking at apraxia, and we’ve talked about that a bit today. We’ll talk about it a bit more tomorrow, but also, what we can do to address the aggressive situation that can happen during detox.
So, again, as I usually do, looking at the pathways involved and the processes that are initiated so that we first understand what’s going because it puts us in a better position to address it. There’s a couple of key mediators that are involved in key mediators. Some of them are mediators that I haven’t really talked about too much in the past.
Histamine you’re all probably familiar with because it’s involved in allergic reactions, but many of you may not be familiar with bradykinin or protein kinase C or substance P. So, a number of these, if they’re out of balance, will create problems with aggression. Also, if we have imbalances with dopamine and serotonin, if they get too high, those mediators can feedback and inhibit themselves and drop too low and create aggressive behavior.
Now, there’s a very tight tie in between aggression and pain. So, when you’re feeling pain and extrasensitivity, it leads to problems with aggressive behavior, and we’ll talk about, in a moment, the relationship that’s already been very well characterized between COMT status and pain sensitivity. So, there’s a large recognition that pain and distress are tied together with aggression, and the mediator for that, where it all comes together, is the level of bradykinin in the system.
So, we’ve talked about, in the past, the angiotensin system when we look at ACE mutations. To refresh your memory, going from angiotensin I to angiotensin II, when you have that ACE deletion, it causes and increase conversion of the angiotensin I to angiotensin II, but what we haven’t talked about in the past is the fact that bradykinin is also acted on by that same enzyme, the angiotensin-converting enzyme. So, it will break it down into inactive peptides.
So, while having an ACE deletion that causes this conversion at a higher level causes us some difficulties. Again, the whole them of moderation this weekend because that same ACE deletion will play a role in helping to break down bradykinin, and that means that individuals who do not have an ACE deletion may be in a position to have higher levels of bradykinin. So, aggression may be more of a problem if you have no ACE deletion during times of high detox, especially depending on your COMT status. Those who are COMT++ may be more sensitive to pain. So, if you’re COMT++ and you do not have an ACE deletion, bradykinin may be more of a player in terms of aggressive behavior.
Just to remind you, when we convert angiotensin I to angiotensin II, we get higher levels of aldosterone, and aldosterone competes with cortisol in terms of looking at this stress response. We’ll get into that a bit later. So, we’re looking at two parallel pathways that this particular enzymes can help to break down bradykinin so that we’re less likely to have some of the issues with aggression. Yet, at the same time, we’re making more aldosterone, and that competes with our cortisol and works against us when it comes to the aggression pathway.
Again, looking at bradykinin and protein kinase C, this is a diagram we’ve looked at before in terms of triggering an inflammatory cascade that we can use chamomile for to help to balance, and polyamines which are tied together with SAMe levels will help to tone down protein kinase C. So, if we’re lacking in SAMe or methylation function and we don’t have enough polyamine, the levels of protein kinase C may be higher. Protein kinase C is central in the cascade tied together with bradykinin. It increases the bradykinin receptors. So, it’s going to add to the aggressive pathway, and protein kinase C is also triggered by calcium in this map, 38-kinase inflammatory cascade that I’ve talked about in the past.
Now, remember earlier today, I spoke about the fact that the dopamine-4 receptor is triggered by the MAT enzyme and a methionine at a particular point. Most of the receptors in these membranes are actually interactive with protein kinase C, and so, for instance, inhibitors of protein kinase C eliminate the signs of morphine withdrawal. So, it’s tied together with a mechanism of addiction and withdrawal for drugs.
If we look at prolonging the agony, again, in other words, what prolongs the pain sensation and the pain sensation is tied together with aggression. Some of the mediators in this pathway are protein kinase C and substance P are involved in this pathway. In terms of the COMT status, why some people feel pain and others don’t is related to your COMT status. So, those who are COMT++ will feel more physical pain actually than those who are COMT- -.
Here we go, the blowup I was just talking about. When we’re looking at the pain cascade, we have glutamate again. Every time we turn around, glutamate’s in the middle of what we’re talking about. Protein kinase C, MAT-38 kinase being triggered, substance P. So, all the mediators that we’re looking at now in terms of the aggression pathway.
Again, looking at what happens with pain, certain inflammatory mediators like COX-2 and some of the herbs that we use, the supplements, the RNAs, help us to keep the inflammatory cascade in better balance. Again, the level at which this is being triggered is at an RNA level. So, using certain things like the health foundation, nerve calm, the aggression support helps us to keep this pathway in better balance.
When we have damaged tissues, it creates pain, dilation of blood vessels, bradykinin. That’s related to your mast cells which is where your IgE-mediated immune response comes from and release of histamine. So, this is all tied together with aggression. So, some of the kinds of things that can help us are supplements like quercetin or butterbur which are going to help to stabilize the mast cells so they don’t release as much histamine will help us with aggression. The hyperimmune RNAs and SAMe will help. As I already mentioned, aggression and health foundation, stress and comfort to try to get some edge of that pain and the pain-stimulated aggression response.
Now, high levels of adenosine can be generated via the methylation pathway, and there’s been work to show the in some autistic children, the level of adenosine can be particularly high. That can then act on the mast cells to cause the release of histamine, and histamine, then, is tied into this aggression-bradykinin pathway.
One of the tools that we have besides the butterbur and the quercetin is also to look at the methylation support formula which will help us to stabilize some of the imbalances leading to higher levels of adenosine. Again, adenosine is going to be generated by our methylation cycle so when you get adenosine, we’re going backwards from the histamine. We’re tied together with this whole bradykinin pathway.
The use of the methylation support helps to stabilize us a bit. Also, the new apraxia support formula will help us with that, but both of those do trigger some fairly significant detox. So, you’re in a little bit of a circular issue. If you’re having aggression and you’re trying to stabilize it somewhat, you don’t want to be triggering that much more detox, or you may accelerate the problem. So, just very low levels of something like methylation support and apraxia support not high doses to trigger more detox and aggravate an aggressive situation.
Also, looking at the interaction between adenosine and what goes on with serotonin release, imbalances in the serotonin levels. We like our serotonin levels balanced all the time just like with our dopamine levels. So, adenosine is going to suppress serotonin release, and it’s going to give us some of those imbalances in serotonin that can be related to mood swings as well as aggravating aggression. So, some of the tools we have for that would be low doses of St. John’s wort, Mood S, 5-HTP. The company that makes that new B12 patch is coming up with a patch that looks like it has TNA and 5-HTP in it for a more sustained time release support system for 5-HTP and TNA. That may also be helpful for keeping serotonin levels more balanced as well as help with aggression and mood.
Again, looking at the relationship between serotonin triggering the release of substance P which creates capillary permeability, inflammatory cascades, again bradykinin, and the perception of pain and lower pain threshold for some individuals. So, again, the COMT++ status would create a lower pain threshold. If, on top of that, we’re having imbalances in serotonin, release of substance P and bradykinin, we create a situation where we have some of these non-ideal behaviors.
Using sufficient magnesium besides magnesium to help with balancing calcium levels may help to keep the level of substance P in better balance. So, when we look at the urine essential element test, you’ll see this in some of the case studies I’ll be showing tomorrow, I like the magnesium levels to be the right off 50% whereas the calcium levels to be the left of 50%. Doing what will help us keep the substance P in better balance.
The hydrogen sulfide that we talked about earlier today that’s generated as a result of the CBS upregulations or mutations in SUOX can lead to an increase in norepinephrine as well as serotonin, and that can then play a role in feeding back, inhibiting more serotonin and aggravating this aggression and hyperactivity cycle. Some of the kinds of things we can use in those cases would be attention support, ammonium support if we have CBS or a SUOX mutation as well as some DM and SAMe.
Now, in addition, the hydrogen sulfide has been shown to inhibit MAO, and those are the enzymes that break down serotonin as well as act on dopamine. So, if we have fluxes in the levels of serotonin and dopamine, it’s going to aggravate some of those aggressive behaviors. So, again, looking at ways to try to keep the hydrogen sulfide in better balance, dealing with the CBS mutation, dealing with the SUOX mutation, and using some of the RNAs, Mood D and Mood S, to try to keep things a little more even.
Now, MAO-A is the enzyme that breaks down serotonin, and so, looking at that in particular, CBS upregulations are going to increase sulfide levels. That, then, plays a role in affecting MAO-A. We have MAO-A mutations that we look at. Many of the kids are MAO-A++.
So what does one do? I’m a nonviolent person. I will not defend my family, so I have nothing but ideas and example as a way of addressing that. I can’t rise up. I recently saw this [inaudible] movie, Steven [inaudible] film on [inaudible], almost five hours film. And you know, [inaudible] had a very good idea. He made it clear that whatever we should do doesn’t stop when the revolution wins. You’re always revolutionary, but no matter how I look at it, I’m not going to hurt another person. I don’t see any examples in history where hurting another person got us closer, and so the giant dilemma I have is what can we do? What can people who are nonviolent do?
You know, if you [inaudible]. I have a large library on Mexican history because I come here a lot. I know that my country subsidized corn farmers in the United States so that they could sell their corn cheaper here in Mexico than the Mexican peasant can sell their corn, and so we can screw them and call it [inaudible] and think we’re doing something good for somebody. What is happening in Egypt? I’m wondering is that going to happen all over the world? Why doesn’t it happen in my country? Why isn’t there people everywhere saying, “We’re not going to take this crap anymore of a few people being in charge of things and them getting richer and richer and richer?”
You know, I’m on the dessert phase of live. I’m 65, and because I’m 65, I have Medicare, so for the first time in my life, I have health insurance. All right. So everything the rest of my life is dessert, but I sit here wondering where are our grandchildren? What are they going to grow up in? If there are any people when my children have grandchildren, they will kill for water. We’re already killing for water, and so my challenge is – I’m not sitting here to make you go home and kill yourself, okay? I’m saying if you switch to care, you will never be silent. When you hear a racist comment, you will speak up. When you hear a sexist comment, you will speak up. The difficulties that your country is going through, you’re going to get involved. It’s not about having another great vacation, making yourself secure for you and your family in a gated community.
So the challenge is how can we make love our value? How can we make a world safe enough for women? Nicest part of life, women, and we’ve never been good to them. Women didn’t even get the right [inaudible] until 1890. How stupid were we men? In all of history, it took until 1890? In the world, to give women the right to vote as citizens? What were they before that? They weren’t citizens. Do you have a hand up? No? Okay. Okay, yes. Again, don’t cut your wrists. It’s important to say those things. Get active. Yes, ma’am.
Female 2: [Speaking Spanish.]
Patch: Uh-oh. They’re not working for me. No [inaudible]? Yes, I know. Okay, now she’s ready.
Female 2: [Speaking Spanish.]
Patch: No, she can’t hear you. Is there something wrong? It sounds like the microphone is working. Okay, she will try her English. It’s sounding good already.
Female 2: Watching the video of the –
Female 2: [Speaking Spanish.]
Patch: Well shit yeah, I do. I mean, why would I be here? You know, I don’t think it’s too late. Because I don’t think it’s too late, I am going to work ‘round the clock. You know, I could go all night with you. I go all night at universities with students. Yes, we have to wake up. Some of the reason I answer her question larger than I had to was just to shake people. I take advantage of your love for me to tell you that market capitalism is the worst thing that ever happened in history, and I’m happy and ready to argue with anybody about that.
I don’t think it’s too late. I think this young generation may be the last one to have a full life where they can fight it, and so everyone here is right that I’m asking you to join the revolution for loving. Everyone hears that, right? Or I’m not a good communication. But, you know, men, never make a sexist comment again. Never misuse a woman again. Start, make clubs, get creative, get enthusiastic, feel like Jesus, feel like a hero, and go and do it. Yes, it’s possible, because one thing that’s true in my experience of traveling all over the world, I’m not sure there’s anyone who’s hugged more people on this planet than I have, and I’ll tell you people are beautiful. All over the world, in every country, people are beautiful.
But I hate this idea that human nature is greed, human nature is this meanness and this violence and these horrible things that are in this world. This is not human nature. It is human nature to be influenced, and if you offer people television and very bad educational systems, you will educate thinking out of their life. I am sad to report to you I think less than ten percent of adults in the United States ever think. Not one day in the year do I think that what I mean by thinking, they are not doing it, that we have had such a powerful manipulation with television, with our educational system to have a person actually think that watching TV six hours a day is not death. To be excited for some shallow, stupid television family is somehow interesting to people, that we’ve been able to do that, and I keep at this because I do think love can be an influence. I think you’re showing up to me, bringing me here, the three different events that I’ve had, I see attention, it’s 10:10 at night, and still you’re sitting here and listening to strong things.
So I experience it. I experience that you can effect change. You know, all this letter writing that I’ve done, I know I have because I have a stack of fifty thousand letters from nursing, doctor students or social workers or teachers who say because of your work, I’m doing this. So if you’re just starting to decide from this day forward I’m going to be nice, I’m going to radiate disgusting niceness, I’m going to be scary I’m so nice. I’m just going to be loving everywhere and be kind everywhere. I promise you, something can happen.
And the nice thing is you can find it happen the first day. You don’t have to wait a long time. If you’re friendly out in the world, they will be friendly back to you. Everywhere I’ve gone – and I don’t like casually go somewhere, I get out there and attack the population, and they’re beautiful people, and we’d have to turn off our TVs and start saying, “Who am I? Who am I, and what can I do to make a loving world?” And then you notice that your radiance affects people, so if yours affects people, so the people you’re affecting, their radiance is going to affect people, and something can happen.
[Inaudible] revolution – you know, violent revolutions gave revolutions a bad name. Darwin was a revolution. Walt Whitman was a revolution in poetry. There are revolutions in music. There are amazing, astounding revolutions that never hurt anybody. They were great benefits to people. Let’s go out there and get to work. Yeah, baby, yeah. And if you’re feeling worn down, if you’re feeling like you don’t know if you can do it, write me. I will be peppy. I’ll join your team. It’s my job. Somebody else? Yo. Let’s do yo because she’s had a yo for a while, and then you. And yo can [inaudible]. I know we’ve gone over, so you’ll have to tell me get out of here, okay? So we’ll at least do these two people. Okay? Good. Yes.
Female 3: [Speaking Spanish.]
Patch: Oh, no problem. I Espanol.
Female 3: [Speaking Spanish.]
Patch: Well, we can hope that the medical people in the audience heard and that you still have time in your pediatric list residency to practice talking with the kids. You’re right. People don’t know how to talk to people that are different. They think if you don’t speak their language, you can’t speak to them, and I can tell you you can speak a huge amount not even knowing the language. To learn to speak with somebody like Cathy who doesn’t, because of her cerebral palsy, [inaudible] she doesn’t have an ability to speak. So you’re right. By standing up here and having the courage, and I’m sure all the pediatric residents in this room heard you, and let’s hope one of them responds. One of them will remember that however unusual or different your child is, that there’s magic in there, and since I’ve been with many thousands of children like this, there is magic.
When we go clowning, the places that are loved the most by new clowns are places that house many of the most profoundly different children, and they somehow – before then they hadn’t actually stopped to try to make that communication, so as a parent, speak up. Introduce them to your child. Tell them ways that they can play with your child. And speak up friendly. Be friendly, and say, “You know, I was at this talk here at the school, and Patch said for me to speak up, so would you please talk to my child?” And you could create theatre pieces, you could talk to the pediatric staff here and see if there was a mixer kind of thing where people – because if you only have seven minutes, it’s hard, so maybe creating opportunities where you can spend.
We go to a place in Russia where all the children are deaf, dumb, and blind. They also are exhibiting what psychiatrists would call autism or some kind of repetitive, energetic behavior, and when you first go in the room, you can see a dozen children that have no communication with anybody it looks like. And I try to give them an idea how they can go through the maze of trying to find a way to make that communication. You’ve had to do it, and maybe you can get a group of moms with a group of kids and see if there – contact the residency program here and see if there could be a fun picnic where people could journey in that world.
Because, I mean, to change things, you feel the hurt, and I certainly am sure everybody felt her hurt in here. It hurts, because a mother, their child isn’t a disease to the mother. They’re their child, and so you took a lot of bravery, I think, to say what you said, and then you think, “Okay, how can that bridge be made?” And maybe a pediatric resident here will say, “I’m going to make it my life work.” You understand me? And that you never give up. You mention it, you make some [inaudible], and then you try again.
You know, with the hospital rebuilding, it took me sixteen years to get the first donation. I thought it was going to be built by the end of four years. I was sure with my determination I was going to have our hospital in four years. In the 40th year, I started building. Crazy, right? Loco. Loco [inaudible]. Right. You know Don Quixote, right? Who’s read Don Quixote all the way through? That’s a lot of people. Not just the first half.
There’s something about a quest. Get on some quests and make it your dream to integrate with pediatric practice, because one thing I found with profoundly different children is that there’s a journey you can go with them that you cannot go with a normal child and that you can’t invent; it unfolds, and a lot of times it unfolds through their guidance, and you find that words like retarded don’t have any meaning. You find that words like disabled don’t even have any meaning. You find that they are a person, and then what do you do? Yes. And is that it? This guy’s the last one. Remember, you can write me. She’s saying she is the last one. Look how easy you change. And if you want a third one, he probably will change his mind for that. Two absolutely or I’m shot. Alright.
Male 3: Thank you. It was great having you today. You know, most people, we all have this performance anxiety as you noticed, but you’re clearly well beyond that. I know many confident, well-informed, hard-working people who does a fine job, who do their best, and yet they don’t go out there and try to change the world, to start a movement, change the practice of medicine, and [inaudible] revolutionary as you’ve been as to inspire the people and lead a [inaudible] movement –
Patch: Talk into the microphone, because you drift off.
Male 3: Sorry, yes. I was wondering, you had a fairly normal life before, and you had this life crisis, you were depressive and [inaudible], and so do you recall a moment of epiphany? I seem to recall Robin Williams doing this bazooka thing with the mental patients, and then this [inaudible] thing with this guy, but do you recall –
Patch: I get your question.
Male 3: What does it take to be revolutionary, exceptional, selfless person as you’ve been?
Patch: I appreciate – I want to be a little bit of a curveball here. I understand the world could say I’m a selfless person, but I could say I’m a totally selfish person. I do exactly what I want to do all the time. It’s been decades since I did something that I didn’t want to do. I am a giver, and I give my life to things all the time. It is my life, but it’s a very selfish life. You know, I want these things, and I’m going to do them. I think it’s one way to prevent there to be revolutionaries by making people special. Martin Luther King, Ghandi, [inaudible], Jesus Christ, many people in history that they hold up as special, and the truth is we’re not special. We’re hard workers. If you actually look at the lives of them, there are a lot of things that are horrible about them as a person, and that – my life was my father was away fighting wars because America is always at war with somebody, and mother was at home doing the work. My father didn’t know me; he knew war. He was out there doing men things, where the person working was my mother, and she was a school teacher, and she made me the person you like.
The crisis I had was that my mother was not a political person. She was a sweet woman, and so when my father died and I had to face war in a very personal level, and then I had to come back in a country and face that this land of the free did not let black people drink at a drinking fountain or go to the bathroom on a white person’s toilet. My mother didn’t prepare me for that. She prepared me to have an allergic reaction. I mean, my mother says you’re never rude. My mother says you are always fair, and so when I saw unfairness and rudeness, I had an allergic reaction.
My mother was not a political person, and so I didn’t know that you make rebellion. What she did give me was as soon as I decided to make rebellion, I knew I could do it. I didn’t have to develop at all. She made me a person who had self-esteem. I’ve very glad – a lot of people have a heart attack or a cancer diagnosis, and they change their life. I’m really glad I had my problem when I was eighteen, because in the third hospitalization, for whatever reason, it suddenly hit me that I wasn’t a messed up teenager, I wasn’t wanting to kill myself, I wanted a different world, and I thought revolution was out there, that it wasn’t me. And then I said I’m going to do it, and then that was my life. Everything’s been easy since then.
If mother hadn’t given me self-esteem and I wanted to make rebellion, but I didn’t think I could do it because I’m just one person, I don’t know that experience, but I know that we work with a lot of people like that and that they can change. But it’s a copout to think that somebody is special. Nobody in history really is more special than somebody else. They did who they did, and anyone can take their place. You just decide I am going to be this if nobody is that. And you get the privilege unless somebody has talked to you about the next person. Okay, this is it. I’m disappearing.
Female 4: [Speaking Spanish.]
Patch: Well, I want you to be concerned. What’s hollow is to say, “I really wish there wasn’t war,” and then to do nothing. The only reason that I’m concerned is that I would be one of the hands behind you, pushing, because if you know the information, you know you need to work for something, and you’re not, it’s going to hurt you. So it’s either better to have no concern and just live for yourself or have concern and then devote yourself to doing the work that makes you happy and to not got “You’re not doing enough, you’re not doing enough.” That’s garbage. You love that you are concerned, you love that you’re doing something, and you constantly expand where you see that you can expand, and enlist other people, and make a painting that makes people want to do revolution, and these sorts of things.
No, I want you concerned. I want you to act on it. What we have in the United States is a huge amount of people saying, “Oh, I’m really concerned about the hungry.” Okay, how would I know if you’re not doing anything? How would I know that you’re concerned if you’re saying, “Oh, I’m really concerned.”
We have a school called the school for designing a society. We teach revolution, and it was started by my partner, Susan, many years ago, and so we joined the school and Gesundheit about twenty years ago. So we want to teach you to have concern and to get really good at revolution. [Inaudible] revolution. There’s lots of good songs. It’s time again to rise up and to rise up with love and not with violence.
I want to thank my hosts who have taken superb care of me. Give them a big hand. [Inaudible].
I find out that his birthday is in a few weeks. I would be surprised that he lives to his birthday, but I swim in and give him a kiss. And then I have a fish puppet. I put it on his hand. You will eventually see that he can’t hold it up, he must rest it on his chest, and I tell him that his fish and my fish will gossip about a third friend, and you will see that he actually cracks a really funny joke. And somebody had given me a little fish on a keychain, and I tell – I mean, I’m lying – I tell him that it’s a little cellphone, that he can call me anywhere in the world and I will be there for him. So you’ll see that it actually isn’t something that takes any training to do. So let’s try it.
And somewhere during this, I’m going to ask you to keep it running but turn off the sound. There’s the mother. Keep it running, but turn down the sound. Great. The last scene I’m going to show you on this tape is from an orphanage. I think I mentioned that I’ve probably been in over 2,000 orphanages. They always break my heart. I can’t believe that we do not take care of the children. I have been in orphanages that hell cannot be worse, and the Russians are some of the worst. And people have told me, “Patch, what does it matter? You drive up to an orphanage once a year, and you spend two hours in the orphanage, and maybe make them more sad after you leave than good that you were there.” And I understand that, but I have to say that I’m not sure we go to the same orphanages.
You’re going to see me leaving an orphanage with a young girl who for many years when we drive up on the bus, she is right there – by the way, this is my older son – that we drive up and she comes and grabs my hand, and we have two hours of [inaudible] together, and you will see us, the parting, and see at least what it means to me. We can turn up the sound now. You don’t have to be a good skipper as a clown. Okay, that’s enough. Great.
Okay, now I want to say a few more things about care. We can turn off the films. The word care is in crisis in the United States. Probably the word most associated with it is burden. The burden of care. The burden of our elderly, the burden of our poor, the burden of our mentally ill, the burden of our disabled, the burden of our environment, that anytime you have to spend any time caring for something it’s a burden. It’s a duty. It’s not an ecstatic, joyful thing. We’re trying to change that.
It’s interesting in our language – language is so unusual – you take the words give and take. They seem so different, but if you add care to them in English, you have a caregiver, a caretaker, and they’re the same thing. Maybe there’s an implication, and we certainly believe this, that care is bidirectional. That we think that care is an essential human need. In order to be fully human, you need to be caring. That whatever discomfort you may be feeling, make sure that there’s a part of your life that clearly is caring. We think it’s an essential human need and that it is bidirectional, that everyone talks about how Mother Theresa helped the poor of Calcutta, but they don’t talk about how the poor of Calcutta helped Mother Theresa.
I am glad that people have thought I have been caring of them, but I’m real clear that they have been caring of me. That you can see if you look in our society people caring for their parents with Alzheimer’s or caring for their children who are totally disabled, and there’s no burden. It looks like they’re having the best possible life imaginable. This is a possibility.
It’s interesting; we have a phrase in English, “I couldn’t care less.” We also have a phrase, “I could care less,” so grammatically, we’re confused. If you’re an English student, you might wonder which is correct: I couldn’t care less or I could care less. I’ll tell you. It’s I couldn’t care less. What’s interesting is that it’s usually said from a position of strength. I couldn’t care less. Meaning that of all the levels of care, they couldn’t care less than they are caring, and they’re feeling good about that. That’s how dumb some of our population is. We need to care to be human. It is not a duty; it is a privilege. It is a chance to be the ultimate expression of your humanity.
Okay. We have some time for questions or comments, arguments. I am completely open. I have no privacy, so if you dare say it or ask it, I’m ready for you. I also see that there are more people tonight using the interpreter, and so if I had the ability to understand Spanish – alright. Perfect. Isn’t the interpreter doing a great job? They mean well. If you don’t ask questions, I recite poetry. I know four hours of poetry by heart. The interpreter will not try to translate it. You saved us. English or Spanish?
Male 1: Spanish.
Male 1: [Speaking in Spanish.]
Patch: Have you had this fear? I’m curious how you recognized it. But you’re calling it fear. You’re a medical –
Male 1: Student.
Patch: Student. You know, I think it’s very normal when you enter medicine, you’re thinking, “Oh my god, I’ve got to – life and death is in my hands. I’m going into medicine. There’s so much stuff to learn. What if I don’t know the right thing and kill the patient? What if I don’t ask the right question? Was I friendly enough? Was I too friendly? Was I professional? Was I unprofessional?” All of those things are going around in your head as a medical student, and that’s true everywhere.
In my world, those are indications for you to invite thinking into your life. It’s very helpful in medicine to do a lot of self-examination. Who am I? The profession of medicine has a series of tests and internships to put you to a point to where you can hopefully feel that you know the right technical parts of medicine. Proper diagnoses, proper treatment. I’m not sure that’s what you’re talking about in this question. I think you are talking about that. Okay.
One reason that I always worked with a group of doctors is I like a group of us to tackle a medical situation. I like having more than one voice, because it is complicated. It’s much more complicated when you’re in school than it was when I was in school, and so having – I think one of the first things that’s really important for a medical student or a resident, a physician to do is that if it isn’t totally clear to you, reach out. Reach out to doctors and reach out to nurses. Nurses saved my life as an intern much more than doctors did. And I say that, they saved my life much more than doctors did.
So I think if it’s a force that drives you to be diligent in your studies so that you do learn the information – and it’s interesting, no matter how long you’ve been a doctor, they say you’re practicing medicine, so maybe all your life you’re in practice rather than, “Well, I’ve got it down.” You’re always in practice, that it’s important to keep up with what is happening in medicine, that these forces, these fears – so if you stay caught up, if you are comfortable to calling other friends to help you, if you are past all the examinations, the technical part of medicine should be pretty straightforward. The fears can go away.
If you start caring for a patient, you may have fears more having to do with personality, and that’s why I suggest doctors not to be hierarchical, not to feel separate, not to feel – I don’t like the idea of professional distance. I think that’s an excuse not to be intimate. But I was told to be not so emotionally involved with my patients. Why would I go into medicine if I didn’t want to be emotionally involved? I mean, that’s only my own point of view. But that one nice thing in pediatrics, these friends I’ve met today who are graduating, they had three years. They had medical school, and then they had three years to practice being comfortable, and then they go, “Oh, I’m still not comfortable,” maybe they’ll go into a specialty and have three or four more years of, “Oh boy, I get to work with other people. Whew.”
So at some point you dive in and say, “I’m going to welcome, I’m ready to receive patients,” and you’re ready to use a phone and say, “Can you help me?” That’s why you get close to your classmates, you get close to the people in your residency, you make friends along the way so that you have – and you don’t feel that it’s a loss of your intelligence or your position to reach out, because there are people I can remember in medical school, students that made big mistakes because they didn’t want someone to think they didn’t know something. You know, be the dumbest student in your class. That’s what I was. Being a person who says, “I’d like some help.”
And then you just dive in. You know, the fear early on is to help make you really set your course for good relationships, diligent study, keeping current with information, and then you – as a student you’ll feel very different. Sometimes as an intern you already feel like you’re a doctor, that you’re ready to be a doctor, but by the end of your residency – who’s finishing their pediatric residency? Okay, leave your hands up, okay? And this is a time to be really honest. Who thinks by the end of this year, you’re going to be ready to go out there and be a pediatrician? Keep your hand up. Don’t look back there. I think they were from another group. Now, come on. Wait just a second. Okay, you’ve disproved me here. Did anyone leave their hand up? Aren’t you in charge of these residents? Is that right?
Okay, then I want – here, let’s give the microphone – you say what is it going to take between now and the time you finish to feel that? And you can be asking that question yourself. The ones that didn’t raise their hand. Okay, these two here, they didn’t. They put their hands down quickly. Yeah. Tell this medical student what you’re missing in your third year of residency. [Inaudible]. That’s not a dirty word, is it? Okay. Does anyone want to say? Okay, forget those people. Maybe they’re humble.
I’ll tell you, I only did one year after medical school. I’m a general practitioner, because there was so many ethical compromises, and working in an American hospital, I couldn’t do it. I couldn’t work around rude doctors. I couldn’t. The amount of rudeness, 90 percent of the doctors were rude, arrogant pricks, and I couldn’t work around them. They were telling me to be a different person than I am, and then one day in my internship I said, “I know enough.” You know, I’m never going to be a super subspecialist. I’m a family primary care doctor, and that I know enough, and I know enough to look up in a book if I’m scared or make a phone call, and that I was ready. I never looked back on it. I’m not sorry. I am glad I quit the residency because I couldn’t, you know, too many assholes. I know there are none here, but there are a lot in the United States.
And so you have to come to grip, you know, in the same way when you’re dating somebody you have to come to grips. Am I ready to date? Are you looking at her? Are you dating? Is he ready to date? Okay, you don’t have to answer. But I mean, with everything, you wonder am I ready to play [inaudible]? I’ve been practicing for one year. Am I ready? And whatever it is you’re wondering am I ready, am I ready, everyone’s going to have their own – what I don’t recommend is that you don’t have a big judge going, “You’re never enough. You’re never enough. You’re –“ you know, have good judges. Have relaxed judges that care about you and they care about you being a good doctor. I don’t know you, but I trust – just seeing you here this evening, you’re going to be a wonderful doctor. You’re going to really care about your patients.
And we make mistakes, you know? If every doctor was honest, we make mistakes every day. When you only have eight minutes with a patient, you make a mistake every single time with a patient because you don’t have time to ask all the right questions. You don’t have time to comfort them. So every day, all day long you make mistakes as a doctor. You apologize, and you go to your books and you try to learn. Well, you go to the internet now, probably, and work with a group. I always work with other doctor friends and nurse friends and just say, “Let’s all talk and see what’s happening.” Oh, you residents, put your hands down. Make them do another year, okay?
Just what is it? What is it about – all of them put their hands down. There’s something important here in what they’re saying, and it’s not about the training here at the hospital. There’s something really uncomfortable to me in thinking that you are six months away from completing your residency, and – oh, eight months. Yeah, that extra two months will help. So you’re eight months away from your pediatric residency being over, and you’re not sure you’ll be ready. Can’t one of you say, “I’m going to be ready?” Okay. Next question. Okay.
Male 2: Let me try to practice my English. First, I am thankful with you, with your message, and with the organizers of this conference. It’s very interesting for me. I’m a pediatrician. I’m actually working in the world of [inaudible] for patients. That’s the field that I am interested just now. I am really happy to be listening what are you saying to us today here.
Really, I want to make you many questions, but I may maybe just think one or two, so you are have trouble for many countries [inaudible] the world. I have seen many places, and first of all, I want to know have you ever find someplace where people in hospitals and medicine used to play with children, the doctors used to [inaudible], or maybe it’s similar [inaudible] that many times doctors don’t have difficult to play with children to have [inaudible] attitude with them.
And the second question is you have made a very political position about care, a philosophical one, and what do you think about healthcare reform and what your work has to do with that [inaudible].
Patch: Okay, that was that opinion. Okay, thank you. You know, it’s interesting now in the United States, there’s a degree you can get in college called child life specialist. You actually can get a master’s degree. When I grew up, that was called a playmate. Child life specialist. What I don’t like about that in the same way that I don’t like that – when the hospital has a clown group that comes in, maybe they think we don’t have to be playful and funny. Maybe when they have a child life specialist, they think we don’t have to play with the children.
I haven’t found a happy hospital in the world. I’ve looked, I’ve challenged. I keep thinking somebody is going to show me one. I will be very happy, but I haven’t found one. I haven’t found a place where people feel the doctors are having enough time with their patients. And you know, when you don’t have enough time, it’s like let’s say you’re a single mother with three children, and you’re working two jobs because you’re not getting any help from the father. Basically, your mother job is cleaning the house, cleaning the clothes, cooking the foods, making sure they have breakfast, immunizations, and the first thing that goes is play. It’s not held in high regard. I would say even there’s a lot that would say it’s unprofessional to play, unprofessional to be funny as a doctor, unprofessional to hug your patients, to kiss your patients, to be vulnerable, to cry with your patients.
So that ethic is out there all over the world, and there are people trying to defend that idea. It sounds like you’re trying to break down that idea. So I don’t know places where doctors are well known for playing on the floor and enjoying their life on the [inaudible], and I don’t know how many thousands of hospitals I’ve worked in – many, many – and I’ve not seen that happen. I have seen individual doctors and nurses take a break and enjoy what we’re doing, and look like they’re natural in doing it.
I mean, one of the reasons that we have created our hospital is that we wanted a funny hospital. We wanted a loving hospital. We wanted a hospital where there was no power over. No one was the boss. And we’ve kept to those dreams a long time because we thought it was valuable to show one in action, and when we show one in action, they’ll see that one of the reasons that doctors will work for practically no money is because of that climate, because of working in a playful environment, an environment where you have time with the patients and that sort of thing. And I don’t know anywhere where that’s become the nation’s or a particular hospital’s style.
They have this thing called patient-centered care. It sounds good on paper. I don’t know many places that have taken that idea very far. Sometimes they feel they’ve taken it very far if on pediatrics they wear colorful clothes. So there’s a long way to go, and I’ve known medical students and residents who were kicked out of school for being unprofessional, and when I get their letters full of tears and they tell me what they did, they were just trying to be human. And so what a weird thing that in our profession, which is a profession of humanism, of care, of being people with people at their most vulnerable moments, that somehow we’re supposed to keep a distance from that.
But there are a lot of things in this society that are weird to me, and so I’m going to guess that they’re also weird to you. Let’s change them. Oh, yes.
Female 1: In your career, I’m sure you have to – you break all the rules, all the normal rules. I would like to know what has been the biggest challenge that you have faced throughout your career.
Patch: The biggest challenge. You know, I don’t actually have any personal challenges. Once I decided at 18 to make me, I’ve just been making me. I mean, the challenges I face are the most horrible challenges. I come from the number one terrorist nation. My country has murdered a million Iraqis. I feel I know what it must have been like to live in Germany in 1934. You know, when I look at the political structure of our nation, you know, the homeland security patriot act [inaudible] six of the ten bill of rights. Americans don’t even know what the bill of rights are.
I watch people on TV say things I can’t believe this is my nation. You know, I have a passport. If I could, I’d burn it right here on the stage. There’s no more meaning for countries. The 20th century was the last century of countries. It’s transnational corporations now. I mean, for me, the worst thing that ever happened in history is market capitalism. Market capitalism is destroying everything, and it has an ethic around it that allows it, and it owns the TV stations so it sells this idea to children.
So I try to wonder, given the millions of things we could study, the huge numbers of things we could be doing with our life, how is it that anyone has time to sit down on the couch how many days a week to watch multi-millionaires play with their balls? Sports. I mean, if you don’t think [inaudible], you have been tricked. When you sit down and watch multi-millionaires play with their balls and think you’re engaged in some way, I’m sorry. You know, we are destroying our environment at a level that is embarrassing. We’re still debating in the United States about global warming because we can have a snowstorm.
We are working a lot trying to stop child sexual slavery. 20 to 50 million men a day have sex with a child in sexual slavery. 20 to 50 million every day. So when you ask me about challenges, those are challenges to me. I don’t have any challenges. I don’t think I’ve had a challenge in my adult life. I’ve had a lot of opportunities, but for the young people in this audience, nothing I read says you have any hope to reach my age.
Now, where in human society is there a mandate to be loving? And certainly the loudest in history has come from the religions. What is Christ’s message? Get off your butt and love people. It’s maybe not exactly that quote, but postmodern Christ. And Buddha? You know, be compassionate. The highest calling of your god, if you have one, is to be loving. It’s free. You can have nothing and be great for your god. It actually is true of all the faiths, of all the spiritual paths. The cornerstone of them is to be loving, to be a loving person, and so – now, this is really dangerous – when you are caring, if you’re a Christian – hold your seat – you are Christ.
If you study Christ, you know that’s what he wants. He wants you to be him. He never wants you to worship him. Oh, nice guy over there. He wants you off your butt and out there serving love on the front line. And so now you’re a caregiver, and you are a hero, and you’re Christ? And you’re burned out? I’m a hero. I’m Christ. It’s nervous, you know, it takes you a while to get comfortable. Is there a Christian here that would disagree? Christ wants you to be him, and so does your mother. If she was nice and loving, she wants you to be her. You know, they don’t want a big plaque on the wall, “Jesus is a nice guy.” He wants you to be the nice guy, and all you have to be to be the peak of your faith is to be loving. Piece of cake. So feel how hard it is to be burned out. You love people, you are a hero to save the world, and you are the expression of your faith. Might as well stop there. Goodnight.
But there’s more. Whoa, there’s more? Yes. Number four on my list is an Eastern concept. It’s called karma. The West has problems with understanding karma. On the surface it looks like banking, right? I drove you to the airport yesterday; you have to drive me to the airport today. That is not karma. Karma actually is what I call in English a kinda thing. It means if you’re a good person, you’re going to kinda get good back, and if you’re a stinky person, you’re going to kinda get stinky back. It doesn’t mean if you’re a great human being you can’t walk out and get run over by a car. That’s not the karma that we’re talking about.
When my mother was dying, the choice was nursing home or with me. That’s no choice. Everything I like about me she made, and so I’m going to take care of her the last part of her life. She’s going to come live with me. Both of my sons, who are 34 and 23, they work with me cheap. Now, it’s hard in the United States these days to get your children to work with you, especially cheap, and it’s karma. They love me; I love them. We like what we do. Karma is when we went to Cambodia, Angelina Jolie gave us 50 thousand dollars to start our work there, and it wasn’t because I’m a really handsome devil. I tried that; that didn’t work, and then no. When the tsunami happened in Italy, an Italian family gave us 50 thousand dollars to go there right away. They just trusted us; they knew we would do something that they liked.
I chose very early in my life to own nothing, to have no property, no safety net, and it’s karma that gives that feeling to me. I don’t have to worry. If I didn’t have a place to stay tonight, I would wager one of you would let me stay in your house, and I feel that. I don’t go, “Well, yeah, that’s a little arrogant.” No, I actually know that if you’re a loving person, you can find a place to stay. Karma is a beautiful experience. If you go through life being nice and wonderful – we were talking about this in the car – if you just go through life and just everywhere you go you spread joy and kindness, you’re going to get a huge amount of good stuff back. A huge amount.
And it’s not why you do it. That’s what so interesting about karma. You don’t do something to get something back. It’s just one of the beautiful things about it. Your relationship with yourself, if you’re good to yourself, if you’re not punishing yourself with a lot of language – I’m no good, I’m too short, I’m not smart enough, I’m not pretty enough – that’s karma to yourself, so you’re going to feel lousy because you’re setting up lousy karma. But if you run around going, “I’m beautiful. Aren’t I nice? Yes,” that’s going to affect your immune system. That’s going to affect all of your life. It’s going to affect your relationship with your partner, because if you think I’m no good, how are we going to have a good relationship? You’re always going to think there’s something going wrong.
So karma’s a beautiful thing. You have no idea the richness that comes to you. All day long I’ve been receiving karma from my hosts who have treated me so sweetly and kindly that it’s a big and meaningful thing to me that people are kind. And yet it’s never talked in the business part of the news as an asset. I promise you if you want to be rich, be loving, be kind, be playful. Do it everywhere, and it’ll be scary how rich you are.
Number five on my list – and this is a real thrilling part of life. I think as we understand neuroscience more and more, we will understand that one of the greatest forces in life is living in the force of creativity. To care is a chance to be creative. In medical school, I wasn’t really taught to be a doctor; I was taught to be a technician. It’s hard to be a doctor in seven minutes. You can do technical things, but actually knowing a human being and having them know you is very different. Know what I had no education in? No one told me that most families were dysfunctional. I’m a family doctor; I didn’t get one lecture on healthy family, and yet almost every family that I sat there and spent four hours with, I went, “Whoa. You call that family?”
You know, in those four hour interviews, I found that less than three percent of the people I interviewed had self-esteem, so that meant that three percent of the adult population from my series has self-esteem. What does that mean, to live a live without self-esteem? I found less than five percent had a day to day vitality for life. Yay life! Yeah, baby! Come on. In fact, I found a normal adult didn’t like themselves, didn’t like their marriage, and didn’t like their job, and that wasn’t why they were coming to the doctor.
Now, what can a doctor do about those things? You want to figure out – maybe we have seven or eight minute interviews so that we don’t have to deal with the really complicated parts of people’s lives. You know, the father beats the mother twice a month. Gets drunk, beats the mother. Very normal West Virginia. Never mentioned in medical school. What kind of creativity do you need as a caring person to stop domestic violence? Is there any domestic violence in Mexico? Lots, right? So, you know, it’s not actually that creative to treat strep throat. You do the throat culture, it comes back positive, you give an antibiotic. You can almost do that as a vending machine.
But when you can see in the US, if an unhappy housewife goes to the doctor, she’s going to get an antidepressant instead of something good for her, because that antidepressant is never good for her. She needs an exploration into healthy relationships, and to work together to try to have a healthy relationship. She’s not mentally ill; she’s showing that her marriage sucks. And this chance to be creative.
Okay, there’s an abundance of food. If we took all the food we threw away today that we didn’t eat from the food we had, that might have saved some lives of Mexicans who will die today of hunger. How can we be creative enough to end hunger, to end all of the problems of the world? Since no country has ever been safe to women, what kind of creativity will it take to make a country safe to women? Whoa. What a thought. It’s going to take a lot of creativity, and we haven’t had it yet. And that’s the thrilling part of caring, because the more you care, you wonder.
Your mother’s getting Alzheimer’s. Now, the easy thing, of course, if you have money, is to put her in a nursing home, but did that mother work for you all of her life and give you love? Do you want to find a way to have her come and live with you and not have it hurt your marriage? And these are some of the really creative directions of healthcare: how to care for people.
We can’t figure out in the richest nation of the world how to have healthcare for everybody. No matter how hard we look like we’re working, we haven’t figured out even basic healthcare needs for our population. Where we’ve figured out how to have a hospital operate at ten percent of the cost, and that’s creativity. Eliminate 90 percent of the cost by making it a communal Eco village model celebrating care. And again, I think creativity is one of the greatest psycho- neuro- immunological highs you can have in your life, whether it’s creating how you are as a person, creating how you are as a cook, as an artist, as a physician. It’s a beautiful thing to be in that creative process.
And related to that, number six on my list is – whoa, it’s a chance to be enthusiastic. [Inaudible]. Crazy. You know, if I wasn’t embarrassed from my singing, I would break out in dream the impossible dream, right the unrightable wrong, bear with unbearable sorrow, run where the brave dare not go.
Some of the hardest stuff for me to do is to hold starvation in my arms. I’ve held maybe 2,000 children dying of starvation, and it is hell. I don’t have any way to get rid of the memory of it. And I think we have enough food, we just – and food is cheap. I think one ballplayer in the United States, one famous person who uses a ball makes enough money over and above what they need for their million dollar mansion to create a foundation so that no child would ever die of hunger. One ballplayer.
It’s not interesting yet. The enthusiasm – if I thought if I just did these ten things that no woman would ever be abused again, I would do those ten things. What is it, is it really ten thousand things that we have to do? I don’t know. They’ve never been safe, so we don’t know yet what a safe society for women would be. Let the enthusiasm to try to do it – if you feel that you are losing some of your energy, your enthusiasm for life, tackle something hard. The great English sculptor Henry [inaudible], when he was in his eighties, was asked, as people that are in their eighties that are famous often are, “What is the meaning of life, the purpose of life?” And he said, “The purpose of life is to have a task, something you devote your entire life to, every minute of the day for the rest of your life. And the most important thing is it must be something you cannot possibly do.”
So creativity, enthusiasm. Now, these are great medicines. If you can find your own way to make creativity in everything that you do and to bring enthusiasm to what you do, you will see yourself infect environments. And the seventh reason why care is good for me is for the actual truth that it is good for you. It’s scientifically proven that to be loving and fun is good for you. But don’t believe the research; do your own research.
Okay. I want you to do two months of research with me. And I don’t have any electronic equipment, and I know you can do this on your own little iPhone or whatever you have, or you can write it down, which would be my style. I want you to keep a journal for two months. The first month, don’t care about anything, okay? You wake up with your partner and you go, “Oh, no. Maybe if I have some coffee.” You go into the bathroom, you look into the mirror. “Oh, you again?” And just all through your day, don’t care. Butt in line, push people out of the way. Don’t care about anything strictly scientifically. You know, write down how did it do waking up that way. You know, just don’t care and keep notes as to its effect on you, your not caring. You know, don’t care at work. Just really get good at not caring universally so you can do a scientific study; that’s the purpose. And write down how do you feel about it all, how was it for you, not caring.
And then the next month, care like crazy, okay? You wake up with your partner, and you call in sick, and take the rest of the day off, ‘cause you can’t believe you’re so lucky to have this person next to you. You walk into the bathroom, you look in the mirror. And all through the month, you are opening the door, and you have a problem getting into the building you’re holding the door so long. And just everywhere that you see a glimmer of possibility, you’re caring. And write it down. How did I feel? How did I do? How’s my relationship? How are my children? How am I with myself? I mean, you can look at the immune system. You can look at the studies.
One of the most important books I think I’ve read in my last ten years was by a professor at the University of Chicago, John [inaudible], a book on loneliness. It is the research using MRIs, CAT scans of what it actually is to be lonely, and I really recommend anyone in the healthcare profession to really look at the research of the hell that loneliness is. The research is overwhelming, and it is crushing. We have to make friends.
And you know, if you start observing where ever you go, look for care. Look for something you just notice in a store, the way a parent and a child are stopping shopping and playing with a box that’s on the floor or watching two old, disabled people walking and taking turns helping the other one just get down the street. Keep an eye on where you see care. A person choosing to throw the trash in the trashcan rather than on the ground. Little gestures. Notice how you feel when you see those things, and notice languages of care as you start having that be something you notice. Notice nursing stations. Notice teams in where ever you work in your medical work. How are they working? Where is care influencing the team? It’s good stuff, care.
I want to show you some films. Is my film person back there? Hold up a thumb. I want to introduce – I’m going to show you a few scenes. Oh, great. The first scene is from [inaudible], Peru. It’s in a park in [inaudible]. We’ve done many trips to Peru, and as much as I love to clown in institutions, I love to clown in public. Just go out, go to a park, cause trouble. And because I’m so interested in care, when I’m clowning, I’m clowning, but I’m also looking for suffering. Suffering has faces. You can see and learn to read the faces of suffering, and so I’m looking.
I’m clowning, and I’m looking around to see what I can see, and in this day in [inaudible], I was clowning, and I noticed a young woman in a wheelchair. Can we hold it for a second, stop? Great. Thank you. I noticed the woman in a wheelchair whose face was on her knees, and I watched this for about fifteen, twenty minutes. And it’s a beautiful sunny day, there was music in the park, there’s every reason for her to be alert and enjoying, but she wasn’t. Her face was on her knees, and so I was wondering why was that? Maybe she was tired. Maybe she was sleeping. She partied last night. Unlikely. Maybe she was orthopedically frozen in this position. If you’ve been in chronic institutions of disabled people, I am amazed at the shapes we can end up being in permanently. But I think it was that third reason that concerns me a lot in our society, and it has to do with our very narrow definition of what beauty is.
What is beautiful? This foolish little definition of beauty has become a multi multi-million dollar a year industry, in cosmetics, in Botox injections and facelifts, the issues around anorexia and bulimia. All of the pain we have in a very narrow definition of beauty. Old people can’t be beautiful in this definition. But there’s a very narrow definition, and in this kind of situation, you have to ask yourself, what is it like to be hideously ugly? I’m not talking a pimple or a scar; I’m talking your face burned off. I’m talking profound acne, acne vulgaris. I’m talking birth defects, accidents. And I told you that when I’m with a patient, I ask them very sensitive questions, so when I’ve had a patient who was hideously ugly, I asked them what it was like to be hideously ugly.
It sounds like a horrible question, but the truth is no one had ever asked them. It’s the elephant in the room. Everybody knows it’s an issue, but nobody ever wants to talk about it, ever. And so they were thrilled finally to talk to somebody about themselves being hideously ugly, and I heard the saddest stories I’ve ever heard. The saddest stories are the life they live where everywhere they go in public, they are a nightmare. They actually see the nightmare. They look in somebody’s eyes, and before that person has a chance to respond compassionately, their face shows their ugliness. They can stare at them. They can have a face of repugnance, and they live in great fear that some child will point and go, “Mommy, what’s wrong with that person?”
And there isn’t anything wrong with that person. We have a narrow definition of beauty. You know, beauty is a much bigger word than what you look like in a photograph in a magazine, a much bigger word. And I think that was – her name is Cathy. My style in clowning is I never ask permission; I invade, you’ll see, pretty aggressively, their space. I’m never in a hurry. This was about a forty-five minute exchange. And Cathy has cerebral palsy. It is not usual in cerebral palsy that you don’t speak, but there are a certain number of children who don’t, and she’s one of the people with cerebral palsy who doesn’t have the use of language.
Okay, let’s show it. Can we get the lights for detail? Turned on the lights. I want to give you an idea in case you decide to do this. Notice I’m paying absolute attention. Nothing else exists but Cathy. I am touching her throughout. I am caressing her. I have no concern if she ever smiles or laughs. It’s not important to me at all. It is important that I engage. For example, here I am doing a clown neurological exam. It might interest you that have no idea what I’m doing. I’m just not afraid to be up close and personal. Again, nothing exists but Cathy. I’m also saying I love you, te quiero. Te quiero, amiga.
Can we have some sound on this? Finally, after all that time, you see that she did smile after pulling the nose away. But it really doesn’t matter. Another very difficult thing for people who are disabled, in this case especially neurologically, you will see Cathy drool, and drooling is socially unacceptable, and so you will see that she’s embarrassed for drooling. She interrupts her fun, she’s drooling here. She’s very slow to respond, but she is embarrassed, and I, of course, don’t care, so I say don’t worry about it, but still, even with her left hand, she tries to stop it. And I show her drool on me, I love drool. I love drool. And I’m constantly telling her I love you, and caressing her. So you actually see Cathy’s a beautiful woman. She’s just looking for somebody to pay attention to her. It’s devastating for people who people don’t pay attention to.
Okay, I think that’s enough for this one. Let’s go to number ten. But let me introduce it. Next I’m going to show you this situation I had of relieving pain in a hospital that had no pain medicine was very strong for me. Don’t start it yet. When I saw the power that what we were doing to relieve suffering, I started, especially in poor hospitals, to say when I went to the hospital, “Please give me the patients who are suffering the most. Please tell me who is hurting the most,” that I want to go there to them. And this young boy, Sasha, happened to be this visit of that question.
The situation of Sasha is that right before we entered the room, the mother was told after a third brain operation for a tumor that the son would die very soon. It’s the worst experience in the world for a mother. There is nothing that is a close second. And this was her only child. I walked in the room. I saw her standing at the window. She was standing and being in a way that I’ve seen all over the world, that moment of facing the loss of your child and what that means, and she gestured that she did not want clowning, and of course we respected it, but she didn’t say to not clown for her son, and so we went over there and clowned.
And his story was he had come back from his third surgery, and like a lot of children, adults do this also, when their death is near, especially from something like cancer, they move away from society, and so it’s not uncommon as he did, he didn’t eat, he didn’t drink, he didn’t take his medicine, and he didn’t really interact with people. He had checked out, and maybe his mother let us play with him because she thought he wouldn’t do anything.
We stayed an hour and a half. The first fifty minutes, the mother did not join us. She did see him eat and drink and take his medicine. She also saw him play a game of football and a very strange game of baseball, and so she joined us for the last forty minutes. And you’re going to see just a little segment. I don’t know if the interpreter can hear the sound on the screen. You’ll see that basically, it’s really stupid things. It doesn’t take a training; it just takes a doing.
see the video here: http://vimeo.com/21937548
Male: Patch Adams.
Patch: Thank you. So many clowns. Maybe we should just go out and clown in Mexico City. Great. Buenos noches. I must use the few words of Spanish that I know, so I can say something. Thank you for coming. I see a lot of new faces from this afternoon. But before I start, I tell all my audiences that I answer all my mail. I’ve never used a computer; I don’t know how to use a computer. Never had a cell phone. But I can tell you that in order to find my address, you have to go to my website. I’m sorry. Patchadams.org. I don’t know how to get to our website, so I’ve never been there, but I know my address is there on a post office box. I write four to six hundred letters by hand every month. I’ve done it for all my adult life. I’m caught up, so if you write me and you have a nice clear return address, I answer your letter. If you like to wrestle with ideas or if you have big dreams for a better world or you want to argue, I’m there for you if you need a friend.
Tonight’s talk is called the joy of caring. It’s one of the talks I’ve given for my entire lecturing life, which is almost thirty years. When I started to go lecturing, I wondered what did I have to offer. And my profession, the healing arts, is a profession that people expect to burn out in. Burn out is an epidemic problem in the medical profession. I even heard today that a lot of the pediatric residents were depressed, and so this lecture was created as a burn out prevention lecture, because I know it is impossible for me to burn out. I will die, but I will not burn out, and I think anyone can prevent burning out if they at least hear what I say, and not necessarily follow it, but find their own journey to celebrating life and not burning out.
How I will shape the evening is I will describe two kinds of work that I do, the medical work and the clowning work, to show that I feel I have the right to speak about caring, since my whole life is about caring, and then I will be a pep talk for care and say what it is about care that makes me so happy, and then I will show some films about care, and a few more things, and then questions. So relax and enjoy yourself. Right? You’re relaxed? Some of you had dinner? Great.
So I’m going to describe our medical work. If you were here this afternoon, you will hear some repeated information, but it’s a good idea, and sometimes it’s good to hear ideas twice. My [inaudible] has been unique to the United States in that in forty years of medicine I never made any more. My entire life in medicine, I have been free. It was a political act to show that care, loving care, giving, is another way to think of yourself as being rich. That it is not just having money that makes you rich; that having meaning can make you rich.
I went to medical school as a political activist. I wanted to do my part to change our global society. I think we’re in big trouble, and so I entered medical school with the idea to study healthcare delivery. With a lot of reading and a lot of interviewing, with the idea to create a hospital that answers every problem of the way healthcare is delivered, not as the answer, but as simply an example that answers are possible. We are doing ours. What is your fantasy?
All over the world, I have been and lectured in seventy countries’ medical schools, and many of those countries, many of their medical schools, and correspond with medical people in 120 countries, and nowhere do people like their hospital. Nowhere do people love and feel that they are practicing medical in a vibrant, vital, sweet community, that they hate going home to because they love the practice of medicine.
And so when I graduated in 1971, I started the Gesundheit hospital, and we – no one gave us a hospital, and we didn’t have any money, so we used what we had: 20 adults, 3 of us medical doctors, and our children moved into a large 6 bedroom house and said we were a hospital. We were open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week for all manner of medical problems from birth to death. We ran it for 12 years. We had 500 to 1,000 people in our home each month with 5 to 50 overnight guests a night, so I’m sure you can picture 6 bedrooms with 20 adults and their children already living there, and five to 50 overnight guests a night. If you realize that many of those guests are needy and lonely and lonely and needy, anxious, troubled, you can imagine the intensity of this living environment. There was never any place to be by yourself. There was always on top of each other.
We had 15,000 people in our home in this period. 3,000 had profound mental health histories, and we chose at our beginning to never give any psychiatric medicine for anything because we wanted to explore non-pharmaceutical mental healthcare, and so our house was almost always full of, I would say, extreme craziness. We had one rule, and that was no physical violence. You could act any way you wanted to. You could take off your clothes and scream loud, dirty words, and we would fit it into theatre. It was a very fascinating experiment. Our idea was to make it all free, and it wasn’t just free for poor people. We wanted to eliminate the idea of debt in the medical interaction. We never wanted anyone to think they owed money. We wanted them to be excited they belonged to community and their community takes care of them. We also had nothing to do with medical insurance because they have a tremendous control of the way healthcare is delivered in the United States. It’s also a very expensive system, and I never heard anyone say anything nice about it.
The thing that has probably been the most difficult to raise money is that we’re the only medical group in the United States to refuse to carry malpractice insurance. In the United States, you are required to carry malpractice insurance. Some doctors pay over 100,000 dollars a year in malpractice insurance, and we said we need the right to make a mistake, and so we’ve never been sued. We’ve made millions of mistakes.
One of the biggest concerns all over the world is not having enough time with patients, both from the staff’s point of view and from the patient and their family’s point of view, and so as a family doctor, my first interview with a patient is four hours long. Really intense four hours. I ask every question sensitive to life. I want to know you better at the end of those four hours than anybody knows you. I don’t shy from asking the most personal questions, and if I see anything strange, I ask more. I also insisted that I visited the home of all of my patients. I visited their homes, I invited myself to dinner. I snooped around the house. I opened every drawer, went in every closet. I was like Sherlock Holmes. Because you asked me to be your doctor, I wanted to – when I reflected on what it is you’re asking – I wanted to know you, I wanted to have some idea. I wanted to have us love each other, to have a love for each other that in that kind of context, great medicine can happen, especially at a death bed or at an intractable pain or chronic unsolved medical problems.
We also integrated all of the healing arts, the only hospital in the US to do that, so we were, even though it was against the law when we started, we had been, for forty years, involved in acupuncture and homeopathy and [inaudible] and chiropractic and many, many other things.
We also taught social change. We realized we come from a country that doesn’t have much political, economic, or social intelligence, and I think that’s obvious to anyone who takes a close look at us, and so we were a constant educational environment for understanding human community.
And no one gave us a donation in those twelve years. Not one little grubby donation. It was a very bad record. In fact, I had 1,400 foundation rejections. Another very bad record, and so not only did our staff make no money, they had to work an outside job to pay to practice medicine. This is what I’ve done for forty years. I pay to be a doctor, and I say that without any sense of sacrifice or long and hard journey or difficult task. That is a bunch of [inaudible]. The unencumbered practice of care is an ecstatic experience worth paying to do.
And we pretty much did it all the time. There were no breaks from it. It was our home. The patients were in our home. Get to work. An interesting thing is our first nine years, nobody left, even though it was incredibly intense, dangerous. My closest friend in medical school was murdered by one of our patients. Nobody left, and I think I mentioned it this afternoon that I think the main reason is that we were the first silly hospital in history. We made everything funny. It was also really tender and experimental, and so there was always theatre going on, always farming. We were farmers from the very beginning, and just very complicated exploration, and all of this made for an experiment that people wanted to stay in.
When we finished after 12 years to focus our attention to raise money to build our fantasy hospital, we realized that we couldn’t just raise money, that we had to do something that was for our soul, and so that’s when we started our mission trips. This was in 1985, and were a very poor organization, so we said let’s work for peace. We can at least go love our enemy, and at that time, very clearly, with Ronald Reagan, the enemy was Soviet Union, and so we made our first clown trip to Russia in November, and we’ve done it every November. I invite you to it. It’s a hell of a lot of fun. It’s two weeks of clowning ten to sixteen hours a day in hospitals, orphanages, prisons, nursing homes, restaurants, subways, hotels. We make everywhere dangerous. We’ve taken ages 3 to 88. We don’t require any training. You can be the dullest Mexican in the country, and we would take you, because in a clown costume, you immediately become a character, so even if you’re going, “Oh my God, I’m going to fail. Oh my God, I’m going to fail,” that’s a clown character, so somebody watching you goes, “Wow, you’re really good.”
So I invite you all to do it. It was really there that I found a very different life as a clown. It was there that I discovered that there were hospitals that didn’t have any pain medicine and that I could walk into a room with just horrible, horrible screams and pain, and that 80 plus percent of the time, the clowning would stop the pain. It made me take a lot keener interest in going to the worst of possible human suffering to see just what can happen with love and fun and humor.
This led, 20 years ago, to use creating orphanages in Moscow and St. Petersburg because we felt uncomfortable with the way children are cared for. There are horrible orphanages there, and then we said, “Hell, let’s take clowns into war,” because that certainly seemed like a place with a lot of suffering, and three times we’ve gone right into the thick of war. And then we just went crazy. We said, “Let’s go to disasters and refugee camps.” We’ve taken about 150 trips, and after the movie, as my speaking fees increased, everything I make is donated to our project. We started to build clinics and schools in poor countries, and we have a lifetime project in the Peruvian Amazon to stop child sexual slavery that we are working to create medical schools in Africa. And really I’m saying these things simply to give you the impression that my whole life has been about care, that I’m not a person that really takes break. I work and I love to care for other people.
What is care? For me, care is an action verb. It means to project both the action in countenance of compassion, empathy, and generosity over time without regard for a reward. You do it for its pleasure. Victor [inaudible], a Jewish psychotherapist who survived three years in the Nazi concentration camps, said “We who lived in the camps remember the people who walked through the huts, comforting others, giving away their last crust of bread. Though they were few in number, they offered sufficient proof that everything can be taken away from a man but one thing, the last of the great human freedoms: the ability to choose one’s own way.” And probably everything I talk about is about choosing who you are, who you want to be and then decide to be.
So I think of care as a choice. I don’t agree with advertisements for hotels or hospitals that say, “We care.” “We” never cared. An individual decides in a given moment to care. For some people, it can be who they are. They’re caring all the time. For another person, they might care for a particular kind of group of people. Some, like me, who had a great mother, were simply trying to be our mother. I never, ever have thought about myself as being more caring than my mom. I saw a great example of care, and I wanted to be like that. So did my brother, who’s older than I am, and through all of these years, we have worked together. He and his wife manage our building site where we’re now building our hospital.
Others that don’t have this kind of inspiration through a parent might find it from a teacher. They might see a TV show. Since I’ve traveled all over the world and been in so many orphanages and so many situations, it’s amazing. Sometimes somebody goes backpacking, they decide to go visit a country, they bump into a problem, and then they stay the rest of their life. That can also happen. Or you can have a bad experience in your life and decide to care. You can feel moved by your religious background to care. And the way, I think, whatever it is that’s stimulates you, the experience of care is going to be very similar: the thrill of giving your time and your love to another human being. It’s, at least in my experience, it’s energizing beyond anything else that I know in life.
Another quote that I want to give before I give you my little list of things that make me [inaudible] to care is from George Burnett Shaw, great Irish playwright, who said “This is the true joy of life: being used for a purpose, recognized by yourself as a mighty one, being thoroughly worn out before being thrown on the scrap heap, the being a force of nature instead of a feverish, selfish little clod of ailments complaining that the world will not devote itself to making you happy.”
Why do I do it? What makes me so happy about it? I’m going to tell you seven things. All lists are incomplete. I’m going to tell you the truth; the first thing on the list is the foundational reason, probably for everything that I do, and that is that I love people. I can think of that in the abstract. I love all people. When I tell you that I answer all my mail, I do it for me. Tomorrow I will go home. I’ll have a stack of mail that has arrived. I will read a letter twice and answer it. I’ve corresponded with some people for twenty years and never met them. I love it. Each person, a unique creature. When I tell you I did four hour interviews with patients, I did it for me. What a sneaky trick it is to be a doctor. Well, I guess I’ll just have to sit here and have you talk to me for four hours. Not to [inaudible], that’s seven, right? The opportunity.
Here’s a little trick about a doctor. If you project that you care and love the person, they will tell you everything on the first date. You can try and experiment to ask them questions, and they will tell you. People will tell you, and I love that. I love finding out a lot of deep things about people. Since I never had any religion, I never had any relationship to God, I feel that what people get from God, I get from friend. I can even safe to say that friend is God for me, that I could call my experience with friendship my own worship. That this is really the, I think the major force in my life, just pushing me to work all the time, is the thrill it is to help other people.
I have this fantasy. You know, a magic wand – ding, world peace. Ding – no more hunger. Those are nice magic wands, and if I had one, I would have peace and justice everywhere, but let’s say you had to have a magic wand just for your own little selfish indulgence. This is one of my fantasies, and it shows you how much I love people. I would love to be caught between floors on an elevator for hours full of people that don’t like each other. Oh, give it to me. Five or six hours of human bliss. I mean, there you are. You’re stuck. You can’t go anywhere. There’s height differential. There’s smokers and nonsmokers, emerging claustrophobia. Oh, boy. And you’re there, you know? You’re there. Maybe you’re not taking notes or anything, but maybe you are. Farting? What about farting? I mean, all of it’s there for people, that you get to see these people that don’t like each other that are forced to be close, maybe even collaborate. Oh, boy. I hope you have dreams that big.
Yes. You know, I do love people. There’s so many times in my life that I’ve spent exploring people. Whenever I’m by myself and I’m not with friends, I’m out there doing very strange laboratory experiments with people. I just never tire of it. A lot of them I learned after – I had three mental hospitalizations when I was 18. I didn’t want to live in a world of violence and injustice, but once I finished that and decided to be revolution, I had all this time to explore experiments in being a human being. And in doing them with so many people, I really fell in love with us, how we can be and comfort with each other. So that’s a really big reason for my care.
Number two on the list. Number two. Now, I’m going to pull the audience. I did this afternoon. Raise your hand if you are profoundly concerned about the future of humanity. Raise it high so everybody can see. Notice to unanimity. If it’s any help for you, that’s every audience in seventy country for twenty-seven years. People are profoundly concerned about our future. But are they acting revolutionary?
What profoundly means for me, since that’s the important word in that statement, is that if we don’t change from a global value system nested in money and power over to one nested in compassion and generosity, nothing I study, nothing I visit or see gives me any sense we will survive this century as a species. And the relationship to care is, you think, “Now, what the hell is the answer? Peace on earth? What’s the answer? No hunger? What’s the answer? Justice for everybody? Women safe everywhere?” Well, of course it’s to love everybody. One way you know you love somebody is you don’t hit them. You don’t smash them in the face. “I love you dear. [Inaudible].” And if you have food, you share the food. And if you see injustice, you speak up, and you act.
So when you care, you are the answer. When you’re caring about others, when you’re giving of yourself to other people, this is the answer. If you’ve heard of Joseph Campbell and his work with myth and heroes, there’s an archetype of a hero of that person, however small they are, to go and tackle the giant dragon, and this is what you are when you care. You dare to take yourself next to human suffering and to give of yourself, and that’s heroic. So since this is a medical group and I know you are caring people, I’m going to count to three, and you’re going to yell out, “I am a hero.” Okay? One, two, three. Not bad. Not bad. I’m a hero. I’m telling you you’re allowed to feel that. Your caring is the solution to the problems of the world, to care for people, to care for all people, to care for the nature. That is the answer. It’s that simple on paper.
So I want you to think again now, since you’re in the healing arts, most of you, or a teacher, or a social worker, whatever you do – a parent. Think of some moment this month where it was very clear your care mattered. Where you may have thought it was nothing, but they thought it was something big. It could have simply been that you’re sticking up for somebody, whatever it is, but I want you to think about that and feel its heroic nature. In peace and justice, it’s not the sword that is heroic; it is the gesture of love.
So I know you have that in your thoughts, and so we’re going to count to three again and really let it out, you know, maybe even give it some shoulder action. Okay, yeah, that’s right. One, two, three. So it’s hard to burn out if you’re thinking, “I’m a hero,” right? “I’m a hero, God, this is horrible.” It really sends an unhealthy message. If care doesn’t invigorate you, what is going to invigorate you? So you want to stress, “I am a hero. Yes. I am a hero, alright. Yes. Thank you.” Would you stand up and do that heroes dance? Yeah. That’s what we’re talking about. You’re out as a hero. And see, you know how it is, how you get someone enthusiastic about something, you’re enthusiastic about it. So you go to another country, you try a particular dish that was incredibly delicious; you bring it back to share with somebody. If you are caring and you show your excitement and heroic life, other people might want to do it.
A third reason I love to care is kind of related to this thing. What is the job of care, job description? To love? That’s my job. Got to go to work and love. If you think about it, that’s your job, and when you care, whether you’re a teacher, a social worker, a surgeon, nurse, whatever it is, your job as a parent is to love. That’s your job description. Got to go love.
Mold can ruin your home and your health. This fungus grows in basements or other places that have flooded as well as around leaking pipes and roofs. You can also find it on walls, floors, fabrics, and furnishings. Sometimes you might not be able to remove mold yourself. A professional can clean up your house and stop mold growth. He will first take samples and assess the damaged area, look for hidden mold, and then remove it. These techniques are known as mold assessment and mold remediation.
Symptoms of Mold Exposure
Most buildings have mold. These microorganisms are dangerous to human health and can produce mycotoxins that increase your risk of developing neurological problems. If you have mold at home or in the workplace, you may experience a number of symptoms, such as:
• Redness of the eyes
• Itchy eyes
• Skin rash
• Throat irritation
• Breathing difficulties
• Recurring upper respiratory infections
Infants, children, seniors, and people with asthma, chronic lung disease, or poor immunity are more sensitive to the effects of mold. When exposed to mold, they can develop severe allergic reactions. Infants are particularly sensitive to Penicillium, a type of mold that causes respiratory problems. Studies have also found that exposure to mold can worsen asthma symptoms.
Where Do Molds Grow?
All molds need moisture in order to grow and survive. This explains why they are usually found in damp places like kitchens, showers, basements, and laundry rooms. These microorganisms can grow on any surface when moisture is present. The spores are carried by air currents and can be easily ingested or breathed in.
Common causes of mold growth include indoor plumbing problems, building maintenance problems, leaky pipes, and incomplete drying of concrete and other flooring materials. Mold may also appear after flooding and water damage. Carpets, drywall, cellulose, plywood and other building materials are food for molds.
What Is Hidden Mold?
Mold is not always visible. After a major flood, it can grow inside the walls or behind wallpaper. Hidden molds can be found in roof materials, underside of carpets, back side of dry wall, or topside of ceiling tiles. The only way to detect it is to take samples. In general, hidden mold has a specific smell.
This microorganism needs moisture, food, and warm temperatures in order to grow. If these conditions are met, mold colonies can grow in buildings. Removing one of these requirements for mold can help reduce or stop its growth.
Mold Assessment Techniques
If you suspect there is mold in your home, examine the areas prone to mold growth. Take samples if necessary. Move the furniture, lift the carpets, check the pipes, and look behind wallpaper for hidden molds. If you call a professional, he will take samples of the inside and outdoor air, mold spores, and materials. This is the most accurate way to determine the type and concentration of mold in your house.
What Is Mold Remediation?
Mold remediation or mold removal involves stopping the source of moisture, ventilating the area, and cleaning up the mold. These procedures should be conducted by a trained professional. He will use a HEPA-filtered vacuum, biocide, and fungicides to kill the mold. After mold removal, it’s your responsibility to prevent it from coming back.
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