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The Journal of Orthomolecular Medicine Vol. 9, No.3, 1994


Neurobiochemistry: A New Paradigm for Managing Brain Biochemical Disturbances

Jeffrey S. Bland, Ph.D.

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Presented at the 23rd Annual Nutritional Medicine Today Conference, April 29, 1994, Vancouver, Canada.

More than 40 years ago, Abram Hoffer, M.D., Ph.D., and Humphry Osmond, M.D., introduced a concept of how the brain works at the molecular level and how defects in this complex system relate to schizophrenia.. This early work opened up the field which was later called biological psychiatry, or Orthomolecular medicine.1,2

Because the traditional psychiatric medical model is not working for many people, interest has increased in the Hoffer/Osmond concepts. The present psychiatric model provides therapeutic benefit for a number of crisis disorders, but for many chronic metabolic conditions of the brain, in which a complex milieu of interlocking biochemical and physiological processes are at work, this approach has significant limitations. An expanded therapeutic model, derived from the pioneering brain biochemistry work of Drs. Hoffer and Osmond is now being tested in clinical and laboratory research. This expanded model is based upon an understanding of the duration, intensity and frequency of mental health symptoms and their relationship to brain biochemical patterns. For the past four years my colleagues and I have employed a questionnaire which evaluates symptomatologies on a patient-specific basis. Leo Galland, M.D., developed the term "patient-centered diagnosis" to describe this method of assessment, using the patient as his or her own internal control, examining the individual's functional physiological ability without the limitation of disease attribution.3

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