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Orthomolecular Medicine News Service, March 21, 2021

Why I Didn't Die in Bio Lab

Editorial by Andrew W. Saul

(OMNS Mar 21, 2021) Let me tell you about the kid who was my lab partner in high school biology class, and who was always, always sick. Mike came to class hacking on what seemed to be an everyday basis. Naturally, his assigned seat was right next to me, at the shiny black-topped table-for-two that was so common in science classrooms. All through lectures, he sniffed, snorted, and sneezed. All through lab, he hacked, coughed, and gagged. This kid was sickly. You've got to give him high marks for showing up at all, but he had annoyingly good attendance, which was just my luck.

One day we were doing agar culture plates. This means you mix up some diarrhea-colored, Jell-O-like stuff, heat it, and pour it into shallow, round, four-inch-diameter glass dishes. After it cools, you add some bacteria or whatever microorganism you wish to grow. We'd stocked the incubator with a nice variety of specimens, and had a few extra, unused culture plates all dressed up and nowhere to go.

The lab manual said to leave one out in the classroom, uncovered, and see if a culture could be obtained from what settled out from the air. We went it one better.

We used Mike.

Almost at the same moment, we all came to the realization that Mike was our local one-stop source of pathogens. And, Mr. Thorensen being out of the room at that particular moment, our chance had come. We had Mike cough all over a couple of agar plates. I mean, he really let it all out. The girls turned away into their handkerchiefs. The boys grimaced and kept watching, wincing when a really shattering blast erupted from Mike's capacious lungs.

As Mike was mopping up the table in front of him, we light-footed it to the rear of the lab, covered our extra-curricular cultures, and stuck them in the incubator, on the bottom shelf, way in the back. Visions of a Nobel dancing in our heads, we zipped back to our seats just as Mr. Thorensen walked in. We gave him our best cheesy smiles and folded our hands to await his next pronouncement, or the bell, whichever came first.

Naturally, we completely forgot about those culture plates. They were unlabeled, so nobody claimed them, but nobody threw them out, either.

Considerable time went by.

When Mr. Thorensen was out of the room again one day, we recalled our impromptu research project. My pal Sid and I went back to the old gray incubator, opened it, and reached all the way in. Ah yes, there they were, still. We brought the two dishes out and everyone gathered around to see some real science.

It was just gorgeous. Big, hairy black growths, dainty white puffballs, and layers of milky slime covered the culture surface. Ugh. It looked like you'd exhumed the guts of a rotting carp. Gross. Then and there, we knew two things. First: Mike should, by all logic, be dead. Second: all too obviously, he wasn't.

Being Mike's closest friend, in the true geographical sense, I had a personal stake in this. I should, at the very least, have had Mike's symptoms in spades.

But I didn't. Somehow, my body was keeping me healthy, in the face of the worst that Mike's perpetually propagated population of pathogens could do.

Somewhere inside me the light went on. My life in natural healing began that very moment.

(Andrew W. Saul is Editor-in-Chief of the Orthomolecular Medicine News Service, which he cofounded with Drs Abram Hoffer and Hugh D. Riordan. Now in its 17th year of publication, the OMNS remains free of charge to all. To subscribe: The complete free-access OMNS archive is at Selected articles are available in Arabic, Chinese, Korean, Japanese, Norwegian, French, Spanish, and German. This article is reprinted with permission from

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Editorial Review Board:

Albert G. B. Amoa, MB.Ch.B, Ph.D. (Ghana)
Seth Ayettey, M.B., Ch.B., Ph.D. (Ghana)
Ilyès Baghli, M.D. (Algeria)
Ian Brighthope, MBBS, FACNEM (Australia)
Gilbert Henri Crussol, D.M.D. (Spain)
Carolyn Dean, M.D., N.D. (USA)
Ian Dettman, Ph.D. (Australia)
Damien Downing, M.B.B.S., M.R.S.B. (United Kingdom)
Ron Erlich, B.D.S. (Australia)
Hugo Galindo, M.D. (Colombia)
Martin P. Gallagher, M.D., D.C. (USA)
Michael J. Gonzalez, N.M.D., D.Sc., Ph.D. (Puerto Rico)
William B. Grant, Ph.D. (USA)
Claus Hancke, MD, FACAM (Denmark)
Tonya S. Heyman, M.D. (USA)
Suzanne Humphries, M.D. (USA)
Ron Hunninghake, M.D. (USA)
Bo H. Jonsson, M.D., Ph.D. (Sweden)
Felix I. D. Konotey-Ahulu, MD, FRCP, DTMH (Ghana)
Jeffrey J. Kotulski, D.O. (USA)
Peter H. Lauda, M.D. (Austria)
Thomas Levy, M.D., J.D. (USA)
Alan Lien, Ph.D. (Taiwan)
Homer Lim, M.D. (Philippines)
Stuart Lindsey, Pharm.D. (USA)
Victor A. Marcial-Vega, M.D. (Puerto Rico)
Charles C. Mary, Jr., M.D. (USA)
Mignonne Mary, M.D. (USA)
Jun Matsuyama, M.D., Ph.D. (Japan)
Joseph Mercola, D.O. (USA)
Jorge R. Miranda-Massari, Pharm.D. (Puerto Rico)
Karin Munsterhjelm-Ahumada, M.D. (Finland)
Tahar Naili, M.D. (Algeria)
W. Todd Penberthy, Ph.D. (USA)
Zhiyong Peng, M.D. (China)
Isabella Akyinbah Quakyi, Ph.D. (Ghana)
Selvam Rengasamy, MBBS, FRCOG (Malaysia)
Jeffrey A. Ruterbusch, D.O. (USA)
Gert E. Schuitemaker, Ph.D. (Netherlands)
T.E. Gabriel Stewart, M.B.B.CH. (Ireland)
Thomas L. Taxman, M.D. (USA)
Jagan Nathan Vamanan, M.D. (India)
Garry Vickar, M.D. (USA)
Ken Walker, M.D. (Canada)
Raymond Yuen, MBBS, MMed (Singapore)
Anne Zauderer, D.C. (USA)

Andrew W. Saul, Ph.D. (USA), Editor-In-Chief
Associate Editor: Robert G. Smith, Ph.D. (USA)
Editor, Japanese Edition: Atsuo Yanagisawa, M.D., Ph.D. (Japan)
Editor, Chinese Edition: Richard Cheng, M.D., Ph.D. (USA)
Editor, French Edition: Vladimir Arianoff, M.D. (Belgium)
Editor, Norwegian Edition: Dag Viljen Poleszynski, Ph.D. (Norway)
Editor, Arabic Edition: Moustafa Kamel, R.Ph, P.G.C.M (Egypt)
Editor, Korean Edition: Hyoungjoo Shin, M.D. (South Korea)
Assistant Editor: Helen Saul Case, M.S. (USA)
Technology Editor: Michael S. Stewart, B.Sc.C.S. (USA)
Legal Consultant: Jason M. Saul, JD (USA)

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