Vitamins may help mentally ill
Leanne Edmistone, health reporter
12 mar 04 - Soure: The Courier Mail
VITAMIN and mineral supplements will be used in a Gold Coast medical trial targeting chemical imbalances in people with a mental illness and children with severe behavioural problems.
The trial, involving 18 patients with schizophrenia, is based on the unorthodox work of American doctor Bill Walsh.
Dr Walsh, who is visiting the Coast and has been researching chemical balances since 1976, said the treatment would be used in conjunction with traditional medications and counselling, and was not intended to replace them.
A study, submitted by Dr Walsh to the American Physiology and Behaviour Journal and measuring assault and property destruction rates of patients, found that 90 per cent of those who completed the full treatment program reported a lower rate of assault and 88 per cent reported a lower rate of destruction.
A total of 58 per cent said the destructive behaviours had ceased. Compliance was a major issue but almost 80 per cent of participants initially recruited completed the trial.
Dr Walsh, who set up the Pfeiffer Clinic near Chicago, said about 100 Australian families, mostly those with autistic children, had visited his clinic for treatment and most had reported significant improvements.
Gold Coast GP Dr Richard Stuckey said he had agreed to take part in the trial after a young female patient with schizophrenia experienced a significant improvement in her condition after undergoing treatment at Dr Walsh's clinic.
Dr Stuckey said extensive research had convinced him the alternative therapy "showed a lot of promise", but he was still cautious going into the trial.
"I'm sceptical about all these things, but I've read a fair bit about it . . . and in three months' time I'm hoping my remaining scepticism will be totally allayed," he said yesterday.
"It's very hard to define success but I'll be looking for a significant improvement in more than 50 per cent of the patients (taking part)."
Dr Walsh said everybody had a unique body chemistry make-up but genetic abnormalities could lead to an over-production of certain chemicals, which in turn could affect the brain and its function.
He said people with certain biochemical characteristics were pre-disposed to mental illnesses, learning difficulties and behaviour problems, and the therapy aimed to "normalise" chemical levels and reduce symptoms.
Dr Walsh said patients underwent extensive testing of blood, urine and hair, and the results were used to design individual treatment programs based on diet and concentrated vitamin, mineral and amino acid supplements.