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Where are the 'medical' applications?
  • The Institute's research timeline

    As the research director, I've sometimes been asked why our techniques are all about mental disorders and problems, instead of something more practical or useful like treatments for normal, 'real' diseases. Wouldn't it have made more sense to just do disease research and skip the psychology part? Wouldn't that have done a far better job of proving the model, with measurable results instead of all that wishy-washy emotional stuff?

    In reply, I answer that yes, we do treat a few real diseases - just ones that you've never heard of. But why just these? Because this is still a new, developing technology; until a few years ago we didn't even know how to make a person immune to a given pathogen. Even now, each disease we tackle is an entirely new research project, as we continue to figure out the ins and outs of this new field of biology. And finally, we simply don't have the resources to do more - we are too busy following up on our current projects.


    Building the tools to build the tools...

    But there is a lot more to this story. Why most of our existing work focuses on mental disorders reflects the nature of 'breakthrough research' itself - that is, research into something completely new. This type of research rarely takes you where you were planning on going, but instead, often unfolds in completely unexpected ways. So how did this play out with us?

    When I started thirty years ago, my only purpose was to understand and find ways to give exceptional peak states to people. To investigate this problem, I developed Whole-Hearted Healing (WHH), a regression method for eliminating trauma. As I worked on solving the mysteries of peak states, I continued to refine my models by identifying psychological issues that trauma healing could not help. 

    By 1998, I finally proved that peak states were blocked by prenatal trauma during key moments in development. But peak states was still in the research phase; it was WHH's use in therapy that was starting to cause physicians, therapists and other professionals to train or work with me. For the next four years, although we were focused on peak states, our single 'product' was still a psychological therapy.


    Serendipity

    However, all this started to change in 2002, with our totally unexpected discovery of the 'primary cell'. What we'd found was the missing link between psychology and biology. Within a year, we realized that psychological trauma was actually due to inhibited gene expression - what is now called epigenetic histone damage. Over the next few years, we slowly worked out what subcellular problems were causing the many psychological 'special cases' that WHH could treat.

    It was about 2007 or so when our course really shifted. Theoretically, our model said that all diseases and disorders that a doctor works with are indirectly due to problems in the primary cell. Fix the primary cell and it fixes the macro scale problem. But about then that we made another startling discovery - there were disease organisms inside the primary cell that were causing many psychological issues and physical symptoms. Suddenly, a lot of strange observations started to make sense. But it was not until 2010 that we had our first overt medical application - a psychological process that would make a person immune to a disease, in this case the particular fungus that causes schizophrenic voices.


    Moving into medical applications

    "Aha", you say, "here is a real, bonafide medical application!" True, but it was not seen that way to laypeople or therapists. Instead, it appeared to be a psychological technique that was curing a psychological disorder, in this case voices. However, until 2014 we were not publicizing the disease aspect, because we were still keeping our knowledge of the primary cell under wraps due to safety issues.

    So let's review this story so far. Our goal started with peak states. To do this, we worked with psychological trauma and prenatal development. This unexpectedly cracked part of the psychoneuroimmunology problem. Then we discovered the primary cell with its subcellular psychobiology; this unexpectedly allowed us to also find the causes for diseases that had never been understood before. So, we stayed focused on psychological issues because we had to, to really learn how to repair subcellular damage. To summarize, we ended up developing an entirely new branch of biology that will eventually change the field of medicine, just to continue our work on peak states. Whew!


    Pneumonia

    I'll give you an interesting example of a medical application. Around 2013, two of our staff came down with viral pneumonia. The reason they got sick was totally fascinating, and demonstrates the power of the subcellular psychobiology approach to disease. 

    It turned out that these people felt extremely lonely in their lives, to the point that they would do almost anything to avoid the (to them) terrible feeling. Inside their primary cells, the pneumonia viruses felt emotionally like childhood friends and family. To assuage their loneliness, they pulled in large numbers of the virus into their primary cells, indirectly resulting in their lungs filling with fluid. These people were not even aware of their painful loneliness, because the virus did such a good job of compensation; at first, all they could notice were their physical disease symptoms.

    So, perhaps bouts of pneumonia can be treated by trauma healing on lonliness, if this turns out to be the usual mechanism that this particular virus exploits. But our models say healing can go a lot further. Instead of making the viral problem go into remission, how about making a person immune to that pathogen altogether? Our model says that this is clearly possible; but it may end up being simpler to make a person immune to all viruses, if they all exploit the same underlying biological vulnerability. Only time will tell...


    Other medical breakthroughs...

    In a future blog, we will continue this theme by covering the fascinating underlying subcellular biology of the autoimmune disease type 1 diabetes. 

    From the desk of the research director,
    Dr. Grant McFetridge
    May 13, 2016