Alternative Mental Health News, No. 58

Editor’s Comment

Here at the Safe Harbor, we are busy as bees in spring preparing for our annual medical conference – Non-Pharmaceutical Approaches to Mental Disorders – coming up on June 4-5 at the Glendale Hilton.

As we receive the lecture notes from various speakers, it has become more and more apparent how outstanding this conference will be.

Psychiatrist John Cannell will share fascinating research he has done which has broken brand new ground in the understanding of the critical role of Vitamin D in human health and mental function.

Optometrist Herbert Solomon will publicly share, for the first time, the results of forty years of research into the use of corrective lenses to improve mental health.

Author and nutritionist Carol Simontacchi will review recent research on America’s eating habits, which reveals more than ever why she titled her book on modern foods The Crazymakers.

Psychiatrist Nancy Mullan will discuss breakthrough research from the world of autism on a nutritional-biochemical cycle that impacts all mental disorders.

Psychiatrist and author Stuart Shipko will present a brutally frank discussion of how today’s pharmaceutical marketing practices relate to trends in psychiatric diagnosis and treatment.

And that’s not even half of the presentations! It’s going to be a great weekend. We hope to see you there!

Safe Harbor’s 2005 non-pharma iv Conference, June 4-5, los angeles



Safe Harbor’s Fourth Annual Medical Conference:

“Non-Pharmaceutical Approaches to Mental Disorders”

15 hours of Continuing Medical Education for physicians 15 Continuing Educational Units for California nurses, LSCWs, and MFTs

Open to the general public as well.

Join Safe Harbor and the nation’s leading voices on safe, non-drug treatments for the mentally unwell.

  • When: Saturday, June 4, 2004, 8:30 AM to 6 PM; Sunday, June 5, 2004, 8:30 AM to 5:30 PM
  • Where: Glendale Hilton Hotel, Glendale, CA (just outside Los Angeles). The Hilton is next to downtown Glendale with an array of nearby shopping, restaurants, theaters, etc.
  • Fees: Before May 19: $140 for both days (lunch not included) After May 19: $170 (lunch not included)
  • Day Rates Available
  • 15 hours of Continuing Medical Education (CME) for physicians ($160 extra)
  • 15 Continuing Educational Units (CEU) for California nurses, LSCWs, and MFTs ($60 extra)

Register by phone – (323) 257-7338, email –

or online at:

Seating is limited!

With nearly a dozen speakers, presentations will include:

Saturday, June 4, 2005

9:00 AM – 10:00 AM: Neurotoxicity of Fluoride – David Kennedy, DDS, past president of the International Academy of Oral Medicine and Toxicology and world lecturer on the safety of dental materials, examines the research on how fluoride and water fluoridation affect mental health.

10:15 AM – 11:15 AM: Integrative Medicine Approaches to Depression and Anxiety – Joseph Sciabbarrasi, MD, details his protocols in treating depression and anxiety from a holistic perspective.

11:15 AM – 12:15 PM: Mega-Trends in Psychiatric Diagnosis and Treatment – What Your Psychiatrist Isn’t Telling You – Stuart Shipko, MD, Pasadena psychiatrist and author of Surviving Panic Disorder, discusses the role that pharmaceutical marketing plays in diagnostic and treatment trends.

1:45 PM – 2: 45 PM: The Role of the Methionine Cycle in Mental Disorders – Nancy Mullan, MD, nutritional psychiatrist, Safe Harbor Medical Director, reviews one of the most critical nutritional biochemical cycles which, when faulty, can contribute to autism, schizophrenia, depression, and bipolar disorder.

2:45 PM – 3:45 PM: Natural Treatment for Post Partum Depression – Nancy Lins, ND, specialist in postpartum health from Hawaii, on the common physical contributors to and nondrug solutions for the post-birth blues.

4:00 PM – 5:00 PM: Vitamin D and Mental Health – John Jacob Cannell, MD, Executive Director, Vitamin D Council, Psychiatrist, Atascadero State Hospital, with little-known research on the pervasiveness of vitamin D deficiency.

5:00 PM – 6:00 PM: The Role of Infection and Xenobiotics in Behavioral Disorders – Aristo Vojdani, PhD, immunology expert, author of over 90 scientific papers, holder of 10 patents and CEO of Immunoscience Lab.

Sunday, June 5, 2005

8:30 AM – 9:30 AM: The Use of Acupuncture and Oriental Herbs in Treating Mental Disorders ­ Jeremiah Krieger, L.Ac., shares his clinical experience in the use of Traditional Oriental Medicine in treating mental health issues.

9:30: AM – 10:30 AM: Is It Mental or Is It Dental? – Part II – How Mercury Fillings, Root Canals, Temporo-Mandibular Joint (TMJ) Syndrome, and Other Dental Issues Affect Mental Health – Raymond Silkman, DDS, practicing holistic dentistry, orthodontics, and treatment of TMJ and related disorders, returns to our conference by popular demand to further discuss the relationship of dental problems and mental health.

10:45 AM – 11:45 AM: The Crazy Makers: How Food Additives and Processed Foods Contribute to the Rise in Mental Disorders – Carol Simontacchi, MS, CCN, nationally-renowned author, columnist, and radio host, speaking on the hazards of modern-day fast foods.

1:15 PM – 2:15 PM: How Visual Correction Can Impact Anxiety, Depression, and ADHD – Herbert Solomon, OD, presents his research spanning forty years on the remarkable connection between vision and mental health and how visual correction can improve it.

2:15 PM – 3:15 PM: Natural Approaches to Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder – Alan Schwartz, MD, reviews testing and treatment protocols that can often eliminate the need for medications in treating symptoms of ADHD.

3:30 PM – 5:15 PM: Safe Harbor’s 2004 Recovery Panel – 6 people, now leading drug-free lives, tell their remarkable stories of recovery from mental disorders.

(ACAM-approved. Provider approved by the California Board of Registered Nursing, Provider Number 13857 for 15 contact hours – Course meets the qualifications for 15 hours of continuing education credit for MFT and/or LCSWs as required by the California Board of Behavioral Sciences – CA BBS Prov. No.: PC2516- No refunds after May 27.)


Non-Pharma East “Non-Pharmaceutical Approaches to Mental Health Care” July 22,23,24-2005 The Best Western, Amsterdam, NY – Sponsored by V.O.I.C.E./Safe Harbor, Adirondack Region –

This first-of-its-kind conference for the East Coast will address Non-Pharmaceutical approaches to dealing with mental health issues and other physical diseases that impact mental well being.

Explore and learn how these approaches can be implemented by the heath care practitioner as well as the common person.

Who Should Attend: Physicians, Nurses, Nutritionists, Psychologists, Therapists, Health Care Practitioners, Social Workers, Clients / Consumers, Family Members and all others interested in Mental Health

Presentations Include:

Keynote: “The Future of the Recovery Movement in America” Dan Stradford – President, Safe Harbor

“Community Mental Health and Naturopathic Medicine: An Integrated Approach” – Jeffrey Sager N.D., M.A., Board Certified and New Hampshire Licensed N.D. and Licensed Mental Health Counselor. Helped develop the First-of-its-kind program in the nation to integrate traditional psychiatric care with complementary services at a Community mental health center.

“Japanese Psychology: Alternative Counseling Methods to Complement Non-Pharma Solutions for Westerners” – Gregg Krech, Co-Founder and Executive Director of the “ToDo Institute” a non profit educational center bringing together East and West.

“Finding Restorative Mental Health Care” and Film Presentation of: “Masks of Madness: Science of Healing” – Robert Sealey, BSc,CA – Author and Speaker.

“End Schizophrenia Now” – Charles Gant, M.D., Ph.D., N.M.D. – “Capital University of Integrative Medicine”

“Psychology of the Future – Today” and “Holistic Approach to Pain Healing” – Michael Gurevich M.D., C.Ac. Board certified in Psychiatry, Addiction psychiatry, Holistic Medicine and Certified Acupuncturist. Certificates in EMDR, APN, ART

“The Interweaving of the Wisdom of Indigenous Cultures and the Healing Power of Story to Transcend Pharmacotherapy” – Lewis Mehl-Madrona M.D., Ph.D. Author Coyote Medicine, Coyote Healing, and Coyote Wisdom Affiliated with Department of Family Medicine, “University of Saskatchewan” and the Aboriginal Health Research Unit

“Spirituality and the Roles It Plays in Mental Health Recovery” – Joan Spencer, Ph.D.

“Mind, Mood and Sleep Disorders and Neurotransmitter Imbalance” – Steven J. Bock, M.D. “Rhinebeck Health Center”


A “Meet the Author” event will be scheduled so that you can interact and review books and other materials written by some of the presenters.

Most publications authored by presenters will be available for purchase.

  • Early bird registration discount all three days $150.00 All registrations must be postmarked by June 30, 2005 Registrations after July 1st are $175.00
  • Yes, we are taking day trip reservations Friday: $45.00 Saturday: $75.00 Sunday: $55.00 Reservation Prices Includes Meals and Workshops
  • At the Door Friday: $35.00 Saturday: $60.00 Sunday: $35.00 Price Does not include meals
  • Processing fee of $25.00 on all cancellation No Refunds after July 13, 2005 Payment method: Check or Money order (payable to V.O.I.C.E. Inc.)
  • Scholarships may be available to families or recipients of services. Contact your local mental health, NAMI, or Consumer Advocacy Organization

Hotel Reservations and Information

Best Western Amsterdam is located in Amsterdam, NY Just north of NYS Thruway I90 in the beautiful Mohawk Valley minutes from historic sites and the Adirondack Mountains.

We are pleased to offer conference participants the special discounted room rate of $55.00 per night, single or double occupancy.

You must mention VOICE, Inc. and the Non Pharma Conference when making your room reservations Directly with Best Western Amsterdam. DO NOT CALL THE 800 Best Western RESERVATIONS NUMBER as you will not get this special rate.

Reserve early as rooms will fill fast as it is Track Season; deadline is June 20, 2005.

For Hotel Reservations Contact: Best Western Amsterdam 10 Market St., Amsterdam, NY 12010 Telephone: (518) 843-5760 Fax: (518) 842-0940 All conference participants are responsible for their own travel and hotel expenses.

Registration Form

Mail your payment to: VOICE, Inc., C/O Rev. Fred Bauer, 179 Dennie Loop Rd., Mayfield, NY 12117 Fee Must accompany Registration. Please use photocopies of this form for multiple registrations.

SPACE IS LIMITED. Make checks or money order payable to V.O.I.C.E., Inc For more information contact


If you have a new postal mailing or e-mail address, please send it to, so that we can keep our databases current. We will be sending out the information on this year’s medical conference (NP4) soon, so don’t miss out. Send us your updates. Thanks.


The European Medicines Agency has completed its review of two classes of antidepressants and concluded that they should not be used in children and adolescents except in their approved indications.

The review of serotonin-selective reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) and serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitor (SNRI) medicines looked at the potential risk of suicidal behavior in children and adolescents treated with these products.

The Agency’s scientific committee, the Committee for Medicinal Products for Human Use (CHMP), concluded at its 19-22 April 2005 meeting that suicide-related behavior (suicide attempt and suicidal thoughts), and hostility (predominantly aggression, oppositional behavior and anger) were more frequently observed in clinical trials among children and adolescents treated with these antidepressants compared to those treated with placebo.

The Agency’s committee is therefore recommending the inclusion of strong warnings across the whole of the European Union to doctors and parents about these risks. Doctors and parents will also be advised that these products should not be used in children and adolescents except in their approved indications.

Most of these products are approved for the treatment of depression and anxiety in adults in the European Union, but are not licensed Europe-wide for the treatment of these conditions in children or adolescents. Some of these products are however licensed for pediatric use for the treatment of obsessive-compulsive disorder and one of them for the treatment of attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder.

It is recognized that a doctor may sometimes take a decision based on the individual clinical needs of a child or an adolescent to use these products for the treatment of depression or anxiety. The CHMP is recommending that in these cases patients be monitored carefully for the appearance of suicidal behavior, self-harm or hostility, particularly at the beginning of treatment.

The CHMP also stresses the following:

  • Treatment should not be stopped by the patient or the parents without first seeking medical advice from the treating doctor, because there is a risk of experiencing withdrawal symptoms, such as dizziness, sleep problems and anxiety if discontinuation is abrupt.
  • When treatment is being stopped, it is recommended to gradually reduce the dose over several weeks or months.
  • Patients or parents who have any concerns about the medication are advised to consult the treating doctor at the next available opportunity to discuss treatment options and support.


Metal toxicity – specifically that of thimerosal, a type of mercury used as a preservative in vaccines – has been widely suspected to cause or trigger autism, although this has not been widely acknowledged as confirmed in research. In fact, in 2004, the Institute of Medicine issued a report stating that it did not believe the vaccines contributed to the development of the condition.

However, some studies would seem to indicate a connection. In our April issue of The Alternative Mental Health News we reported the results of a Texas study on the effects of mercury released into the air from coal-burning plants. In that article, we quoted Claudia Miller, a professor at the University of Texas Health Science Center in San Antonio, who stated that the study found that “For every thousand pounds of environmentally-released mercury, we saw a 17 percent increase in autism rates.” The mercury output of U.S. coal-burning plants is estimated at 48 tons annually.

A new study done by University of Arkansas researchers has now found further information that sheds light on the connection. Researchers compared blood samples of 90 autistic children to those of 45 children without the disorder, and found low levels of the active form of glutathione, the major antioxidant necessary for detoxification and elimination of environmental toxins. Low levels of this antioxidant can cause oxidative stress, a condition in which antioxidants aren’t able to clear the body of free radicals which can damage cells in the brain, gastrointestinal tract and immune system. The study found that the levels were reduced by about 80 percent in children with autism. The metabolic precursors of glutathione were also reduced.

The study’s lead author, S. Jill James, Ph.D., director of the biochemical genetics laboratory at Arkansas Children’s Hospital Research Institute and a professor of pediatrics at the College of Medicine at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences in Little Rock, stated, “If they have lower glutathione, they would reach a toxicity earlier than someone with higher levels.” James further suggested that, while further study has to be done, parents of autistic children should talk with their child’s doctor about giving them antioxidant supplements.

The study findings were announced April 2, 2005, at the American Society for Nutritional Sciences’ scientific sessions at the Experimental Biology conference in San Diego.


A new study, published in The American Journal of Psychiatry, Issue 161, concluded that malnutrition in toddlers can lead to lower IQ and antisocial behavior as children and teens.

The study evaluated the nutritional status of 1000 3-year olds living on Mauritius, an island in the Indian Ocean, based on the following criteria:

  • angular stomatitis, or cracking in the lips and corners of the mouth that is caused by a deficiency of the B vitamin riboflavin; * hair dyspigmentation, a condition – found primarily in tropical regions – where children’s hair takes on a reddish-orange color due to protein deficiency;
  • sparse, thin hair created by a deficiency in protein, zinc and iron; and
  • anemia, which reflects iron deficiency.

The children’s intelligence level and cognitive ability were also tested, and social workers visited their homes to come up with a so-called adversity score that summarized factors such as the income, occupation, health, age and education levels of their parents and their overall living conditions.

A control group was established – children who did not manifest nutritional deficiencies – and both groups were monitored over a 14-year period.

When the children were eight years old, teachers gave feedback about whether the subjects were acting out in school with behavior ranging from irritability to picking fights with other children.

At age 11, the feedback came from parents who told researchers about whether their children lied, cheated, got into fights, bullied others, destroyed property or used obscene language.

At age 17, both parents and teachers reported on antisocial behavior such as stealing, drug use, destroying property or being deliberately cruel to others.

Over time, a link became evident between malnourishment and antisocial or aggressive behavior, said Adrian Raine, a co-author of the study and holder of the Robert Grandford Wright Professorship in Psychology in USC’s College of Letters, Arts and Sciences.

Compared to those in the control group, malnourished children showed a 41 percent increase in aggression at age 8, a 10 percent increase in aggression and delinquency at age 11 and a 51 percent increase in violent and antisocial behavior at age 17. Researchers also found that the more indicators of malnutrition there were, the greater the antisocial behavior.

While social class did not play a significant factor in behavior, intelligence level did, Raine said. “Poor nutrition, characterized by zinc, iron, vitamin B and protein deficiencies, leads to low IQ, which leads to later antisocial behavior,” he said. “These are all nutrients linked to brain development.”

Although this study was done in another country, the nutritional statistics in the U.S. indicate serious implications. According to Raine, 7 percent of U.S. toddlers suffer from iron deficiency, a number that jumps to between 9 percent and 16 percent in adolescent and female groups, and rises to between 19 percent and 22 percent in black and Mexican American females. “This is a problem in America. It’s not just a problem in the far-away Indian Ocean,” Raine said. “If it’s causal, there’s an intervention implication there. At a societal level, should parents be thinking more about what kids are eating?”

Although Raine acknowledges that there is more to antisocial behavior than nutrition, he says “we argue that it is an important missing link. Biology is not destiny. We can change the biological disposition to antisocial and aggressive behavior.”


Dr. Gretchen LeFever, a clinical psychologist and professor at Eastern Virginia Medical School, is being fired for publishing reports of her studies which show an alarming increase in children being diagnosed with and prescribed medications for ADD/ADHD.

Dr. LeFever surveyed parents asking them “Does your child have attention or hyperactivity problems, known as ADD or ADHD?”

The response to the question was 84% positive. In the published report, the question was reworded to “Has your child been diagnosed with attention or hyperactivity problems known as ADD or ADHD?”

Based on the change in wording, Dr. LeFever was charged with scientific misconduct, had her computers seized, and was put on administrative leave with intent to terminate.

This is not the first time Dr. LeFever’s research has been the center of controversy. One of her main critics, Dr. Jeffrey Katz, a clinical psychologist in Virginia Beach and the local coordinator of the Children and Adults with Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder group, specifically questioned her claim that the condition had been diagnosed in 17% of children in grades 2 to 5. He then further stated that someone making claims like this will discourage parents from bringing their children in for evaluation because they think they will automatically be prescribed drugs as they think it is a “bad thing” and the sole treatment.

How concerned do parents have to be? The first factor of concern might be the validity of the diagnosis.

In November, 2004, CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) reported that although prevalence of ADHD is generally accepted as 4 – 5%, it ranges from 1 – 20% depending on diagnostic criteria, methods for establishing presence of symptoms, the nature of the informants, and the degree of impairment. However, the report also states that those rates can be increased by as much as 50% when ones includes the cases that have been “diagnosed without regard to the presence of impairment, or without requiring the presence of symptoms in multiple settings.” They state that “given the fact that there appears indeed to be no natural cut-off or discontinuous function that characterized ADHD, these wide differences in prevalence should not be surprising.”

The result is that the prevalence of “ADHD” ranges between 1% and 70%, depending on the criteria and the clinician making the diagnosis.

The second factor of concern is the treatment – correct diagnosis notwithstanding. What if a child is prescribed these drugs? How dangerous are they really?

Adderall, the drug widely used to replace Ritalin, has now been linked to sudden deaths, leading Health Canada to withdraw it from the market. (The FDA responded with a mandate that warnings be put on the packaging.) Two weeks ago, ADD-approved drug Cylert (pemoline) was withdrawn by the manufacturer because of reported cases of liver damage. Stratera, the fastest-growing drug prescribed for ADHD (marketed as “a non-stimulant”) now has an FDA mandate to include bold warnings about severe liver damage.

Ritalin, despite overwhelming evidence of its danger and a Drug Enforcement Agency warning as early as 1995, is not only still on the market, it is currently the drug of choice – referred to as Kiddie Cocaine – for today’s middle and high school students who are experimenting with prescription drugs prescribed by physicians.

In fact, Ritalin is still the subject of many studies and even more damage is being revealed. Recent research at the University of Texas, MD Anderson Cancer Center, found that all of the 12 children enrolled in a Ritalin study experienced a threefold increase in chromosome damage three months after starting the drug. This chromosome damage is an indication of a possible increased risk of cancer. Researchers stated “It was pretty surprising to me that all of the children taking [Ritalin] showed an increase in chromosome abnormalities in a relatively short period of time.”

Recently there has been a dramatic increase in the public’s awareness of the risks of these drugs, and legislation regulating them is on the rise. But one thing that isn’t being done is adequate research into prevention of the conditions for which they are being prescribed. A CDC report in November, 2004, found the lack of research on prevention of ADD/ADHD to be “striking” – so much so that the “research field appears to have unwittingly excluded this area of research from consciousness.”

According to William Pelham, professor of psychology, pediatrics and psychiatry at the State University of New York, Stony Brook, drug companies’ funding of community groups and research has created obstacles for experts who question the use of stimulants. He dismissed the criticism of Dr. LeFever over the wording of the survey question as “ridiculous.” Dr Pelham, who is also a researcher in ADHD, said the wording used by Dr LeFever and her colleagues is “commonplace” among researchers doing surveys. David Antonuccio, a professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at The University of Nevada School of Medicine, said, “This is a case of shooting the messenger. Dr LeFever has since been vindicated by recent CDC [Centers for Disease Control and Prevention] data and other studies showing alarming increases in the use of psychotropic drugs in children.”

Officials at Dr. LeFever’s medical school confirmed that she is on administrative leave, but declined further comment on her termination.


The role of Essential Fatty Acids (EFAs) is critical for the maintenance of the structural and functional integrity of the central nervous system. In fact, the brain itself consists of 60% fat, and EFAs are crucial for its proper development.

Due to this, deficiency in EFAs can cause behavioral and learning problems and research has shown EFAs useful in the treatment of depression, schizophrenia, and bipolar symptoms.

The most critical period of growth is from the womb until about age 6. At birth, brain weight is about 70% that of an adult. 15% of brain growth occurs during infancy and the remaining brain growth is during preschool years. By the age of 5 or 6, brain growth is complete.

There are four families of EFAs – Omega 3, 6, 7 and 9. Linoleic Acid (LA), from the Omega 6 group, is a parent EFA which converts to Gamma Linoleic Acid (GLA). Alpha Linoleic Acid (ALA), one of the Omega 3s, is a parent EFA which converts to Eicosapentaenoic Acid (EPA) and Decosahexaenoic Acid (DHA).

These conversions take place in the healthy body. However, there are many factors that can prevent the conversions – high glucose consumption, adrenaline released during stress, saturated fats, high blood cholesterol, alcohol, glucocorticoids, low protein intake, consumption of trans fatty acids, beta-blockers (drugs prescribed for hypertension), aging (as early as age 20, there is decreased conversion of GLA), and diabetes. When any of these factors exist, it may be necessary to supplement GLA, EPA and DHA in addition to the Omega 6s and 3s.

Proper balance of Omega 6 to 3 is also important. The healthy ratio is 3:1 or 4:1 (Omega 6:3), but the average American diet, high in processed foods, consists of 20:1 to 50:1 The imbalance of Omega 6:3, and the resultant relative deficiency in Omega 3s, not only leads to degenerative disease, it can also result in depression and bipolar disorder because there is not enough Omega 3 to convert to EPA and DHA. DHA is the fatty acid that most affects behavior.

A study published by Burgess, Stevens, Zhang and Peck in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition in 2000 found that up to 40% of children with ADHD have significantly low levels of plasma DHA.

If EFAs are not sufficient during the time period of brain growth, it can also greatly affect a child’s development.

Studies have shown that 4-year-olds whose mothers took EFAs had higher mental processing scores, psychomotor development, eye-hand coordination and visual acuity.

Therefore, it has been recommended by many clinicians that pregnant and nursing women supplement their diets with EFAs. It is also vital to ensure that when weaning a child, it be done with foods high in EFAs and/or have their diet supplemented.

Sources of Omega 3s include flax seed, flax seed oil (unrefined and unfiltered), deep water fish (salmon, sardines, mackerel, & trout), fish oil supplements (refined to remove environmental toxins), green leafy vegetables, and walnuts.

Omega 6s are found in soy, canola (not heated), sunflower, corn, whole grains, nuts, sunflower seeds, beans, eggs, many processed foods, and salad dressings. GLA is found in borage, black currant, and primrose oil, Omega 7 in sea buckthorn, and Omega 9 in olives and olive oil.