World War II & Schizophrenia: What the Front Line Taught Us about Food Allergies
Many lessons are learned in times of war. Pacifism comes to mind first, but following closely behind, I would imagine, is how to feed, clothe and shelter a military unit in a foreign land. But, as quickly noted by some sharp-witted scientists, not all food is created equal. F. Curtis Dohan, M.D., investigated admissions to mental hospitals during WWII in five countries with wheat shortages and found a simultaneous and dramatic decrease in the admissions for schizophrenia. When compared to data collected in the United States where wheat consumption increased, admissions for schizophrenia skyrocketed. An association between schizophrenia and wheat, gluten, and Celiac Disease was duly noted in the record books, but medical professionals today are still slow to acknowledge it.
The 1970s: Food Allergies Cause Schizophrenic Symptoms in Most Cases
In the 1970s, even more scientific research supported the correlation between food allergies and schizophrenia. In the study, Psychiatric Syndromes Produced by Allergies: Ecologic Mental Illness by H. L. Newbold, M.D., William H. Philpott, M.D. and Marshall Mandell, M.D. (1973), “the finding of 92.2 % of reactions...in the schizophrenic group reveal[ed] such reactions” to wheat, corn and milk “to hold the position of being the immediate cause of symptoms in most cases.” (p. 92, emphasis added). It was also found that once these foods were removed from the schizophrenic's diet, they rapidly recovered and were able to function normally. Why did this not revolutionize the treatment of schizophrenics?
Today: Gluten Consistently Implicated in Schizophrenia, While Doctors Feign Ignorance
It is agreed among many scientists and medical professionals who study the effects of food allergies on human health that the correlation between gluten and schizophrenia exists. Not only is schizophrenia linked to gluten intolerance, but also diabetes, thyroid disease, purpura, anemia, rheumatoid arthritis, migraine headaches, lung disease, epilepsy, cerebellar ataxia, and even autism, to name a few. Despite data which consistently proves these trends, many medical professionals are either ignorant or in denial of the connection between food allergies and physical, mental and emotional illnesses. In the words of Newbold, Philpott and Mandell, “One cannot help wondering how many patients are receiving psychotherapy, chemotherapy, electroconvulsive therapy, and even cingulotomy surgery for conditions which are basically allergic in nature.” (91) How much longer people will continue to suffer in silence while the majority of the medical community turns their head?