Becoming a Co-Learner at The Center

By Ron Hunninghake, M.D.

Editor’s note: This is a letter Ron Hunninghake, M.D., sent to an insurance company to help a patient gain some insurance help with his costs at The Center. The letter is an excellent example of what we do for all who come to The Center for help with their particular medical problems. We will call the person “John” because of the person’s right to confidentiality.

Discovering actual causes and correcting them is the simple secret to The Center’s approach.

To Whom it May Concern:
When John came to The Center September 18, 2001, he told us he felt as though he had run out of options. A lifelong anxiety disorder had progressed to daily panic attacks. His memory and concentration were deteriorating. He felt chronically short of breath. Episodes of intense anger, lingering abdominal pain, and progressive fatigue had him to the point of desperation and near defeat.

To make matters worse, he was unable to get help from his primary care doctor. He called our Center for fresh direction. He had heard that our approach involved a systematic search for correctable underlying biologic causes … causes that had eroded his health and sense of well-being. Our workup began with a twenty-five page questionnaire. John kept a diet diary for a week which was computer scored. Hugh Riordan, M.D., a nutritionally oriented psychiatrist, spent 100 minutes with John, reviewing his questionnaire and formulating his laboratory workup. Numerous psychophysiologic tests, reliable and repeatable, were done that first day. A thorough biochemical inventory of John’s blood and tissue nutrient levels were done in our Medicare approved laboratory. A blood test for adverse food reactions, a commonly overlooked cause for sustained illness, was also performed. A CBC, VA, and Chemistry Panel rounded out this lab evaluation.

(While waiting for all of his lab work-to come back, John’s panic attacks heightened. John called Dr. Riordan, who provided a small supply of low dose Valium. Our preference is to use naturally occurring substances for treatment, but we will use short term medication until the full treatment plan begins to take effect.)

John’s laboratory findings included:
– low omega 6 fatty acids … necessary for normal cell membrane function
– low urine and plasma ascorbate … suggestive of high stress load and inadequate compensatory intake
– low normal plasma amino acids … necessary for proper neurotransmitter synthesis high urinary pyrroles .. .indicative of low zinc, a cofactor in over 100 enzyme reactions in the brain
– high indican … suggestive of digestive malfunction high liver enzymes .. .indicating liver inflammation and damage
– high serum iron … possibly related to congenital iron storage problems
– low serum riboflavin … a vitamin B2 deficiency state

The Center’s initial treatment plan included:
– Evening primrose oil…to correct omega 6 deficiency
– Emergen C packets … to replenish ascorbate reserves
– Zinc oratate … to lower pyrroles and reduce anxiety
– Triaminosorb … to boost amino acid availability
– Vitamin B2 … to correct riboflavin deficiency

-Prodophilus … to replenish gut flora
– Intravenous ascorbate and magnesium … to reduce fatigue
– GABA … an amino acid specifically to replace Valium need and usage
– repeat liver enzymes testing (get a hepatitis screening panel)
– Cognitive retraining and exercise to help deal with anxiety

After Hepatitis C was diagnosed, John began oral and intravenous alpha lipoic acid in conjunction with the IV ascorbate on a weekly basis. One follow-up appointment was entirely devoted to dietary counseling.

Since beginning our treatment plan, John has reported the following changes in his health status:
– anxiety and panic attacks have markedly abated, leading to much improved job performance and the accomplishment of his goal to sing alone before his church congregation memory and concentration are much improved
– 20 lbs of extra weight loss
– energy levels are way up (working out 3-4 x/week)
– in spite of an abnormal liver biopsy, John has an excellent out look and a hopeful sense of wellbeing.

In summary, The Center’s approach carefully characterizes the unique biochemical factors giving rise to the symptoms and illness of each patient. By systematically addressing and correcting these underlying causes, the patient’s own innate self-regulating mechanisms are enabled. Natural healing and improvement of human functioning is facilitated. In this way the patient is empowered to become a “co-learner.” Rather than passively waiting to be “fixed,” John and other patients at The Center take an active role in the discovery process. Discovering actual causes and correcting them is the simple secret to The Center’s approach. John is an excellent example of how to achieve outstanding results in an otherwise complicated illness.

I hope this letter is helpful. Don’t hesitate to call me if further clarification is needed.

Ronald E. Hunninghake, M.D.
Medical Director
The Olive W. Garvey Center for Healing Arts