Do you ever read an article or book and say to yourself “Hey that’s it, they summed it up perfectly!” or “Why didn’t I think of that, they are right and it just changes everything” That is what happened with me recently. I read an article recently that said the 2001 Noble prize in medicine was given to the scientist that said the cause of cancer is when the DNA in a cell nucleus mutates and causes a cell to reproduce out of control. So, a lot of our treatment and research into cancer has been based on that assumption. Another group of scientists decided to confirm that this was in fact true. They took the nucleus of a cancer cell and put it into a healthy cell and surprisingly the cell never turned cancerous. That was odd because according to the Nobel Prize the mutated nucleus should have taken over the healthy cell and caused it to become cancerous. So, what they did next was to take a cancerous cell and remove its mitochondria (The power house of the cell) they put it into a health cell and sure enough the health cell became cancerous! It wasn’t the nucleus that was causing the cell to become cancerous it was the energy source of a cell that controlled its ultimate function the Mitochondria!
The next game changing article was one in which Doctors where struggling with babies that had heart failure at birth. Sixty percent died because their organs gave out and nothing was really working. Nothing they tried was really able to save the babies. They looked at the heart muscle of these babies and the muscle had barely any mitochondria. Remember the mitochondria is the powerhouse of the cell. They took stomach muscle and blended it into a liquid and injected that liquid into the heart. This liquid was filled with mitochondria from the cells of the stomach muscle. What happened was amazing! All the cells began to turn around and the heart revived and the pumping ability of the heart returned to normal within 48 hours. So, these articles have really started to make me think that maybe we need to look at sickness and disease from the mitochondrial aspect. We may need to think more about how to repair the mitochondria in a cell instead of just treating symptoms. We have just started and are just scratching the surface in looking at treating some of the patients we see with Mitochondrial problems. Some very interesting things have happened when it comes to health and disease. Autism and Cerebral Palsy seem to do very well when we focus on repairing the mitochondria. In fact, some scientists think all neuro problems are basically mitochondrial deficiencies. As we study more we realize how some of the drugs we use commonly, actually harm the mitochondria and in the long term can cause more disease. This is a fast-growing field in medicine it may be a game changer for a lot of the ways in which we treat sickness in the future.
John D. Young M.D.