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Schizophrenia and cancer

VICTORIA, CANADA. Several studies have shown that schizophrenics tend to smoke far more than other people and yet lung cancer rates are much lower than in the general population whether smokers or not. Drs. Abram Hoffer and Harold Foster now propose a fascinating hypothesis to explain this phenomenon. Dr. Hoffer MD, a practicing psychiatrist, has treated some 4000 schizophrenic patients since 1952 and observed that only one per cent of them also had cancer. Dr. Foster, a medical geographer, has found that schizophrenics tend to have very low levels of selenium and the body's natural antioxidant, glutathione peroxidase.

Drs. Hoffer and Foster now propose that schizophrenia is associated with high blood levels of the hallucinogen adrenochrome, which is formed by oxidation of adrenaline (epinephrine). The low antioxidant status of schizophrenics worsens their condition because they are unable to prevent the oxidation. The excessive conversion of adrenaline to adrenochrome tends to make schizophrenic patients adrenaline deficient. This in turn may explain why they tend to smoke more - nicotine increases adrenaline turnover in the brain. Thus smoking may actually be a form of self-medication.

Dr. Hoffer has had excellent results by treating schizophrenics with high doses of niacin (vitamin B3) and ubiquinone (coenzyme Q10) which both lower elevated adrenochrome levels. To explain the abnormally low cancer rates among schizophrenia patients Drs. Hoffer and Foster suggest that elevated adrenochrome levels may protect against tumor development. Parnate, an antidepressant, encourages adrenochrome production and has halted at least one case of brain cancer. A new drug, Intradose, which contains cisplatin and adrenaline, is currently being tested with excellent results in the treatment of liver cancer. Dr. Hoffer speculates that cisplatin, a powerful oxidant, rapidly converts the adrenaline to adrenochrome which then destroys or at least contains the liver tumor. The Intradose gel is injected directly into the tumor.
In conclusion, the new hypothesis suggests that schizophrenia is linked to excessive levels of adrenochrome, which can be reduced by treatment with niacin and coenzyme Q10. Conversely, high adrenochrome levels may help retard tumor growth and may be induced by treatment with drugs that promote the oxidation of adrenaline to adrenochrome.
Hoffer, Abram and Foster, Harold D. Why schizophrenics smoke but have a lower incidence of lung cancer: implications for the treatment of both disorders. Journal of Orthomolecular Medicine, Vol. 15, No. 3, Third Quarter 2000, pp. 141-44

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