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schizophrenia caused by diseased teeth, etc.

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Nov 21, 1998, 3:00:00 AM11/21/98

In the 6th Century B.C., the physician to King Ashurbanipal of
Assyria advised the king to have his diseased teeth pulled in order
to relieve his (rheumatic) aches and pains.

This same knowledge, known as the concept of focal infection,
was also responsible for physician Benjamin Rush's ascendence to
the top of his profession in the post-revolutionary U.S. Within
weeks following implementation of Rush's recommendation that their
diseased teeth be extracted, a number of severely crippled
arthritis victims were once again able to walk without assistance.
Rush had also specifically implicated the teeth as "unsuspected
causes ... particularly of nervous diseases." (Rush, 1818)
In the early years of the current century, this concept was
brought to new levels of sophistication, and irrefutable
validation, by the great works of Frank Billings and his fine
associates. Billings, President of the AMA in 1902 and generally
acknowledged as the father of modern American Medical Education,
regarded his work with focal infection as his greatest
accomplishment, as reflected in his 1916 book FOCAL INFECTION.
Billings's work on the subject involved investigation of the
relation between diseases of the oral foci, particularly in and
around teeth, and a wide range of systemic diseases.
Independently, in 1908, Upson exhaustively
documented dental disease as a cause of mental illness. He
described a number of case studies wherein a cure of often-
longstanding mental illness was effected through the correction
of dental problems -- including disease (e.g. caries), abscessed
or impacted teeth, and delayed eruption of permanent teeth.

Many fine physicians and dentists worked with Billings and/or
followed in his footsteps. On the specific subject of mental
illness, Cotton in 1919 built on the works of both Upson and
Billings. But the truly definitive work on the subject was that
of bacteriologist E.C. Rosenow, who had worked with Billings for
more than a decade and subsequently went on to serve nearly three
decades with the Mayo Foundation as head of experimental
bacteriology. Rosenow's work and that of many associates and
others went far beyond merely fulfilling Koch's postulates for
a wide range of diseases, establishing for all time the definite
role of infections in oral foci (teeth and tonsils). Former AMA
President (in 1934) Walter Bierring asserted in 1938, in JAMA, that
"perchance it is safe to assume that the Rosenow "heresy" will become
the medical guide of the future.

Schizophrenia, epilepsy and other nervous system diseases were
discussed in a number of Rosenow's 300+ articles over the years. In
particular, a series of three articles in the late 1940s (following
his 3 decades at Mayo) provide a particularly detailed overview:
---Rosenow, E.C., Bacteriologic, etiologic, and serologic studies in
epilepsy and schizophrenia, I. Postgrad. Med. 2: 346-357, Nov. 1947
---Rosenow, E.C., Bacteriologic, etiologic, and serologic studies in
epilepsy and schizophrenia, II; effects in animals following
inoculation of alpha streptococci, Postgrad. Med. 124-136, Feb. 1948
---Rosenow, E.C., Bacteriologic, etiologic, and serologic studies in
epilepsy and schizophrenia, III; cutaneous reactions to intradermal
injection of streptococcal antibody and antigen, Postgrad. Med. 3:
367-376, May 1948.

For more information on the works of Rosenow, Billings and associates,
plus an overview of the tragic circumstances that have temporarily obscured
their grand legacy, please visit
<a href=""></a>
For details of Rosenow's method of preparation of therapeutic antibody,
as used successfully in schizophrenia and other nervous system diseases,
please see "ROSENOW" at
For information on availability of additional materials on the works
of Billings, Rosenow, Upson and Cotton, please visit "IoS BOOKS" at

S. Hale Shakman
P.O. Box 382
Santa Monica, CA 90406-0382

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