Clinical Dysautonomia Disguised As Neurasthenia All These Years
In 1941, Dr. Mandel Ettelson Cohen was assigned the job of finding out why so many Second World War soldiers were reporting heart symptoms.
President Roosevelt (FDR) had created the Committee of Medical Research of the Office of Scientific Research and Development to coordinate medical and scientific research in regards to the war effort.
“It’s All In Their Heads”
Up until this time, the scientifically untested theories of Sigmund Freud had often prevailed: heart symptoms similar to those that soldiers often experienced were considered psychosomatic or “anxiety-induced,” and not taken seriously. Cohen, a medical doctor, not a psychologist, was not convinced of the veracity of certain psychological theories, so approached his patients with an open mind.
The psychosomatic argument had been very convenient for industrialists that did not want to be responsible for any of the damages their products caused; needless to say, embracing the theories of Sigmund Freud had been expedient for the developing military-industrial complex.
But Cohen and his team decided to take a more objective approach. Instead of calling the heart symptoms “anxiety neurosis,” “effort syndrome,” “neurasthenia” or “irritable heart,” they decided to call the heart symptoms they had been studying, “neurocirculatory asthenia.”
Perhaps we have FDR to thank for that; at no fault of his own, he had been confined to a wheelchair for many years; perhaps he empathized with the soldiers, who also, at no fault of their own, were degraded for not “wanting to make the necessary effort” as fighting men when their hearts were bursting inside their chests, and they could barely breathe. FDR became paralyzed almost exactly 100 years ago; on August 13th, 1921, after a few days of weakness in one of his legs, he became paralyzed from the waist down.
Damage to the Autonomic Nervous System is Not “In Your Head”
Contemporary environmental scientist, Magda Havas, PhD points out that neurasthenia, was an affliction that became common in the second half of the 1800s among telegraph workers, and then later, among telephone operators.
Today neurasthenia is viewed by physicians such as Dr.Richard N. Fogoros, as a form of dysautonomia, a name for damage to the autonomic nervous system. Thoracic surgeon, Dr. William Rea often diagnosed dysautonomia using functional MRIs (fMRIs) and other methods of testing for his many electrosensitive and electro-chemically injured patients.
Many physicians in the 1800s understood that neurasthenia “was a disease of modern civilization” whether they connected it with new electromagnetic frequencies or not.
As Arthur Firstenberg has pointed out in his book, The Invisible Rainbow, Dr. Mandel Ettelson Cohen, and his medical team found that the symptoms they were observing in WW2 soldiers were similar to those described by Dr. George Miller Beard in 1869.
Arthur Firstenberg – “The Invisible Rainbow” – The Hidden Dangers of Wireless & Cell Phone Radiation
In current times, Dr. Margaret Aranda Ferrante has described clinical markers for the condition described by Beard in her article: DysautonomiaMD: The History of Dysautonomia in Humans and Animals. In addition to having heart palpitations, chest pains and shortness of breath, the patients felt nervous, irritable, weak, exhausted, shaky, unable to concentrate, and naturally depressed due to the dysfunction these symptoms caused. Weight loss, insomnia, dizziness, diarrhea and headaches were often present, though standard laboratory tests showed little wrong.
Dr. Mandel Ettelson Cohen, Post World War II
Cohen made no presumptions. He had been raised in Alabama, educated at Yale and was a young professor at Harvard Medical School. In addition, he had gumption. He called Freudian psychoanalysis “a cult” in the 1940s just as it was religiously asserting control over American academic institutions and being popularized in films by Hollywood.
One of Mandel’s chief investigators, Paul White had already been familiar with neurocirculatory asthenia due to his cardiology practice in the civilian world. Unlike Freud, he believed it was a genuine physical disease. Working alongside Mandel and a neurologist named Stanley Cobb, it was established that this condition had a physical cause, not a psychological one, and that Neurasthenia, the earlier name for it, therefore had once had a physical cause as well; in other words, it was not just a condition that was “caused by stress.”
Objective signs for the diagnoses of neurocirculatory asthenia were drawn up by Cohen and his team that included a rapid, resting heart rate over 90 beats per minute, a tremor of the fingertips, as well as hyperactive knee and ankle reflexes. Half the soldiers had a visibly flushed face, and most had cold hands, as well as abnormal capillaries as shown in the fold of skin at the base of the fingernails. The patients were also hypersensitive to heat, pain, and yes – electricity. They used less oxygen, and exhaled less carbon dioxide than other people; they also had twice as much lactic acid in their blood than others; and most treatments for them failed. In 1946, the medical team concluded:
“Neurocirculatory asthenia is a condition that actually exists and has not been invented by patients or medical observers. It is not malingering or simply a mechanism aroused during war times for purposes of evading military service. The disorder is quite common both as a civilian and as a service problem.”
To paraphrase Firstenberg: The medical team objected to Freud’s term “anxiety neurosis” because anxiety was obviously a result, not a cause, of the profound physical effects of not getting enough air. He goes on to state on page 180 of The Invisible Rainbow that the researchers had, indeed, disproved the theory that the disease was caused by “stress” and “anxiety,” or hyperventilation. The soldiers did not have elevated levels of stress hormones – 17-ketosterroids – in their urine. A two-decade follow-up study revealed that these people typically did not develop any of the other diseases that are presumably caused by anxiety, such as high blood pressure, asthma, ulcerative colitis or peptic ulcers. Instead, these patients had abnormal electrocardiograms; the heart muscle, it appeared, was being starved of oxygen; test results were sometimes completely indistinguishable from the EKGs of people that had actual coronary artery disease – or structural damage to the heart.
Soviet Researchers, 1950-1970
From the 1950s through the 1970s, Soviet Russian researchers described physical signs, symptoms and EKG changes caused by radio waves that were identical to those that White and the Cohen team had first reported in the 1930s and 1940s. The EKG changes indicated conduction blocks and oxygen deprivation to the heart. Like the Soviet scientists, Cohen and White’s team realized that the powerhouse of the cells (the mitochondria) was badly depleted. Firstenberg cites scientists such as Dumanskiy, Shandala, Tomashevskaya, Kolodub, Zalyubovskay and Keselev that have proved that the electron transport chain (the mitochondrial enzymes that extract energy from our food) is diminished not only in animals that are exposed to radio waves, but in animals exposed to magnetic fields from ordinary power lines.
It is interesting to note that various heart conditions and circulatory problems have common themes, no matter how they are medically categorized. Coronary heart disease, for example, is a condition in which the major blood vessels supplying the heart are narrowed; the reduced blood flow can cause chest pain and shortness of breath.
It is also interesting to note that coronary heart disease did not exist prior to 1945 in animals studied at a zoo in Philadelphia. After ruling out other influences for various methodical reasons, Firstenberg has pointed out that the explosion of coronary diseases that began in the 1940s and ’50s in humans and animals coincided with the explosively increasing use of radio waves for commercial purposes after WW2; RF oscillators were being mass produced for the first time; more and more of the population was being exposed to more and more radio waves on the job, used not only in radar, but in navigation. Radio and television, broadcasting, radio astronomy, heating, sealing and welding in many industries and “radar ranges’ for the home were all making their debut.
Coronary Disease and Corona?
While medicine strives to be precise in its definitions of various physical conditions, the themes and symbols behind it are often lost. Symbolism is perhaps not science in the strictest (or perhaps even loosest) sense but it does play its part.
The Latin roots of many words often reveal underlying meanings and connections. It is interesting to note that the words, corona and coronary share six letters in common. Are they related, symbolically or otherwise?
It is also interesting that a “corona discharge” is defined as an electrical discharge brought on by the ionization of a fluid such as air surrounding a conductor that is electrically charged. Corona discharges occur naturally in high-voltage systems unless care is taken to limit the electric field strength. If electrical charges and in fact all polarized electromagnetic radiation (meaning man-made EMR) have increased biological activity due to the ability to produce constructive interference effects and amplification of their intensities at many locations, should we not, then … be cautious?
Update: Environmental Health Trust Wins In Historic Decision, Federal Court Orders FCC To Explain Why It Ignored Scientific Evidence Showing Harm From Wireless Radiation
100 years after FDR became paralyzed, on August 13, 2021, “the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit ruled in the historic case EHT et al. v. the FCC that the December 2019 decision by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to retain its 1996 safety limits for human exposure to wireless radiation was “arbitrary and capricious.” The court held that the FCC failed to respond to “record evidence that exposure to RF radiation at levels below the Commission’s current limits may cause negative health effects unrelated to cancer.” Further, the agency demonstrated “a complete failure to respond to comments concerning environmental harm caused by RF radiation.”
Willful Blindness Image Courtesy Flo Freshman
See the Harvest series here.
Top image: Wikipedia (FDR – Ohio, 1920)
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