Researcher Sees Metals in Blood As Indicators of Mental Diseases

Sickness of mind and body may be predicted by microscopic traces of metals in the blood stream, according to Bert L. Vallee, research associate in Medicine.

During certain illnesses, the amount of copper and other metals in the blood rises appreciably. This has been observed in cases of pregnancy for several years. But only recently Vallee and his associates found the same increase occurs in some schizophrenics and manic depressives, as well as in some cancer and tuberculosis patients.

"Most scientists think that only haphazard studies can be made of physiological functions," said Vallee. This is not true. There are precise equilibria in the system, and only profound changes, such as those made by disease affect them."

The metals occur in concentrations as small as one millionth of a gram in a cubic centimeter of blood. Until ten years ago, it was regarded as impossible to make accurate measurements of these minute quantities. But recent advances in microchemistry and emission spectroscopy have yielded results accurate to two percent.

Vallee said that it is not known why diseases cause the concentration changes, but that a definite pattern may be seen when more metals are tested. Radical changes in medical theory could result from this information, he said. The effects that bodily ills have on the mind is not now well-known. When the new studies are complete, very close connections may be shown.