Why Scientists Should Reconsider Presenting with TED


When I learned that my TEDx talk had been flagged, my initial reaction was here we go again, this work always carries controversy, so what’s new?

But then I read the flag, which stated: “NOTE FROM TED: We’ve flagged this talk, which was filmed at a TEDx event, because it appears to fall outside TEDx’s curatorial guidelines. There is limited evidence to support the claims made by this speaker. Please do not look to this talk for medical advice. TEDx events are independently organized by volunteers. The guidelines we give TEDx organizers are described in more detail here: http://storage.ted.com/tedx/manuals/tedx_content_guidelines.pdf

I was angry and offended. I couldn’t help but take the flag personally, discrediting me as a scientist and challenging my integrity.

Back in October 2014, I had been thrilled and honoured to speak, proud of my TEDx Christchurch (NZ) talk and how well it had done (>900,000 views), and ultimately how many people have benefited from the information.

TED claimed I had stepped outside of the curator guidelines on Science Standards. Understand that TEDx is independent of TED and therefore, even if the local curator is happy with the talk, that doesn’t prevent TED from discrediting it, even years later.

I found this hard to fathom as I had spent countless hours fact-checking every statement that I made, contacting other scientists to ensure what I was saying was an accurate reflection of the state of the field, and reworking the talk to ensure it was accessible without losing accuracy.

I had peer reviewed publications to back my statements, as well as dozens of RCTs from other research centres internationally all showing the same thing — nutrients are relevant to good mental health.

So how did this happen? Why was my talk flagged?

The media people I have been dealing with at TED said a complaint had been made and they concluded, after carefully watching my talk, that “it appears some assertions made by the speaker have limited support from the medical community.

After sharing with them dozens of peer reviewed publications including an opinion piece I had co-authored in the journal Lancet Psychiatry entitled “Nutritional medicine as mainstream in psychiatry,” they changed their story and said I made too many sweeping statements.

However, the only example they gave me on sweeping statements was one at 14:50, where I said: “Nutrient depleted mothers produce nutrient depleted children. Nutrient poor foods during pregnancy increase the chances that your child will have a mental health problem.”

I was surprised that they queried this statement. After all, decades of scientific research have proven that severely malnourished women produce malnourished children. Perhaps there are exceptions. Perhaps I should have said “Nutrient depleted mothers MAY produce nutrient depleted children.”

But where is the controversy? Even if there are some nutrient depleted mothers producing healthy children, is this the kind of sweeping statement that TED is out to expose? Many TED speakers make sweeping statements in their talks and don’t get flagged. Why was this one singled out?

About a month after my initial protests about the flag, they changed it. Instead of targeting me as the speaker, they now targeted the whole field: “NOTE FROM TED: We’ve flagged this talk, which was filmed at a TEDx event, because it appears to fall outside TEDx’s curatorial guidelines. Given that the intersection of nutrition and mental health is an emerging field of study with limited conclusive evidence, please consult with a mental health professional and do not look to this talk for medical advice.”

This flag was even more astounding. This is not really a new or emerging field with limited evidence. Should I have reminded them of Hippocrates (‘let food be thy medicine’)? Should I have told them that in the 1930s a very frequent cause of hospitalization in a psychiatric facility was psychosis associated with pellagra (caused by niacin/Vitamin B3 deficiency)? Do they know that even the DSM-II (published in 1968) acknowledged the role of nutrition in the development of psychiatric disorders with a category of “psychosis with other metabolic or nutritional disorders (including pellagra)”? Aren’t they aware that lithium, a nutrient, has been a treatment for mood dysregulation for decades?

I continued to request more detail but the only further information I received was that I had oversimplified my science: it wasn’t what I said, but rather, what I didn’t say.

As TED state in the Science Standards, when making talks accessible, “this inevitably means that some scientific concepts have to be simplified. But it’s important that they not be simplified to the point of becoming misleading.” This is hard to do, and in TED’s eyes, I overstepped that boundary.

In other words, they now claimed they didn’t have an issue with my science, just how I presented it. They told me I didn’t qualify enough that this was a really new area of research and so the conclusions to draw are very limited. Recall that only two positive RCTs are required for the FDA to approve a drug and be called evidence-based. This argument did not sway them. I am being held to a higher standard than drug companies.

At this point, I wondered, like the editors at MIA, if a sponsor was involved in the complaint. While it isn’t easy to find TED partners, if you navigate enough through their website, you track down Merck as a current partner. OK, I speak frankly about the state of how well medications are working in psychiatry (i.e., not very well in the long term), and Merck makes Effexor (venlafaxine), an antidepressant, so maybe they were the ones who complained? I have asked, but they won’t tell.

Researching further to get the flag off my talk, I came across a blog written by the “science curator” at TED. He’s David Biello and the blog was titled, “The quiet war on science.”

The penny dropped.

At first you might read his blog and think, YES! David Biello supports scientists. He talks about how “the pursuit of facts is under assault, whether it’s the muzzling of government scientists or the elimination of data itself.” But Biello also talks about the need to defend science and perhaps he sees psychiatry as belonging to that category. Is it possible that through questioning the long-term efficacy of current conventional treatments in psychiatry, I have been lumped by David Biello and TED amongst climate change deniers, anti-vaxxers and the like? And in turn, perhaps TED concluded that I must be speaking beyond the data that we have reported on the effect of nutrients on mental illness, that with time, I (and others) will be proved wrong, and that TED must play the role of public educator to ensure that people see this science as something not to be taken seriously?

When I accepted the invitation to speak, I understood TED to be about new innovative ideas, challenging us to think beyond our current world view. But do their science guidelines really allow for that?

Their current science guidelines require that claims must “be based on theories that are also considered credible by experts in the field.” Claims can’t “fly in the face of the broad existing body of scientific knowledge.” Is it possible to have both? That is, new ideas that are considered credible by the current “experts”?

My TEDx talk started with the story of Ignaz Semmelweis who in 1847 (accurately) suggested that washing hands could reduce the spread of infection to women during delivery, a problem that was leading to high mortality rates. Semmelweis was ridiculed by mainstream medicine for his ideas and ended up in an asylum, where he died two weeks later from septicaemia.

There are many other examples in science where a new idea was completely dismissed by mainstream scientists. Alfred Wegener, the originator of the theory of continental drift (which plays a central role in today’s model of plate tectonics), proposed it in 1912 but the idea was not accepted until the 1950s. Or John Harrison who invented the marine chronometer which was able to calculate longitude out at sea to keep ships on course. Oddly, his ideas were repeatedly dismissed by the British Government and by the Royal Society and it wasn’t until he was in his eighties that he received recognition and a reward from Parliament. And there was Barry Marshall, the Australian physician who identified that H. pylori caused ulcers — it took decades for his idea to be accepted into mainstream medicine.

Some people are even now suggesting that Jean-Baptiste Lamarck, a French “naturalist” and a contemporary of Charles Darwin, might have been partially right with his theory of inheritance of acquired characteristics, now influencing our current ideas on epigenetics.

We now see these people as heroic pioneers. But none of them would meet the current science criteria to go onto a TED/TEDx stage in 2018 as their ideas were misaligned with their contemporaries (and therefore wouldn’t meet the criteria of being “well regarded by other scientists”).

How many other scientists like me are going to be flagged, publicly reprimanded by TED, for challenging current ways of thinking? Is it even possible to be innovative and follow conventional thinking at the same time?

Indeed, the current wording of the flag gives it away: “consult with a mental health professional and do not look to this talk for medical advice.” TED exposes their drift away from innovation in the current wording of the flag. The flag encourages embracing conventional methods, and being wary of an idea that is “emerging.”

Would I do my talk differently with what I know now? Absolutely: more qualifiers, more coulds and mays, more discussion of the limitations. But the essence of the talk wouldn’t change. And, to be honest, I might not do the talk again at all. My experience proves that there is no certainty that even if the talk is well liked and supported by the local curator, TED can’t come along and stamp their thoughts on the talk, even years later.

Finally, I am very grateful to the many supporters of my fight to remove the TED flag. A letter signed by 292 scientists and physicians sent July 18th 2018, outlining clearly the scientific inaccuracy of the flag, finally led them to drop “limited conclusive evidence.” On August 24th they modified the flag to: “Please consult with a mental health professional and do not look to this talk for medical advice as the intersection of mental health and nutrition is still an emerging field of study. We’ve flagged this talk for falling outside TEDx’s curatorial guidelines because it oversimplifies interpretations of legitimate studies.”

However, they refuse to remove the sentence about how I speak outside their guidelines, even though they reluctantly agreed to qualify it. Keeping that sentence in the flag allows them to continue to subtly denounce this field of work. And keeping the flag on the talk continues to detract from my reputation. This flag has already affected opportunities for funding and awards. If there are scientists out there with great new ideas, the TED stage may not be the optimal place to state them.

TED have closed the door to any further negotiations. Now my only recourse to remove the flag is to remove the talk.


Mad in America hosts blogs by a diverse group of writers. These posts are designed to serve as a public forum for a discussion—broadly speaking—of psychiatry and its treatments. The opinions expressed are the writers’ own.


Mad in America has made some changes to the commenting process. You no longer need to login or create an account on our site to comment. The only information needed is your name, email and comment text. Comments made with an account prior to this change will remain visible on the site.


  1. I felt very indignant reading this story. Your talk was excellent and the science is obviously supported by the research.
    I would agree that pharma and a pro-psychiatry bias played a role in the flagging. Which is humorous bc “psychiatry” is just a pseudo science and quackery at work.
    I have no respect for the TED organization since I complained about the inaccurate and dangerous TED talk by Sherwin Nuland on ECT. I asked them to add warnings about the risks and dangers completely omitted in his touchy freely non-science and non-evidence based talk that lulls ppl into thinking ECT is safe or useful. They refused. I asked them to sponsor a talk with an opposing view- Suggesting Mary Maddock, Jonathan Cott, Loretta Wilson, Deborah Schwartzkopf or Niall McLaren or Peter Breggin or John Read as speakers. Nope. Big veto to that idea and all the science that shows shock causes brain damage, memory loss, cognitive problems.

    Nutrition is central to maintaining or re-gaming mental wellness. The “mental death professionals” they cite think feeding little kids Ritalin and anti psychotics is a good idea and that their neurotoxins which shrink the brain are helpful. It is just wrong.

    TED should be embarrassed at its lies and efforts to explain away the flagging. I need to review their talks list to see how many pro-psychiatric crap science they have endorsed.

    I agree to shock after watching Nuland’s talk. It destroyed my life. It needs to be removed not flagged.

    Report comment

      • There is nothing to discover or prove here. “Mental illness” is an example of “preexisting language” — would you approve of its usage? The deception of psychiatry is perpetuated by such pseudo-medical terminology, which “communicates” nothing but confusion.

        The fact that TED participates in versions of the same deception by referring people to “mental health” experts does not ameliorate the basic illegitimacy of diagnosing anyone with a “mental illness,” psychiatric condition,” or similar “disorder.”

        Report comment

  2. This makes me sad. Only TED talks that support multi national cartels. Lets continue to eat process food and take drugs to be well, makes for huge profits.
    Kia kaha Julia
    Your work is so important and I have used your TEDx talk on a number of occassions

    Report comment

  3. > Semmelweis was ridiculed by mainstream medicine for his ideas and ended up in an asylum, where he died two weeks later from septicaemia.

    This is an heavy historical error: Semmelweis was beaten to death by psychiatric staff.

    “Much biographical material has been written on Semmelweis, yet the true story of his death on 13 August 1865 was not confirmed until 1979, by Nuland. After some years of mental deterioration, Semmelweis was committed to a private asylum in Vienna. There he became violent and was beaten by asylum personnel; from the injuries received he died within a fortnight. Thus some dramatic theories have been destroyed, including the suggestion that he was injured and infected at an autopsy, which if true would have been a wonderful case of Greek irony.” (Lancaster, 1994, p. 14)

    “The autopsy revealed major injuries that could only have been sustained in beatings to which Semmelweis had been subjected while in the asylum. There were serious injuries involving even the bones, purulently decomposed and deficient tissues on the hands, the arm, the legs, stinking gas between the pectoral muscles, a large tearing hole in the pleura surrounded by a fist-sized ichorous center between the pleura and
    the pericardium, evidence of inflammation in the cerebrum and in the myelon. “It is obvious that these horrifying injuries were… the consequence of brutal beating, tying down, trampling underfoot.” The cause of death was identified as pyemia. Given the autopsy report and the medical record of Semmelweis ‘s stay in the asylum, it seems most likely that Semmelweis was severely beaten by the asylum guards and then left essentially untreated.” (Carter, 1995, p. 268)

    Yes, the great scientist Ignaz Semmelweis was murdered by the psychiatric staff of Wien Döbling, and this crime has been camouflaged for more than one century by the medical corporation.


    H O Lancaster, « Semmelweis: a rereading of Die Aetiologie . . . Part I: Puerperal sepsis before 1845; Die Aetiologie », Journal of Medical Biography, no 2: 12-21,‎ 1994, p. 14

    K.C. Carter, S. Abbott et J.L. Siebach, Five documents relating to the final illness and death of Ignaz Semmelweis. Bull. Hist. Méd. 1995, no 69, p. 255-270.

    Report comment

    • The narration of his psychiatric hospitalization is literally infamous, abominable: Doctors Balassa, bitter enemy of disinfection, Wagner an opportunist who did not even see Semmelweis, and Bókai, the vicious traitor, the Judas who sold his friend for the 30 deniers of bourgeois respectability, wrote completely bogus, completely empty and contradictory certificates, betraying a cowardly and deliberate will to get rid of a great scientist who highlighted their nullity and insignificance.

      Read the certificates! Bókai, Wagner and Balassa are murderers, and if they were not already dead, no doubt they would deserve hanging for their crime.

      The death of Semmelweis is the story of a heinous crime. There is no doubt that the three doctors wanted to proceed with the social assassination of Semmelweis but that, psychiatry being what it is, this social assassination turned into outright assassination. There is much to suggest that Semmelweis’ medical record was rewritten after his death, in order to reinvent his “illness”, with many inconsistencies, contradictions and omissions. This fake was then hidden for more than a century, to hide the crime.

      K.C. Carter, S. Abbott et J.L. Siebach, Five documents relating to the final illness and death of Ignaz Semmelweis. Bull. Hist. Méd. 1995, no 69, p. 255-270. https://sci-hub.tw/https://www.jstor.org/stable/pdf/44444549.pdf

      Report comment

      • Yes I found that out as well. The history of the Rorschach Test is interesting/sad as well.
        Paul Robeson psychiatric treatment and suicide is another story that needs to be told. His son wrote about it and came to some interesting conclusions.
        Likewise Hemingway’s story has some perhaps unusual details as well.
        The Mad Hatter character in Slice in Wonderland is based on history facts.
        Workers in hat factories would go out of their minds very often. It was the chemical fumes that caused the mind alterations. I find that something to contemplate.
        I still think we all are the canaries.

        Report comment

        • Mad Hatter
          It was a heavy metal – either lead or mercury – catnt recall which.

          But I don’t want to go among mad people,” Alice remarked.
          “Oh, you can’t help that,” said the Cat: “we’re all mad here. I’m mad. You’re mad.”
          “How do you know I’m mad?” said Alice.
          “You must be,” said the Cat, “or you wouldn’t have come here.
          ~ Lewis Carroll, Alice in Wonderland

          Report comment

          • +bcharris Thx – I also read that Napoleon took micro doses of mercury every day as an antidote to enable the body to be less vulnerable to being killed by poison – and that this was common practice in those who had reason to fear such attacks.

            And that mercury aka quicksilver – was a purge used by physicians of the ‘heroic intervention’ to drive out the disease condition, (ie fight fire with fire) and the ‘quicks’ was a nickname that morphed to ‘quacks’.

            Vaccinations have mostly switched to aluminium from thimerosal now but the injecting of heavy metals into infant and children’s bloodstream in formulations that go through the blood brain barrier is a similar magic – where we attempt to pre-empt a feared outcome by doing it to ourselves first, but hopefully in a more limited form. (Of course the ‘we’ is a collective generalisation’. People do it to other people – mostly before they are able to make an informed choice.

            All these are different relations with toxicity. An unwitting exposure, the attack and defence strategy of toxins as weapons, and our social organisation and identity under such thinking.

            Exposure to toxins AND the lack of conditions (nutrients etc) for the body to rebalance, clear or protect itself from them (ie by encapsulation), can and does have all the signs of disease. So much so that I tend to see this as the outer nature of disease – where even actually ‘infectious’ biota only find a host as a result of matching conditions and may serve a healing role if properly nursed.
            The inner nature of disease is our not knowing who we are or how to be – and so being out of timing and out of our right mind and nature such to go forth from an imbalance and multiply it. This is currently an area of human expertise.
            Nutrition and gut health, sunlight, nature and joy – all serve the undoing of the toxic mindset. Blasting or toxifying it as if to eradicate it, only feeds it – but in the dark. This is the terrible self-realisation that incoming light reveals, but it is the light in which to choose NO MORE to do so, but to yield ‘power’ for a true foundation, and that is an alignment IN health rather than presuming to be the bringer, provider or protector OF health for others ‘seen’ in sickness and so not really seen or met at all.

            Report comment

        • Noticing the phrase – ‘go out of their minds’ – gave me a pause.
          Of course the shorthand is a meaning that is exchanged perhaps without ever considering what we mean.

          I see the ability to hold focus in the world – both the social constructs of mores and norms and the fundamental focus in the body or physical sense as a purposeful balancing act within a greater mind, similar in some sense to that my Mac CAN run software that emulates a different hardware chip- from which to then run programs – ie old Nintendo games, that cannot run directly on the hardware/software.

          In some sense projecting my awareness into this text box virtual conversation is also a specific focus through limitations that become invisible to me in the act OF sharing.

          So ‘what’ goes out of our (or their) minds?
          Or is it that minding goes out of focus and therefore balance relative to the sense of the specific ‘consciousness’ or construct through which we have this particular experience?

          The ‘mind in the body’ idea is like to identification with image or indeed facebook persona. If facebook were to manipulate its code of hidden rules it could distort the communication or of course block it from any meaningful outcome, while the ‘mind in the body’ tries to make meaning in terms of its ‘face in the game’.

          So without focusing on the specific case of insanity by toxic mercury accumulation, I wonder if ‘going out’ of our mind-in-its-body isn’t the NATURAL order of expansion – and the issue is an inability to ‘come back in’ or regain and hold the balance of the ‘ego’ consciousness or personality construct.

          Communication breakdown ‘within’ will reflect in experience ‘out there’. The body in and of itself is not invulnerable to being broken. But the idea of a broken or even split mind can use the body as the symbol of its existence AS a power that can split (judge) and be ‘judged’ (found or experienced or assigned ‘broken’).

          Letting Mind in to what seems a separate or segregated sense of self, is not really a going ‘out’ so much as an expanded perspective. Perhaps to other facets of being, that were ‘unconscious’ and remain untranslatable or out of synch with the life focus of self-in-the-world – and that can induce fear of dislocation that then finds self-reinforcement, or perhaps to an expansion of awareness in which it is obvious there can be no such ‘self’ as a thing in itself, and this can then seem like the threat of non-existence rather than recognition of inherent Self Existence as an ‘always’.

          Bio diversity is a signature of one holding many within itself and the many holding one as their unique part in the whole. Creation – as I see it, is out of a wholeness that gives itself to all that it is. In the freedom to experience going out of our Mind’, as if we could, is the expression and creation of a world ‘outside’ a split off mind. If we can then seem to get stuck or lost or taken over by such an ‘mad hat’ adventure, is the waking release from it a willingness to embrace it in a new way?

          If our life were a virtual hat experience, the last thing we would consider is taking the hat off while engaged in our experience. Releasing the insistence that everything must change for me to be who I truly am, is the willingness to re-member and re-cognize facets of myself that played out all kinds of roles to a sense of ‘get and threat’. Because this is at first often and in many ways very uncomfortable, I cannot do this without the grace of willingness which cannot be coerced and still be freely and truly willing. So living the willingness we have, appreciates the true for being lived and in some sense shared, because letting in, is opening to relationship, whatever forms that that takes.
          Relationship is perhaps the key, because true relation simply is, but being ‘out of true’ reacts to what isn’t – as if it is. Is coming back into our ‘right’ mind simply coming back ‘online’ as the presence of being, or even, release of the sense of ever having truly been ‘out’?

          The linear mind misses the moment at hand because it is intent on getting or being somewhere else. But enjoying the journey is the art of being. Is that insulting and offensive to the hate and rage that demands acceptance from a pain of denied being? Perhaps it must seem so, but at some point are we not each and all in a quandary of ‘self acceptance’ of ourselves as we are – which has to also embrace where we are currently ‘at’ – rather than embody the demands of a sense being locked into pain or locked out of joy?
          If we give magical power to things outside of us, we will be subject to what we have given power to. Humanity does this collectively – so it is more than our personal consciousness – but where else do we start?
          Extending appreciation is not seeking to ‘get’ something in return and those who seek to ‘get’ by masking in such terms do not justify sacrificing our joy to allay their fears.

          Report comment

    • To a degree, it is. I’ve been taking mega B3 for nearly 50 years and I still read stuff about the peril of consuming more than 20mg/day, thereby learning that I must be in the throes of chronic liver disease that could wipe me out in weeks. I also learn that I still must be hallucinating. Maybe I’m a dumpster diver and don’t notice it because I’m so seriously deluded.

      Report comment

    • Interesting point. There is evidence that I find compelling (though I have not looked into it sufficiently to have have a well grounded understanding of the work or how significant it is) on how the lack of micro-nutrients are linked to unquiet minds. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12091259

      Whether this is mental illness, or symptoms of vitamin and mineral deficiency is an interesting debate.

      I can see where your stand on that issue and I tentatively join you in that position.

      Report comment

      • Glad someone is not being drawn into this false argument.

        If people feel bad because their nutrition is poor this is a PHYSICAL condition, not a “mental” one. Improve your nutrition by all means if necessary, but this has nothing to do with “treating mental illness.”

        As it stands, the author and TED are both engaged in a misleading squabble over “how to best treat mental illness.”

        Report comment

        • Ok but the choice to eat junk food and toxic drugs – perhaps as a choice to ‘trust’ experts and go with the flow of a herd being pharmed is a MENTAL condition that I see as a LACK of awareness of choice under a ‘mind-capture’ to all sorts of human conditioning.

          I share the use of quotes around ‘treating mental illness’.
          WHO decides who and what is ‘sick’?

          But I back up further in my belief that all sickness truly stems from psychic or ‘mental’ cause that takes many forms but is always the theme of divide and rule. I generally see it as ‘divide and rule OUT’ because division, conflict, struggle, war, all rule out the peace in which what is true is knowing and being known. Discernment is lost to judgement of others and world, and so we then coalesce or coagulate into ‘judgements of reality’ that are all forms of power struggle.
          The wish to assign psychic attributes to physical things is a world perceived and be-lived as such, and the demand that psychic conflicts be outsourced, or hidden by diversion and distraction to a physical world, others or body is an extension of the same idea of mind BECOMING physical – rather than mind as the communication of purpose THROUGH the vehicle of form.

          While there are those who share a definition of mental dis-ease as a physically caused condition – rather than a (physically and emotionally reinforced condition), they will ‘meet’ in treating and being treated in such a framework.

          The reintegration of the physical to the psychic-emotional is what I might call the Spiritual – but I don’t have to call it a name to call for a true alignment from a recognition I am ‘out of my peace’.

          I see a great fear of the psychic emotional and a blindness to the Spiritual – that is the integrated expression of unified purpose, in the determination to lock down into the physical and ‘manage the sickness’ so as to push it down and out of ‘mind’ – by ‘seeing it outside or in physical terms’.

          Voodoo of negative belief or indeed diagnosis can and does sicken and kill. It can also ‘capture’ those seeking protection from greater fears.
          Health at the cellular level is nothing to do with the framework of sickness management – and is a communication of wholeness to Itself in all its parts.
          So the remembering of what had seemed dismembered is a basis for better or more health aligned choices at all levels of our consciousness.

          It doesn’t have to be either/or and the restoring of awareness and appreciation for wholeness of being is a highly individualised or unique offering to a ‘universal journey’. All facets serve the restoring of wholeness to all parts of one purpose.

          Because the ‘physically framed mind’ has its own use of terms, the meanings I intend may not come through, but being Is, and awareness of being creates along the line of its knowing Itself in all that it is. In an exclusive identifiction of a physical mind (oxymoron/doublespeak alert!), the either/or mind divides and rules (out) as the god of judgement.
          IE If your believe to ‘know’ you are undeserving of love, by your own conviction, then nothing of love will be allowed where you are.
          But we do not ‘know’ ourself in division – except through a distorting mind-lens of opposition and reversal. To live as if the physical form is cause to (framing and defining) the mind that created it. Because we WANTED to assign power outside our self and be-live the experience.
          If the game is no longer worth the candle then is the answer to snuff the candle or to alight in something truly joyful, meaningful or resonant with who I know and feel to be – (regardless the craziness that may scream or shout and shake about) – but as a willingness in the moment of noticing – and not as a set-up to fail …and fail and fail again.

          Report comment

      • Interesting paper, John. My reading of it is that there must have beeen a 9% reduction of offences on placebo compared to 35% on supplements, hence the 26% difference, over about 20 weeks in a smallish sample of 230. The study seemed to remain blinded. This was in 2002, and we could probably be smarter in the supplements we could use today. Could we have the latest “anti-criminaliser”? I wonder if this was ever acted upon.

        However, as I write this, I wonder if I am seducing myself with a chemical imbalance hypothesis!

        Report comment

  4. Thank you for this excellent article! I am sad to hear this about TEDx, but somehow not surprised. It’s certainly made me change my mind about TEDx. Here is what I said on my Facebook page:

    ‘Well, this excellent article has changed my views about the people at TEDx. They (or at least some of the key players) clearly are not very professional. Given that I have spent good amounts of my time over the years challenging dubious so-called ‘scientific’ claims and carrying out experiments the results of which contradicted ‘accepted’ ideas, I would be in real trouble with TEDx. And, of course, I have challenged key ‘ideas’ in the mental health field that are not just wrong, but also threaten people’s health. Would the people at TEDx tell me that I am not scientific?’

    I say this as someone who worked in neuroscience for 25 years, trained with a Nobel Laureate and ran my own lab for many years, but then walked away from the field. Why? (1) I did not believe that so-called ‘mental disorders’ could be linked to simple changes in neurotransmitter function, (2) I believed that psychiatric drugs caused more harm than good, (3) Over time, I became more and more aware of the high level of dishonesty and outright scientific fraud in the neuroscience and psychiatry fields, and (4) I thought I could help people better in other ways. I still loved exploring how the brain functions – and still do today – but I started to work at the community level, empowering and connecting people to recover from substance use and mental health related problems. I find it very sad that drug companies and biological psychiatrists hold so much sway and many naive members of the public follow their words.

    Thanks again Julia and keep up the great work. Also, MIA is like a breath a fresh air, which is increasing in intensity. Well done to all concerned!

    Report comment

  5. Broad spectrum dominance is an intergenerational objective.
    Whether this is assigned to a mind-set in the drive for ‘control’ (IE: driven by fear of loss of self) or to people, and legal, corporate or institutional systems is whether looking to cause or to effects that in the world seem causal.
    Narrative identity is narrative continuity and therefore control. All beliefs or accepted self definitions are self-reinforcing experience until they are recognised or known again AS beliefs that can then be observed, evaluated and released, transformed or replaced with more truly aligned consciousness of being.

    The opportunism of self interest is not wrong when the self is aligned truly, (take this opportunity to align with joy), but will work against the true when aligned under false or incomplete sense of self. So the emergence of anything – to the sense of self that is driven to defend such a self – will be scanned for threat, and for any potential usage in terms of weaponising or marketising itself. A false sense of possession and fear of dispossession operate a desperate sense of self. The grouping and consolidation of ‘alliances’ struck to protect investments against attack or threat of loss operates ‘separate self interest’ or private agenda.
    This ‘defence’ takes the form of attack ‘justified’ or compelled by narrative definition out of a sense of being denied or deprived of a rightful power, love or connection and thus of the drive to regain it in EXTERNAL terms.

    TED may have started out in naive ignorance of the underlying power structures of a world of power struggle (reflecting the mind in conflict with itself and denial or ignorance of Self). Under the illusion that ‘we all want solutions -right?’ – or to expand the field of human knowledge, or create a better world – right?
    Well up to a point but the other side is no one wants to lose, and no one likes being subjected to coercion.

    A lot of influence is wielded behind the scenes by extremely active and loud minority lobbies. Perhaps these lobbies project themselves as Protectors of the Faith or ‘Science’ on surface but beneath the surface is the identification under a coercive sense of self masked in self-vindicating narratives of self gained at another’s expense or maintained upon another’s denial or demonisation.

    While there are instances of conspiracy to use behind the scenes methods of ‘persuasion’ instead of an open dialog, that description IS an example of a mind-set in refusal or unwillingness to introspect or look within.
    It is thus blind to not only its own false misidentification, but also to true Cause – because mind or thought does not create itself except within the wish to do so as a private sense of self set apart – and therefore not at one with the true nature of being, but seeming to exist by the experiencing of its own thought as a separate and split off reality.

    Because a sense of disconnection leads to loss of communication, trust and recognition of true, the substitution for true becomes effectively toxic or destructive and depletive. Life choices rooted in ancient habit-conditioned learning include attempts to limit or deny consciousness, suppress feelings by enforced rules of open acceptance. What is not accepted is pushed to the back and if it tries to move forward for acceptance it is pushed down. The denied then ‘learns’ by hate and frames its own right to existence in terms of who it was taught – and learned – to be. Rage is thus an expression of a deeper movement of being that lacks any other articulation until it meets the light of acceptance instead of rejection.
    In rage (which can mask under the slightest irritation), we are triggered by a past that is invoked upon our present and which then blinds us to what is present, while we only ‘see’ what its separation script dictates.

    Opening an acceptance in place of a rejection is the willingness to look, listen and be with what is so as to align in a presence rather than enact a past made in anger. Finding such willingness amidst the call to hate or withhold is a grace of our true being.

    The weaponising and marketising of TED, or any other Net Portal, is part of the context of our collective thinking. To protect truth is meaningless because its own laws protect it perfectly. But to protect against deceit is both meaningful and necessary for the protection and valuing of our awareness of true. The mind’s capacity to be out of accord with true is a state of mental conflict. This conflict covers over the awareness of an indivisibility of being of which we are each and together an individual expression.

    TED are not open or accountable as to who pressures them to censor, or the true reasons for such acts. The fear of penalty can induce a climate of self-censor, that pre-empts being told to comply.
    That last sentence is the limitation that the human mind takes on and bounds itself within as an attempt to be what it is not – and to be so much less than we are. However the healing of our mind is the reintegrative alignment in a different purpose that that which defined its development.

    Aligning in joy, such as we can in any way alight in, is the valuing and growing in what we truly have and are – rather than focusing in a sense of lack and its need for defence against greater or total loss.

    Of course toxic exposure and malnutrition can render the mind of the body dysfunctional.
    Of course all kinds of ways can be found to support a toxic and nutrient deficient ‘system’ as an individual and as a collective. Fear-denial, as projection, makes a world of division and depletion while becoming toxic to itself. The decision to heal is the willing release of an attempted self-help that protects the hurt by encapsulating it within ourself as denied expression, while its un-witting projections frame a sense of a world in which our struggle to escape, regain, fix, or overcome finds reinforcement as if a war that can be won.

    Nutrition is not for illness, but in support and alignment of health and wholeness.
    Health cannot be imposed or added to sickness. That is where we have already identified (aligned) IN sickness and seek to protect it from wholeness.
    In this sense health or wholeness of being is not out there – but in the reintegration to our true being, we will experience synchronicities of inner and outer experience that are like a coming back into focus.
    Identity in sickness, conflict or limitation is like being phished or ‘taken in’ by our own reactions to what we think we know. This is not to say we do not suffer and even die in the experience of sickness, conflict and limitation, but that we rarely turnabout to question our own judgement of ourselves, our reality experience and our life or being.

    Report comment

    • Anti-psych forces are anti-life.
      You mean anti-psychiatry?
      Everyone who defines themselves as ‘anti-anything’ takes sides in a war that cant be won.
      But in shorthand to be against a criminal or hateful way of thinking and behaving is surely to be FOR a lawful and loving way of thinking and behaving?
      Or the ‘anti’ simply ups the ante, by providing the supporting role to the thing it says it hates by giving it negative attention. Then the psychiatrist is justified in clinging to their model by the lawless and hateful behaviours of those who seek to undermine them? No?
      I am not suggesting hurt and rage are not felt – but that they are not a legitimate basis from which to choose to act, but are of course the basis of revenge and self vindication upon the bringing down or affliction of the wrongdoer – or the symbolic scapegoat for the wrongdoer.

      The split mind between revenge or rehabilitation and healing is our inability to establish justice.

      Report comment

    • Yes I mean anti-psychiatry, anti-psych is shorthand among anti-psych survivors.

      As for your comments about the prefix “anti-“, I wonder if you also consider anti-war movements to be grounded in negativity.

      And no, we do not act impulsively based on emotion, but on analysis and strategy.

      Report comment

      • A healthy gut leads to healthy production of brain chemicals, as simple as that. If you give your kid fizzy, sugar raspberry or coke or other such crap food, your kid will present with what they call ADHD.
        For me Oldhead you are so focused on being against psychiatry that you can’t even recognize when someone is trying to do good by us.
        Good food and sometimes supplements and therapy that works for the individual to help them deal with the monsters in their heads (trauma and/or our self critic) are very useful for the wellbeing of people.

        Report comment

        • Oldhead you are so focused on being against psychiatry that you can’t even recognize when someone is trying to do good by us.

          You know already about the road to hell, I’m sure you do.

          Sorry you don’t get it. I eat so much healthy shit it would make your head spin. That’s not the point. This is PHYSICAL HEALTH we’re talking about, NOT “mental” health, which is impossible, and accepting it as valid leads to all sorts of abuse in the name of “treatment.” So it is imperative to distinguish between the two, even if it leads to fewer professional awards and citations.

          Report comment

          • I think the main problem here is semantics. You’re getting bent because Ruckledge uses psych industry terms in presenting her research findings that nutrition effects emotions. Frankly I think the reason antipsych people aren’t more up in arms about her research is because it makes common sense that malnutrition or nutritional deficiencies effect ones ability to regulate ones emotions and it makes little difference whether you call that someone’s mental health or simply their emotions. Yes, it’s physical. We get it. But you start more fights over terminology than you do over substance.

            Now since we’ve had this discussion privately and I know you don’t believe that nutrition has no impact on emotional functioning, I don’t understand why you’re digging in over the terminology. I for one think there are more important avenues to explore such as why our government subsidizes nutritionally deficient foods to the extent that junk food is far cheaper and more easily available than whole foods that haven’t been heavily processed. And then after subsidizing junk foods, we get told not to eat them because they’re so unhealthy. Our federal government makes junk foods incredibly cheap and then the FDA tells us to limit our intake of such unhealthy, nutritionally deficient, ADDICTIVE, cheap foods.

            It’s not hard to understand that the standard American diet is killing us, and, in my mind, it makes little difference whether we talk about it in terms of “mental health” or we say our emotional state is being effected by physical nutritional deficiencies and inflammation caused by a poor diet.

            We can’t fight Mental Health, Inc effectively by beating everyone over the head until they agree with us on our exact preferred terminology. Getting lost in the weeds of terminology doesn’t advance the message that the bio-medical-psycho model is missing the mark. And I certainly don’t think fighting those who are advancing such basic concepts as ‘we are what we eat’ is going to gain more support.

            Report comment

          • I pretty much agree with the above. If someone’s using “mental health” terminology, I think it’s important to talk about why that can be harmful to people and why it might reinforce the current mythology about “mental illnesses” and suggest or request some changes. But I also think it’s important to look at the meaning of research findings no matter what language is used, and the idea that nutritional interventions could help some people who find themselves embroiled in the world of “mental health treatment” actually helps UNDERMINE the idea that people have broken brains and there is nothing that can be done about it.

            As long as the proviso is in place that not everyone who happens to get “diagnosed” with a particular “disorder” is given some nutritional “therapy” specific to their “diagnosis” and expected to be “cured,” I think nutritional research can be a very, very important part of undermining the current psychiatric hegemony over “mental health.” I also think it’s possible to provide honest feedback regarding the use of this kind of terminology without tossing out the baby with the bathwater. I think these women have been quite courageous in challenging the status quo and deserve our support for doing so, even if there is legitimate feedback that folks want to provide regarding terminology.

            Report comment

          • KS, I’ll simply repeat, this is about PHYSICAL health, not “mental health.” I think I’ve made my position pretty clear. Why is the term “mental health” ALWAYS inappropriate? Because it is a fiction, and those who use it — at least without quotes — feed that fiction, which is then used to victimize people.

            Beyond that, since my initial general comments, I distrust this “research” because of the author’s attitude, not to mention the opportunistic aspects brought up by Nancy. Anyone who understands the issues should have no trouble at the very least putting quotes around “mental illness”; if they don’t even have that much respect for survivors and the movement I don’t have much time for them.

            Eat healthy food people, you’ll feel a lot better! (Now where do I get paid?)

            I also think it’s possible to provide honest feedback regarding the use of this kind of terminology without tossing out the baby with the bathwater.

            Which is the baby and which is the bath water in your scenario?

            Report comment

      • “I wonder if you also consider anti-war movements to be grounded in negativity.”

        Yes I do!

        Analysis and strategy are war-minded in terms of an already fragmented perception resulting from already warring thought systems battling for your mind. Except what you truly are does not ‘fight’ illusions so much as shine them away. And so in order to have an ‘enemy’ to fight against, the truth is substituted for by idol, symbol, image and concept. “Fight for peace, freedom, democracy, equality, God, and end to cancer, protection from farts and other sources of CO2, asteroid attacks, aliens, illegals or WHATEVER – but DON’T CUT MY BUDGET!

        The intuitive/intellectual is not an ‘EITHER/OR’ but a BOTH/AND. So in the engaging of the use of the mind they both work together unless artificially separated to maintain an artificially separate sense of self and world. If the problem you want to analyse and resolve is already a definition of the WAY YOU ARE SEEING , then you can use the problem to reveal the answer. But if you are called to war without even knowing you had another CHOICE – then you are already framed in the terms that the problem sets. Thus the defining of the true need has to be from a truly honest appreciation of what is – and not a phishing ruse by which you are switched to a stolen identity.

        The attempt to escape or overcome is the way we lose consciousness of what actually is for a mistaken or misidentified sense of self and reality.
        Living from the intent to escape and evade negative outcomes is a substitution for living the desire and appreciation of what you truly are. It carries the feared or hated past with it while believing it is becoming free or fighting for freedom from it and so it is a futile and impossible ‘problem’ that only changes form but never shall be ‘solved’ because it is not here unless you bring it with you. This of course goes beneath the surface mind because our ‘triggers’ are usually hidden or pushed from conscious minding (as if escaped).

        So I look at the framing definitions of everything that I might otherwise react to as if TRUE in the terms it presents. And if clarifying and helpful to my appreciation of sanity in myself and others, I reframe into positive or integrative terms.
        The integrative movement of being may be felt to be a guide and support to sane appreciation – even of insane set ups.

        The either/or is the jealous god of judgement over life. “Either you are with us against the terrorists or against us, and with them!”

        I do not care to ‘join in hate’ regardless of the terror symbols employed. And if I find by loss of peace that I have been so ‘triggered to react’ then I immediately desist from feeding the fire and seek an active willingness to ‘choose anew’ in alignment with a wholeness of being – rather than struggle under or within a misframed sense of self and life. There is no real joining in hate – no matter how ‘holy’ the cause seems in contrast to its opposition. Joining is in love, honouring, acknowledging and extending of true witness from a sense of honouring our self rather than ‘treating it’ as a sickness or a sin. This simply is not what the personality level allows – but it can be retrained to serve another purpose.

        Report comment

  6. ” I am being held to a higher standard than drug companies.”


    There’s always this fear among some in the “mental health” community that some patient or other will read some piece that says this or that, other than that drugs are the ‘be all end all’ of treatment, and stop taking their neurotoxins AKA “meds”.

    “While it isn’t easy to find TED partners, if you navigate enough through their website, you track down Merck as a current partner.”

    The drug company exe probably has a big grin on his face when there are people coming forward with reactions to presentations, like the TEDx piece you did, saying, “Did you see this? We have to do something!”

    You’ve heard about the pot calling the kettle black, well, critics of the system have long been getting a lot of blackwash, and here we’ve just witnessed another instance of the same.

    Report comment

    • Human thinking tends to see the ‘thing’ and miss the context of which the ‘thing’ is a partial expression. And so deal with a world in pieces instead of beholding a world in peace.
      So the cell – rather than being a prison, is a whole within a communication of wholeness for all cells are in instant communication of a body as one.
      Doing what came naturally was replaced by unnatural thinking and so of course unnatural behaviours such that we deprive ourself and each other of all that we are at all levels of our being – in a gesture of self contraction because when not ‘at home’ in our true awareness of naturally being, a sense of disconnect armours and operatives as if a separate cell must think all by itself and do, manage and survive all by itself.

      The mind that acts out from such thinking has emotional results that then condition and teach the mind that it IS the body while body sensation and emotional state reflect a total reinforcement to the mind that thinks.
      Letting light into a darkness is letting the dark be undone by the light – and in this sense light is a true cell and self awareness that given willingness over time, rehabilitates and reintegrates that which seems to have the power to block, oppose, deny or refuse its own healing wholeness of being.

      My impulse on writing was to invite not separating the brain from the whole of you and putting the ‘problem’ there but opening a relationship to cell body and the felt quality of life that is inherent rather than added.
      It is the ‘unnatural thinking’ that was ‘added’ and the relax or release of such a gesture is the release of the condition that blocks the movement of being that wells up from within like a cup that runneth over. Well being. Happiness can be very quiet and yet pervasive – as if ‘inside everything that is’. And then the mind interjects and it seems like ‘I’ve lost it’ and that the cause for losing it is my problem and maybe ‘someone else’s fault’. But what if it is tuning into a lack fear and problem channel is simply tuning out from our peace?

      Desire is the most fundamental power for change. Putting all kinds of conditions on what form it must take can be a way of setting rules and filters that don’t actually allow the desire to grow its fulfilment.

      Report comment

  7. I am very low in micro nutrients–especially iron, vitamin B12, and magnesium. This makes me feel very gloomy as you can guess.

    My problem with malabsorption probably stems from decades on psych drugs. But no doctor will dare even speculate such a thing out loud. I found this in an article about SSRIs from the UK Guardian.

    This won’t be put in a TED video any time soon!

    Glad I am off and hope I can heal to some extent.

    Report comment

    • Hey Rachel I finally found a doctor who is addressing the malabsorption issue via my gut biome.

      According to my biome tests, I am low in e-Coli which hampers my nutrient absorption (especially aminos and B-vitamins), and high in streptococcus and enterococcus which causes me to store lactic acid (mood and pain issues) as well as hampering my metabolism of fats.

      All of these point to why my thyroid medicine is less effective, and why my hair and nails are so horribly thin and brittle, and – ye olde metabolic disorder which I have thought I might carry to my deathbed.

      Her solution is a clean out (detox) and probiotics. I’m still in the clean out phase and – can it be that my nails are just a little firmer? My hair is not falling out quite so badly?

      Unlike you, my B12 and magnesium are fine. I am eager to see what happens when I start taking those gut bugs in a week’s time.

      However – like you say – she is unaware of what the psych drugs do to the gut. She is just looking at what the labs report, and prescribing to fix.

      Report comment

    • Hi Nancy,
      Are you saying that Julia Rucklidge has ties to a company called TrueHope, that this company makes false claims, that it markets a formula, and that this formual and company caused you and your family harm?

      In the TED talk, Julia talked about her research. It’s not clear what unsupportable causal claim you are talking about.

      Given the serious allegations involved, it would be good if you could be more clear.

      Report comment

      • Good afternoon Out, You got the facts right, I believe I included plenty of information for you to follow up on, should you desire. The unsupportable claim is that mental illnesses are determined by nutritional deficiencies. A woman who is given the diagnosis of whatever (Schizophrenia/Bipolar etc) after years of abuse does not recover because she is given a vitamin cocktail. This is the old argument between the Psych professions regarding causation. The ironic thing is that I agree with TEDx, but not for their reasons. Ruckledge’s work may have many positive contributions to the field of nutrition. My concern is a lack of accountability tainting research results, and a continuation of systemic abuse.

        Report comment

        • Here is an example of what you will find on TrueHope, this is the formula to which both of us reacted badly. Interestingly, I suggested in emails that I had a problem taking anything with B6 in it, and Teresa ( supposedly The “Medical Director”) talked me into taking it, assuring me that it is essentially safe for all human beings dependent on dosage. Anyone who knows anything about drug withdrawal knows that isn’t true, many people react badly to different vitamin cocktails. For this reason, many withdrawal groups have warnings about supplements. https://psychcentral.com/blog/truehopes-confusing-message-empowerplus-q96-claims-to-treat-bipolar-adhd-depression/

          Report comment

          • Nancy

            Thank you so much for putting your story out there and questioning this over emphasis on nutrition as being an alleged cure for “mental illness.”

            Other writers here at MIA having been trying to challenge these authors for some time on some of their claims and emphasis.

            Here is part of a long response I made in a past comment section of one of her other blogs:

            “You said: “I wish people would stop using our blogs as an excuse to bash psychiatry and diagnostic labels(which we also dislike).”

            “I think this is an unfair and one sided summation of what has taken place at MIA in response to your past blogs. I think you need to take some responsibility (in some instances) for a lack of clarity on certain issues and, at times, an OVEREMPHASIS in your writings on the role of nutrition in resolving the symptoms that get labeled as “mental illness.”

            “Some people have raised some very important issues to be considered when viewing this research into the role of nutrition, especially as it relates to trauma and other stressors in children’s environmental experience. And there have been times when you have been overly defensive, and viewed any serious questions as simply “inappropriate” attacks.”

            “I believe that Dragon Slayer has raised some important issues here, but I do NOT accept his conclusion that the essence of your work is somehow “coercive psychiatry in another form.” It is too bad that we can’t sort out the “wheat from the chaff.”

            “I support the value of your research and efforts in area of nutrition, but also believe it is vitally important that the certain conclusions drawn from this work get presented in a way that does not mislead people about the priorities of what needs to take place in the world to create a more safe and secure environment for children.”

            “In a past blog I attempted to raise some of these important issues of clarification AND emphasis, and may have been unfairly lumped in as a naysayer and “inappropriate” critic of your work. Here is my comment which was never responded to:”

            “Hi Bonnie”

            “You said: “…our research has helped put on the map the idea that mental health problems CAN be addressed through nutrition, offering an alternative to our current approaches.”

            “What exactly is meant by this statement, especially your emphasis on the word “CAN”? I am a firm believer in science and the scientific method. I support your efforts at researching the value of nutrition as a valuable “aid” to recovery, but I believe it can be harmful and even dangerous to exaggerate its meaning if not backed up by proven science.”

            “In my comment above I stated the following:
            “And more importantly, RECOVERY from these negative and harmful experiences in life must ultimately be UNDERSTOOD AND ADDRESSED in each person”s own experience and timetable for recovery. This may, or may not, require therapy, but most certainly will require A SUPPORTIVE ENVIRONMENT to nurture one’s recovery.”

            “It is here where good nutrition and gut health may be an important ENHANCEMENT or ADDITIONAL SUPPORT for such recovery by aiding a more suitable INTERNAL BODY ENVIRONMENT for such recovery, but NOT the PRINCIPLE MEANS for such recovery to take place.”

            “A person in recovery will STILL have to address the original traumas that began their conflict with their environment AND the subsequent traumas that took place when they encountered AN OPPRESSIVE “MENTAL HEALTH” SYSTEM that added to, and reinforced, earlier traumas. There can be no SUBSTITUTE OR SHORTCUT for doing this work.”

            “Could you please respond to my point about what will most often be the “principle means” for recovery from “mental health” issues? And could you justify not using quotations when using the term “mental health?”

            “Respectfully, Richard”

            Report comment

          • Nancy

            I do not know if you know this, I’ll assume you may not know it all and go for it. Under stress, low Mg diet, calcium supplements, some prescription and over the counter drugs, alcohol, digestive problems humans loose magnesium. Mg plays a vital role in the brain in regulating the function of the NMDA receptor, which is a glutamate receptor, glutamate being the major excitatory neurotransmitter in the CNS. GABA is synthesized from glutamate using an enzyme, glutamate decarboxylase which requires a co-factor: the active form of B6 – Pyridoxal phosphate (P5P). This is clearly stated in the biology literature. So you were not given bad advice on taking B6 re benzodiazepine withdrawal. Liquid titration of benzodiazepines, Mg and B6 are all good things to deal with withdrawal and people should not be put off.

            Report comment

        • Nancy,
          You say you were told by someone who didn’t know what a Gaba receptor was, that Julia has some ties to the company that swindled you with false claims and caused you harm. I’m asking if you have any evidence of this.

          “A woman who is given the diagnosis of whatever (Schizophrenia/Bipolar etc) after years of abuse does not recover because she is given a vitamin cocktail…”

          When has Julia said anything like this?

          Report comment

        • To remind MIA readers, I have never received any funding or other support from any of the companies that make the vitamin-mineral combinations that I have researched. They simply provide the nutrients and matching placebo for free without any role in the design or the data analysis or the write up of the studies. The first time they hear of the results is when we publish them. This lack of financial ties is an essential part of my credibility. I have sadly had to deal with a a number of Official Information requests to my university to prove that lack of any financial ties is indeed the truth.

          The fact that an interview I did in NZ ended up on a website is not in my control and does not reveal anything.

          I also want to remind this audience that my research is about the idea that nutrients are relevant to brain health. In fact, only 5 minutes of my 18 minute talk was devoted to my specific research. The rest of the talk placed my work within the context of how we currently treat mental illness, other studies that have been done on other nutrients (like omega 3s), what observational studies on diet tell us and how diet as a whole (either through eating or through supplements) is relevant to brain health and needs to be part of the solution for addressing the growing amount of distress in our communities. At 13:55, I mention that we need more research on nutrient-medication interactions – combining the two has proved to be complicated and can be very difficult to successfully navigate through.

          Finally, double blinded randomized controlled trials are not unsubstantiated claims.

          Thank you for all the kind words of support from so many of you.

          Report comment

          • Commenting as moderator here:

            At this point, this conversation has gotten out of hand. I apologize for not getting to it sooner, but it appears we are degenerating into making negative comments about the authors and taking up personal issues that should be handled in other places than a comment section of an article. I have removed a few comments, but I am more concerned with the general tone of this conversation. The article focuses on the question of whether the TED organization is intentionally editing who is able to present talks and what they are allowed to talk about based on keeping their financial supporters happy. The conversation needs to stay on that point, and not stray to personal opinions as to whether or not TED was right or wrong regarding the author. Some of these comments are more subtle but are still aimed at attacking the character of the author, which violates the posting guidelines.

            Let’s please get back to the subject of TED and possible corruption and the marginalization of non-mainstream viewpoints in general.

            Report comment

  8. I’d thought about doing a presentation to TED, but when they wanted peer reviewed backup I gave up!
    Am I the only therapist who took a history, got to know my patients, and helped them find the connection between their symptoms and past trauma?. This seemed to enable them to make sense of their lives, and their symptoms abated.
    By chance I got a psychoanalytic training case who became psychotic, and with the help of my supervisor, Dr Donald Winnicot, was able to penetrate his thought disorder and help him get well.
    When psychiatry closed our psychiatric units because we weren’t drugging people I retreated to private practice in Ontario, and discovered that psychotic patients could become spectacularly successful.
    But I don’t think TED would be interested, just as psychiatry and psychoanalysis aren’t interested.

    Report comment

  9. Hi —
    My understanding is that TED instigated the guidelines as a result of a response by some very vociferous skeptics to talks by Rupert Sheldrake and Graeme Hancock in 2013, questioning materialism. See this link:


    See also Craig Weiler’s book ‘Psi Wars.’

    During the course of this dispute, TED tried to demarcate the difference between science and pseudoscience. Doing this they ran into the problem that has dogged philosophers of science for a very long time: despite many claims to the contrary, there are no consistent, agreed criteria for doing this in a universal, satisfactory way.

    Currently, we’re living in an era of VERY entrenched factions who would basically like to see the destruction of what they see as their rivals. We’re also living in a post-truth era, so those who support reason and science are basically circling their wagons for understandable reasons. (i.e. rampant censorship in federal science programs, etc.)

    The danger is that in doing so, supporters of science will become more dogmatic and less tolerant of dissent. IMO we need something like a science court to negotiate disputes like this. Conventional approaches, peer review and popular advocacy don’t seem adequate in controversial fields like mental health.

    Report comment

    • matt – yes I nearly mentioned Sheldrake etc.

      Science as dogma is something Sheldrake ver politely illuminates.

      Science as the desire and willingness to uncover the already true is very different from the narrative control or groupthink arising from institutional and corporate investment. Defending the model against the reality is a world in which; “Everything is BACKWARDS; everything is upside down! Doctors destroy health, Lawyers destroy justice, Universities destroy knowledge, Governments destroy freedom, Major media destroys information, And religions destroy spirituality”. (Michael Ellner).

      Science as a human cultural development is unaware of its own psychic emotional denials – and yet denials always come home because we cannot get rid of who we are and nor need we attempt to do so.
      The mind of define, predict and control is a useful tool to specific purposes but as the basis for understanding or living – is a basis for the nightmare that is enacted under ‘scientific thinking’.

      The mind of science is never outside or apart from what it defines, and predictable or consistent within its own model, and thus seeming to gain power by separating from a living relationship and manipulating mechanism as part of the extension of the idea of life as mechanism. So of course all that is ‘uncovered’ is in terms of mechanism. The idea that cause is mechanism and we are merely an effect is the uncovering of the mind of the manipulator. For we find what we are looking for. Technologism is the replacement of science with owned and controlled utility – masked in terms of advancing the human good.

      The investment in the model is so pervasive to our reality construct that to truly address any part of the tares would be to rip up the crop they grow with. And so ‘too big to fail’ operates the persistence of unchecked evils that seem the lesser or the necessary price for survival in terms of the ‘model’ or current reality paradigm.

      So I disinvest my heart allegiance or any ‘captured’ attention to the god of ‘order’ at any price – including of course genocide and eco-cide, and align in a true appreciation.

      Report comment

  10. “Aren’t they aware that lithium, a nutrient, has been a treatment for mood dysregulation for decades?”

    That’s a deceptive statement. Lithium predominantly acts as a nutrient at low doses (1mg or less). It is not given to people at these doses for the treatment of mood dysregulation. For the latter it is given in much higher doses (150mg and +) and at these doses acts predominantly as a psychoactive drug.

    Would anyone claim that 150mg+ of lithium was nutritional therapy?

    Report comment

    • Lithium at “therapeutic doses” comes very close to poisoning people. That’s why they have to check lithium levels so carefully – the distance from “therapeutic” to “deadly” is smaller than any other drug on the market. So you are absolutely correct, calling it a nutrient would be laughable if it weren’t actually promoted by some as the truth.

      Report comment

    • Lithium poisoned me, very subtly over 10 years.

      My blood tests read “normal,” but I developed diabetes insipidus.

      I have good times and bad times – it is reversible with ketogenic, but I’ve yet to adhere to that protocol 100%. I also have to stay very hydrated, or I get into trouble, and am prone to UTI’s.

      Doctor – said, “tests are normal” I said, “diabetes insipidus.” She said, “not associated with lithium.” I said, “check again, please” and she said, “Oh, so you are right! Yes, it is a side effect.”

      Egads. Toxic. If you are taking more than 5 mg per day please get blood tests at least 2x a year. More if you are on over 100 mg per day.

      And oh yes, I had a goitre when she prescribed it. I lost my thyroid to surgery while on it, as the goitre was choking me.

      Essential nutrient? Maybe – but I take water as my guide. Lithium in natural levels in water is no more than 1 mg per day (San Pellegrino = 0.2 mg / litre). With the dose I was on, to reach the levels of natural lithium in water, I would have had to drink 846 litres of water per day (using San Pellegrino as a measure). Um, no – that’s not a nutrient, that’s a toxin.

      Report comment

  11. For sure lithium at doses given by psychiatrists can be lethal and it is destroying kidney function affecting thyroid – hyperparathyroidism… excessive blood levels of calcium leading to kidney stones and deposts else where in the body including the brain, and ofcourse tremor.

    Am no expert in all this – apart from being trashed by lithium through the coereced use of it by lies (“there are no other options”) of a psychiatrist who almost killed me – so anyone like to comment on this :


    Report comment

    • Hey streetphotobeing – as someone who was also poisoned by the stuff (and lied to: “it does help with “bipolar depression” = what? by causing severe anhedonia?), it was hard to give up. Not because tapering was challenging or withdrawal was a problem – but because – it does have elements of neuroprotectivity (Alzheimer’s studies) and supposedly (though not in my case) it aids with biological clock regulation.

      Because of this, I take 1.67 mg of Lithium Orotate daily (which is equivalent of 0.06 mg elemental). I’ll let it go when I run out, but I do believe that tiny (tiny! tiny!) amounts of it can be helpful. Much smaller than listed in the article, however.

      Report comment

  12. Lithium, after a point, is toxic to all cells in the body, only it tends to affect the brain and the kidneys moreso than elsewhere as that is where it mostly concentrates. Is my understanding (gleaned in part from the great tome of Manic Depressive Illness by Goodwin and Jamison).

    Lithium is a dumbing-down drug, by and large. It seriously impairs the intellect in many people. That can be permanent.

    As Doug Stanhope once observed, most of the psychiatric drugs are dumbing-down drugs. A complaint often made by psychotherapists was that their manic patients were outfoxing them. And that lithium was effective at putting a stop to that.

    So if you’re too quick-witted, lithium or antipsychotic. If you bore the hell out of people, ssri. If you are a pain-in-the-arse, ritalin.

    And if youre tediously emotional, then benzos.

    It’s a game of cat and mouse.


    Report comment