Dr. Sidney Baker is a mentor to many clinicians, myself included. When I set out to podcast with him, my expectation was to “mine the pearls” from his years of clinical practice: details on protocols, dosing instructions, lab testing, etc. But when Sid and I actually spoke, I realized quite quickly that I needed to let go of my agenda and listen. What unfolded was a glimpse into the soul of a true healer, resonating for me—and I hope you, too—in powerful way. Sid is funny, brilliant and exquisitely articulate as he shares stories of his own process-and practice- as a doctor. Of course, we did have time for some clinical pearls, too. In this podcast, you’ll hear:
- Sid’s experience and evolution as a physician and healer
- Decades-long data collection on autistic spectrum disorders
- The fate of Autism 360 and Medigenesis (contact Autism Research Institute)
- Essential oils in PANDAS and other conditions. Discussion of mechanisms
- HDCs. Hymenolepis diminuta cysticercoids: A helminth “prebiotic”
Podcast sponsored by Designs For Health, Dr H Rejoint & Genova Diagnostics
Designs for Health is a professional brand, offered exclusively to health care professionals and their patients through referral. By providing comprehensive support through our extensive line of nutritional products, our research and education division, and our practice development services, we are able to maximize the potential for successful clinical health outcomes.
DRH Rejoint is the flagship product of Functional Herbals LLC, a company dedicated to developing only the most effective, natural products for improved health. Founded by Dr Robert Hedaya MD, DLFAPA, Clinical professor at Georgetown University and a celebrated Functional Medicine Practitioner for over thirty years, the company’s mission is based on Dr Hedaya’s motto of “Better Health. Less Medicine”
Headquartered in Asheville, N.C., Genova Diagnostics is a global clinical laboratory, pioneering a systems approach that supports healthcare providers in the personalized treatment and prevention of chronic disease.
Kara Fitzgerald: Hi, everybody. Welcome to New Frontiers in Functional Medicine. I am Dr. Kara Fitzgerald and today, I am so happy to have Dr. Sidney Baker with me. I know that I will learn much from our conversation and I think that you’ll enjoy it as well.
Dr. Baker is really a pillar of our integrative/functional medicine world and has much to offer us clinicians. Dr. Baker is a former faculty member at Yale Medical School where he received his medical specialty training in pediatrics. He’s a former director of the Gesell Institute of Human Development. Dr. Baker’s practices gradually shifted from pediatrics and family medicine, to treatment of adults and children with complex chronic illness in private practice in Sag Harbor, New York.
He’s the author of Detoxification and Healing, Child Behavior, and We Band of Mothers Autism: My Son and the Specific Carbohydrate Diet with Judith Chintz. Also, with Jon Pangboard PHD, Autism: Effective Biomedical Treatments. Welcome to the podcast, Dr. Baker.
Dr. Sid Baker: Thank you, Kara.
Kara Fitzgerald: It’s great to have you here. Just thinking about our conversation today, I was just looking at my dog eared copy of Autism: Effective Biomedical Treatments. I’m sure so many of my friends and colleagues have dog eared copies of this book as well.
You’ve done so much in the world of autism and just really furthering our knowledge about it. I know we’ll talk about that a number of times today, but just what are the first words to an autistic child and his parents when they come visit you? What are your first words? How do you approach?
Dr. Sid Baker: My first words are, “What you like to get on my swing?” I have a swing on a very robust rope that goes up to an anchor 30 feet above the ground, maybe even more, so it gives a very wide swing. The swing is made of rope and wood. It’s a very sturdy thing in which the person can have a great, comfy seat, feel very secure, and I invite children to come straight from the car to the swing, although most people have come along distance and have to stop and pee first, but after that gets taken care of, the swing becomes the center of our focus.
I put the child on the swing with various means, but usually I demo it first so that they see how I look on the swing, which is actually pretty impressive because it gives a very wide swing. Then, they want to get on right away. They get on with help from parents or just me, and then I test their interest in a little swing or a big swing. Most of the children sooner or later want the big swing and a big, big push.
I do that, inviting them to, basically in their mind, plan it, which invites some recognition from the parents, not necessarily the children. I get to see something about them and that is the beginning of the process in which I do my job of seeing people in ways that allow them to see themselves through my eyes and then become, perhaps, better at being themselves.
When I say better, it’s because on the swing, I get to see something about children that almost always represents their strengths and so that when they get down off the swing, I can say, “Judy,” or, “Charlie,” or whoever it is, “Boy, you were great on that swing. You’re a terrific swinger and I’m so proud of you.”
These children have often set through conversations about themselves in which all sorts of negative attributes have been paraded before them and so they have a pretty strong impression through both verbal, non verbal, and just plain life experience that they have a lot of problems.
In my questionnaire, the first part of it is, “Tell me all of your child’s strengths.” The first part of my contact with them is to focus on something in which the kid is strong and then they carry that into my office, which is in my home so it makes this kind of arrangement much easier than if I had some kind of swing on a 34 [inaudible 00:04:56] building, and then they go on with the day, but focusing on strengths, I think, is the thing that we all should do with children. Let them see themselves, a good side of themselves, through our eyes.
Kara Fitzgerald: I want to go swing on your swing. It sounds like a really great swing.
Dr. Sid Baker: You’re welcome anytime. It’s a thrill. It’s a swing I bought in San Francisco years and years ago, and it’s been outdoors most of the time for the last 30 years. It’s had a repair done but really, it’s a sturdy thing. They’re built in a commune in, I think, South Carolina back in the days, in the ’60s. Boy, they did a good job. There’s been a lot of joy experienced on that swing.
Kara Fitzgerald: God, I love it. It’s just so, it’s very inspiring. I mean, not just for kids, but some of the adults who come to us with, living with chronic illness for decades and being reminded of their essential self, who they are underneath the illness. It’s really lovely. Thank you.
How did you go from board certification in pediatrics and you did a mini residency in obstetrics as well, to becoming what you call a non specialist? How’d you get to where you are today?
Dr. Sid Baker: Well, I think it all began with the wife of my wrestling coach who was one of my surrogate fathers after my father died. She had an experience with doctors that made her keen to put into my head as a student at Exeter, the idea that I should be able to deal with people with all kinds of different problems and not be a specialist.
It went over my head at the time, but I guess it landed eventually because that stuck with me. I was going to be a psychiatrist in medical school and then I realized that psychiatrist couldn’t touch people. I didn’t like that. When I took a pediatric residency, I thought I’d stay with that, but then I was alarmed by the relationships between obstetricians and pediatricians in the delivery room, and I was interested in becoming a neonatalogist, so I thought I should find out where babies came from and I took a mini residency in obstetricians and then joined the Peace Corp.
After two years in the Peace Corp, I became, I guess you might say, I developed self confidence. I had experiences in which I took chances, one might see it that way, and things worked out well. I guess you’d say I lost my timidity, which is something I had learned in medical school.
My faculty members were wonderful people and great teachers, but each of them had his or her narrow focus, and so if you asked them about something outside of his or her field, it was all, “Oh, oh, I don’t know. Go ask the dermatologist.” In the Peace Corp in Africa, it was in one of the poorest centers of the world, naturally I had to rely on my wits. I found my wits seemed to work pretty often, even when I went out on a limb. That gave me some self confidence that I brought back to be Chief Resident of Pediatrics after the Peace Corp at Yale.
From the Peace Corp experience, I became interested in information technology. It’s a long story, but it seems like a weird place to [crosstalk 00:08:43]. We’ll go into that. I thought I’d like to learn something about information technology, and the dean of medical school is very generous with me, and I got an appointment with an assistant professor of medical computer science, but the appointment’s in pediatrics and obstetrics.
I done well in medical school, so people thought I was smart and capable, and so on, and so, and that I would someday be a professor. Well, he brought from California a wonderful man named Shannon Brunjes who is an expert in the adrenal gland and was also a very keen computer person. You might say a geek.
In the Yale environment, it was helpful for him to have somebody who knew the Yale system pretty well. I was a Yale undergraduate, a Yale medical student, Yale resident and so on, and now I’m a Yale faculty, and I had an uncle who was a professor at Yale, another uncle who was Chapman at Yale for 30 years and I was named after. Yale became territory to me.
People coming from outside often didn’t understand the politics that easily, although if they hadn’t taken a course in arrogance, they’d have a hard time. They got Shannon, and Shannon, when I was getting my hands around information on technology, he told me things that we can talk about later, but from there I, … After I gained 50 pounds. It’s a sedentary job, heavy lunch every day with a friend of mine, I realized I couldn’t see my feet anymore and didn’t know if they were pointing in the wrong direction.
I said to my brother who needed some counseling about what he should do with his life after leaving the Navy, I said, “Well, find people you like working with and people, and something that you enjoy doing, something you’re good at.” I turned it around on myself and I said, “Well, the people that I like are people that like taking care of patients. What I’m good at is taking care of patients. That’s what I want to do.”
They were starting a not for profit prepaid health plan in New Haven. When they got it all together and I had come on board as the pediatrician, they had said, “Gee, [inaudible 00:11:13] family doctor. What’s that?” At Yale, you didn’t find many Yale type family doctors. I said, “Okay, that’s what I want to be.”
I took my OB training, and my pediatrics, and my interest in people in general, my little bit of maturity I got from the Peace Corp when into that, and that’s how I became a confirming generalist. Of course eventually I became interested in chronic illness, but that’s how I got out of Yale and leaning into a non specialist.
Kara Fitzgerald: That’s an interesting journey of expansion. God. I think your journey has, well obviously you’ve learned a lot, but you’ve also taught us along the way, and you have such a nice, you pay such exquisite attention to the patients that you work with, and I know you learn a lot from your patients, and it influences your own process of expansion, so can you tell me about a patient from who’s care you learned the most important lessons?
Dr. Sid Baker: His first name was Walker. He came to me when I was opening, starting out in my family practice. His mother and father were getting divorced, his mother had a serious problem with alcohol, and he was in distress because of the situation in his family. He came to see me every month, sometimes every two weeks, and we’d talk.
Now, he was five years old. You don’t sit and talk with five year olds, but you did with him. I didn’t play games with him, I didn’t play marbles, I didn’t sit on the floor and do various games you usually do with children, drawing pictures and what not, we sat and we talked. We talked about how he felt with what was going on. At the end, he would say, “Thanks a lot Sid. I feel much better now.” Can you imagine a five year old?
When he was ten, five years later, I was no longer at this clinic, and I was at the Gesell Institute, so I had no longer been his day to day patient, but his family stayed in touch and his family called me and said, “Hey, he’s been admitted to one of the hospitals in New Haven,” and he had a tumor in his throat. This had carried a pretty grim prognosis. He was being then cared for by a committee of doctors at Yale, and oncology, and surgery and so on, radiology. I was invited to participate with them in …
Kara Fitzgerald: Oh, rats. Okay.
Dr. Sid Baker: I was invited to participate in meetings with this group since I had this special relationship with him. He had a terrible time with chemotherapy and it just made him sicker and sicker, and sooner than later, it was decided by the committee that we should just leave him alone and let things develop because he was in such misery from the treatment. It wasn’t having any effect on his tumor.
At that point, I set down with him and I said, “Well, we’re going to stop treatment because it’s making you so sick and we’ll see what happens, and it might be that you get better just because of good luck, but on the other hand, it may mean that you’re going to die and if you’re going to, there’s a discussion that we should have about that and we’ll … You let me know.”
He was going to go up to The Cape with his dad. They came back from The Cape and he was in pretty bad shape. To make a long story short, the call came one evening on a very rainy, thunderstorm day, that he was dying and he wanted to talk to Sid. I went over and I talked with him and I said, I sat on his bed, and he was in very bad shape. He was bleeding out through his gut and I explained to him that when you die, you are welcomed in a new place, which is not scary, you’re not alone, you’re welcomed by something that is like light, and you get to have a conversation with it, and so that you shouldn’t be afraid.
It was a much longer story than I’m telling, but that was the gist of it, the dying experience that I had learned about from other patients. His question was, “Do my mom and dad know about this?” I said, “Yes, they know about it. I talked to them about telling you, but they thought since I’m your doctor, I should be the one to tell you the story.” He said, “Thanks a lot, Sid. I feel much better now.” His parents sat with him and he died about three hours later.
They were preparing his bed and straightening things out, and he was lying there dead, I mean, his new mom, his step mom, had medical training, so she knew a dead person when she saw one, and as they were straightening his sheets and getting everything neat, he set up in bed and he said, “Mom, Dad, I’ve been there. It was just like Sid said it would be. I told them I didn’t want to die tonight because of all the thunder and lightning. I was afraid and I wanted to wait for morning.” Then, he went back to sleep and he died in the morning.
I think that I learned more from that patient than I’ll ever learn from a lot of others because it had to do with not only my capacity to communicate with people, but about a certain aspect of reality, which is obviously very important for us all to understand.
Kara Fitzgerald: Right, right. About understanding that aspect of reality, about an individual’s choice in their process, what do you …
Dr. Sid Baker: The reality I’m speaking of is the reality that our day to day existence we take in with our senses, but that there’s another reality called a spiritual reality which is ever present and which intrudes in our consciousness from time to time in small ways and sometimes in big ways as in this case, but without understanding that there is such a reality, I think it makes us handicapped in having a realistic vision of the total reality of life.
Nothing could have given me a more indelible picture of that then what Walker told me about his experience. Obviously, I had read about it and I had heard this kind of thing from other patients in quite plaintive ways, but after all, this was a once in a life time chance for me to glimpse the other reality through the eyes of this boy who had been my friend.
Kara Fitzgerald: I appreciate that reminder quite a bit. I know me with my sometimes excessively linear mechanistic thinking, it’s helpful as a clinician and as a person to just be reminded of the fact that there’s much, much more going on than what my senses may perceive at any given time.
You’re a mentor for many of us, and I just, I so appreciate learning from you whenever I have that opportunity. You have your own mentors. Can you talk about some of them and some of the things that have shaped you from their teachings?
Dr. Sid Baker: When I was a junior at Yale, I was reading about Darwin, and I thought, “Well, if you could get away with taking five years off to travel around the world, I could maybe take one year off and it wouldn’t do much harm.” I knew I was going to be going through the medical tunnel and would take many years and I thought this is my chance to go out and see the watery part of the world.
I ended up in Kathmandu, Nepal working with a doctor named Edgar Miller who had been a cardiologist in Wilmington most of his life, but he went out there to have a shot at being in the missionary system and see the world through a different geography.
I idled around behind him and we worked together in these little clinics in the valley of Kathmandu, saw these wonderful Middle East people. I was there for three months and he would turn after every patient and say, “Sidney, have we done everything we can for this patient?” He said so in a repeated way, but not in a creepy way. It came out as a comment that really branded me.
It branded me and it made me go to medical school with a different mindset than I was to be taught, which was, “Have we done everything we can for this disease?” As you know, I haven’t escaped from that. I’ve never tried to. I got through medical school talking the talk, but I still carried with me a notion that the patient is the focus of treatment, not the disease. That has many implications, but that was the lesson I learned from Edgar Miller.
Second one was Shannon Brenjes, my professor at medical computer sciences. I worked with him for two years as full time faculty and many years after that as part time faculty. We designed this system, information system for caring for medical information. I still work on that. He said, “If you’re going to get computers to deal with medical information, you have to get the information in rows and columns,” and that set me on a way of thinking about data that got me involved in looking at gathering data and putting it into a multidimensional space, which then makes clustering and analysis ever more interesting. That’s a big lesson that I learned from Shannon.
The other person that impressed me most, and I only knew him slightly, but I knew him well enough that he knew me when I’d come to California every year to take courses at Stanford called Basic Science for Clinicians. Linus Pauling and a bunch of other members of the Stanford faculty, I think there were three other Nobel prize winners, held forth and gave us a low down on biochemistry, and astrology, and cosmology, and embryology and every kind of thing. It was really just a terrific thing. It was February 28th, I think was Linus Pauling’s birthday, so we had a chance to celebrate that as a group. That was lots of fun.
I was afraid of biochemistry really. I just thought it was too much. As a graduate student teaches medical school and other places, that made me feel like, “Ah, you never get your hands around biochemistry.” Linus Pauling said, “Look, it’s simple.” He demonstrated just so eloquently how simple it really is. It’s all about gaining and losing electrons and he had made me, he got me to overcome my fear of biochem.
Kara Fitzgerald: That’s great. That’s a really great story. You’re a practitioner, but you’ve published some original … Oh, shit … Sid, you’re a practitioner, but you’ve also published original research based on the website you founded, Autism 360. It’s a great website and an amazing resource. Can you talk about that, talk about your findings, and what you’re doing over there?
Dr. Sid Baker: Well, the first word is grief because Autism 360 is folding up for a lack of funding.
Kara Fitzgerald: Oh, no.
Dr. Sid Baker: The work that we published was based on what I had started back in the late 1960s with Shannon Brenjes at Yale, which was thinking about medical data in a structure that permits analysis in a different way and to allow clustering so it could be a place where people go to find others like me, but like me is not under a diagnostic heading, but under the granular details of their symptoms, and lab tests, and so on. [inaudible 00:25:10] expressed in the interaction between a website and the individual.
As you know, I think the funding for autism became slow in developing because the subject of autism has been a completely misunderstood and controversial, so to speak, problem, but finding enough [inaudible 00:25:35] produced through different people and research behind looking at autism, but of course what happened was a lot of money went into people who had [inaudible 00:25:44] and they already knew how to analyze for this or that, or were interested in this or that, so they took this or that, and they applied to to autism, and they published it. It often was not based on what was most curious thing about autism, but what would reflect the curiosity of an investigator.
One of the curious things about autism is that there are four times more boys than girls. What’s that all about? There was very little research done and commentated on that situation, commented as being the elephant in the room. There’s this massive difference between boys and girls, and what’s that all about?
I began to look at our data, and look at what are the differences between girls and boys because we had granular data on about 3,000 boys and girls from all over the country, and what are their symptoms? I had asked a room full of my autism colleagues at ARI [inaudible 00:26:46] we had, “How many think that boys and girls were very different?” Everybody raised their hand, “Oh yeah, the girls are really different.” I said, “Why are they different?” Nobody could come up with an answer, nor could I. Nobody could specify even one symptom that was associated with the female gender.
I thought, “Well that’s a good place to start.” I did that and I published a paper showing what the differences were, and in fact, there were very few. The one’s that were there were very prominent, otherwise they stuck out in the data like a four sided thumbs. We got a new batch of data, this is over a four year period, so we got data from ’11, ’12, ’13, that trend, ’11, ’12, ’13 … No, ’10, ’11, ’12, ’13, 2010, ’11, ’12, ’13, four years of data, and we got the last three years in a final batch.
I said, “Okay, let’s look at some stuff over these years.” The first thing we did was to say, “Okay, well one thing we wanted, one thing about data is to be careful about consistency. Let’s see, what should be consistent over those four years?” We looked at male, female ratio. All of a sudden, 2013, there was 3:1, not 4:1. I thought, “Oh, Christ, something crazy about our data. Something’s off.” We looked at it very carefully. [inaudible 00:28:10].
It turns out, that there wasn’t a flaw on the data, the data had changed. What it showed was that in 2013, there was a sudden change in trend, not a shift, a sudden trend, and on the graph, it looks like not quite a steep as a ski jump, but a very straight line with a very good statistical establishment of the consistency of the 4:1 ratio over ’10, ’11, and ’12, and then suddenly in ’13, it goes plummeting down to less than 3:1. We published that along with evidence that the symptoms of the girls were becoming more prevalent. The symptoms also began looking more like the boys in areas that we had identified before as showing their differences.
Then, Andrew, who’s a terrific partner in all this as a statistician, said we should look at the girls’ data in 2012 and see if it shows a wobble because when a complex system begins to shift, the data begins to wobble, and then look at the climate change because as a complex system, the climate is changing, and we know it’s going to come sometime true, an even more sudden shift, and anticipation of that right now, we’re experiencing a wobble in the weather. All these storms and everything, it’s a little more crazy than it was when I was little.
We looked at the girls’ data, and sure enough, the standard deviation of the girls’ data was extremely larger than, statistically significantly larger, I should say, than the girls in 2012 compared to the boys. They were wobbling in the year before they took this plummet. It was really remarkable thing to observe.
This came from a robust set of observations from input from data from all around the country. We had a national geographic distribution. The CDC doesn’t have that. They have a sampling of it in certain locations. We thought that this would be greeted with certain amount of enthusiasm by the scientific community, instead it was total silence, and so a lot of people don’t know about this.
It showed the access in the data to this kind of vision of what’s going on a very complex system that I think will continue to be valuable. The underlying technology is an invention that I made early on, and it’s called Medigenesis, and I’m hoping to redevelop that now under a new roof coming forward as Autism 360 has folded and the data has been given to Autism Research Institute.
Kara Fitzgerald: Will Autism Research Institute discontinue to publish on the Autism 360 data and crunch it and look at it, or will you continue to use those data?
Dr. Sid Baker: Maybe. It’s another resource and it depends on priorities of Autism Research Institute, but it will be available to people who have, whether or not for profit standing, and I know one in England, John Nicholson who’s one of the world’s best data people has offered to have a look at the data once we’ve got it backed up and that’s all happening this month.
Kara Fitzgerald: People can’t upload data at the Autism 360 site anymore? It’s not active?
Dr. Sid Baker: Sometime in the next month, that will stop. Needless to say, it’s something that makes me very sad, but I can’t be kept to run it on sadness when there’s lots of work to do.
Kara Fitzgerald: Right, right. I will certainly support you as best I can in getting the word out. If there’s anything I can do or clinicians listening, any comments on that, for folks listening, or what we might do to support you in furthering this?
Dr. Sid Baker: Well, stay tuned. I have a new friend who has a work site that I think will be good, not just for autism, but for all kinds of chronic illnesses. We want in the coming months to test the site. It’s really a beautiful thing, aside from getting users access to all kinds of different information that parents of autistic children would like to have. He’s done a really good job of it.
That then makes a good marriage with Medagenesis, which I think we should be able to perfect, but this is in the planning stages. He and I are getting along very well so far and we’re looking for funding and but coming back to the autism data, if anyone has an interest in looking at the data, they can contact Autism Research Institute and I’ll be glad to help them do that, and suggest what they’d like to look at. The data is great. It’s all in the … It exists in different files, but it’s been consolidated into … It’s accounted for by, I think it’s now spreadsheets.
These are then become quite available to looking at things through the way I did, has treatment responses in there, and all the things that are on the website which shows when someone puts in their data and has at least 15 profile items and one strength, of course we always have to have the strengths in there, they can then get … They see a cluster on the screen, on the computer, that shows the people who are most proximate to them in hyperspace where these data exists, and then they can draw a circle around the data that they want to compare, so they might get 40 other children who are like them, not just under the heading of autism, but under the granuler features, and then see what things were good for that group. They can spot in the list of things, some of the [inaudible 00:34:55] that kind of thing, but then they’ll find something on there that they haven’t thought of. That’s always helpful. It’s that kind of a thing.
Kara Fitzgerald: I was over at the … Go ahead.
Dr. Sid Baker: No, go ahead.
Kara Fitzgerald: I was just going to say that I was over at that site today and I did find it really interesting and useful to see whether response was experienced or not with the various interventions.
Okay, I’ll certainly list the Autism 360 site and ARI’s site, and anything that you’d like to see, I will link to from this podcast.
Dr. Sid Baker: We need to have some people sign on to this thing called the Autism Exchange to try the site out. It’s very well developed. It’s not just a [inaudible 00:35:53]. It’s very well developed and get some feedback from people. It’s sort of a beta test we’re trying to run now. We’d like to get 1,000 people to log on and check it out.
Kara Fitzgerald: Okay, okay, I can certain …
Dr. Sid Baker: I’ll give you the URL and everything later.
Kara Fitzgerald: Okay, perfect. All of those links will be there and however I can support you in your work, just let me know.
Dr. Sid Baker: Thank you.
Kara Fitzgerald: Yep, absolutely. Just circling back to some of the things that you’ve been teaching me about actually recently, you’ve been exploring Essential Oils quite a bit and their utility in treatment. I think most of us use Oil of Oregano and some of the various encapsulated Essential Oils in treating gut dysbiosis, etc, C-Bo and so forth, but you’re stepping beyond those more routine applications of Essential Oils. Any comments there?
Dr. Sid Baker: I’m on a pretty steep learning curve still, but this is what I’ve come across. First of all, I became impressed by stories of children with PANDAS who had recovered, underline recovered, from the somewhat lavish use of the oils. That data, I think, is solid, I think, this is obviously anecdotal as they say in the moment. The anecdotes are really existing.
I know I’ve talked to the parents of some of these children and I know one of the boys has recovered. That got my attention. I started looking, trying to learn about the oils and I got a [inaudible 00:37:39] published. I think the book is most interesting for people to read it, written by a Frenchman named Panoel. It is one of the earlier books, but it’s one of the books in which other oil interested people have taken their lessons and it’s interesting in the first chapter or so, he says, “Why can’t we all get along better?” There’s a certain thread that runs through the oil thing that involves people not getting along.
He talked a lot to make the foundations. Now, the thing that I learned that impressed me the most, I think in getting my head around something, I always thought it was sort of quaint and so oils are nice but I didn’t take it too seriously. As it turns out, that if you look at this carefully, what these oils are are things that plants have invented over millions of years, the plants are on the planet without much, anything like animals, and they dealt with the three things that are common to all living forms, which is oxidative stress, hanging on to your electrons, the need to stay clean, that is to detoxify both endogenous and exogenous toxins, and bugs. That is everything from plants, to viruses, to bacteria, to fungi, worms, and lions, and tigers, and so on, as predators are problems for living things, whether it be plants or animals.
The plants figured this out, with these very small 225 daltons, a scent very volitle, yummy smelling molecules to help with these three fundamental functions of life and we animals can appropriate the potential of these oils for our lives because our lives overlap completely with the agenda of plants and the oxidative stress, detoxification and bugs are universal.
I think it helps to simplify some of the complicated maps that we see in the way of organizing our functional medicine, which is still broken down into this organ system and that organ system and what not, but really beneath it all are the three very fundamental things and they’re everything that I think are important about all of this really struck me when I spoke with that colleague physician in Long Island where she said, “The body treats the oils like fuel.”
The oils, and they’re very simple molecules, and that they eventually end up Krebs cycled pretty quickly. On the way to the Krebs cycle, they’re given these chores, which for different oils with different capacity to oxidate stress, detoxification, and bugs. Some oils do better at bugs and some that are [inaudible 00:40:40]. I think all participate in some way for different regions which are just fundamental to the process of healing, healing in all living things.
I know [inaudible 00:40:54] more in touch with the good sources of oils and see if we can’t spread the word. I think the people at PANDAS and other autoimmune problems really need to take this pretty seriously.
Kara Fitzgerald: Right, well, you’ve definitely peaked my curiosity around the PANDAS benefit from Essential Oils. Any oils in particular? Can I nail you down for any details around what they’ve been doing in PANDAS?
Dr. Sid Baker: Well, I’m trying to come up with a list of 10 or 12 with some of my teachers, but they are oregano, frankincense, I don’t know the list right in my head but I can shoot it to you, and just take for example my experience with frankincense, if somebody asked me a year ago, “Where do you get frankincense?” I said, “I don’t know. Go to the Bible.” I didn’t think there was such a thing. I never looked at health good store shelf to see if there was frankincense sitting there.
Not too long ago, I was shepherding a very large salad bowl from one side to the kitchen to the other without noticing a big door to the wash in dishwasher was open. When my body finally noticed it, I found myself in mid air and the first contact with earth was the sharp corner of the, the wooden cutting board of one of the shelves. It was made of the board [inaudible 00:42:33] block. I hit it just on my zygomatic arch, under my right eye. Blood, and pain, and any consciousness were all over the floor. I’ve never been hit so hard in my life and it opened up a wound which was enough that normal people would say, “Well, I have to go to the emergency room to get stitches in this.” I know better than that, but I really thought I would be a mess for some time.
I put frankincense oil on it and within three days, it was just about gone. I was just stunned at the way I recovered from this. Now I realize that the reason that they decided to drink frankincense for baby Jesus’ birthday was that the stuff is really expensive, like gold, because it was hard to get, but when you had it, you could heal wounds, many people have a lot of those, heal wounds with remarkable success. That was a personal experience that really got my attention.
Now the more I read about it, the more I think the sort of targeted simple approach is on one level but there’s another level which I think is embraced by, you’ve heard of Shoenfeld’s quote, where he talks about when he gives the lecture to certain groups, he gives to one of my groups, and presents in one of his big books on autoimmunity and infection, he says, “Until proven otherwise, all chronic illnesses autoimmune.” He’s probably the most, he’s the pro most immunologist in the world. When he says that, you have to take seriously, because until proven otherwise, reading the 52 chapters in this book written by experts in immunology and infectious disease from around the world, will come to the conclusion that until proven otherwise, all chronic illnesses are infectious, including autoimmunity.
He’s sitting up this sandwich between the mircobiome and germs underneath, and the other top of the sandwich is autoimmunity. When you embrace these two observations, you have a very unified understanding of how to approach chronic illness.
The notion that PANDAS is the only target for real oils, it’s wrong because autoimmunity is a big thread that runs right through autism, and basically what Shoenfeld is saying runs through all chronic illness, and that through all the germs into all of this is that germs are most likely candidates for being the impulse of the stimulus that begins to set up some case of mistaken identity in which the new system decides to go after itself, or after things like pollens, molds and things that are probably not that nauseous. I think that if you look at the oils through that lens, you’ll see that they have a tremendous capacity for doing good in all kinds of things. Same thing with my HDCs.
Kara Fitzgerald: Yeah. Give his name again and then let’s talk about HDCs a little bit, too.
Dr. Sid Baker: Shoenfeld. If you’ll Google him, if you go on to Amazon, you’ll find his books. They’re quite expensive. The one on immunization and chronic illness is in there. Immunization and Autoimmunity is the title of the book. Just pretty recent. That book is the first three chapters are worth the $100 bucks you pay for the book because it really nails the whole question of what’s really wrong, the key point, one big key point in immunization has to do with the toxicity of aluminium that’s used as adjuvants in immunizations.
He comes out very strongly there, but of course his position, he has to not be too strong, but he’s encourages the world to take this seriously and get on a stick and find some ways of immunizing people without poison or aluminium.
Kara Fitzgerald: Yes, yes. Before we talk about HDCs, I just wanted to ask you just your thoughts, observations, experiences around delivering Essential Oils. I’m always prescribing them internally, although I have a diffuser at home. I love the scent of the various citruses wafting through my house. I use one. I use a citrus. I have a little bottle of lemon for the last 10 years, I’ve been smelling it periodically. It just sort of helps me think, but you used it topically in your accident, and we give them internally, and smelling is also considering to be pretty powerful delivery of the molecules. Any thoughts on those different roots?
Dr. Sid Baker: Well, let’s say each drop of oil contains about 10 to the 19th molecules, 10 to the 19th molecules in one drop.
Kara Fitzgerald: That’s a lot of zeroes.
Dr. Sid Baker: That is a lot of zeros. One drop will find it’s way through the 10 to the 13th cells in your body because it diffuses in your body just as it does in air because your body as made of fat and fat is no barrier to oil. If you rub it on your feet, it gets in your brain in about 20 minutes.
When I was giving a talk at the Mascot a couple of years ago in Orlando, and I picked up a terrible stomach bug, and I won’t elaborate on the details of it, but it was pretty disgusting, and I tried all the conventional things, all of the things that I knew to get rid of it, and it wasn’t working. It was quite discerning because it had went on for months and I had my poops tested and all of that.
Finally, I got some of this stuff called DiGize, which has artemisia oil in it, and bingo, within a few weeks I was on my way to recovery. That was really the turning point in [inaudible 00:48:57]. I put about five drops under my tongue three or four times a day.
It’s amazing, the economy of these oils. I think [inaudible 00:49:05] myself because I was pretty desperate, it all worked. I think that the better question is what are the sources of oils and I have become a little disconcerted with the marketing techniques of [inaudible 00:49:24] Dija and are very good brands of oils, not that they’re not good oils, but I think something about the marketing scheme that is a little disconcerting.
Now, I have a new friend who’s in the oil business in Canada, and we’re going to try to come up with an economical access to a family of 10 or so, 12 oils that … He agrees, and he has a company that makes hundreds of different kinds of brands of oils, different kinds of oils, and markets them in Canada. He’s a real expert in terms of understanding the gathering and sourcing of them. I’ve tried them and there’s no doubt from just smelling them and comparison to other oils that they’re really are good stuff.
I think that there can be a way to develop this medically they’re not too confusing to the users and with guidelines that are based on what has been learned from the PANDAS and do some good with the oils.
Kara Fitzgerald: That’s terrific. All right, well, I definitely …
Dr. Sid Baker: I’m going to meet with him in California at the end of the month. I’ll keep you posted.
Kara Fitzgerald: Yep. Absolutely. Okay, talk about your HDC friends.
Dr. Sid Baker: HDCs. H is for hymenolepis. D is for diminuta, and C is for cysticercoids. These HDCs, which I call little dudes, or prebiotics or probiotics is the trademark that I got on them, is an answer to the question how come people in Africa living the old fashioned way don’t have allergies and autoimmune diseases?
This is something that I observed when I was in Africa in 1966-1968, and it was quite stunning, also if you talk to missionaries had been there for 20 years, and they say, “Well, I’ve never seen an African with A, B, C, D, E, F, G.” [inaudible 00:51:41] who think that they have them in the west. The answer to this puzzle is worked out over ensuing 40 years or so, and became conventional knowledge, not just speculation, that the difference was not genetic, geographical, or the water supply, or anything else, it was the presence in the digestive tract are people living the old fashioned way of what now we should call mutualistic organisms, which in medical school you learn are parasites.
Obviously, there are some parasites you don’t want no matter what. There are some that you can use as parasites per se, like some hook worm, there’s some that you can use, borrow from other species, like the trichuris suis ova, or TSO, through pig whipworms, which were first demonstrated as effective in curing ulcerative colitis by a professor in gastroenterology in Iowa about 15, 16 years ago, and he’s still working on it. His work inspired a search for various things.
I ran into William Parker at Duke University when we were both talking of meeting a few years ago, and he was talking about the HDCs, and he was then saying, I even said to him, we made friends over dinner, that I thought the kind of worm that would make, lead a contest for the most effective in addition one would be a round one, really naïve statement on my part. He said, “No, no, it’d be some kind of tape worm probably.”
I said, we stayed friends, and after a year, he said, “I think we figured it out.” I went down to Duke and I learned how to do what I’m doing now. I have a little ranch in a clean room. I raise the HDCs and send them out and give people lidations and the patients of other doctors. I don’t sell them to the public directly. Get them HDCs to help them with their autoimmune policy, because the happy and sad thing about it is the cure all because it works for everything, but not of course in everybody who’s looking at more work on everybody, but he’s also really stunning and the best thing I’ve ever learned, and also there’s also a lot of fun.
I dissect these on Tuesday mornings, put them under the microscope, they’re cute, throw them up in a micro [inaudible 00:54:14], put them in some saline, sift them around here and there. I have one assistant who helps do the dissection and now she’s training another person because we’re getting more and more people who want them.
It is transformative in some people, absolutely transformative. Just take it as an example, a patient, a husband of a patient of mine I’ve known for many years. She’s at least going back 30, 40 years ago, and he’s a [inaudible 00:54:50] guy, so he doesn’t pay too much attention to doctor things, but then he got Hashimoto Thyroiditis and it ruined his golf score, and also didn’t make him feel well. Golf for him is a serious thing, that he wins tournaments. Although it’s a hobby, he’s a businessman, and his golf score went up, which was very distressing to him, and he started learning at Duke, and 6 months later, I checked in with him, and he was winning a tournament and his golf score was back down, his antibodies were normalized and he felt fine.
That’s a typical story of a kind of winner we have. It works with [inaudible 00:55:35], it works with all sorts of other problems. It’s worth a try. If you look at the formula for making medical decisions, what’s the benefit, what’s the risk, what’s the odds, what’s the stakes, and what’s the costs, the risk is as close to zero as you can get with anything medical and the stakes are usually high for people with any kind of [inaudible 00:55:56] problem.
It turns out to be something where the best test to find out if you need it is to try it. I’ve tried to teach other doctors how to do it, just get the word around. I’ve trained two doctors, one from Canada and one from [inaudible 00:56:18] from Midwest, and I hope to have others come and learn how to start their own ranch because I think an important transition to wherever this is going.
William Parker thinks, he doesn’t think he knows, that this should be something that’s going to, in the food, or in the drinking water, is available to everybody because if that were the case, the toll of chronic illness in our culture would go way, way down. You can tell I’m pretty excited about it. It’s a lot of fun because we ranching, it’s like everything, anything like that you have to learn from some experience, but I learned a lot form William Parker and now we’re learning on our own, and have this lovely ranch, a clean room, and infection is tedious, but it’s a lot of fun.
Kara Fitzgerald: Yes, I’ve enjoyed the photographs and I’ve tried HDC myself and it was most uneventful for anybody who might be a little frightened in swallowing some of the dudes.
Dr. Sid Baker: It’s funny to be in a market place with rat tape worm stuff, but of course these HDCs are not themselves worms. If you’re a rat, you ate one, you’d get a worm, but if you’re a human being, chances are vanishing. Even if you did, if you had a couple of tape worms, they’d probably be good for you in the model that we’re describing. Something that’s not at all risk, it’s just you have to get passed people who are yucky commendation that knows that anything that’s alive and comes form different species, although that people eat oysters for God sakes.
Kara Fitzgerald: Yes, right, right.
Dr. Sid Baker: That takes a certain shift in one’s perspective. When they work, they are truly miraculous and a very low risk and cost.
Kara Fitzgerald: I’m excited to continue to use them in my practice. I will make sure that I get all of these myriad names and websites, including info for HDC. I’ll get the details from you and I’ll include them in this podcast, so anybody who’s interested in tracking down the many pearls that Dr. Baker has left with us, I’ll make that material available to you and you can of course always reach me through this podcast or through my website. Dr. Baker, it’s been a pleasure talking to you, as always. Thank you so much for this great podcast journey today.
Dr. Sid Baker: On my behalf and behalf of your listeners, our listeners, may I say that I am so thrilled that you have come into the landscape with your brilliance, and your energy, and your imagination, and all of the things that you’re doing to move the cause of functional medicine, or integrated medicine, or whatever we call it, you’re just turning into a really, really important person for all the good reasons, and I just love you.
Kara Fitzgerald: Thank you, Sid. I love you, too. I look forward to that swing date.
Dr. Sid Baker: Yes, you’re welcome to come anytime, just don’t come any day.
Kara Fitzgerald: I won’t. Okay, take care.
Dr. Sidney Baker is a former faculty member of Yale Medical School, where he received his medical and specialty training in pediatrics. He is former director of the Gesell Institute of Human Development. Dr. Baker’s practice has gradually shifted from pediatrics and family medicine to treatment of adults and children with complex chronic illness. In private practice in Sag Harbor, NY, he is the author of Detoxification and Healing, Child Behavior (with Ilg and Ames), and We Band of Mothers: Autism, My Son & the Specific Carbohydrate Diet with Judith Chinitz; also, with Jon Pangborn, PhD, Autism: Effective Biomedical Treatments