Saturday, October 4, 2014

What do Animals Know?

What do Animals Know?

Two of my hens were squabbling in the foyer this morning.  White Hen#1, who is sitting on 3 eggs in a nest in the foyer, was upset that, Suzette,  the black French hen, was coming to look at the eggs, and maybe try to sit on them and lay another egg there.  (Chickens like to lay their eggs where there are already other eggs, especially if someone is sitting on them. That way they pass on their genes with little or no effort.)  And chickens don’t care whose eggs they sit on.  They will even sit on duck eggs and hatch them.  (Then maybe the hen starts wondering why her babies are always going in the water, and not drowning!)  The hen who spends 3 weeks sitting on the eggs is the de facto mother of the babies, the one who takes care of them, teaches them how and what to eat, and protects them.  The biological mothers take no interest in them.   After about 6 weeks, the chicks are big enough to take care of themselves
Chickens are well known for their dominance hierarchy, they invented the idea.  That’s why it’s called the pecking order.  (And humans seem to have copied this idea.)  Suzette outranks the 2 white hens because she joined the flock before they were even hatched.  So WH#1 can’t make Suzette go away from her nest.  It’s amazing that this WH always comes to me for help, because she knows I outrank all the hens!  She comes up the stairs to the door to the house, squawking loudly for me to come and get that other hen away.  She’s the only one who seems to have developed this personal relationship with me. 
Another interesting thing is that Suzette, the black hen who came to look at the eggs, is actually the biological mother of the 3 eggs WH is sitting on.  Maybe she was coming to check on her babies!  Does she know they are hers?  Who knows what animals know!
We have 2 roosters, Inky, who is a pure black “Gallo Nero”, and Goldy, who is black and white and shines like gold in the sun.  It will be interesting to see how the chicks turn out.  Goldy is a very lucky rooster.  He was bought by a Chinese family, who have a store called China Town across the railroad tracks from us, for their dinner!  But he escaped and made his way over the tracks, ending up in our yard and even going into one of our coops!  I happened to see him in there and closed the door.  Later the Chinese family came by, asking if we had seen the rooster.  They even had a picture of him on a cell phone.  Sante thought he was too beautiful to eat and offered to trade one of ours for Goldy. 
We had too many roosters “troppi galli”, because the last couple of hatchings had been all males, until we finally had one in the spring with 5 females.  Alba, an Italian farmwife friend of ours, said the gender of the chicks depends on the phase of the moon, and the temperature – higher temperature means females.  I haven’t checked this out on Google yet.
Most people kill the excess roosters and eat them, but we are unable to do this.  We got Alba to kill a couple of them for us and gave her one.  The roosters had a very happy life, running around the yard, scratching up weeds and insects , and chasing hens all day, and that’s the important thing.
There is an interesting story about how White Hen #1 and 2 were hatched.

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Trebisacce by the Sea

Trebisacce by the Sea    

 by Bonnie Willson Camo      September 9, 2001


I grew up living life through books

Till Goddess blessed me with his looks.

Tall dark straniere swept me away

Shared my life up to this day

Forty two years of woes and joys

(lots of both from raising boys)

My horoscope said I’d live abroad,

(But astrology is rather odd)


Trebisacce by the sea

Now I hear you calling me

Pole beans on bamboo teepees

at Bon-Sante B&B

Brick oven baking tasty loaves

To dip in oil from our olive groves

Solar panels on the roof

Pecorino on the hoof


Blessed be! A man who cooks!

Never even needs cook books

Even sails and catches fish

Serves it up - a tasty dish

With roasted vegetables to savor

Home-grown herbs enhance the flavor.


Trebisacce by the sea

Now I hear you calling me

Ginestre – yellow winter bloom

Takes away all cold and gloom
[note - this was written 2 days before 9-11]

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Heavy Metal Brain Damage

Bonnie Camo MD    Natural Medicine & Homeopathy      Trebisacce, Italy


                Heavy Metal Brain Damage


Lead poisoning is thought to have led to the downfall of the Roman Empire.  The ancient Roman water pipes were made of up to 99.3% lead, according to Dr. K-G Wenzel in The Earth’s Gift to Medicine.  I actually saw the remains of some of these lead pipes on a recent visit to Pompeii, the Roman city buried by the eruption of Vesuvius in 79 AD.  The upper classes also used lead-containing glazes on their ceramic drinking vessels. It seems probable that lead was a factor in the rise and fall of insane, murderous emperors like Nero and Caligula. 


Several decades ago, Dr. William Walsh, former head of the Argonne National Laboratory near Chicago, analyzed hair samples from inmates in the California prison system.  He found high levels of lead, a known neurotoxin, in all serial killers and mass murderers tested.  Serial killers are generally considered sociopaths, people who lack a conscience and empathy, and kill methodically and with premeditation.  Mass murderers, on the other hand, seem normal until they suddenly snap under extreme stress, go temporarily insane and shoot everybody in a McDonald’s, or a school, for instance.  Dr. Walsh found both types high in cadmium as well as lead, and low in zinc.  The mass murderers also tended to have high copper.  Walsh later went on to found the Pfeiffer Treatment Center (PTC), named after my mentor, Dr. Carl Pfeiffer, with whom he collaborated.  The PTC tests and treats people for heavy metals, vitamin and mineral deficiencies and other imbalances related to mental and physical illnesses.


Zinc deficiency is common in the general public in the US and in the Middle East.  Dr. Pfeiffer speculated that this could be a factor in the “warlike, violent nature” of these areas.  Dr. Walsh was on the Phil Donohue television show many years ago, and was asked which was more important in producing violent behavior, heredity or environment.  He answered that it was a combination of  “a bad chemistry and a bad childhood”.   It is interesting to note that the crime rate in the US went down sharply eighteen years after Roe versus Wade legalized abortion in 1973, according to Freakonomics, by Steven Levitt and Stephen Dubner.  Apparently many women who want an abortion realize that they do not have the emotional or financial resources necessary to raise a healthy child. Another reason for the decrease in crime may be the removal of lead from gasoline.  According to the EPA, blood lead levels declined by 37% in association with a 50% drop in the use of leaded gasoline between 1976 and 1980.


Low zinc is associated with anger, hostility and verbal abuse, according to The Crazy Makers, by Carol Simontacchi, perhaps because low zinc allows lead and cadmium to rise.  Many brain enzymes require zinc for activation. 


One of the main sources of cadmium toxicity is tobacco smoking.  Cadmium is thought to contribute to emphysema.  Smoking also depletes vitamin C, which is needed to help prevent cancer and, along with zinc, to help excretion of heavy metals.  Other sources of cadmium are refined foods, which have a low zinc to cadmium ratio, and old galvanized water pipes, made with zinc that was contaminated with cadmium.  Newer water pipes made of copper seemed like a good substitute, but copper levels can go too high, especially with acidic well water.   Greenish-blue stains in the sink and tub are a warning sign of high copper levels. 


Copper, unlike lead and cadmium, is an essential mineral, but excessive amounts can lead to hypertension, depression, hyperactivity, headaches and other disorders.  Many commercial multivitamins have too much copper.  Chocolate is also quite high in copper.  Two milligrams is considered the daily requirement, but this does not take into consideration the copper that is being absorbed from food and water. 


The epidemic of autism appears to coincide with increased vaccinations containing mercury, aluminum and other toxic substances.  High levels of toxins and heavy metals in the environment, and a  genetic inability to detoxify, contribute to autism and other disorders affecting the brain, like attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), schizophrenia, and even sociopathy.

Monday, May 20, 2013

Prevent Breast Cancer

Bonnie Camo MD    Natural Medicine & Homeopathy      Trebisacce, Italy


                                    Breast Cancer Can Be Prevented


Angelina Jolie's recent decision to undergo a 'prophylactic' double mastectomy due to her BRCA status, was her choice, but those who may wish to follow in her footsteps should be aware that there are other options.


According to breast surgeon Susan Love of UCLA, at least 30 percent of tumors found on mammograms would go away if you did absolutely nothing.   These tumors appear to be destined to stop growing on their own, shrink, and even go away completely.  Your immune system is always on the alert, removing most cancer cells that develop before they are able to multiply. One way to strengthen your immune system is to minimize your exposure to mammograms and other sources of ionizing radiation.


You can strengthen your immune system by good diet and lifestyle choices. First optimize your vitamin D3 level.  Vitamin D is actually able to enter cancer cells and trigger apoptosis, or cancer cell death. JoEllen Welsh, a researcher with the State University of New York at Albany, injected vitamin D into human breast cancer cells, killing half of them within days.  Vitamin D was as effective as breast cancer drugs like Tamoxifen, without the side effects and at a cost of pennies.  If you’ve been diagnosed with breast cancer you should have your D level checked and maintain a level of at least 70 ng/ml.


Vitamin A also plays a role in preventing breast cancer; your best sources are organic egg yolks, raw milk and butter, and beef and chicken liver from organically raised, grass pastured animals.  However, commercial red meat may be a serious risk factor for breast cancer.  When animal protein is cooked, especially at high heat, like frying, carcinogens are formed.  Saturated animal fat is converted into a carcinogen by bacteria in your large intestine.  Animal fat is also the storage site for all the pesticides on the food the animal ate, as well as the antibiotics, hormones, and growth stimulants the animals were given.  Grilling meat adds additional carcinogens. 

Fruits and vegetables are “virtual anticancer pharmacies.”  Phytochemicals in plants have many ways of protecting you from cancer.  Carotenoids which give color to red, orange and yellow fruits and vegetables are potent antioxidants and block different steps in development of cancer.  All cruciferous vegetables, like broccoli, cabbage and kale, contain indole-3 carbinole, which stops breast cancer cells from growing, and converts estrogen into a non-cancer-promoting form.  Broccoli also contains sulforaphane, which promotes liver enzymes which destroy carcinogens and move them out of the body.  Of course, all these fruits and vegetables should be organic, so you are not introducing more carcinogenic pesticides into your body. 


A powerful anticancer spice is turmeric, the brilliant yellow-orange root used in curries and in Ayurvedic and Chinese medicine for over five thousand years.   Turmeric is one of the most potent tumor-inhibiting foods,  

destroys toxins in the liver, is a powerful anti-inflammatory and antioxidant, and prevents DNA mutations that lead to cancer. 


Herbs like black cohosh, artemisinin, and kelp have anticancer properties.  Green tea is the number one anticancer beverage, full of anti-inflammatories and antioxidants, such as polyphenols like ECGC.  Raw cannabis and “hemp oil” (not to be confused with hempseed oil, which is highly nutritious, but not known to be a cancer cure) both look very promising, for those who live in places where they are legal.


Avoid all forms of sugar, cancer’s favorite food, as well as artificial sweeteners.  Stevia is a safe sweetener.

Good sleep is essential to good health.  During sleep the mind/body is repaired and purified.  In darkness the pineal gland produces melatonin, which promotes natural sleep and is a powerful cancer preventer.  The best melatonin production occurs when you go to bed by 10 pm and get up by 6 am.


Exercise lowers your risk of breast cancer, in part by helping prevent obesity which increases your risk.  Aerobic exercise causes the brain to produce healing neuropeptides which reduce stress and prevent depression. 


The list of natural prevention methods should include not wearing bras. There's lots of evidence for bras impeding the blood and lymph flow that keeps tissues healthy, as documented in Dressed to Kill by Sydney Ross Singer and Soma Grismaijer.

Monday, January 21, 2013

Epidemic of Madness

Bonnie Camo MD,  Natural Medicine & Homeopathy, Trebisacce, Italy


                                 Epidemic of  Madness

The Government Accounting Office (GAO) reported in June 2008 that one out of every sixteen young adults in the United States was seriously mentally ill.  It has recently been estimated by investigative journalist and health science writer Robert Whitaker that twenty percent of Americans now are considered mentally ill.  Part of this rise is based on definition. Psychiatry keeps expanding diagnostic criteria, trying to throw everybody into some category of mental illness so they can sell more drugs. Children who are not sitting quietly enough in school are said to have attention deficit hyperactivity disorder.  People who are grieving after losing a loved one are diagnosed with depression, turning a temporary and appropriate emotion into a mental illness label and a life-long drug dependency.

I recently read two of Whitaker’s books, Mad in America, and Anatomy of an Epidemic, which describe how psychiatric drugs cause or aggravate the very brain disorders they are alleged to cure.  Mr. Whitaker became interested in this subject when he learned that schizophrenics in underdeveloped countries like India, Nigeria, and Colombia, had much better outcomes than those in developed countries like the US, England and Denmark.  What is the difference?  The mentally ill in poor countries, if given any psychiatric drugs at all, received them in much lower dosages than in the rich, developed countries.  Going back to old records, he found that before the advent of neuroleptics, the majority of schizophrenics having their first episode recovered on their own in six months to a year.

As an MD practicing alternative medicine in New Jersey for thirty years, I successfully treated thousands of psychiatric patients with orthomolecular psychiatry (correcting nutritional imbalances as determined by blood and hair tests) and homeopathy.  I found depression to be one of the easiest things to treat with homeopathy.  The hard part was weaning people off the antidepressants psychiatrists had put them on.  It is interesting that the PDR (Physicians’ Desk Reference) tells doctors how to put patients on drugs, but not how to take them off.  I guess they assume (and it is a self-fulfilling prophecy) that they will be on these drugs forever. Psychiatrists and pharmaceutical companies falsely claim that psychiatric drugs are correcting brain neurotransmitter abnormalities and need to be taken for life “like insulin for diabetics”. 

Drs. Abram Hoffer and Humphrey Osmond of Saskatchewan, Canada, did the first double blind controlled studies in the field of psychiatry sixty years ago using niacin (vitamin B3) and vitamin C.  On these nutrients, most acute schizophrenics were cured and able to get a job and pay taxes (Hoffer's criterion for a successful cure). This was before Thorazine, the first “antipsychotic“ drug, was patented in 1954.  These “neuroleptics” actually create a drug-induced brain pathology by blocking the neurotransmitter dopamine, thus shutting down many higher brain functions. In fact, when first introduced, psychiatrists themselves considered these drugs virtually indistinguishable from a "chemical lobotomy," which they thought was a good thing.

Neuroleptics also block dopamine in the basal ganglia, which coordinate body movements, resulting in an incurable movement disorder known as tardive dyskinesia (TD), resembling Parkinson’s disease, in up to 60% of patients treated.  Unknown to conventional psychiatrists, TD can be prevented by certain vitamins.  (Contrary to psychiatric propaganda, the new “atypical” antipsychotics cause as much or more TD as the old drugs, in addition to many new side effects, like intractable weight gain and diabetes.)

According to Eva Edelman, Natural Healing for Schizophrenia, “Psychiatric drugs have the potential to induce a supersensitivity psychosis in the world’s sanest human, forcing the individual into a lifelong drug dependency.”   Blocked dopamine synapses become hypersensitive, so when the drug is withdrawn, paranoia and hallucinations become worse than ever. The natural psychosis has become a “tranquilizer psychosis”, as Dr. Hoffer called it.


This drug-induced hypersensitivy is made use of by pharmaceutical companies in designing studies to show their drug is better than placebo.  Patients are suddenly deprived of their accustomed drug, become massively psychotic, and then are given the new drug (same as the old drug), or placebo.  Naturally, just as with heroin, a fix of the addictive drug will relieve the withdrawal psychosis better than a placebo!  Drug companies have been fined millions of dollars for conducting false studies, but to them this is just a business expense.

In the wake of recent mass shootings in Aurora, Colorado and  Sandy Hook elementary school in Newton, Connecticut, it is interesting to note that virtually all mass murderers in the US, going back to Columbine, have been on, or recently withdrawn from, SSRI antidepressants or other psychiatric drugs.  “Violence and other potentially criminal behavior caused by prescription drugs are medicine’s best kept secret,” says Dr. David Healy, a world-renowned psychiatrist who has written extensively about the lack of data in evidence-based medicine, including in his latest book, Pharmageddon.

There is no evidence for modern psychiatry's claim that pathological biochemical imbalances in the brain cause mental illness.  But treating people with these new wonder drugs is what creates pathological imbalances, causing the epidemic of mental illness.


Monday, November 12, 2012


During my thirty years practicing orthomolecular psychiatry and homeopathy, I have treated many children and adults on the autism spectrum.  It is now up to one out of every 88 children in the US, even higher in parts of California, where my three year old granddaughter lives.  She has recently been diagnosed with autism. 

It is said to be common in children of engineers, maybe because people with Aspergers make good scientists and engineers. Asperger people tend to focus on an area of special interest and learn everything they can about it, which can eventually become the basis for a career.  They are usually of higher than average intelligence. They are more interested in figuring out how the world works than social relationships. 

According to Sara Robinson, “Asperger's Syndrome wasn’t named and identified until 1994, but by the 1950s, the defense industries in California's Santa Clara Valley [Silicon Valley] were already drawing in brilliant young men and women who fit the profile: single-minded, socially awkward, emotionally detached, and blessed (or cursed) with a singular, unique, laser-like focus on some particular area of obsessive interest.” 

Now that I am a grandmother, I am discovering that I have Asperger traits myself.  I’ve never been diagnosed, but I have diagnosed it in some of my patients. I am reading in books like Aspergirls, by Rudy Simone, and on the internet about how differently it presents in females, so is more often missed.  It would explain a lot of the funny little things about me.  

Aspergirls, unlike most of their teenage or adult peers, have little or no interest in fashion, make-up, or hairstyles, or chatting with friends for hours.  Like me, they hate shopping, prefer wash-and wear hair, and comfortable, practical clothes with lots of pockets.    One good thing for Dads, their daughter might be happier helping him in his workshop rather than helping their mother with housework. 

Three years ago my husband and I retired and moved to Italy, where he was born.  My possibly Aspergian attire (baggy blue jeans, sweatshirts and Birkenstocks, here in the land of fashion), and demeanor are probably attributed to just being American.  There are no other Americans in this town.  People ask my husband why I don’t talk much, don’t I understand Italian yet?  He says, “Lei e fatta cosi.”  (She’s made that way.)  I do understand most of what is said, but my taciturnity is more acceptable here, because there is seen to be an excuse for it.  I have become more talkative now, and the Italians are very helpful because they don’t care if everything I say is ungrammatical and pronounced wrong, as long as they understand my meaning.  They do correct me kindly, and don’t laugh unless I say something really funny (like saying I made a cake with “mascalzoni” (rascals), instead of “mascarpone” (cream cheese).   

I once had a brain map done by Dr Les Fehmi, in Princeton, NJ, a pioneer of biofeedback with whom I used to work.  It showed I was low in alpha brainwaves.  Alpha waves, 10 to 14 hertz, are associated with a relaxed, creative, open-focused state, in which the left and right hemispheres of the brain are in synchrony, together producing the large, smooth alpha sine waves.  (If you draw one vertically through a circle and add dots, it becomes the Taoist yin-yang symbol.)  I don’t know if low alpha is a general characteristic of Aspergians, but it would help explain their chronic anxiety.

Alpha waves can be increased by things like yoga, meditation, and marijuana.  THC from this herb happens to fit the brain’s anandamide receptors.  Anandamide is the first endogenous cannabinoid, discovered in 1992 by Raphael Mechoulam ,  named for the Sanskrit  word “ananda” meaning inner bliss.  After smoking the herb, some Aspies discover for the first time what it’s like to feel normal!  They can talk and converse like anyone else.  I invented the term “anandapenia”  to signify the condition of a lack of anandamide, (or lack of bliss).  

Aspergers is thought to be related to hypofunction of the right hemisphere, affecting things like:  recognition of faces and facial expressions, body language, spatial orientation, sense of direction, remembering how to get somewhere, (making it hard to drive).   I seem to lack the internal map that neurotypicals have in their brain that helps them find their way around town, or hotels, airports and train stations.  (I call it “dysmappia”.) 

As for recognizing faces - I seem to need to meet a person at least 3 times before I remember them.  This can be very embarrassing.  When people say Hello to me here, I’m always asking my husband, “Who was that?”  He’s gotten used to my quirks. 

Autistics may have more problems with the left hemisphere, where the speech centers are.  They may think in pictures, as Temple Grandin describes, rather than in words.  Animals probably think in pictures too.  It’s probably a primordial way of thinking that humans used before we acquired language.

Aspies are generally good at left brain functions like language and math.  They are very logical and generally prefer science, nature or computers to interacting with other people.  They often love to read, especially science fiction and fantasy. I’ve always been a Sci-Fi geek myself.  When I was a kid in Allentown, PA, I used to walk to the library a couple of times a week, check out some books, sit on the library steps and read them, take them back in and get more.  (I guess children were only allowed to check out 3 or 4 at a time, and I couldn’t have carried more than that home anyway.)   I read all the science fiction I could get.   My mother said I taught myself to read at 4, and I haven’t stopped since. 

Tuesday, November 6, 2012




The autism rate in the US is now up to 1 in 88.  My granddaughter who lives in California was diagnosed shortly before her 3rd birthday.  According to my son, she had been regressing for about six months, talking less, not making eye contact and not even responding to her name.


I first met her in May 2011, when she was a year and 9 months old. I was back in New Jersey, trying to sell our house there, since we had moved to Italy.  While in the US, I took the opportunity to fly out to visit my son and meet my granddaughter. Now that I think about it, the little girl’s behavior was unusual even then. On the way to a big indoor children’s playground/learning center, she had a screaming fit which could only be stopped by her mother taking her out and walking around in the rain. My son said at that time that she could say about 30 words, but I didn't hear any, except maybe "No!"  At the playground, she didn't interact with any other children, just kept walking and walking like a wind-up toy.   She was given chicken nuggets and French fries to eat in the car.  She screamed to have her new shoes taken off.


She hasn't had any vaccines, fortunately! She’s been physically healthy and has never been on antibiotics or had bowel problems as many autistic children do. She was breast-fed for 2 years.  Like most kids, her diet is high in wheat and milk products. I told my son to get her on the gluten and casein-free diet, which Dr Bernard Rimland’s research indicates helps 66% of autistic kids.  Many children have greatly improved after having all wheat and dairy products removed from their diet, even though these are often their favorite foods. These children are unable to metabolize gluten and casein proteins down to the basic amino acids. Instead, they are broken down into peptides called gluteomorphin and caseomorphin, which act like opium (morphine) in the brain, making it difficult to respond normally to the environment.


California has recently mandated insurance coverage for behavioral therapy (ABA) for autistic children.  Between the diet and the ABA, my granddaughter appears to be improving.  We may also have her tested for heavy metals and detox pathways.  If there is a genetic component to autism, it may be an inability to detoxify the body from the innumerable chemical assaults that we are all now exposed to.


There is a whole spectrum of autism disorders. The mildest is Asperger's syndrome, which Einstein. Isaac Newton, and many other famous scientists are thought to have had.  Aspergians tend to be very intelligent, but have trouble with social relationships.


Many children develop more severe types of autism starting around the age of 18 months, after getting a lot of immunizations at once. They regress and often stop talking and lose other skills.  Like many doctors who specialize in treating this, I believe many cases are related to the mercury preservative thimerosal (which has now been removed from most, but not all vaccines.) It is still in the flu shot. It could also be due to other "adjuvants", like aluminum, or just the sheer number of shots overwhelming the immune system.


Some cases may also be related to mercury in the mother's amalgam fillings passing into the fetus, and then into the baby in breast milk. There may also be hereditary factors. Asperger's, in particular seems to be common in children of engineers. (It could be that the fathers had a touch of it, which made them good scientists and engineers.)


I worked with a group of doctors, called DAN (Defeat Autism Now) who specialize in treating and curing autism through natural means. Dr Jim Neubrander, my colleague when I worked at the Princeton Biocenter, went on to specialize in autism and discovered a very useful treatment based on Methyl B12 shots.  Some cases have been cured by homeopathy, as described in Impossible Cure, by Amy Lansky. Orthomolecular nutrition also helps, by supplying vitamins and minerals that may be lacking or needed in greater than normal amounts. Although autistic children are often prescribed psychopharmaceuticals, they are rarely beneficial, and may cause further brain damage.