Whole Foods Magazine
April 2002

The Cochran Regimen Breaks New Ground;

Major advances seen in Parkinson’s Disease and Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis

(Lou Gehrig’s Disease).

An interview with Tim Cochran


Richard A. Passwater, Ph.D.


It is an immense pleasure to report that, based on several currently ongoing proteomics (the study of proteins within the cell) and clinical studies, there now appears to be an effective treatment for Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS or Lou Gehrig's disease).

However, there is even more good news. Tim Cochran, therapeutic biochemist and founder of the Cochran Foundation for Medical Research in Cedarpines Park, CA, has discovered the biochemical signatures (profiles) for Parkinson's disease (PD), ALS and several other diseases by using biochemical measurements not used before to identify diseases.

This discovery of biochemical signatures for these diseases utilizes a series of advanced blood tests to confirm the presence of these complicated diseases. Prior to this discovery, these diseases could not be accurately diagnosed before later stages that produce devastating symptoms and where treatment is less successful. This discovery also can quantify the severity of the diseases, therefore permitting the monitoring of the progress in treating the diseases.

The greatest advantage of this new discovery is that the tests directly indicate what corrective measures are needed. It does not involve an independent measurement of a distantly related factor such as a protein that accumulates in the disease process. For instance, Prostate Specific Antigen (PSA) levels are used to indirectly assess the probability of having prostate cancer. One may have prostate cancer with a low PSA and not have prostate cancer with moderate PSA But, usually, the risk of having prostate cancer increases as PSA levels increase. However, PSA offers no clue as to what has to be done to cure the disease. The Cochran Biochemical Signature tests are biochemical profiles that not only identify the disease but show which nutrients and other natural biochemicals are needed to reverse the disease process.

Another important advantage is that the biochemical signatures permit fine-tuning of the treatments with nutrients and other essential and required biochemical components as cellular health is restored and the conditions that allow the disease to exist are destroyed.

This demonstrates the science of the Cochran Regimen. I always make a point that science is all about measurement. Nothing is subjective in the Cochran Regimen. The Cochran Regimen is objective-measured blood and cellular deficiencies correlate with measured levels of clinical malfunction; measured improvements in blood and cellular chemistries correlate with measured improvements in clinical function; measured return to normality of the blood and cellular chemistries correlate with the disappearance of clinical symptoms.

The biochemical profiles measure the functionality of the individual cells. The restoration of normal cellular profiles correlate with the cellular activity associated with that measured in young adults. The Cochran Regimen restores the cellular biochemical pathways and restores the physiological pathways. By monitoring the biochemical profiles that are the signatures of these diseases, we move from merely treating diseases toward "curing" them. The good news is that the experience gained so far suggests that the deficiencies observed as part of the disease profiles are "fixable." Cochran is getting to the root cause of the diseases, not just alleviating symptoms. The conditions, progress and results can be replicated and verified independently by others merely by following the biochemical profiles.

The real-world clinical results of the Cochran Regimen speak for themselves, but physicians and scientists like to understand what is happening. If they can't understand how something can happen, then they tend not to believe it can happen. In this respect, physicians and scientists will be pleased to learn that we now understand more about how the Cochran Regimen works. The molecular components and other natural biochemicals used in the Cochran Regimen do more than simply nourish the cells. There is evidence that the combination of biochemicals stimulates growth factors in damaged nerve cells and re-activates them. There also is suggestive evidence that the Cochran Regimen activates dormant stem cells to repair nerve networks, grows new blood vessels and repairs heart damage.

In earlier WHOLE FOODS columns, Cochran has pointed out that the combination of nutrients and biochemicals is indeed more than synergistic nourishment "It does no good to give a cell overwhelming amounts of nutrients without giving the cell the proper direction about how to use these nutrients. These directions come from hormones and the expression of genes. If you are doing maintenance work on your home and a foreman and his crew show up to do the work, but no materials have been ordered, would anything get fixed? If the building materials were delivered, but no one showed up with the building plans to supervise the job, would it be done correctly? If the nutrients are not there along with the proper hormones and related compounds-together-then the cells have a harder time utilizing those nutritional resources because the cells cannot communicate or express what needs to be done."

I have conferred with Tim Cochran almost weekly over the past seven years. We exchange notes and thoughts about the biochemistry involved in his research, and we review many of the case histories on an ongoing basis. For readers who may have missed the earlier six columns beginning in March 1998, the nutrients and other natural biochemicals used in the Cochran Regimen include vitamins, minerals, amino acids, fatty acids and hormones. In these columns, we have described clinical trials and case reports showing the Cochran Regimen has produced remarkable reversals in severe heart disease and PD patients, returning a high percentage of them to normal health. In this column. we will discuss for the first time, how the Cochran Regimen has slowed progression or reversed ALS. In addition, we will discuss the breakthrough research that identifies these diseases by their biochemical signatures.

Passwater: Word of your successful treatment of PD seems to be spreading.

Cochran: Yes, I am contacted by as many as 10 to 15 new patients each day from word of mouth referrals, and on a couple of days a week, I see PD patients in the renowned Iacono Neuroscience Clinic in Redlands, CA.. Dr. Robert P. Iacono is a stereotactic neurosurgeon specializing in PD. He has spent a long time investigating the causes of this disease, and he is world famous for his pioneering research using fetal brain grafts in 1992 and pallidotomy in 1994 to treat PD.

Passwater: Is the success rate still as high as it was when we last discussed your work in the December 2000 column?

Cochran: Actually, it has improved now that we are able to use my biochemical signature profiling as a tool in monitoring PD. We better understand the genetic code and the biochemical components that are essential for that code to function normally.

Passwater: Tell us a little about that now, and then let's discuss it in detail later.

Cochran: I compile a total biochemical profile based on blood tests that include an amino acid and peptide profile, a fatty acid profile, a cellular antioxidant profile, a hormone profile and a cell function profile. The combined profile gives a specific signature for each of the neurological diseases and other diseases like those of a cardiovascular variety. It is a biochemical mapping process. The disease can exist only under conditions of cellular abnormality. It has a biochemical abnormality range in which it has to operate. The new tests allow us to take a biochemical "snap" shot" of what is happening inside the patient's cells right now. This in turn tells us not only what is going on at the gene expression level and cellular level, but what is going to be happening to the patient in the months and years to come if no changes are made.

Passwater: These biochemical signatures are very interesting indeed. They represent a major advance for the medical profession. However, I'm going to have to start charging you rent for all of the space that is taken up in my research center with your case histories and test results. Another interesting thing that I am noticing since you started working with Dr. Iacono and other physicians, is that several physicians, dentists and scientists and their families are being treated with the Cochran Regimen.

Cochran: Treating physicians is one of the best ways to get them to understand. People get glassy-eyed when I explain the complicated biochemistry involving cellular function, cellular repair, and genetic expression. They are often still skeptical after seeing the clinical studies or even the before-and-after videotapes. But, when professionals personally experience the progress themselves, they become avid supporters.

Passwater: Let's give our readers an example. I haven't presented an ALS case history in this series before. ALS is a fatal disease with no known cure or effective treatment

Although your success with some ALS patients has been dramatic, I believed for a while that the number of cases was too small to risk falsely raising expectations. Success with the first few ALS patients might quickly have been erased with a series of non-responders. But I am more comfortable with the number of cases now. Yet, we must keep in mind that these results are still considered preliminary. I have followed the progress of Dr. Ronald Blank, a department chair and associate professor at a leading school of dentistry. In addition to reviewing his reports, I have chatted with him on three occasions. Tim, could you tell us when Dr. Blank was first diagnosed as having ALS?

Cochran: On April 11, 2001, at age 50.

Passwater: Dr. Blank told me of the initial shock of his diagnosis. He found that modern medicine's approach to ALS patients was to support them as they prepare to die. His future was to anticipate a progressive loss of motor function, paraplegia, quadriplegia, gastric tube feedings, a respirator and then death from related complications. He lid not welcome this as his future. Tim, please tell us when you first saw him and what his condition was at that time?

Cochran: He came to us early in May 2001. His condition was what is considered "Stage One ALS." He had symptoms of speech difficulty, right arm and hand weakness, fatigue, muscle cramping and difficulty breathing at times.

Passwater: How did he respond to the Cochran Regimen, and what do you believe his future holds with regard to ALS?

Cochran: Within a few weeks, he experienced dramatic improvement He had increased strength and endurance, improved speech, and an overall improved sense of well-being. He states that these improvements were readily apparent to his family, friends and colleagues. His breathing capacity improved from 82% to 91% and his swallowing ability improved. His neurologist has found no significant ALS progression after nine months. and the disease appears stabilized. He still has some stress-related fatigue and occasional muscle cramping.

Passwater: How is he doing today? He really sounded grateful for this second chance when I chatted with him.

Cochran: He is essentially stabilized. He looks forward to enjoying time with his family. He also plans to continue to make contributions to his profession, including the education of students. His ability to swallow foods, drink liquids, take medication and speak clearly has returned pretty close to normal. He still has some stress-related fatigue, but it appears that the disease has stabilized in its early stage. We now have been able to study his biochemical signature and his profile state. This biochemical mapping is enabling us to be proactive and aggressive in the development of new treatments, based on the patient's exact needs.

Passwater: Please tell us a little more about your breakthrough with biochemical profiling of these diseases. I note that amino acids and peptides are a major part of the biochemical profiles.

Cochran: People tend to think primarily in terms of vitamins and minerals when it comes to cellular biochemistry, but the actual driving force-the engine that pushes these nutrients into place and catalyzes the biochemical reactions so that the cell can function-is driven by the amino acids and peptides that form critical enzymes and are involved in the expression of the genes.

I look at 40 amino acids and peptides, all essential for correct cell function and replication. In the signature for PD, only three amino acids will usually be at optimal levels and nine will be at 3-5 times below normal, sometimes 22-25 times below normal!. The remaining 28 amino acids and peptides will be in the 5% lower percentile of the normal range and/ or 50% to 75% below optimal range. Optimal range is where these components need to be in order for one's cells to carry out all proper cell genesis and replication, not only for repairing structure, but for proper effectiveness in cellular function.

Passwater: I am not going to mention which amino acids and peptides are in which category--even though I have the charts in front of me-because I don't want to jeopardize your chance for publication in a recognized medical journal. Most journals won't accept submitted articles that include information that already has been released to the public.

But, let's make the significance of the biochemical signatures clear. If I send you blood drawn from 50 PD patients, would all 50 have the same biochemical pattern?

Cochran: Each and everyone would have a very similar biomarker profile with a ratio range of marked resemblance.

Passwater: How about ALS patients?

Cochran: ALS patients also usually have a very significantly distinct pattern or profile. Once in a great while, you may find a single biomarker at a decent level, but the rest of the grouping would still show the similar biochemical signature.

Passwater: And if I send you blood pulled from 50 people, some of whom are healthy, some who have PD, some who have ALS and others who have cardiovascular disease, can you tell me who is who just by looking at the biochemical profiles from their blood analysis?

Cochran: Yes, their biomarkers in the blood and cells will tell us who has which disease and who is healthy. But, keep in mind that even some of the healthy persons may have pre-clinical conditions that are not yet apparent as diseases because symptoms aren't yet manifested.

Passwater: So the blood and cellular biochemical profiles start changing before the diseases are apparent?

Cochran: Yes. This is the most vital time to collect biomarker information as we can reverse the disease process before great damage occurs and prevent the disease manifestation. We have started running tests on some patients' families. I am studying one father and mother who have neurological problems. Their children are in their 40s. We have the parents' conditions in their late 70s and their disease condition profiles. Their middle-aged children are now developing some of the same abnormal molecular defects. The children are much easier to help in the present situation, as 35 years haven't passed by with ongoing daily compounding deficiency. The middle-aged children are lacking biochemical components that are necessary and essential for correct gene translation and expression and cellular operation and function. Over the course of time, they will develop the same diseases unless biochemical changes are made now to correct these biochemical abnormalities. Of course. proper monitoring will be needed on a follow-up basis to ensure that levels stay within optimal ranges.

Passwater: Can you follow changes in the biochemical signature during treatment to monitor the progress?

Cochran: Yes. Let me give you an example. You just described the progress of ALS patient Dr. Blank. He had a problem closing (shutting) and contracting his right hand, (making a fist) . He was taking the modified Cochran Regimen, but his tests showed that he was especially low in isoleucine and still moderately low in leucine, methionine, aspartic acid and asparagine. When I increased the dosage of these amino acids, within two days he was able to close and open his hand and make a fist normally. We could have never figured this out if we had not developed the biochemical mapping technology. No one would have known that these were at critically abnormal levels with regard to these biochemical components.

Passwater: Did the biochemical profile improve after this adjustment?

Cochran: Yes, this is a minor illustration of the advantage of actually seeing the biochemical profiles of the diseases, and then directly impacting the diseases by forcing the profile to change toward a normal profile by adding the appropriate amounts of the appropriate nutrients and other biochemicals, along with the cofactors needed to force the cells to take up these nutrients and incorporate them into cellular function and utilize them in genetic expression. We find a very high percentage of patients are deficient in vitamin B12. But there are amino acids that are essential for movement of B12 into the cell. A patient could be given large amounts of vitamin B12, but he or she must also have the correct amounts of certain amino acids for the vitamin B12 to work properly.

Passwater: So not all patients improve at the same rate when given the Cochran Regimen? Some biochemical individuality is observed?

Cochran: Some patients still lag in their response, as seen by the biochemical profiles for their particular disease. However, when increasing the amount of these particular amino acids and/ or their cofactors, in the Cochran Regimen it is like revitalizing them. When trying to increase the cellular level of a particular amino acid, it is not always a simple matter of increasing that amino acid in the Regimen. Here's an example: if you want to increase the intracellular glutathione, six other cofactors are required. Without these six other required cofactors, glutathione levels in your cells can't increase and be kept at required normal levels.

Passwater: Let's look at the cause and effect here. Your observations beg the question, which is the result of which? Do the low levels of biochemicals in the cells cause the disease, or does the disease cause the low levels associated with the disease?

Cochran: When you supplement patients with the essential biochemicals they are deficient in, their blood and cell levels increase only slowly. Ifs as if they do not absorb the nutrients correctly or their bodies consume an inordinate amount of them.

The difference is important. If the body absorbs them poorly, this may be a causative factor in the development of the disease. On the other hand, if their bodies consume an inordinate amount, this implies that it is an effect of the disease rather than a causative factor. It is too early to tell which it is yet, but there is support for both. Maybe it is even that both or either are involved. I see a lot of constipation, parasites and gut leakage, mold and yeast infections in the small intestinal tract of patients.

Passwater: This is the same question that I ran into with my early selenium and cancer research. There was a strong association between low levels of selenium in the blood and the incidence and severity of cancer. Increasing the amount of selenium in the diet reduced the cancer incidence, but the reduction doesn't occur until the blood levels reach a certain level. It is not what goes into the mouth, but what gets into the cells. In the case of selenium and cancer, it was both. Selenium deficiency permits cancer to develop, and cancer consumes more selenium.

Cochran: Yes, diseases such as cancer and neurological diseases themselves increase the oxidative burden on the body and increase the oxidative stress. As I mentioned, I measure the antioxidant levels in the cells. An interesting observation is that the antioxidant levels in the cells of those with neurological diseases are depressed until after I normalize the amino acid, peptide and fatty acid profiles. Taking antioxidant nutrients helps reduce the oxidative stress within the cells, but measurable improvements or partial recovery will not occur until after the amino acid, peptide and essential fatty acid profiles are normalized.

Here's how it typically works. At initial treatment the antioxidant levels within the cells are about 20% of normal. After three months of treatment, the antioxidant levels within the cells are typically about 40%-45% of normal, and after six months on the Cochran Regimen, the cellular antioxidant levels are typically about 75%-95% of cellular function. Any percentage above 75% is considered normal. When they reach this level or higher, I begin to see great improvements in cellular function.

Passwater: You are emphasizing that you are measuring cellular antioxidant function and not blood or plasma antioxidant levels.

Cochran: Our laboratory separates the white blood cells from the blood, washes away everything else, then all the white blood cells are cultured in a medium. The white blood cells are tested against their ability to defend themselves against free radicals and their responses are measured. These measurements tell us the total (combined) antioxidant power of the numerous antioxidants within the cells.

Passwater: Although you see almost immediate improvement with the Cochran Regimen-within days to a couple of weeks-you continue to see improvement as the amino acid and antioxidant levels are moved toward normal within the cells.

Cochran: Yes. It is when we get the amino acids, fatty acids and antioxidants within the cells near normal - above 75% of normal, that cellular function finally gets back to normal. Then the body on its own increases hormone levels back toward normal and I can reduce the amount of hormone added as part of the Cochran Regimen. Over the course of six to 12 months, the disease is not only halted, but often reversed. The biochemical profiles further improve from those typical for an aged person to those of a healthy young adult. Other indicators such as immune function improve at the same time. For the very best results, catching the disease in the very early stages or before it gets started is the best option. Doing prevention screening and starting a protocol ahead of time is the best course of action for anyone over the age of 30 years.

Passwater: Let’s talk a little bit about what is happening to cell function. One benefit of optimizing cell conditions may be the activation of growth factors.

Cochran: That’s one possible mechanism. The nerve cells in PD and ALS are damaged but not dead. They may quit functioning and revert to an immature cell structure similar to an earlier stage of development, more like an embryonic stage. When we activate the growth factors in these cells, normal cell function returns and new circuits of nerve cells can form.

Passwater: Independent support for this theory is now coming from researchers at the University of Houston. They have shown that faulty circuits can be jump-started in damaged nerve cells when the growth factors are stimulated by ion channel proteins. [Dryer, J. Neuroscience (1/1/02)].

You are also getting independent verification that stem cells can be activated to repair organs such as the heart.

Cochran: The common wisdom had been that the heart couldn't repair itself.

Many cardiologists would scoff when I showed them my results showing heart function returning to normal in people who were once almost dead. Most scientists have overlooked the fact that there are sufficient stem cells in every organ. Supplying the proper chemical commands, instructions and materials, as given in the Cochran Regimen, may reactivate these stem cells.

Passwater: Well, you may have started a biochemical revolution. I know that researchers at the New York Medical College have found that stem cells harbored in the heart can be stimulated to regenerate heart tissue, both muscle cells and blood vessels. [Anversa, New Engl. J. Med.(1/03/02)] Recently, researchers have found that nutritional deficiencies, such as folic acid, can lead to the type of damaged brain cells observed in PD.

Cochran: Yes, a host of nutrient shortages have been shown to lead to this specific damage. You are probably referring to the report by Dr. Mark Mattson of the National Institute on Aging that showed that low folic acid levels allow increased homocysteine levels, which, in turn, cause the damaged nerve cells observed in PD. (Mattson, J. Neuroscience 2002;80;101-110) But the various nutrients and other biochemicals should not be studied only in isolation. They work together to protect the brain cells as well as maintain their proper function. But the important point is that the Cochran Regimen goes beyond nourishment and protection-it involves restoring cellular function via correcting the biochemical profiles of the damaged cells and protecting healthy cells against future damage.

Passwater: In my opinion, this indeed is a Nobel Prize-caliber discovery. Thank you for sharing your biochemical breakthroughs with us. More information is available on the Cochran Foundation of Medical Research website (www. CochranFoundation.org), by e-mail at CochranFoundation@worldnet.att.net, or by fax at (909) 338-4010. WF


2002 Whole Foods Magazine and Richard A. Passwater, Ph.D.

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