As some of you know, I am a family physician interested in the connection between diet, inflammation, and brain disorders. I have spent decades trying to help patients improve their health. Based on my observations and study of the literature, I have introduced a new disease model based on the idea that highly processed food is neurotoxic. It can trigger a form of food-induced brain dysfunction that I call Carbohydrate Associated Reversible Brain syndrome or CARB syndrome. The symptoms of CARB syndrome overlap with many traditional brain disorders, creating a diagnostic and therapeutic mess. Hudson and Pope from Harvard introduced a concept called Affective Spectrum Disorder in 2003, where they proposed that 14 common brain disorders are somehow connected. CARB syndrome is an expansion of their idea that was too radical for its time, so it was never widely accepted.
The Canary in the Coal Mine
The lead symptom of CARB syndrome is having intense cravings for sweet and starchy food. People with CARB syndrome also tend to store fat at any size and weight inappropriately. I learned this because I measure body composition on all my patients. As you likely know, the definition of obesity is excessive body fat, so we should measure the parameter that defines the illness. They also develop metabolic disorders like metabolic syndrome and type 2 diabetes. I learned from treating patients that this is a tight association between the symptoms of CARB syndrome and fat storage.
We have found 22 symptoms that are associated with CARB syndrome. When you read through this list, you can easily understand how people with CARB syndrome end up with multiple traditional diagnoses—a condition I call “labelitis”. The problem is, when you treat them with a long list of drugs to manage all these disorders, they get worse over time rather than better. That’s because CARB syndrome has its unique treatment protocol.
The Dunces at DSM
A simple example might be helpful. Beginning in ancient Greece, major depression has included loss of appetite and weight loss as a cardinal symptom of the disorder. It stayed that way for two thousand years. You could not get a diagnosis of melancholia or major depression unless you lost your appetite and lost weight. That began to change in the 1970s and 80s when we started to see a lot of folks who appeared depressed, but they had an increased appetite and weight gain. The folks at DSM didn’t know what to do, so they decided to include both. If you look at DSM 5, you will see two subcategories of depression: “melancholia” or classic major depression associated with a loss of appetite and weight loss, and “atypical depression” associated with an increased appetite and weight gain. Even a 7th grade science student knows that if a parameter (like appetite or weight) qualifies you for a diagnosis throughout the spectrum of the parameter, it should be discarded because it can’t possibly help you to make a diagnosis.
Where to Find the Answers
I have spent decades trying to fix folks who fit the CARB syndrome pattern who have been screwed up by the medical profession. If you know anyone who has intense cravings for sweet and starchy food, obesity or metabolic problems, and a list of brain diseases, you need to direct them to my web site. You could also consider having them read my new book “Brain Drain”.
In the book, I teach folks how to make their own diagnosis of CARB syndrome and arrange for their own treatment. Until the medical profession gets up to speed, that’s your only option if you have CARB syndrome, by far the most common disease in modern societies. The treatment is straightforward, inexpensive, and safe, but you need to understand the illness if you hope to succeed at treating or reversing it. My goal is to share information that will help you, your friends and family to successfully do so.