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The Unique Vulnerability of the Human Brain to Toxic Chemical Exposure and the Importance of
Toxic Chemical Evaluation and Treatment in Orthomolecular Psychiatry by William Shaw, Ph.D.
Abstract: The human brain and the brains of whales and dolphins (cetaceans) are especially susceptible to a variety of toxic chemicals because of natural selection that favors brain structures promoting advanced brain functions such as long-term memory and rapid learning. The high fat content of these brains also makes them especially susceptible to long term storage of the same fat soluble toxic chemicals that accumulate in adipose tissue. The high rate of metabolism in these mammalian brains and high content of polyunsaturated fatty acids also makes them much more susceptible to free radical damage mediated by toxic chemicals, leading to increased damage to brain macromolecules like deoxyribonucleic acid, ribonucleic acid, proteins, cell organelles, and small molecules. The sulfur amino acids are also highest in these brains, making them exquisitely susceptible to exposure to heavy metals. All of these biochemical factors make human and cetacean brains extremely susceptible to neuropsychiatric diseases and criminal behaviors caused by exposures to a variety of toxic chemicals. Toxic chemicals are probably involved in the etiology of many different (possibly most) neuropsychiatric disorders and as a factor in criminal acts. Heavy metals and anti-bacterial cleaners are used as examples. Some simple orthomolecular methods useful for detoxification from a variety of toxic chemicals are briefly reviewed.
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