Richard G. Petty, MD

Reversing the Irreversible

When I am analyzing current medical research for you, I focus on findings that are relevant to our underlying theme of Integrated Medicine.

One of the most important of all is the evidence for “spontaneous” remissions of otherwise fatal illnesses, and the reversal of diseases that are usually thought of as irreversible. It is exciting when we can show that arteriosclerosis and some neurological disease may be reversible, though most physicians still do not know that good news.

Two years ago I was asked to comment on a remarkable clinical problem. A 28-year old woman had seen a neurologist about some odd symptoms, which included quite severe visual disturbances. On MRI and electrical she had clear evidence of demyelination, the hallmark of multiple sclerosis. All of which has resolved after just one month of complete withdrawal from her diet of the sweetener aspartame. Multiple sclerosis is a disease that comes and goes, but the point of this case is that there was clear evidence that it went away completely. The neurological lesions in the brain that should have stayed forever, just melted away. I’ve looked at thousands of brain scans and this is extraordinary. And clinically the young woman is just fine.

Cases like this must be very rare: the FDA has determined that aspartame is safe, though on a future occasion I’ll say a bit more about the pros and cons of sweeteners. Discussions about artificial sweeteners usually generate more heat than light, but there is a lot of very helpful data to guide us.

Now let’s look at another condition that is supposed to be irreversible: cirrhosis of the liver. The liver is a remarkable organ. It has almost unique regenerative abilities. I’ve often wondered if the Ancient Greeks somehow knew about that remarkable attribute of our largest solid organ. When Prometheus was chained to a rock, an eagle came every day to eat his liver, which had re-grown by the next day.

The trouble is that if the liver keeps getting damaged and trying to re-grow, it produces a lot of fibrous scarring, the hallmark of cirrhosis. For more than a century, every expert has said that this fibrosis is irreversible. Now some first class research has shown that it isn’t true. An inexpensive medicine can reverse the fibrous changes in the liver.

The medicine is called sulfasalazine (sulphasalazine in the UK) that is normally used for treating inflammatory bowel diseases and some kinds of inflammatory arthritis. A team of scientists lead by Professor Derek Mann has recently moved from Southampton to Newcastle University has made a series of ground breaking discoveries. One of the most exciting is that sulfasalazine can reverse fibrosis in the liver.

The results were published in the journal Gastroenterology. A second and third papers published in Apoptosis, that describe the – then – Southampton group’s collaboration with chemists and oncologists to produce novel and more effective derivatives of sulphasalazine.

The researchers believe that, subject to further research and clinical trials, sulfasalazine could potentially be used to treat types of chronic liver disease – like cirrhosis – that are currently considered untreatable. Sadly because of greater alcohol consumption, especially binge-drinking, and obesity, liver disease is rising dramatically.

And if a simple medicine can reverse something previously believed to be irreversible, the final question that we have to ask is whether other the non-invasive methods may also help? Since most of the non-invasive methods work at deeper and more subtle levels of the organism, the answer to that one is, “Highly likely.” But it is going to have to be tested scientifically, just as every other hypothesis has to be tested.

About Richard G. Petty, MD
Dr. Richard G. Petty, MD is a world-renowned authority on the brain, and his revolutionary work on human energy systems has been acclaimed around the globe. He is also an accredited specialist in internal and metabolic medicine, endocrinology, psychiatry, acupuncture and homeopathy. He has been an innovator and leader of the human potential movement for over thirty years and is also an active researcher, teacher, writer, professional speaker and broadcaster. He is the author of five books, including the groundbreaking and best selling CD series Healing, Meaning and Purpose. He has taught in over 45 countries and 48 states in the last ten years, but spends as much time as possible on his horse farm in Georgia.


2 Responses to “Reversing the Irreversible”
  1. Mark Vane says:

    Hey, Interesting stuff. I recently added a new cool News widget on my blog. Just google widgetmate and check it out.

  2. Richard Petty says:

    Love the widget!

    Thank you very much indeed for the tip!

    Kind regards,


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