Last July the American Academy of Environmental Medicine
and the Human Ecology Study Group sponsored a dinner celebrating the 85th
birthday of NOHA Professional Advisory Board member Theron G. Randolph,
MD. Many spoke in honor of his work, and others, including President and
Mrs. George Bush, sent words of appreciation. Dr. Randolph has helped
and extended the productive lives of thousands of patients with his meticulous
diagnosis of individual food and chemical sensitivities.
Provided to all who shared in this happy occasion was a reprint of one
of Dr. Randolph’s many professional articles, "A Third Dimension
of the Medical Investigation," published in the summer of 1960 in
Clinical Physiology. In this article and in his practice, Dr. Randolph
added to the usual medical history, physical examination, and laboratory
tests a "third dimension" – an evaluation, by means of a carefully
controlled environmental unit, of patient’s reactions to their total
environment. Only this way, he felt, could he begin to discover the
basic dietary and environmental causes of many chronic illnesses.
One of the speakers was Ralph W. Moss, PhD, former assistant director
of public affairs at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, co-author
with Dr. Randolph of his popular volume An Alternative Approach to
Allergies (Harper & Row, 1980; Bantam, 1981; revised edition,
1989), and author of a number of other books, including The Cancer
Syndrome (Grove Press, 1980) and Free Radical: Albert Szent-Gyorgyi
and the Battle over Vitamin C (Paragon House Publishers, 1988). According
to Dr. Moss:
Dr. Randolph is one of the outstanding individuals of our time. He
is a founder of the field of environmental medicine, and will probably
be remembered as its greatest pioneer.
Starting out as a clinical allergist in the Midwest in the late 1930s,
Randolph soon became interested in the impact of food (and later chemicals)
on human health. He joined a school of thought initiated by Coca, Rowe,
and Rinkel which held that commonly encountered environmental could
lie behind puzzling and disturbing symptoms – many of them previously
considered "mental" or "emotional." The cause-and-effect
relationship between food and symptoms was often "masked"
by a sort of natural "coverup."
"Dr. Randolph is one of the outstanding individuals of our
time. He is a founder of the field of environmental medicine, and
will probably be remembered as its greatest pioneer."
Randolph and his predecessors discovered a way to expose this "coverup."
By removing the patient from the exposure (through water fasts in a
hospital setting) the symptoms could often be relieved. By reintroducing
the putative causes in carefully diagnosed tests, the symptoms could
be brought back, often in dramatic form. This was repeatedly confirmed
in "blind" feedings. The discovery was extended to some of
the commoner items in the diet – including corn, wheat, beet and cane
sugar, coffee, and so on. It was their very ubiquity, in fact, which
served as their shield, since food ingested day in and day out produces
only chronic effects, and can rarely be tied to specific symptoms
in the course of everyday life. Ironically, patients often identified
the incriminating item in question as their "favorite" item
because they required a maintenance "dose" to keep feeling
These suprising discoveries, pregnant with paradox, gave rise to a
new medical subspecialty, clinical ecology. In the 1950s and 1960s,
Randolph almost single-handedly extended these findings to what he called
chemical susceptibility. At a time of almost universal enthusiasm
for synthetic chemicals ("better things for better living")
Randolph warned of a danger to a significant subpopulation of patients
from these synthetic compounds.
He identified thousands of patients who were experiencing chronic health
problems from such common items as household gas, cleaning compounds,
and chemical residues on fruits and vegetables. In this sense he was
the medical counterpart of Rachel Carson, although I believe he was
the more important of the two, because he pointed to the human impact
of unbridled industrial "progress"
"Like all the great pioneers in science, Randolph has had
his share of opposition. He has borne it all with great dignity"
These findings were expounded in his nearly four hundred scientific
contributions and in his classic books, Human Ecology and Susceptibility
to the Chemical Environment (1962), An Alternative Approach to
Allergies (1980, 1981, 1989), and Environmental Medicine – Beginnings
and Bibliography of Clinical Ecology (1987).
Like all the great pioneers in science, Randolph has had his share
of opposition. He has borne it all with great dignity . . . . His files
of 20,000 cases not only are a treasure house of careful observations,
but testify to his enormous success as a physician. I have no doubt
that when the dust clears, Theron G. Randolph will be recognized for
what he is: one of the greatest physicians of our century, and perhaps
the greatest allergist of all time.
Article from NOHA NEWS, Vol. XVII, No. 1, Winter
1992, page 1.