MOTHER's Newsworthies: Norman Cousins, Steven D. Jellinek and Karl Hess

Learn how Norman Cousins cured himself using laughter; Steven D. Jellinek's 'biorational' methods are used as part of integrated pest management; and Karl Hess book Community Technology describes an experiment in self sufficiency.

| March/April 1980

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    Norman Cousins had an incurable sickness according to doctors. Cousins found that his attitude — positive emotions and a strong will to live — played a major role in his recovery.

  • 062-060-01

Brief: Norman Cousins

In 1984 Norman Cousins, editor of the Saturday Review, became ill. His body ached, he began to have trouble moving his limbs, and gravel-like deposits appeared under his skin. Cousins sought out medical opinion, but — aside from a general diagnosis of a collagen disorder — no specific explanation or course of treatment could be found ... his sickness was "incurable."

Cousins was not willing to accept a passive victim's role, however. With the aid of his physician, the journalist put together a personal course of treatment that involved massive doses of vitamin C ... and equally large injections of laughter. Cousins found that watching a Marx brothers' movie so relaxed him and so effectively anesthetized his pain — that he was able to sleep without the aid of drugs.

The editor eventually cured himself of his ailment ... though it's impossible to tell whether the remission of his symptoms was brought about by a placebo effect or by the vitamin and laughter therapy (or a combination of the two). What is important is that Cousins' attitude — that of a combatant armed with positive emotions and a strong will to live — played a major role in his recovery. You can read the inspiring story in Anatomy of an Illness. It's a book that has important implications for every aspect of the wholistic movement in medicine!

Brief: Steven D. Jellinek 

Occasionally supporters of integrated pest management like the late Dr. Robert van den Bosch must feel like the prophets of old ... voices crying in the wilderness.

But there's some good news for folks interested in treading softly on the earth, and it comes — surprisingly enough — from Washington, D.C.! Under the supervision of Assistant Administrator Steven D. Jellinek, the Environmental Protection Agency has recently approved a number of wholistic insect controls. "These 'bio-rational' methods," says Jellinek, "including insect viruses, bacteria, and artificial hormones, are environmentally desirable because they curb specific pests without killing beneficial insects or harming people and wildlife."

The latest bio-rational controls to be approved by the EPA are pheromones — or sex-attracting scents — of the gypsy moth and the cotton boll weevil. The man-made duplicates of the chemicals emitted by female insects are used in two ways: The gypsy moth scent is distributed throughout the infested area, confusing the males so that mating cannot take place ... while the boll weevil odor is used to bait a simple trap. In each case, the newly approved controls are expected to displace large quantities of potentially toxic insecticides.


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