Complementary Nutritional Treatment of Mental & Behavioural Disorders Comes to Australia

John Skelton - Biobalance Health Association

The visits to Sydney and South-East Queensland in March 2004 and April 2005 by Dr Bill Walsh, founder, former President and now Chief Scientist of the non-profit Health Research Institute and Pfeiffer Treatment Center (HRI-PTC) in Chicago USA, heralded a new phase in the treatment of mental and behavioural disorders in Australia.

Dr. Walsh is an eminent biochemical researcher specialising in assessment and complementary treatment of psychiatric, behaviour and learning disorders, using techniques developed and refined by research over the last two decades at HRI-PTC, building on the earlier pioneering work of the late Dr Carl Pfeiffer at the Princeton Brain Bio-Center.

Dr Walsh's Australian visit was under the auspices of the Bio-Balance Health Association (BBHA), which has been working for six years to introducie HRI Pfeiffer Treatment Center techniques to Australia. The primary purpose of his visits were to train selected Australian and New Zealand medical practitioners in HRI-PTC assessment and biochemical treatment techniques. BBHA plans to arrange for the training of more Australian practitioners in HRI-PTC techniques in the future.

During his visits, Dr Walsh gave public lectures in Sydney, Brisbane and the Gold Coast on the biochemical treatment of schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, depression, behaviour disorders, ADHD and autism. He also gave a presentation to professional practitioners in Brisbane.

Research Database

HRI now has a unique database comprising medical and life histories and 90 to 150 biochemical assays of blood, urine and hair for more than 18.000 cases from all US States and 70 other countries, including Australia, treated at the Pfeiffer Treatment Center. It includes:

  • 9,500 Behaviour disorders & ADHD
  • 3,200 Depression
  • 3.000 Schizophrenia & Bipolar Disorder
  • 2,500 Autism

This database provides the basis for Dr Walsh's ongoing research. His work has been recognised by U.S. National Institute for Mental Health, Neuroscience Society, American Psychiatric Association, International Society for Orthomolecular Medicine, and other professional and scientific bodies.

Outcome Studies

Formal follow-up studies of representative samples of HRI-PTC patients have indicated a remarkably high level of effectiveness in most (but not all) categories of mental and behavioural disorders.treated at HRI-PTC. Percentages of patients in these studies showing significant improvement were:

  • Behaviour disorders 85%
  • ADHD 75%
  • Autism 85%
  • Depression 80%
  • Schizophrenia 75%
  • Bipolar Disorder 65%
  • Obsessive Compulsive Disorder 15%
  • Down's Syndrome 0%

Compatible with conventional treatments

The HRI-PTC biochemical therapy techniques are designed to complement other treatment methods such as drug medications and counselling. Patients on antipsychotic, anti-depressant or psychostimulant drugs are able to continue these treatments along with the individually prescribed nutritional supplements designed to correct the biochemical imbalances affecting brain functioning identified by biochemical assessment.

Progress is reviewed periodically and, as treatment progresses, patients who entered the treatment program using prescription drugs may, where the complementary biochemical therapy proves effective, be able to either reduce or phase out the drug medications under supervision of their medical practitioner as their body chemistry becomes balanced and their condition improves. In the case of psychotic disorders, it is usually necessary to continue some level of medication, although it is often found that antpsychotic drug dosage can be reduced to a third or a quarter of the previous level once the nutritional supplement program has achieved its full effects, thus eliminating or reducing the adverse side-effects of the drugs.

This does not imply, however, that the disorder has been "cured".. The underlying biochemical problem, which is basically genetic, remains present, so continued benefit is dependent on ongoing compliance with the individually prescribed nutritional program. If the patient abandons the program, a relapse is likely to occur before long.

Biochemical individuality and the brain

Why is this so, and how can nutrient imbalances affect brain functioning? Knowing some basic facts about human biochemical makeup and brain functioning helps in understanding these questions:

  • Except in the case of identical twins, each human being has unique biochemistry inherited from our ancestors on both sides of the family, resulting in quite diverse nutritional needs. Because of genetic differences in the way our bodies process foods, most of us are deficient to some degree in certain nutrients and overloaded in some others.
  • The brain is a chemical factory that produces neurotransmitters such as dopamine, serotonin and noradrenaline and other brain chemicals 24 hours a day. The only raw materials for their synthesis are nutrients: vitamins, minerals, amino acids, etc.
  • Nutrient imbalances can redult in brain chemistry problems which, when serious, can produce mental and behavioural disorders. A genetic nutrient deficiency may require many times the RDA (Recommended Daily Allowance) on an ongoing basis for normalisation in that nutrient to be achieved. Genetic nutrient overloads may require ongoing biochemical therapy to eliminate the nutrient excess.

Biochemical imbalances in mental illness

The classification of mental disorders based on biochemical analysis developed by Dr Walsh, building on Dr Carl Pfeiffer's earlier work, is quite different from conventional psychiatric diagnostic categories, which are based on observed behaviour and thought patterns and therefore purely descriptive. HRI has found that a limited number of high-incidence chemical imbalances account for the great majority of cases of mental illness and behaviour disorder.

For example, HRI has found that three major patterns of biochemical imbalance account for 90% of schizophrenia cases and five major biochemical syndromes account for some 95% of depression cases treated at Pfeiffer Treatment Center. Each of these biochemical syndromes has a typical pattern of symptoms, an appropriate individualised nutrient therapy program and a typical pattern of recovery over time.
These are outlined in plain language papers by Dr Walsh available on the HRI-PTC internet website at
In addition, the following valuable website contains articles and commentaries on his work by Dr Walsh:

Australian information sources

Audio and video recordings of Dr Walsh's Australian presentations are available from:
Brisbane talk and presentation: Bio-Balance Health Association at 07 5538 7203 (phone), 07 5538 4599 (fax) or e-mail at: biobalance
Sydney talks: Music & Electron Services at 02 9716 6135 (phone/fax) or 0411 190 158 (mobile).