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JAMES R. PRIVITERA, M.D.
BOARD MEMBER INTROSPECTIVE:
JAMES R. PRIVITERA, M.D.
by Scott Tips
American philosopher and author Elbert Hubbard once wrote that "To avoid criticism, do nothing, say nothing, and be nothing." Fortunately, NHF Board of Governors member James R. Privitera, M.D. never heard of Mr. Hubbard or his advice; but even if he had, he would have kept right on doing what he has been doing for decades now: doing, saying, and being. And in the process, Jim Privitera has received more than his fair share of criticism.
An Education Beyond Reproach
Dr. Privitera began his path to medicine with his studies at Canisius College in Buffalo, New York, from which he graduated in 1962 with a Bachelor of Science degree in biology and chemistry. He then studied biochemistry at the University of Buffalo Graduate School and gained research experience at Roswell Park Memorial Institute in the same city. But medicine, not research, was in his blood and he strode off in that direction.
In 1967, after graduating with his M.D. degree from the Creighton University School of Medicine, in Omaha, Nebraska, he accepted a one-year internship in Internal Medicine at Providence Hospital in Seattle, Washington. The following year he was a resident in Internal Medicine at the Presbyterian Hospital in San Francisco, California.
With that wellspring of experience and education, Dr. Privitera then undertook a Clinical Fellowship in Allergy, Immunology, and Rheumatology at the Scripps Clinic and Research Foundation in La Jolla, California from 1969 to 1970. After finishing there in 1970, he then set up his own private practice in Covina, California, where he specializes in, among other things, allergy and nutrition.
So Why the Criticism?
A medical pioneer, Dr. Privitera has championed leading-edge, non-toxic natural therapies for his patients whenever and wherever possible. Unlike most doctors who think, for example, that cancer can only be treated through the cut, poison, or burn methods of therapy, Dr. Privitera felt it was his duty to try whatever rational modalities would most help his patients. Laetrile was one of those modalities, so much so that today most States have recognized its benefits and legalized its use.
So, in the early 1970s, Dr. Privitera was providing patients with the anti-cancer nutrient laetrile. Unfortunately, California was not one of the States that had legalized laetrile and the so-called California Board of Medical Quality Assurance decided to prosecute. What was his crime? The charges stated that he had "conspired to commit the crime of the unlawful sale of drugs, compounds or devices for the alleviation or cure of cancer," in this case through his use of an unapproved drug - laetrile. But the real crime in the State's eyes was that he was actually helping patients get well. And when the Court ordered Dr. Privitera to stop administering and providing laetrile to his patients, at least five of them - who had experienced tremendous improvement under his care - subsequently succumbed and died of the disease.
Appealing for funds to help defend Dr. Privitera, the National Health Federation raised $5,000 for his defense, a significant sum at the time. And in 1975, when he was convicted of conspiracy to sell laetrile and sentenced to six months in jail, he appealed the conviction. In 1980, with his appeal unsuccessful, he began to serve his sentence. But once again, the National Health Federation leaped into action and gathered more than 10,000 letters from California citizens asking California Governor Jerry Brown to pardon him - which he did. Dr. Privitera was quickly released and returned to his practice.
Also a pioneer in the use of darkfield microscopy, Dr. Privitera still regularly uses this tool to examine a few drops of his patients' blood under a special microscope that lights up the blood so that its features can be readily seen in a way not apparent by ordinary microscopes. The blood cells appear as white circles against a black background, which is why the term "darkfield" is used. The patient and doctor then can view the blood specimen as it is projected on a television monitor.
Having done original scientific research with the darkfield microscope, Dr. Privitera has analyzed and identified twenty-five factors associated with various disease conditions and nutrient-deficient states. The shape and condition of the patient's blood cells, as well as whether they are aggregating or not, will help dictate what health problems the patient currently has or will have in the future. Early treatment can then be implemented to head off those health problems - especially heart attacks.
To that end, Dr. Privitera decided to publicize darkfield microscopy and its benefits. Together with Alan Stang, he authored a book called Silent Clots, Life's Biggest Killers that was published in 1996. This book shows in detail how darkfield microscopy works in the doctor's office and how orthodox medicine has worked overtime to prevent its acceptance in the medical community.
Interestingly enough, in 1998, the self-proclaimed "quackbuster" Stephen Barrett sued Dr. Privitera for defamation because of certain statements appearing in the book that were critical of Barrett. However, Barrett lost this suit when the court granted a summary-judgment motion in favor of Dr. Privitera.
Convinced by his many years of practice that these silent clots are the deadliest health problem, Dr. Privitera has developed an "anti-clotting" program for his patients. His regimen, as published on Dr. Helen Pensanti's website, is simple and consists of the following:
Try God & natural substances first. If you do not get results, then go to synthetics if necessary.
Fish Oils: Omega 3-6-9 Fatty Acids. Take 3-5 capsules per day.
Calcium: Take at night; otherwise it may make you drowsy. Preferably take a calcium/magnesium combination, 3 daily.
Exercise: Find something you like to do, otherwise it may just cause stress.
Cayenne Pepper: Stops bleeding; stops clots. (Try a blend of one-half lemon, some maple syrup, and some cayenne pepper.)
As if he were not busy enough with his professional and personal life, Dr. Privitera has occupied himself with professional affiliations with the American College for Advancement in Medicine; the American College of Sports Medicine; the International Academy of Preventive Medicine; the International College of Applied Nutrition; the Northwest Academy of Preventive Medicine; the American Society of Parenteral and Enteral Nutrition; and the American Academy of Allergy.
He also joined the Scientific Advisory Board of CancerOption.com, Inc. in June 1999. CancerOption.com is an innovative company that seeks to educate the general public and physicians on the wide variety of methods available to enhance the immune system. In addition to traditional medicine, CancerOption.com provides insight into other complementary therapies.
Dr. Privitera appears in the Life Extension Foundation's Directory of Innovative Doctors and Health Practitioners and, because of his experience and outward way of thinking, has been asked to consult to some of the United States' leading vitamin manufacturers. Truly leading a full life, Dr. Privitera has been "doing," "saying," and "being" - much to his orthodox critics' dismay but to his many friends and patients' delight.