By Dr. Betty Martini
Mission Possible International
Telephone: 770-242-2599
Web Site:

Updated: 16 June 2011

About this issue of Gulf War Illness and Lou Gehrigs, you probably know there was an article published in Neurology in September. Many articles have appeared about two studies.

Bob Mackle, Director of Public Information (News from MDA) said on March 10, 2003:

"ALS, also known as Lou Gehrigs disease, attacks the muscle controlling nerve cells called motor neurons, causing the muscles connected to them to waste away. There is no cure and many people with the disease succumb to respiratory failure within three to five years of diagnosis. A new study published on-line by Nature Genetics shows that genetic defects affecting a supply line within motor neurons can lead to an ALS-like disease."

So what does aspartate (excitotoxin in aspartame) do? On the back cover of Dr. Blaylock's book it gives the definition of an excitotoxin: "A substance added to foods and beverages that literally stimulates neurons to death, causing brain damage of varying degrees. Can be found in such ingredients as monosodium glutamate, aspartame (NutraSweet), cysteine, hydrolyzed protein, and aspartic acid." (Excitotoxins: The Taste That Kills)

A neuron, of course, is a nerve cell, the structural and functional unit of the nervous system. It consists of a cell body and its processes, an axon, and one or more dendrites. Neurons function in initiation and conduction of impulses.

Now we're interested in the motor neurons, and there is upper and lower. In the upper this is neuron whose cell body lies in motor areas of cerebral cortex. Its axon passes down the spinal cord and synapses with lower motor neurons.

We know aspartame damages DNA and we know it destroys neurons. Dr. James Bowen, of course, explained it so it's easy to understand. And he said: "Aspartic acid, the excitotoxic component of aspartame does not cross the blood brain barrier but is secreted into the cerebral spinal fluid by the choroid plexus located in the ventricles of the brain. There, in the brain's lower area and upper terminus of the spinal is where Lou Gehrigs, Parkinson's Disease and Multiple Sclerosis damage is most prominent. These critical locations are bathed in the toxin as it removes from the blood. From the third to fourth ventricle there is a narrow canal called sylvian aqueduct which fills with this secretion and washes the roof of the hypothalamus."

In Mackle's article he discusses a 1999 study and mentions that disruptions of axonal transport perhaps by toxins might be capable of triggering sporadic ALS. Aspartate and glutamate can be that toxin. Incidentally, MDA is a voluntary health agency working to defeat more than 40 neuromuscular diseases through programs of worldwide research.

Another recent article by Bob Mackle is titled Two Studies Show Gulf War Vets Have Double ALS Risk:

"Two new studies appearing in the journal Neurology, one privately funded, the other federally supported, both report an above-average occurrence of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis among Persian Gulf War deployed veterans." (Sept 23rd issue)

"A privately funded study by Robert W. Haley of the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas and a government-funded study by Ronnie D. Horner of the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke in Bethesa, Md., both depict a roughly two fold risk of ALS development for U.S. veterans who were actively deployed in the Persian Gulf between August 2, 1990, and July 31, 1991, when compared with nondeployed U.S. military personnel."

"With deployed troops developing ALS more frequently and, maybe more importantly, much earlier in life than average, the two studies raise the question of whether an environmental factor could have triggered an early onset of the disease."

One thing we have to keep in mind, aspartame knows no age and the geography makes no difference. In the Persian Gulf at that time the troops were consuming lots of diet pop cooking in the 120 degree Arabian sun for as long as 8 weeks at a time, according to vets I personally interviewed in Huntsville, Alabama.

Remember Time Life published an article on bipolar, well know to be triggered by aspartame because of the depletion of serotonin. But the article was interesting in that this is an adult disease and children were developing Bipolar. (40% of children in the US are using it). Michael Fox wanted to know why he developed Parkinson's, an old man's disease, when he was only 30. He was a Diet Pepsi spokesmen and addicted to it. The Alzheimer Association says 50% of all nursing home beds have Alzheimer patients, including mature baby boomers. A hospice nurse told me they were getting 30 year olds with Alzheimers, and aspartame is escalating this disease. (Defense Against Alzheimers Disease, H. J. Roberts, M.D.)

And so with ALS - Mackle continues: "In addition to a higher incidence of ALS in Gulf War vets, the studies both show a higher than average occurrence of ALS onset in people in their 20s and 30s. Because ALS typically occurs in middle age, the studies hint at the possibility of an environmental agent that triggers ALS prematurely."

So what environmental agent triggers ALS prematurely? Aspartame! How long has it been known that aspartame triggers ALS? Dr. Bowen wrote the FDA 19 years ago: "Aspartic acid is a neuroexcitotoxic present in damaging amounts, in its own right at the ADI for aspartame. Simple logic tells one that it will vastly increase the metabolism of methyl alcohol to formaldehyde ... This corresponds well with the symptomalogies often experienced, such as LOU GEHRIG'S DISEASE (ALS), bulbar palsies, neurohormonal disorders. ..Diketopiperazine issue remains totally unresolved and dangerous."....

Neurosurgeon Russell Blaylock, M.D., wrote Excitotoxins: The Taste That Kills about diseases triggered by such excitotoxins as MSG and aspartic acid. He quotes Dr. John Olney pointing out the irony of a food industry practice:

"Thus, today we are witnessing an ironic situation; while knowledgeable neuroscientists are fervently attempting to develop methods for protecting CNS (brain) neurons against neurotoxic potentials of endogenous Glu (glutamate) and Asp (aspartate), other elements of society are vigorously promoting the unlimited use of exogenous Glu and Asp as food additives."

"Today the experimental evidence demonstrating the neurotix potential of these excitotoxins is so overwhelming, as can be seen from the scientific citations in this book, that it can no longer be ignored."

Dr. Blaylock explains how excitotoxins work. "The studies showing how excitotoxins work have greatly increased our understanding, not only of brain function, but also of the very basis of the degenerative brain disease process itself. In this discussion you must keep in mind that the excitotoxins added to food are the exact same ones that produce experimental brain damage in animals. And the glutamate in our discussion is the same substance and active ingredient found in MSG. The neurotoxin aspartate is a major component in the artificial sweetener aspartame (actually a mixture of two amino acids, phenylalanine and aspartate, and methanol or wood alcohol)."

He says further: "Both glutamate and aspartame can cause neurons to become extremely excited and, if given in large enough doses, they can cause these cells to degenerate and die."

There is a chapter in this book titled Creeping Death: The Neurodegenerative Diseases. Here are some comments that help to explain.

"By ingesting diets high in MSG, hydrolyzed vegetable protein, aspartame and other excitotoxins, these people would be exposing their brains to damaging levels of this class of toxin. Eventually other neurons would be damaged, possibly leading to symptoms of Alzheimer's type dementia and ALS."

Remember what Dr. Bowen said about aspartic acid seeping into the brain. Notice what Dr. Blaylock says: "It is also possible that glutamate and aspartate can enter the brain without a breakdown in the blood brain barrier. We know that certain areas of the adult brain have no, or incompetent, barriers. These areas are near the ventricular system (circumventricular organs) and can potentially act as points through which glutamate and aspartate in the plasma could slowly seep into the surrounding brain, thereby by-passing the blood brain barrier."....

On page 118 Dr. Blaylock explains Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis: Lou Gehrig's Disease. He says: "Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, also known as Lou Gehrig's disease, is a neurodegenerataive disease that primarily affects the anterior horn cells of the spinal cord. These are the primary neurons in the spinal cord that control muscle movements of the body. But these neurons do not operate by themselves, rather they are controlled from higher up in the brain by other neurons in the motor cortex which send fibers down the spinal cord, that in turn connect (synapse) with the anterior horn cells. This bundle of fibers from the cortex is called the corticospinal tract. In most cases of ALS these neurons are also affected."

Dr. Blaylock discusses research on ALS in l987 by Doctors Andreas Plaitakis and James T. Caroscio:

"In a follow-up study, Dr. Plaitakis and his coworkers examined the glutamate and aspartate levels from the cerebellar cortex, frontal lobe and two areas of the spinal cord in patients dying of ALS. They found that glutamate levels were significantly decreased (21 to 40% lower than controls) in all areas tested. The cervical and lumber cord, the areas containing the greatest number of motor neurons, showed the greatest deficit. Aspartate was significantly decreased in the spinal cord only (32 to 35%). This defect in the aspartate and glutamate pools in the brain and spinal cord of ALS patients could indicate that these specialized neurons are destroyed and as a result have lost their previously high concentrations of these excitatory amino acids."

Writing about the prevention of ALS he says: "You must also avoid all foods and drinks sweetened with aspartame (NutraSweet), since it contains the powerful excitotoxin aspartate. In addition, all that we have learned about hypoglycemia and Parkinson's disease also applies to ALS patients. Low energy level greatly magnify the toxic effect of MSG and aspartate on the spinal cord."

There are many interesting comments in this book relating to MSG and aspartame as follows:

"Placebos are supposed to be completely inert substances. Otherwise the ywould produce a physiological effect all of their own and ruin the experiment. In the case of MSG toxicology studies, the placebo used to test the excitotoxin glutamate is NutraSweet, which contains the excitotoxin aspartate. It has been clearly shown in a multitude of studies that aspartate produces the identical destructive reactions on the nervous system as MSG. It would seem obvious even to the layman that you would not use a control substance to compare to a known toxin if the control contained the same class of chemical toxin. But that is exactly what is being done."

"Are the representatives of the glutamate industry aware of this basic scientific fact? It is hard to believe otherwise, especially in the face of the fact that one of their own representatives presented evidence before a public hearing at a meeting of the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology in which tables were presented showing that aspartame produces the same types and incidences of reactions as MSG."

"Did these scientists disclose in their scientific papers the fact that the placebos also contained a known excitotoxin? The answer is an emphatic "no", and I have reviewed dozens of these studies. In fact, I was not aware of this deception until I received the proof from Dr. Samuels. In many cases the powder used to mix the placebos was supplied by the International Glutamate Technical Committee (IGTC). It is interesting to note that the Ajinomoto company, the chief manufacturer of MSG and the raw materials of aspartame, is an active member of the IGTC."

"This company funds extensive research programs and provides funds to major universities for research on the safety of MSG. In my personal opinion, I have to believe that both the company representatives, and certainly the scientists doing the research, must know that such studies are dishonest at the very least."

Its obvious that aspartame can cause ALS. In conclusion Dr. Blaylock says: "..But of primary concern is the effect of these powerful brain cell stimulants have on the developing brain of the infant and child and the later development in the adult of neurodegenerative diseases such as Parkinson's disease, Alzheimer's dementia, Huntington's disease and ALS. The brain not only utilizes the excitatory amino acids as normal neurotransmitters, but there exists a delicate balance of excitatory and inhibitory chemicals in the brain. When the balance is upset, serious disorders of the nervous system can result."

If someone in the Aspartame Support said they were using lots of aspartame and suffered from memory lapses, fatigue, joint pains, rashes, headaches, dizzy spells and cancer you wouldn't think anything of it. These are known problems triggered by aspartame. What is the difference when they drink lots of aspartame already broken down to a witches brew of toxins in the Persian Gulf? Why would geography make a difference?

Richard Lieby, in the Dec 30 edition of the Washington Post, wrote: "The Pentagon says it still has no answer for an enigma that has confounded experts for more than a decade: What caused all the ... memory lapses, fatigue, joint pains, rashes, headaches, dizzy spells, cancer, Lou Gehrig's disease and birth defects" collectively known as Gulf War Syndrome?

And why don't the experts know? Could it be because the manufacturers of aspartame lie, the FDA lies and the professional organizations funded by the manufacturers lie. Dr. Blaylock in this book says so little of this information is known by the general public. Do you understand why I tell people these books on aspartame are important for them to have. They need to know it all because they certainly aren't going to find out by calling some of these organizations who sold out for 30 pieces of silver. And these doctors have paid a price. They did the research for us, and have battled to get the information to the public, since as I mentioned, its very difficult to get it in medical journals, or in the mainstream media.

ALS or Lou Gehrigs is also in Dr. Roberts medical text on page 244, Aspartame Disease: An Ignored Epidemic. He says the contributory role of aspartame to ALS was suspected in several instances. This association became more impressive when close relatives developed related neurologic disorders. He gives the case history - "A man with adult onset diabetes used considerable aspartame especially as a tabletop sweetener in his oatmeal and coffee. He developed severe and ultimately fatal ALS. Two daughters suffered severe aspartame disease, one having been initially diagnosed as multiple sclerosis."

Most of the vets I have interviewed over the years told me they drank diet drinks all day long. Here is what Dr. Blaylock says in Health & Nutrition Secrets To Save Your Life: .. "Using a radioactive tracer method, it has been clearly demonstrated that the formaldehyde formed from aspartame accumulates near the DNA in cells, resulting in numerous deletions and strand breaks in the nuclear material. Even more frightening is the finding that the damage is accumulative, so that even drinking one diet cola a day can produce significant genetic damage. There are also several reports of severe aspartame addiction, characterized by the daily consumption of a gallon or more of aspartame sweetened beverages." All it takes is drinking just one diet drink a day!!!!

And in this book Dr. Blaylock also goes into those diet drinks cooking in the hot Arabian sun in the Persian Gulf. He also says this: "So in the case of diet drinks in aluminum cans, the very toxic brain aluminum fluoride compound co-exists with multiple toxins found in aspartame, thus creating the most powerful government approved toxic soup imaginable."

About aspartame he says: "This particularly nasty substance should have never even been approved for human use. In fact, had it not been for some fancy footwork by those in power in the FDA it never would have."

In the Jan 7, 2003 article, Toxic Threat for Troops in New Gulf Way (, Robert McMahon of Soldiers for the Truth said: "A 100 hour ground campaign that saw 148 Americans KIA and 467 wounded in Gulf War 1 produced 159,238 veterans receiving a medical disability payment monthly. That is damn near 30 percent of our forces committed to the region at that time."

If these troops who served in the Persian Gulf had been warned about aspartame, and read the books by the experts, many would still be alive today. At last count, 40,000 had perished.

Also remember that aspartame is an adjuvant, an immune stimulator, like the Squaline in the Anthrax vaccine. Dr. Russell Blaylock, neurosurgeon, said that adjuvants all cause the same things MS, lupus, ALS, etc. The troops never had a chance! Aspartame notoriously mimics and can precipitate these problems.

Dr. Betty Martini, D.Hum.
Founder, Mission Possible World Health International
9270 River Club Parkway
Duluth, Georgia 30097

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