The Research Scientist
Outline for this Post
Introduction to Doctor Halstead’s Research
Overview and Summary of Research
-Pioneering New Health Breakthroughs
Specific Research Projects
-Pioneering New Health Breakthroughs
Introduction to Doctor Halstead’s Research
When you consider the early influences on his life growing up in San Francisco, it is fair to say that he was always a research scientist and the first fifteen years were all just the earlier training for that profession. In 1935, at age fifteen, he began his formal training as a research scientist when he met his mentor and the greatest influence on his professional life, Howard Clark, Curator of Fishes, Department of Ichthyology at the Golden Gate Academy of Sciences in San Francisco.
Clark introduced him to the study and research on fish (Ichthyology) for which he became the world’s most authoritative expert on. Clark also taught him about research technique, specimen collection and preservation, species identification, scientific names, and research ethics. And he showed him how to apply those skills in all of the natural sciences as they studied: birds, fish, mammals, insects, marine invertebrates, and microbiology. Most importantly, Clark filled him with the inspiration and motivation that drove him into a life-long obsession of research and discovery.
Halstead’s informal training and formal education was concluded with his graduation from medical school in 1948. That was also the year that he became the Co-founder and Director of the School of Tropical and Preventive Medicine (STPM). Thus began a stellar career as a world class distinguished research scientist.
The idea for the STPM was at best a vague notion (if that) when in his junior year, Halstead was being offered a position on the teaching staff. He replied that he would enjoy a teaching position but that he would greatly prefer to start up a school of tropical medicine. At that point, he learned that Dr. Harold N. Mozar, another graduate of Loma Linda, had also expressed interest in the idea. The two were introduced and the STPM was approved and initiated in 1948.
To say that the STPM was started on a shoestring budget is an enormous exaggeration. Bruce’s salary was established at $52. Per week and their was no money for any research equipment, research assistants, or expeditions. The division of labor between Drs Mozar and Halstead was such that Mozar was totally focused on the administration and teaching, whereas Halstead was totally focused (some would say obsessed) on research.
Up until then, Loma Linda had never conducted any research nor had they ever had a single grant in their history. Worse yet, they had never cultivated any contacts with the military of any other branch of the government in Washington D.C., from which grants could be secured. It was up to Doctor Halstead to start from scratch and learn the grant process from the ground up. This was something that his involvement with the military would pay big dividends.
There were many lessons for Halstead to learn in the process of getting his grants funded. The first lesson was something for which he was totally naïve and what he later referred to as “biopolitics”, which meant that just having a great idea did not grant money create. The next lesson was one of mixing creativity and persistence to find money in both the government and private sectors. Finally, the lesson that led to his fateful independence was that being the maverick that pioneered both research and grant acquisition in a small institution strictly devoted to physical healing, spiritual healing, and teaching, which was run by small minded bureaucrats lacking in vision, was a recipe for disaster that could only end in his resignation.
However, in the decade that he took learning all of these priceless lessons, Halstead developed all of the skills that he would use in starting his own research organization from the ground up into an internationally recognized research facility and reference center. In addition, as soon as the starting line was crossed, he instantly set sail on the course of direction that would define his research and evolve into his life’s work.
At STPM his initial search for grant funding took him to Washington D.C. with his first application for a grant, which was fittingly enough, dedicated to the “Investigation of Poisonous and Venomous Fishes of the Central and Central and South Pacific Oceans,” and submitted to the National Institute of Health. While his grant application was rejected, his fate was seal and his direction set for everything that was to follow.
That rejection was also the beginning of the 22 year effort that would culminate in the definitive work that would establish him as a world wide authority and his work as the most extensive and comprehensive publication of its kind. That work was his enormous three volume work entitled: Poisonous and Venomous Marine Animals. Each of the three volumes measures X and combined they weigh ___ and consume a total of _____ inches of shelf space. At the time that they were published, they were the largest and most challenging publication ever undertaken by the Government Printing Office.
In 1958, Doctor Halstead left Loma Linda University and the School of Tropical and Preventive Medicine that he founded, in order to start his own research facility, World Life Research Institute (WLRI), a nonprofit 501c3 organization. WLRI was his own personal research facility where he could unleash his passion without the restrictions of the bureaucracy and other limitations that frustrated him at Loma Linda.
Halstead’s scientific investigations took him around the world in search of the world of natural-based medicine, including the fields of Marine Bio-Toxicology, Toxic Plants and animals of the world, tropical medicine, global pollution, Chelation Therapy, Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy, DMSO, Laetrile, Coral Calcium, Medicinal Plants, Radiation sickness, AIDS, cancer, Adaptogenic Immune Enhancement, Nutrition, and Molecular Bio-Chemistry.
The physical facilities for WLRI have been located in Grand Terrace for over 45 years now. It was there that Doctor Halstead conducted his research and wrote the vast bulk of his writings. During periods when the Institute enjoyed stable funding, there were twelve or more employees working there including several other research scientists. During the leanest of times, it would be the lone Research Scientist working on his various projects, sometimes with the help of a volunteer assistant.
But the discipline and dedication to his work meant that Doctor Halstead was always making progress with the enthusiasm of someone on the verge of a major scientific breakthrough. Continuous progress into his research was always a constant. So too was progress on his writing and turning out new publications. He lived each day with a schedule that reflected military precision. Every moment of every day was a part of his routine that rarely varied. His days would start early and would continue well into the evening. During the normal working hours of 8 to 5, he would be mixing business, meetings, and research, with time spent writing. But come evening time, his attention would be dedicated purely to his writing.
Often his research projects and writings would be in unrelated fields at the same time and yet his focus to each was intensely comprehensive. Had he lived a thousand years, his work would have never been complete. And so it was no surprise that when he made his transition in 2002, he left a multitude of projects and publications yet to be finished.
Dr. Halstead authored more than 17 books and more than 300 scientific publications. His many scientific expeditions took him to more than 150 countries
Overview and Summary of ResearchBio-toxicology
The subject of bio-toxicology is the foundation for understanding medicine. It is the key that opens the secrets of poisons and venoms. For better or worse, it is also the foundation for the development of bio warfare and the war on terrorism. It is also the thread that starts with the earliest of Doctor Halstead’s research and travels through his work on poisonous and venomous marine animals, medicinal botanicals, traditional Chinese herbs, and into the essence of the various health modalities he helped to pioneer.
During the decade of research at the STPM, he authored ninety articles, abstracts, and reports leading up to his first book in 1958 and entitled: Dangerous Marine Animals. Virtually all of those ninety publications contain either the word poison, venom, toxin, sting, or some version of those root words. And almost all of those publications deal with the ocean and marine life.
Understanding the principals and mechanisms of bio-toxicology was the key to establishing his research efforts and his reputation as a leading world expert in the field. It also allowed him the opportunity to fulfill his childhood fantasy of traveling the world as he became increasingly in demand as the key note speakers for international professional academies, associations, and universities. Being the leading authority on bio-toxicology unlocked opportunities for travel, funding, and joint ventures into research on the subjects for which he loved and was highly respected.
The first half of his career was primarily focused on his search for new drugs from the sea and from the jungles of the Amazon. As a Bio-toxicologist, Ethno Botanist, Herbologist, and Botanical Medicine Researcher, Dr. Halstead led expeditions into the jungles of the Amazon and other regions throughout South America. He would make contact with witch doctors, sorcerers, and other indigenous tribal 'medicine men' and learn the secrets of how they used natural products to treat and cure a wide range of illness, infections, and diseases.
He would then collect samples for further research at World Life and often in conjunction with the National Institute of Health and the National Cancer Institute. The movie "Medicine Man" with Sean Connery was loosely based on this aspect of his life. His early research on Siberian Ginseng gave way to a close research relationship with Russian Scientist, Professor Brekhmam, considered the father of the highly acclaimed herbal product. Dr. Halstead was the first person to introduce Siberian Ginseng to the United States and later wrote a book on the subject: Eleutherococcus Senticosus - An Introduction to the Concept of Adaptogenic Medicine.
Drugs from the jungles of the Amazon was an outgrowth of Doctor Halstead's interest in herbal medicine. His approach was to work closely with the tribal witchdoctors, sorcerers, and other 'medicine men' of the jungles. The basic premises of his investigations was to examine the botanical compounds being used by the indigenous natives for the range of diseases and ailments for which they were being used for thousands of years. He would then apply modern scientific methodology to sort out the effectiveness of those compounds from those that were surrounded with mythology but had no efficacy or basis in science. The movie 'Medicine Man' with Sean Connery (1992) was loosely based on Doctor Halstead's work.
Doctor Halstead's research into drugs from the jungles of the Amazon started when he was still at the School of Tropical and Preventive Medicine (STPM), Loma Linda University in the early 50's. He made contact with Dr. Wilburn H. Ferguson who spent twenty years working with the Jivaro Indians of Ecuador and the botanical compounds they used for shrinking heads, including the human heads of their enemies. Halstead spent time with Ferguson and the Jivaro Indians collecting samples that he studied for their potential cancer fighting and tumor shrinking qualities, while still at STPM. Halstead also had several of the shrunken human heads and a couple of shrunken monkey heads on display at STPM before they were stolen.
As a Marine Biologist, Oceanographer, Ichthyologist, and avid scuba diver, Dr. Halstead led countless expeditions into the South Pacific and other oceans of the world to collect marine specimens. Samples of poisonous and venomous marine animals were collected for the purpose of conducting research into possible use as medicines primarily focused on potential cancer cures.
It was during this earlier portion of his life that he spent 22 years writing his monumental three volume work entitled: Poisonous and Venomous Marine Animals. This definitive work on the subject was the largest publication ever undertaken by the US Government Printing Office and established him as the world's leading authority on the subject. Later in his life he utilized this background and experience toward his research into AIDS and Imune Enhancement.
His earliest professional work gained world recognition as the first to establish the scientific field known as "Marine Bio-Toxicology," due largely to his three-volume opus (with third and fourth editions), Poisonous and Venomous Marine Animals of the World. The first edition was over 3,000 pages (United States Government Printing Office 1970), which is still the most definitive work on this subject.
Doctor Halstead started working with Jacques Cousteau back when their were no dive tables and few people knew who either of the two men were. Doctor Halstead appeared in several of the episodes of The Underwater World of Jacques Cousteau.
He often served as the medical and bio-toxicological adviser on the Cousteau expeditions with Jacques Cousteau and later with his son Jean-Michel Cousteau.
To Learn More about Jean Michel Cousteau and what he is doing to raise consciousness about ocean resources:
Pioneering New Health Breakthroughs
During the latter portion of his life, Dr. Halstead became focused as a leading pioneer and authority on Alternative Medicine. He used to say that Traditional Chinese Herbal Medicine, Natural Medicine, Wholistic (holistic) Medicine, and Alternative Medicine were all different labels for the same thing. In the early 70's he was introduced to Chelation Therapy and submerged himself into study and research on the subject. In 1979, his book entitled, The Scientific Basis of EDTA Chelation Therapy, was published by Golden Quill Publishers and established him as the world's expert on the subject. It also launched his reputation as a pioneer in alternative health modalities including: Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy, DMSO, Gerovital, Laetrile, Siberian Ginseng, Coral Calcium, Immune Enhancement, Metabolic Cancer Therapy, Chinese Herbal Medicine, and AIDS Support Therapy.
What followed in the next twenty-five years was the establishment of Doctor Halstead as a leading expert in alternative medicine and a pioneer of numerous health modalities. He was soon in constant demand as an expert witness in legal cases surrounding this emerging field of medicine. He was also in constant demand as the key note speaker for conventions for professional academies and the lay public alike.
At WLRI, Halstead's research was focused on these new therapies and integrating his earlier background of research on bio-toxicology, drugs from the sea, and from botanical compounds. More and more, that research started focusing on the issue of immune enhancement. In part the explanation for this was the obsession that conventional medicine was having with drugs, radiation, and chemotherapy, in the treatment of cancer. All three of these approaches constitutes a direct assault on the human immune system and Halstead's focus on immune enhancement held promise as either an alternative treatment or as compensation for a patient who had already had their immune system compromised by conventional therapy.
With the discovery of the first AIDS case, Doctor Halstead became obsessed with unlocking the secrets of the human immune system. His strongest belief was that a cure for AIDS could be discovered through the modulation and enhancement of the immune system.
The last two decades of his work were focused on integrating various natural compounds from his life-long work with drugs from the oceans, jungles, and herbal medicine into the quest for a cure for chronic and degenerative diseases, primarily cancer and AIDS. Few that knew Doctor Halstead well, would ever doubt that given a few more years, he would have accomplished his goals.
Specific Research Projects
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-Pioneering New Health Breakthroughs