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Nonstop thoughts reeled uncontrollably in Jack’s mind
How DPH works on an overexcited nerve
|DPH’s effect is shown by two electrophysiological tracings taken by Dr. James Toman. Chemicals have made a frog’s sciatic nerve overexcitable. At top, an electrical shock applied to the nerve produces a series of erratic impulses, as evidenced by the repeated rise and fall of the white line. Bottom, after DPH has been administered, a shock causes only one impulse—the normal reaction.|
Could there be any relationship between the epileptic explosion he had witnessed and the electrical explosion—if that is what it was—that he had experienced in the garage? The odds against it, he figured, had to be something like 10,000 to 1. Dreyfus habitually thought in terms of probabilities—a habit which has helped bring the Dreyfus Fund its success.
A few nights after the dream, Dreyfus was discussing his case with his physician. He blurted out what he had been thinking. “You know,” he said, “I think that I’ve got too much electricity in my body. Maybe,” he went on, “some people are poisoned by too much electricity, while others have an electrical explosion called epilepsy.” Even as he said it, he felt a bit foolish to be putting forth an explanation that seemed so improbable. The doctor did not think it foolish. As a matter of fact, he said, “we know from brain wave tests that epileptics do have an unusual electrical pattern.” The odds against Dreyfus’ theory dropped instantly in his mind from 10,000 to 1 to roughly 100 to 1. Still high odds, but not preposterous. One of Dreyfus’ relatives was an epileptic, and she, nearly everyone agreed, had perhaps the sunniest disposition in the entire family. “What medicine do you prescribe for epileptic seizures?” Dreyfus asked the doctor. “Dilantin,” the doctor replied. “Is it a dangerous drug?” “One of the safest,” the doctor said. “It`s been around since 1938, and over a billion doses are administered every year. Some epileptics take it three times a day all their lives. There are occasional side effects, of course, but they are rare and generally minor and they go away if the medicine is stopped.” “Why shouldn’t I try it, then?” After thinking about it, the doctor wrote a prescription.
This was the beginning of Dreyfus` experiences with diphenylhydantoin, or DPH (Dilantin is simply the best-known trade name). On one capsule (100 milligrams) a day, him, health returned with astonishing speed. “It only took me a couple of days to lose the need for psychotherapy,” he recalls. His excessive feelings of fear went away and the feelings of impatience and irritability and anger “also went back to what I view as normal.” His mind, instead of being hooked on a single subject, “was able to operate its switch-off mechanism as it should. I could think of things as much as I wanted, but I could drop them when I wanted to.” The neck pains and stomach trouble disappeared. “I felt no sedative effect from the DPH nor any elevating effect. On the other hand, because I was not worn out by my mind being so busy all the time, my energy returned full force.”
In the beginning, Dreyfus assumed he had been the victim of some unusual electrical problem peculiar to himself. He was thankful that he had chanced upon a remedy, but he did not think of the remedy as applicable to anyone else. A few months after his introduction to DPH, however, he noticed that his housekeeper had lately become terribly depressed. She was impatient and easily upset, and when her mood persisted despite medical treatment, Dreyfus sent her to his own doctor, who, after studying the case, decided that DPH might help her too. It did.
In the months that followed, Dreyfus now and then ran into friends or acquaintances, who seemed plagued by irrational fears, angers or anxieties. Whenever it seemed proper to do so, he would tell them how DPH had helped him and his housekeeper and suggest they talk to their own doctors about the drug. With every sufferer who was able to persuade his doctor to prescribe DPH, the reported improvement was as remarkable as Dreyfus’ had been. Because these encounters took place at widespread intervals, each case seemed rare and special. But as the beneficiaries apprised Dreyfus of their improvement, the cumulative effect began to impress him. True, including himself and his housekeeper, there were only eight cases in all. But eight successes out of eight tries? Once more his sense of probabilities reacted, and he began to wonder if DPH might be useful on a much broader scale than he had at first suspected.
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