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The following article appeared on page B1 of the Coeur d'Alene Press on August 24, 2003.

  Coeur d’Alene Press, Sunday, August 24, 2003 Coeur d’Alene, Idaho Page: B1   

Reverse  Pathology

  Cd’A doctor makes major inroads effectively treating patients afflicted by neuropathy Story and photo by Bill Buely  

          Jim Palmer makes no bones about it.  

            He wants some recognition.  We’re talking major recognition. “I hope to win a Nobel Prize in medicine for my work,” he said.

            Along the way, he hopes to help a lot of people. 

            His job is at the Neuropathy Institute in Coeur d’Alene.  He works with patients to reverse the symptoms of neuropathy, a neurological disease that affects the feet and legs.  There’s burning, numbness, loss of balance, and strength. 

            “If you have neuropathy, you’re probably going to have a lot of pain and discomfort.  And the traditional thinking is,’ It’s an untreatable condition.  All we can give you is pain medication for symptom relief.’  Well I reverse it in about nine of 10 people I treat.”

            Palmer estimates that 20 million people suffer from neuropathy.  Since March 2002, he has treated about 500 of them.  A map in the lobby of his office is covered with dots, each indicating where his patients call home.  They have traveled to Coeur d’Alene for Palmer’s treatments from Florida, Manhattan, California, and Canada.  He receives daily phone calls and letters from people who say they are hurting and need help. 


            Because he said he has found success in reversing the effects of the disease. 

            “Which reduces the amputation risk markedly, I’d estimate 70-90 percent.”  He said.

            Palmer, a pilot with a chemical engineering degree, began suffering the early effects of neuropathy when he was in his 40’s and immediately began studying the disease.  He didn’t like the results of his initial research: there was no effective, lasting treatment.

            “I thought,’ No that doesn’t make sense.’ If you look at it from a lot of physical parameters, it suggests circulation.” he said.  “I really see it as nothing but a circulatory disorder.  I improve the blood flow, and patients get better.  Empirically, it has to be something similar to that.  When I tested it, it worked.”

            Palmer, who graduated from Cleveland Chiropractic College in Kansas City, MO, moved to Coeur d’Alene in 1999 and established his practice. 

            It’s been six years since he began treating patients with neuropathy.  But he says the best is yet to come. 

            “I don’t grow as fast as I should, but eventually I’m going to treat someone who really gets noticed,” he said.  I’d love to treat Barbra Bush.  In my observation she has neuropathy.  To treat somebody like her, it would get noted and it would get the research and once we get the research, school’s out, and the world learns.   So that’s the deal, something’s going on here in North Idaho that’s kind of different.”


            Can you describe a recent case?

            One guy was down in Plummer.  When I met him he was elevating his foot eight inches above his heart every day and had for about three months.  He was on about his fifth different antibiotic trying to clean up an ulcer that was infected and wasn’t healing.  I started treating him and within three weeks, that ulcer completely closed up.  It didn’t even require a Band Aid.


            What is neuropathy?

            In general, neuropathy stands for neural pathology.  Neural pathology means the neurological tissues different than ligaments, tendons, muscles and other tissues.  And pathology means diseased state.

            It manifests in three different areas.  One would be pain and discomfort, another is sensory deficit, and another is balance and clumsiness issues.

             Are there different levels of neuropathy?

            If you have neuropathy, there’s really two flavors of it.  One with complications, one without complications. 

            The complications of neuropathy are amputations.  In fact, it’s the leading cause of lower extremity amputations.  It’s the reason diabetics get their feet and legs cut off, neuropathy complications.

            So, if you’re treating a population of neuropathy patients, you would expect some of them were going to be complicated cases.  Never mind we fix people who feel bad.  Now, how about if we save amputations.

             Can you explain your treatment and how it works?

            It’s learned early in the study of physiology that of all the tissues in the body, the tissue that is most sensitive to lack of oxygen, which is provided by blood flow, is the neurological tissue.  So you decrease the blood flow to the foot and leg, you would expect the first tissue to have a problem is the neurological tissue.  Neuropathy is only neurological tissues, initially.  Later you might see muscles not be strong.   But initially, the problem will be neurological tissues will start talking to you as burning feet.  You feel it as burning sensations in your feet.  Or you might feel numbness.  What it really means is sensory deficit.

            The point is all these are neurological tissues.  And what could cause all neurological tissues in the same compartment of the body to have a problem coincidentally in time, other than circulation.  So it occurred to me, probably from my chemical engineering background, this may be a circulation issue.  So the therapy I use improves blood flow. 

            If I’m correct that it’s only a circulatory issue, the improved blood flow will cause more oxygen to go to the nervous tissue, it will calm down, and neuropathy will appear to have resolved.   That’s exactly what’s happening in 8 out of 10 cases I’ve treated.  I improve the blood flow, neuropathy symptoms go away.  The patients are going, ‘Wow, you cured neuropathy.’  But I’m really just restoring adequate blood flow.  I’m hoping to get a medical school to do some research and validate this. 

             How many people have neuropathy?

            Twenty million.  There are more neuropathy patients than there are diabetics in America.  I had first assumed that neuropathy, as most people incorrectly assumed, is a complication of diabetes.  As it turns out, half the patients I treat are diabetic.  The other half aren’t.  I have neuropathy and I’m not a diabetic.  So it goes way outside the population of diabetics. 

             What’s the attitude of patients when they come to see you?            They come in with a sense of hopelessness because I think everybody is trying to fix it with a pill.  Well, there’s no pill to fix this.  It’s usually, ‘Everybody told me I can’t get fixed.’  I say, ‘Well, that’s a myth.  You’re going to disprove medical literature on the first visit probably and I bet you’ll feel better after I treat you.’              
How many doctors are there to treat neuropathy with your program?
            Five different doctors in different cities now are trained to do this.                       What’s your next goal?

            My goal is to eventually get a medical school to do a multi-site, random clinical trial research.  When that happens, over an 18 month period or so, the evidence will be proof positive, irrefutable, that this is an effective way to treat this disorder.  It is treatable and reversible.  That will get published in a medical journal and the whole world gets the picture.  That’s got to happen.  I suspect that when we get the research done we’re going to see the amputation rate reduced 80 to 90 percent. 


            And then what will happen?

            I hope to get a Nobel Prize.  That’s kind of a selfish motive, really, but in doing that there’s a ton of people going to get better.  So that’s what I’m looking for.  I’m looking to treat as many people as I can.  I’m hoping to open up three more clinics in Phoenix. I’ve got some doctors interested down there.  I’m just hoping that eventually the word will spread and somebody that counts will go, ‘We’ve got to do some serious research on what Dr. Palmer has done.’  I call my treatment the Palmer Protocol.

             How often do people need treatment?

            Most people I run into are at some level of progression.  It’s rare that they just started feeling the condition.  When I start treating a patient, I tell them, ‘You’re going to improve and you’re going to heal at a rate different than anyone else heals.  There will be a certain amount of healing you’ll need before you’ll feel you’re healed enough that you don’t need any more.’ 

            I don’t know what that level is.  You will. I don’t know how fast you’ll heal.  We’ll see.  Most patients require 15 to 20 treatments.  They reach a plateau called max medical improvement that’s as good as they’re going to get essentially.  When you reach that point, often patients drop out of care for five months to over a year.  I don’t claim to get rid of neuropathy, just lower the symptoms to a tolerable level. 

            After about a year or so, the patients will call back saying, ‘The symptoms are starting to creep back in.’  But at that point, one two or three more treatments, they’re good for another five months to a year.  So it takes a fair amount of care initially to get you healthy but once you’re healthy, my experience is it’s pretty easy to stay there.