Did we miss the memo?

By Richard Lear

About 5 years ago, I began to notice that a lot of people in my orbit – friends, family, colleagues – were complaining of ill health. Some were being diagnosed with conditions I’d never heard of while others were experiencing chronic fatigue and a general lack of well-being. It got me to thinking and then researching. What I’ve learned through a lot of deep digging both surprised and deeply concerned me.

An EXPLOSION OF CHRONIC DISEASE has quietly descended upon the United States. Over the past generation, 36 diseases and chronic health conditions have more than doubled in prevalence. Twenty of these conditions more than tripled and 16 more than quadrupled.

Sampling of 36 Fast-Growing Diseases and Chronic Conditions
(Prevalence more than doubled since 1990)
  • Alzheimer’s
  • Stroke
  • Autism
  • Bipolar Disorder
  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Panic Disorder
  • Autoimmune Disease
  • Lupus
  • Food Allergies
  • Celiac Disease
  • Irritable Bowel (IBS)
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
  • Osteoarthritis
  • COPD
  • Asthma
  • Hypertension
  • Sleep Apnea
  • Insomnia
  • Leukemia
  • Melanoma
  • Squamous Cell Cancer
  • Diabetes I & II
  • Multiple Sclerosis (MS)
  • Cataracts
  • Obesity
  • Kidney Disease
  • Thyroid Disease
  • Erectile Dysfunction

Until recently, none of the 36 fast-growing diseases and chronic conditions exceeded typical global norms. In fact, prior to 1990, the prevalence of these conditions was just a fraction of current levels. Since then, the U.S. has added more than 394 million new cases and now leads the rest of the world by a wide margin. At least 170 million Americans are affected by at least one of the fast-growing diseases or conditions. The annual economic burden to society is nearly $3 trillion in increased health costs, decreased productivity, lost wages, etc. The social, emotional, and psychological cost to sufferers and their families is incalculable.

A New Era of Disease

Several characteristics appear to make the 36 fast-growing diseases and chronic conditions part of a “new era of disease.”

  • First, they are “GERMLESS.”
    Today, germs are no longer mostly to blame for our poor health. All 36 fast-growing diseases and conditions are “germless,” meaning they are NOT infectious maladies caused by bacteria, viruses, and the like. Instead, scientists believe they develop as a result of diet, lifestyle, or a host of environmental factors. In this sense, they are modern “man-made” ailments. They are diseases of civilization!
  • Second, they fall mostly within FOUR EMERGING DISEASE GROUPS.
    The 36 fastest-growing diseases and chronic conditions are not simply the usual suspects. While cardiovascular disease and cancers still persist in the U.S., the diseases experiencing the fastest growth and highest costs are associated primarily with four emerging disease groups: neurological disorders, auto-inflammatory diseases, sleep insufficiency, and obesity. Only three cancers (i.e., leukemia, melanoma, and squamous cell cancer) are currently among the fastest growing diseases.

    These emerging disease groups are mostly system-focused. Each is highly associated with either neurological, autoimmune, inflammatory, or metabolic processes. This means the 36 fast-growing diseases and chronic conditions attack either our brain, nervous system, immune system, or core ability to create vital energy.



  • Finally, there are NO CURES for most, if not all, of the conditions.
    While some of the fast-growing diseases and chronic conditions may be preventable by changing diet, lifestyle, or environmental exposures, definitive cures remain elusive. This proves frustrating for the many Americans (more than half!) already suffering from one or more of these conditions. Some say it feels like a life sentence of managing symptoms (usually with prescription drugs), with limited hope of full recovery.

    Even prevention may prove challenging. Avoiding dietary triggers (such as processed sugar) and lifestyle factors (such as poor sleep habits, inactivity, and smoking) seems relatively straightforward. But, dodging potential environmental causes is infinitely more problematic, especially those environmental factors not entirely within our control. For example, how can we totally avoid exposures to airborne chemicals or EMF pollution (i.e., electromagnetic fields/radiation)? These two environmental factors, along with pesticides, have each grown by more than 3000% since 1990. All three have been scientifically associated with the main diseases driving the current U.S. health crisis.

Is a Single Molecule to Blame for the Current Health Crisis?

After careful analysis of available research on the 36 fast-growing diseases and chronic conditions, I published a paper in 2016 titled, “The Root Cause in the Dramatic Rise of Chronic Disease.” The paper links all 36 fast-growing diseases and conditions to a single molecule in the body called peroxynitrite. To simplify, let’s call peroxynitrite, P.

Much of the scientific community has been keenly aware of the connection between P and chronic disease for more than a decade. According to a top team of scientists at the National Institutes of Health (NIH), P is associated with more than sixty chronic diseases. In their landmark paper, “Nitric Oxide and Peroxynitrite in Health and Disease” (2007), the NIH team established P as one of the most devastating molecules created in the human body. In addition to linking it to more than 100 biological disruptions, the NIH team connected P with cancer, heart disease, diabetes, kidney disease, and neurodegenerative diseases such as Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s.

Hundreds of scientists have shown that P both causes and acts in concert with other biological factors such as chronic inflammation and oxidative stress (i.e., high levels of free radicals in the body). It also cripples the mitochondria’s ability to create energy (ATP). These four biomarkers are highly correlated to most of the diseases of civilization, including all 36 fast-growing diseases and chronic conditions. According to U.S. government website, PUBMED, at least 8,000 studies confirm the extensive biochemical havoc P creates, including the more than 100 biological effects reported NIH.

Peroxynitrite destroying DNA

So what causes P in the body? Research points to several external factors shown to trigger production of P. For example:

  • Sugar in our diet, in particular high fructose corn syrup
  • Glyphosate in wheat, corn, soy, and other products
    Glyphosate is the active ingredient in herbicides used to control weeds (e.g., Mansanto’s RoundUp). Big industry now uses glyphosate to accelerate/increase crop yields. As a result, glyphosate is becoming more and more common in our food supply.
  • Other pesticides
  • Electromagnetic (EMF) pollution
    Electromagnetic pollution refers to the artificial electromagnetic fields and radiation (EMF/EMR) associated with wireless devices, consumer electronics, modern appliances, energy efficient lighting, electricity, and much more. Experts estimate we are now exposed to levels of electromagnetic radiation that are billions of times higher than those found in nature. Our exposure to EMF pollution began in the early 1900s when electricity was introduced into homes and other buildings. It has increased exponentially over the past 30 years as a result of the wireless and electronics revolutions and a strong push for energy efficiency. Interestingly, this is the same 30-year period during which the prevalence of new era “germless” diseases grew dramatically. A coincidence? Likely not!!
  • Chemical exposures
  • Heavy metal exposures

As alluded to above, high levels of P in the body can lead to other internal conditions associated with the development of disease and chronic health problems. These include oxidative stress, nitrative stress, chronic inflammation, mitochondrial dysfunction, autonomic dysfunction, and epithelial/endothelial dysfunction. These internal conditions can in turn lead to the production of even more P in the body. A vicious cycle of sorts!

The connection research scientists have established between peroxynitrite (P) and disease is exciting because it points to a possible path for identifying cures. If this molecule and its triggers could be controlled, the incidence of many devastating diseases and chronic conditions might be reduced or eliminated. Shockingly, it appears that insights about P from thousands of scientists have not made their way to the medical community. Many doctors have never heard of (P). In general, there is limited consensus among medical practitioners about the root causes of new era diseases and even fewer ideas about effective cures. The best many doctors do today is prescribe drugs for symptom management.

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If Scientists Know, Why Don’t We?……. Did We Miss the Memo?

The more I learned about the explosion of disease in the U.S. and the existence of possible root causes, the more incredulous I became. Why hadn’t I heard of this burgeoning health crisis? Sure, I’d read articles here and there on individual diseases. But, I don’t remember seeing major headlines or news segments outlining the big picture (i.e., the fact that many diseases and chronic conditions have skyrocketed in prevalence, all within a relatively short period of time). No TIME magazine cover story. No 60 Minutes special. No New York Times or Washington Post investigative reports. Only relative silence!

With this in mind, I submitted my findings to the U.S. President, several prestigious investigative news agencies, and half a dozen members of the 115th Congress. No response. While more than 4,700 scientists, researchers, and others have read my paper “The Root Cause in the Dramatic Rise of Chronic Disease” (ResearchGate), there seems to be little interest in this topic within the media or political arena. Health care costs are spiraling out of control. Debate on affordable health care options rages on. Why is there silence on the health crisis itself? And, if a single molecule sits at the heart of the crisis, why aren’t we closer to finding cures for fast-growing diseases and conditions?

The Plot Thickens…

When I discovered the crucial role peroxynitrite (P) plays in chronic disease, I contacted Dr. Pal Pacher, the lead author from the landmark NIH paper mentioned earlier. I asked Dr. Pacher, “Why don’t we know about peroxynitrite’s role in chronic disease?” He quickly responded that some pharmaceutical companies had tried to create a prescription drug to eliminate P from the body. However, these drug companies gave up because they were unable to synthesize a clean drug for public use. I was stunned.

I actually intended a much broader question, so I repeated it. “Why don’t ‘we’ know? I mean, why doesn’t the public know?” Silence. A chilling implication hung in the air. Could it be that both the medical community and the public are more dependent on the pharmaceutical industry than research scientists to communicate important scientific breakthroughs? This troubling realization points to a huge flaw in how science generally gets translated into clinical medicine. Though the scientific community is firmly aware of P’s role in disease, many physicians and others in the medical community have never heard of it. While disturbing in itself, what follows evokes an even more frightening question. Does this mean that unless scientific breakthroughs are successfully translated into prescription drugs or medical products, the medical community and the general public are left in the dark?

Later, after more research, I discovered more than 20 natural scavengers which can reduce, or possibly eliminate, P in the body. Herbs, spices, and supplements such rosemary, green tea, garlic, ginger, cloves, turmeric, vitamin E, and mega doses of citric acid (Vitamin C) are all capable of reducing levels of P. That’s when a light bulb really went on for me. Two epiphanies suddenly exploded into view.

  • First, why would any pharmaceutical company create a wonder drug that could eliminate disease for 170 million people? This single drug could potentially eliminate the need for hundreds of already successful drugs overnight. Profits would plummet. Shareholders would not be happy.
  • Second, if there are really so many natural scavengers for P, pharmaceutical companies may have little incentive to sink research and development dollars into creating a drug to reduce or eliminate it.


We’re living in a new era of disease. Germless neurological, autoimmune, inflammatory, and metabolic diseases are growing out of control. Together, government websites such as CDC, NCBI, and NIH report more than 700 million cases of 36 fast-growing diseases and chronic conditions in the U.S. More than 400 million new cases have been diagnosed in a single generation. This explosion of disease in the U.S. is crippling our economy, with an estimated annual cost to society of more than $2.7 trillion each year!

It seems clear the U.S. is experiencing a serious health crisis, and yet, the public remains mostly unaware of the epidemic. Worse yet, important scientific insights about potential root causes of chronic disease (i.e., peroxynitrite and related biological factors) are not finding their way to the medical community. Consequently, nearly 53% of Americans are left without access to possible cures and treatments for more than 3 dozen fast-growing diseases and chronic conditions. Worst of all, no one seems to be raising the warning flag about this important social and economic issue. Not our leaders. Not the media. Why not?

Important questions need to be answered!

    • Why hasn’t the public been informed about the scope and cost of the health crisis currently plaguing the U.S.?
    • What is preventing important scientific insights from more than 8,000 studies on peroxynitrite (P) and other related biological factors from finding their way to doctors and other medical practitioners?
    • Why isn’t more being done to find ways to control production of peroxynitrite (P) in the body?
    • What will it take for one or more courageous journalists to take a deep look at this critical social and economic issue?
    • When will Congress finally call for an investigation into the sudden explosion of so many diseases of civilization in such a short period of time?



“The Root Cause in the Dramatic Rise of Chronic Disease”  

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