Introducing Lewis S. Coleman, MD, FAIS Our New Chair of Science and Education
*This is an article from the Winter 2021-2022 issue of Contentment Magazine.
As the newly appointed Chair of Science and Education of The American Institute of Stress (AIS), I would like to introduce myself. I am an expert on stress theory by virtue of the fickle finger of fate. As a board-certified anesthesiologist, my practice seeks to prevent the potentially lethal stress reaction caused by surgery. I completed my training at a time when clinical anesthesia research sought better ways to control stress and optimize surgical outcome using narcotic supplementation, but this laudable objective was frustrated by the paradoxical dogma that founded the profession, which asserts that carbon dioxide is “toxic waste, like urine” that must be “rid from the body” using mechanical hyperventilation lest its toxic and narcotic effects cause harm. This scientific insanity is arguably more outrageous than the notion that the world is flat.1 It has killed countless patients, but it helped to focus my attention on the dogma and paved the path to my discovery of the mammalian stress mechanism.
Dr. Paul Rosch, the previous AIS President, was a member of the faculty at my medical school, New York Medical College. He was a protégé of Dr. Hans Selye, the father of stress theory, and he helped to found the AIS along with prominent 20th century scientists and individuals interested in the effects of stress on health.
My basic sciences training at New York Medical College miraculously coincided with the two-year sojourn of Dr. Johannes Rhodin, who was retained by the school to upgrade its curriculum, so that I enjoyed his academic improvements. Dr. Rhodin was a world-famous pioneer of electron microscopy, and an expert on stress theory, which by that time had dominated medical research for thirty years but was being abandoned for failure to find a testable mechanism that could confirm the theory. He was concerned that stress theory might be forgotten altogether, and he provided compelling stress theory lectures in hopes that one of us might remember the theory and somehow discover the mechanism needed to confirm it. Little did I expect that I would become that student, but life is what happens while you are making other plans.
Thirty years later, I stumbled upon fresh information that nervous activity releases von Willebrand Factor from the vascular endothelium into blood, and I immediately suspected that this represented an undiscovered physiological mechanism. This inspired an extensive review of research literature using the Internet and advanced computer search technology that hadn’t existed when I was in school. After six years, I realized that I had found the long-sought stress mechanism. It was hiding in full view, disguised as the familiar coagulation cascade, like the proverbial elephant in the living room.
Success comes after a lifetime of dedicated toil, but science is seldom so kind. Dr. Selye died forgotten and frustrated, around the time I finished medical school, and Dr. Rhodin died 30 years later, even as his dream was being fulfilled. Like them, my chances of witnessing the fruits of my endeavors are negligible, but I am assuaged by their inevitability.
The stress mechanism is what everyone has been waiting for since the discovery of DNA. It represents the triumph of 20th century medical science and the most important event in medical history. It is far more important than the discovery of DNA, because it explains physiology, pathology, and stress. It normally functions quietly and unobtrusively, but it causes disease when it becomes hyperactivated by combinations of tissue disruption and nervous stimulation. This understanding enables powerful, predictable treatments that can save lives and slash expenses by disrupting the destructive effects of stress mechanism hyperactivity, and restoring the body’s ability to heal itself. It paves the path for profitable pharmaceutical development that introduces a new era of health, longevity, and freedom from the eternal curse of disease and premature death.
In retrospect, what happened was a predictable pattern of scientific advance, as described by Thomas Kuhn’s book called The Structure of Scientific Revolutions: powerful scientific theories arrive long before accumulating evidence enables unknown amateurs to confirm them. It’s no accident the stress mechanism was so hard to find. It is complex, counterintuitive, and at odds with orthodoxy. The old stress researchers came closer to success than they ever imagined but for a few tidbits of critical information that emerged during the 30 years since stress research was abandoned, and clarified the relationships of nervous activity, blood enzymes and tissue repair. The stress mechanism incorporates their capillary gate and tissue repair concepts. As they expected, it functions as the “companion mechanism” of DNA that converts the genetic blueprint into embryological development and remains active throughout life to repair tissues and regulate physiology, while DNA resumes quiescence. As Selye predicted, it explains the nature of disease.
The hallmark of powerful theory is its ability to predict and explain disparate phenomena. Though stress theory originated as a purely medical concept, it exceeds the bounds of medicine and confers a unified theory of biology that explains embryology, evolution, ethology, intelligence, anatomy, taxonomy, the Cambrian Explosion, and dinosaurs. It resolves the disparities of Darwin, Lamarck, Baldwin, and saltation. It paves the path to abolish genetic defects and enable humans to control evolution, revolutionize farming, and optimize intelligence, anatomy, longevity, and exercise capacity.
Stress theory is truly revolutionary, and it antiquates all existing medical literature. To promote its understanding and acceptance, I have established a website, www.stressmechanism.com, that offers free downloads of my published papers and other relevant materials. In addition, I have published a book called 50 Years Lost in Medical Advance: The discovery of Hans Selye’s stress mechanism that summarizes my search, explains the mechanism, and explores its implications. It is available on Amazon. I hope that AIS members will take the time and trouble to read the book, spread its message, and promote the restoration of stress theory to its rightful role as the prevailing paradigm of medical and biological research.
I will be offering articles pertinent to stress theory at regular intervals that review specific aspects of stress mechanism operation and the treatments it indicates. What follows is the first of these endeavors.
- L. S. Coleman, Four Forgotten Giants of Anesthesia History. Journal of Anesthesia and Surgery 3, 1-17 (2015).