From: (Modemac)
Date: Sat, 18 Mar 1995 18:38:37 GMT

[NOTE from Modemac: And tke kooks get even kookier. All I can think of
when I read this is the like from 'Return of the Living Dead:' "I love
you! That's why I want to EAT YOUR BRAIN!"]

[ Article crossposted from
ne,,ncf.sigs.mental-health ]
[ Author was Kim Goldberg ]
[ Posted on Thu, 16 Mar 1995 04:45:27 GMT ]

[Please help redistribute this urgent action alert freely.]



I just received e-mail from Jill Taylor. Thanks, Jill! She harvests
actual brains... for a national "Brain Bank" at Harvard's major
psychiatric research institution, McLean, in Belmont, Massachusetts.

Jill is really concerned, because on the Internet a number of us
psychiatric survivors are joining in a *BRAIN BOYCOTT*. I had e-mailed
Jill yesterday that I would not give my brain to McLean.

Jill strongly argues that people who engage in behavior described as "not
normal" could benefit science by having our brains examined by
neuroscientists after we die, compared to "normals." (See copy at

This story is much stranger than fiction. Jill evidently did not know I
am coordinating a *Heal Normality Naturally* campaign via an Internet
mailing list called "HEALNORM." I'll e-mail that to Jill.

While HEALNORM is indeed planning a major on-line fun event on April 1,
no, this is not all a "psychotic" joke -- it's "real" whatever that is!

And this is gets even weirder than "normal." You see, I am a psychiatric
survivor of McLean, which routlinely uses forced psychiatric drug
injections, solitary confinement, shock, etc. That's where Jill works.
While she probably doesn't do that stuff herself, she should know there
are many traumatized McLean survivors in our movement.

Yes, there is a serious side to our BRAIN BOYCOTT. Neuroscientists
repeatedly trumpet pseudoscientific causes for our allegedly "broken
brains." These same neuroscientists make comparatively little effort to
investigate or warn about the brain damage caused by psychiatric drugging
or electroshock. So what will reach them?

Join me in just saying "NO! Keep your hands off our brains!" Give
psychiatry a piece of your mind instead of your brain:

1. POLITELY call their toll free number -- 1-800-BRAIN-BANK -- and just
explain that you are joining the BRAIN BOYCOTT, and ask that they
negotiate soon, because you "just say no"!

2. And you can POLITELY e-mail Jill Taylor, right there at the Brain Bank
itself. Again, explain that McLean is engaged in too many human rights
violations, too much of a cover-up of psychiatric hazards, and too much
pseudoscience for you to "make a deposit." E-mail:

This action will be e-mailed to the HEALNORM mailing list, and published
in our newspaper, _Dendron News_. This action is by grassroots
individuals and does not necessarily represent any group... yet! If you
want to endorse or or comment or you have, suggestions on how to proceed
on the BRAIN BOYCOTT, you can e-mail to me, David Oaks, editor, at the
_Dendron News_ office. e-mail: <>

You can stay in touch with more such grandiose adventures by getting on
that free "healnorm" electronic mailing list, if you haven't already.
E-mail to <> with only two words in the message:
subscribe healnorm

And please copy this to your usual groups, BBS's, personal lists.


Here's some background on this increasingly strange story:

In the mid-1970's, as a working class student struggling through Harvard,
I was locked up twice at McLean Hospital, a Harvard psychiatric facility
in Belmont, Massachusetts, Forced psychiatric drugging & solitary were so
common, I was once actually forced injected just for crumbling a cookie
in anger!

I never forgot that, and in my senior year Harvard referred me to
volunteer work in human rights of people with psychiatric labels. Ever
since my graduation in 1977 I've been an activist. Now, as well as
editing Dendron, I co-coordinate a 30-group alliance of grassroots
groups, Support Coalition.

A new book about McLean, _Under Observation_ by Lisa Berger and Alexander
Vuckovic, MD, pretty much is a puff piece, praising the facility no end
(in fact, the whole thing was reviewed by staff before publishing, and
one co-wrote it).

Between the book's lines, however, you can see the theme of McLean: That
our major difficulties, differences, spiritual crises and even natural
human states such as weeping, are primarily a biomechanical illness, and
that drugs and authority are the main answer. It turns out the ward I
was on, Bowditch, was their prototype for their dominating chemical
crusade approach, now standard.

The Brain Bank's purpose, it says in the book, is "methodically
collecting samples of normal and schizophrenic brain tissue. Acquiring
brain tissue from schizophrenic patients is an ongoing headache for
researchers." Ouch. One reason is because we "often have a complicated
history of medication and substance abuse, which affects the quality of
their brain tissue. Adolescent brains, which are preferable, are
difficult to locate." Drug-free brains are getting scarcer.

I know another working class student who went to Harvard when I did, an
African American woman. She ended up on neuroleptics in the mid-1970's
too, after a stressful trip to Africa. I communicate with her regularly
down in the L.A. area.

This woman is angry. She has brain damage from these 20 years of
neuroleptics. She's addicted to them, and the drugs have caused a
"tardive psychosis" where if she withdraws she immediately goes through
far worse *drug-created* emotional "rebound" problems than she ever had
in her life. Her family *forces* her to get an injection of "depot"
Prolixin about twice a month, the effects of which last for weeks and
weeks and weeks.

That could have been me. Her favorite phrase today has become the motto
of the HEALNORM mailing list: "Normal... Isn't!"

Help us turn the clipboard. Why doesn't the Brain Bank search for the
causes of greed, domination, competition, isolation and especially the
destruction of much of the ecosystem, which is all behavior displayed by
the "normal" people? Is it because a major institution tends *not* to
target institutional causes of societal crises?

Dissident psychiatrist Peter Breggin, in his book _Toxic Psychiatry_,
points out that studies of donated brains are biased toward searching for
a mechanical "cause" for our alleged "diagnoses," and at the same time
are not used to alert the general public about an iatrogenic nightmare of
brain damage caused by years of coerced psychiatric drugs and/or

Why doesn't the Brain Bank hold a news conference about how they have
concerns that neuroleptics are damaging brains? Could it be because
major funds come from the drug industry?


The book on McLean says that the Brain Tissue Resource Center, as it is
officially known, is only one of two large brain banks in the U.S. They
have been approaching 1,000 brains -- half so-called "normal" and half
"not normal."

Psychiatric researchers at McLean Hospital in Mass. have a national
campaign to request that people labeled with psychiatric disorder of
"schizophrenia" (as was I) donate our brains. Putting their campaign on
the Internet has been the job of National Alliance for the Mentally Ill
board member, D.J. Jaffe. And that's a big part of the problem right

NAMI members, usually parents of us (though they call themselves
"consumers" anyway), often think their group is pro-advocacy, but D.J.
Jaffe's previous recent Internet campaigns have included:

1. lobbying a federal official for *forced* electroshock,

2. calling for forced psychiatric drugging of people living at home (the
notorious "Involuntary Outpatient Commitment," now in half of U.S.

3. joining some Republicans in calling for zeroing out funding of current
federal and state advocacy services,

4. recently, in the name of NAMI officially, in the media -- endorsing
FORCED psychiatric drug medical *experimentation*, that even the judge
who blocked it compared to Nazi experimentation! (We hear Jaffe works in
a NYC ad agency.)

Would you trust your brain with that man? Me neither. With such people
"advocating" for us who won't hear our minds while we're alive, is it any
wonder they're mainly interested in our brains, after we die? You can
complain to NAMI headquarters public relations department by e-mailing:
<Wajnert@AOL.COM> Ask that they distance themselves from Jaffe, or _no
more brains_.


I want to thank the Brain Bank, etc. for providing a most ironic
dada-esque surrealistic experience. What is most amazing is that all the
folks at the Brain Bank, scrolling through our e-mail, might not *get*
it, on so many levels:

* They might not "get" why so many have gotten angry waiting for
dissident neuroscientists to speak out, who instead continue to minimize
neuroleptic damage.

* They might not "get" why the term "broken brain" is offensive.

* They might not "get" why people are so concerned about Harvard.
Meanwhile in another part of Harvard, they don't "get" why
biochemical/genetic approaches to African Americans may be considered
racist! See Breggin's book _War Against Children_. And at Harvard-
affiliated Mass. General, a form of lobotomy (the psychosurgery
cingulotomy) continues, not even waiting until we're dead to cut away.

* They might not even "get" the humor of this whole thing.

And they won't "get" my brain!

In support & struggle, David Oaks <>

David Oaks, Editor
_Dendron News_
PO Box 11284
Eugene, OR 97440-3484 USA



---------- Forwarded message ----------
Subject: re: Brain Bank
Date: Sun, 12 Mar 1995 13:06:27 -0500 (EST)

Hello David, thanks for offering me the opportunity to respond to your
concerns. First of all, the broken brain theory is not negated totally
simply because an individual had a history of neuroleptic use.
Generally, the use of neuroleptics may effect some structural elements in
the brain but not others. For example, although the use of haldol has
been shown to increase the size of terminal endings it does not generally
affect the number of terminal endings. In addition, the neuroleptics
have not been shown to effect the number of specific types of cells
located in thee cerebral cortex, but may effect the number of dendritic

DAVID RESPONSE: Hello Jill. Thanks so much for promptly
responding with such an extensive post. I appreciate it
and I'll do my best to respect you and your colleagues.

Re: above. Random rebound terminal ending increases and
dendritic spreading, etc. is extremely serious damage.
It's the brain fighting back. It took decades for the APA to
acknowledge and warn of "tardive dyskinesia." Are you
researching and/or warning of drug-induced "tardive psychosis"
or "tardive dementia"? Do you know researchers who are?

Also, it is well-known that complex environmental support has
one of the most powerful effects on actual structure of
a brain's complexity, even in adults. Why do you emphasize
drugs, and not research other areas? Who is?

I think that it is very important to note that we are at the very
beginning of understanding what are the physical manifestations of mental
illness in the human brain. However, why would someone be interested in
cutting off the potential future growth of a field that has only just
begun? If you are interested in attacking some of the science which has
already been done that you do not approve of , then I would hope that you
would be interested in supporting an alternative approach to a better
form of research.

RESPONSE: It's known in the History of Science that political
pressure already effects research "findings." (Please ask
your colleagues at Harvard's Mind Brain Behavior initiative
about that interface.) We are concerned about bad science and
cover-up of science. We are concerned that research into
humane, empowering, non-drug alternatives is being actively
suppressed. Good science would listen to the "customers."
We need to open up and transform and nurture real science.

Jill, if you are mystified by our response, you have
not yet studied psychiatry's history of alienating their
customers and not listening to them. The only thing we have
left is *us* -- our hearts, minds, souls and brains. Without
them, McLean would not get paid for forcibly injecting and
electroshocking us. Without our brains, your researchers
would finally need to *listen* to our minds while alive.

The human brain is an extremely complex organ and few question that
function is based upon structure, and if the function of the organ is
engaged in behavior that is described as "not normal" then perhaps one
day investigators will identify the altered structural components and
then mechanisms (drugs) which will reengage the system in a more "normal"
functional pattern. Only by looking at the brain can we identify what
the truth of the microcircuity holds.

RESPONSE: ~8*}) The brain is so complex that it can even say
"reductionist linear western mechanistic dominating paradigm."
And it can even think of ways to heal that state, besides
drugs. Spread the word that we do indeed have healings
of so-called "normality." Rev. Chumleigh will utilize his
shamanic rubber chickens, his strait jacket release and
his incredible underwater escape, live on the Internet.
Watch for our e-mail on that, and spread it around!

Seriously folks, my neurology textbook notes that in cases
of people diagnosed "schizophrenic" who do have major structural
brain differences, that's actually when drugs tend not to "work."
There's a bigger question afoot about wellness and healing: ask us.
Finally, your discussion about functionality is a one way-street:
Environment can harm brain structure, but mainly "drugs" can cure it?

I find it very curious that you would consider a "brain donation
boycott", since most of my consumer colleagues are actually quite excited
about joining forces to gain some type of control over the research that
is done on mental illness. As you know, research in mental illness has
not been a high priority for scientists - partly because it has been
difficult getting funding, partly because we have not had the modern
technologies which we have today to go into the living brain and identify
structural differences. Only with postmortem donation will we truly
understand the underlying mechanisms.

RESPONSE: If someone wants to donate their brain, we will not
stop them. We will not engage in brain heists! However, this is
all about empowerment, and I can assure you many psychiatric
survivors and "mental health" consumers will be interested in
joining this BRAIN BOYCOTT.

Please copy this message to coleagues. We encourage you to establish
a negotiating liaison at the decision-making level as soon as
possible. This could be an important opportunity to dialogue.

Right now there are several consumer advocates within the National
Alliance for the Mentally Ill who are gung-ho to help in the donation
crusade! They are insightful enough to recognize that without the brain
tissue for comparison then there will be no impetus to sway either
researchers or federal dollars into the study of mental illness. I
personally believe that supporting brain donation is one way in which
individuals diagnosed with mental illness can take some control and
dictate to the scientific community that this is our disease and we are
will to do whatever it takes to make it a priorty so that the suffering
in the streets and in the madness can stop.

Write again if you like. Jill.

RESPONSE: Thanks for answering, and inviting dialogue. Let
us continue. However, you are apparently referring to NAMI's
board member D.J. Jaffe. I urgently recommend communicating
with NAMI headquarters that he may not be the best "poster child"
for your brain brigade, as he has alienated the *minds*
of many of us! For instance, you spoke of empowerment:

Nearly the entire "mental health consumer" and "psychiatric
survivor" movements are united in opposing the use of
*forced* electroshock, against the expressed wishes of
the subject. This practice *is* occurring in the U.S.
Does it ever occur in McLean? Can you make a statement
opposing that practice?

You are right that our brains are so precious they
that can help empower our involvement in your process.
And one of the most powerful ways is to, at times,
think of a creative way of saying, "NO!"

For too long, our cooperation, our bodies, our brains,
have been taken for granted, to ask for more "mental
health funding," etc. However, it is getting to the
point where if our human rights concerns (such as forced
shock) are not addressed, then -- as in South Africa -- we
will need to do the only thing left: Turn off the spigot.

You mentioned homelessness. We are convinced that a
major cause is actually lack of decent low income housing,
jobs, consumer-run programs such as peer support. See,
you could find some of the causes via our brains on
e-mail, and not even wait until we're dead. ~8*})

One of the founders in our movement was Howie the Harp,
very much dedicated to empowering the homeless, and
psychiatric survivors, and utilizing humor. He recently
died (oops, he was cremated, sorry!) I'd like to
think Howie would enjoy this moment. You talked about
ending madness, but Howie's motto was "crazy and proud."

Howie also believed that decision-makers in agencies,
such as yourself, sincerely want to work together to
reach a common mission. So please keep in contact.

Please contact the Brain Bank president & trustees,
and tell 'em we said, "Hey, we've got those brains
you were looking for! Care to talk?"

In the meantime, our brains will be working up some
demands. We want you all to want our brains, *dead* or

In support & struggle, David Oaks <>
| Reverend Modemac ( |
+-------------+ "There is no black and white." +------------+
| First Online Church of "Bob," A Subfaction of the Excremeditated |
| Congregation of the Overinflated Head of L. Ron Hubbard |
FINGER for a FREE SubGenius Pamphlet!

Back to document index

Original file name: BRAIN.TXT

This file was converted with TextToHTML - (c) Logic n.v.