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Integral Epigenetic Love Therapy: A Sketch

Posted June 29, 2014 by Robert Johnston in Open

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commented on July 21, 2014
by dustproduction



By Huntington's Disease Survivor Millis Mershon and Caregiver Robert Wayne Johnston


This sketch is intended as an introduction to the new therapy my wife Millis and I developed to treat her gene-driven Huntington's Disease (HD). It is based mainly on Bruce Lipton's pioneering epigenetic research; we call it Integral Epigenetic Love Therapy 24/7. After two and a half years of intensive application 24/7 we report that our therapy has reduced her heretofore thought incurable HD, inherited from her father, by an estimated 85- 90%. Please note that while one case does not make a scientific study, Millis has a dramatically new, almost symptom-free, happy outlook on life.


HUNTINGTON'S DISEASE (HD) is a devastating genetically inherited progressive neurodegenerative disorder that affects muscle coordination and leads to cognitive decline and psychiatric problems. Symptoms may include involuntary physical movements, irritability, apathy, anxiety, depressed mood, obsessive-compulsive behavior, changes in libido, and psychosis. There is no record of an HD patient experiencing spontaneous remission. There is no cure for HD.

INTEGRAL is defined as including everything essential to a whole functioning psyche and body, for example, anima and animus as equally important complementary opposites; self-management skills, intellectual, feeling-emotion, sensation, intuition, and feedback receptiveness and processing skills.

EPIGENETICS is the scientific study of how changes in environment have shaped genes, hence evolution, over millions of years (Francis 2011). Contemporary epigenetics is based on recent scientific research findings, e.g. cellular biologist Bruce Lipton (2006) and others, who have found that some aspects of human genes change profoundly, for more or less health or ill, with changes in their environment.

LOVE has been shown in scientific studies (Lipton 2005) to be not just a pleasurable emotion but an equally important powerful healing agent, for example, giving and receiving expressions of love elicit healing biochemicals in one's body affecting genes, e.g. oxytocin and endorphins. In contrast negative expressions such as fear, hate, disgust, etc. if misused and/or overused, may result in emitting biochemicals, e.g. cortisol, damaging to body tissue.

THERAPY. While far more time is required than in traditional talk therapy, our survivor-centered therapy emphasizes experiential interpersonal expressions of how and with what ongoing results we, as HD survivor and caregiver, experience our mutual love within a harmonious, aesthetically healing physical environment every moment, consciously and subconsciously, around the clock 24/7.


I first became aware my father had an active Huntington's Disease gene when as a teenager I observed his involuntary arm movements (chorea). I first became aware I had inherited his HD gene when at age sixty-two (0l/98) my DNA test at Bay State Hospital showed positive. But I still didn't have observable symptoms common to HD patients until later when my HD symptoms - involuntary movements, cognitive and emotional issues - became gradually more obvious to my husband Bob and others who know me well.

Unable to find acceptable professional help closer than Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston, my caregiver-husband Bob and I went there to participate in clinical studies. Finding that clinical studies would not lead to treatment and progress review, we decided to engage HD expert Dr. Rosas', neurologist-psychiatrist at Mass General. With no known cure we felt we were in relatively uncharted waters. Reducing that uncertainty, Dr. Rosas' first intervention proved beneficial. She prescribed one milligram per day of the psychoactive drug Risperidone, starting in January 2012.

Collaterally, Bob shared leading-edge epigenetic studies with me as they emerged. Among those were pioneering studies by Stanford research fellow, cellular biologist Bruce Lipton (2005) who had made early discoveries about how environment - individual mind-body, sociodynamic, and ecosystem - shapes our genes (epigenetics). Bob and I discussed the possibility of altering my HD gene's psycho-spiritual-physical-social environment by first returning our interpersonal mutual empathic relationship to a quality commensurate with my pre-H.D. onset level. We began our environment enrichment endeavor, gradually stepping up to a more aesthetic, harmonious physical home environment.

Surprising us, during the following six months my involuntary movements (chorea) began to gradually disappear along with some of my cognitive and emotional symptoms. My HD symptoms stabilized enough so that we were able to gradually introduce enhancements to the already existing loving environment we had going in our marriage prior to the increasing activity of my HD gene. Our relationship deteriorated badly. Not realizing it was my HD gene that was causing my growing irritation with Bob I erroneously thought we needed marriage counseling.

Meanwhile, Bob and I continued to raise the quality and intensity of our interpersonal love environment, e.g. empathy, active listening to each other, informally, day by day, as we went along. By January 2013, people who knew me when my HD symptoms were more noticeable, like participants in our New Options Community Group, remarked how my symptoms, including involuntary movements, diminished, then "disappeared". "Wow, you look good, Millis!" or something like that, has become common.

As a result of our success in reducing my HD symptoms - physical, cognitive, and emotional - to an imperceptible level through integration of medicine and Integral Epigenetic Love Therapy 24/7. After a progress review in June 2014 Dr. Rosas authorized reduction of Risperidone to .5 mg per day (if I so choose). With this success to date Bob and I are committed to continue our Integral Epigenetic Love Therapy 24/7 until death do us part.


1. A healthful mind-body. Moderate balanced nutrition, medication, walking, Tai Chi, and mutually positive communications with husband-caregiver including plenty of respectful and empathetic touchy-feely communications, personalized to a level of quality and quantity in keeping with Mill's desires. Meditation, Implicit Memory Scripting (Johnston and Higley 1994), and dream sharing have been useful tools. Also mutual empathy-based conflict management behavior options (list of 56-plus options is available, see Johnston 2010) spiced with healthful humor.

2. A psycho-spiritual home climate of mutual love, extreme respect, patience, and empathy, very careful active listening, joy, harmonious relationships in general, empathic non-verbal and verbal communications. Participate as a team in making decisions about household management responsibilities, money, solving problems, etc. Keep responses positive and light-hearted no matter how frustrated and potentially angry one (the caregiver) may feel.

3. Aesthetics, e.g. safe, clean, harmonious colors in home interior atmosphere, integrating the varied colors of the outdoors with hues of indoor flowering plants, flowers, furnishings, soothing background music, tasty moderate and balanced meals Millis enjoys, good humor, creating friendly personalized greeting cards as a team member with Bob, etc.

4. Volunteer work in friendly healthful harmonious atmospheres, e.g. local H.D. support group, food kitchens for special needs folks, senior center, ecosystem health practices, and spiritual/religious organizations, etc.

5. Life-long learning opportunities in environments conducive to harmonious love of learning, e.g. courses, seminars, workshops, books, magazines, Scrabble, PBS DVDs, night-time star-gazing, etc.

6. Travel with stimulating, congenial, harmonious companions e.g. trips abroad, local nature trips, cruises with on-shore excursions, car trips to nearby national and state parks. etc.

OUR SPECIAL APPRECIATION for their expertise, hard work, and unwavering support to each H. Diana Rosas, M.D., Neurologist-Psychiatrist and her staff, Massachusetts General Hospital; Amy Fowler, PsyD, Clinical Psychologist and Psychotherapist in private practice, Northampton, MA; and our Huntington's Disease Support Group, Northampton, MA.; and the Unitarian Universalist Society of Amherst Caring Committee.

Francis, Richard C. (2011). Epigenetics - How Environment Shapes Our Genes [includes extensive epigenetic research bibliography]. New York: First published as a Norton Paperback 2012. W.W. Norton and Company, Inc.
Johnston, Robert Wayne (2010). Options for Empathetically Responding to Conflict: An Integral View. Integral Leadership Review. Volume X, No.5. (an e-journal)
Johnston, Robert Wayne and Higley, William - TBI Survivor (1994). A Case Study - Self-Managing Through Implicit Memory Scripting. Presented to The Braintree Hospital Rehabilita tion Network, 15th Annual Traumatic Brain Injury Conference. September 26-28, 1994
Lipton, Bruce H. (2006). The Wisdom of Your Cells: How Your Beliefs Control Your Biology-Audio CD, Amazon
Lipton, Bruce H. (2005). Biology of Belief: Unleashing the Power of Consciousness, Matter, & Miracles. NY: Hay House

Millis Mershon, age 78, MEd - Special Education, HD Survivor, and over 53 years experience as special education teacher, admissions director, and college office manager, financial planner, related occupations (ret.)

Robert Wayne Johnston, age 84, PhD - Integral Human Sciences. over 61 years experience as consultant in integral individual and organization therapy and development, author, adjunct professor, human resources manager, engineering psychologist, musician (ret.)

This document may be copied providing customary citations are shown. Thank you
6/3/2014; Rev.6/29/2014

  • Anonymous Icon

    dustproduction Jul 21, 2014

    "Intersubjectivity can be understood as the process of psychological energy moving between two or more subjects. In a room where someone is lying on their deathbed, for example, the room can appear to be enveloped in a shroud of gloom for other people interacting with the dying person. The psychological weight of one subject comes to bear on the minds of others depending on how they react to it, thereby creating an intersubjective experience that, without multiple consciousnesses interacting with each other, would be otherwise strictly solitary. Love is a prime example of intersubjectivity that implies a shared feeling of care and affection, among others."

  • Anonymous Icon

    Robert Johnston Jul 20, 2014

    You asked, "1. has there been a follow up to see if the trinucleotide is still mutating?". Here is a more complete answer than I gave you earlier: Not as yet and probably will not be until Dr. Rosas gives the Risperidone a holiday and Mill's body is completely clear of the drug.

  • Anonymous Icon

    Robert Johnston Jul 20, 2014

    You stated: " My research falls into the "area" of intersubjectivity theory. " Would you care to discuss how your research to date supports/raises issues relative to my article, Integral Leader-Follower Relationships: Options in 4-D, Integral Leadership Review, Volume VI, No. 4 - October 2006.

  • Anonymous Icon

    Robert Johnston Jul 19, 2014

    For the record, on July 10, 2014 Millis exercised her option authorized by her neurologist-psychiatrist Dr. Dianna Rosas, Massachusetts General Hospital, a Harvard Medical School Teaching Hospital, to reduce her dose of Risperidone (Risperidol) by 50% to .5 mg per day. Prompted by Dr. Rosas' observation that Millis has reduced all the symptoms characteristic of HD patients, the reduction of Resperidone marks a significant step toward expected ultimate remission. Stay tuned. RWJ

  • Anonymous Icon

    dustproduction Jul 03, 2014

    #MicroRNAs, controllers of #neuronal #migration
    The biological controller of gene expression, #microRNAs, were discovered in the nineties. In the context of a study published in Cell Reports, Laurent Nguyen’s team, of GIGA Neurosciences at the +Université de Liège (ULg) , has demonstrated for the first time the importance of microRNAs in the control of genes involved in cortical neuron migration.

  • Anonymous Icon

    Robert Johnston Jul 03, 2014

    Dustproduction (DP), I'm baaack . . . You wrote, "So there appears to be a few issues here; 1. has there been a follow up to see if the trinucleotide is still mutating?" RWJ: No, but it would be interesting from a scientific standpoint. From an experiential point of view, we're delighted with evidence at hand, i.e. absence of Mill's HD symptoms. (And we still have Mill's acute scoliosis to work on.)

    DP: "What was the Rissperidone perscribed to treat?" RWJ: Dr. Rosas prescribed 1 mg of Risperidone per day to treat Mill's cognitive and emotional symptoms which had grown to extremely disruptive proportions socially. We didn't anticipate that it would affect her involuntary motor behavior, i.e. chorea. Of course, we didn't look the serendipitous gift horse in the mouth. Needless to say, we were absolutely delighted when the chorea died out without a observable trace.

    DP: "Do you know if this was HD or HDL? It sounds more like HDL." RWJ: What's your rationale that persuades you it's more like HDL. Mill's malady was diagnosed by a neurologist (name escapes me at the moment, will get it if you need it) at Baystate Hospital, Springfield, MA as HD ((preceded Dr. Rosas, neurologist-psychiatrist, MassGeneral Hospital, Boston)

  • Anonymous Icon

    Robert Johnston Jul 01, 2014

    Hi! I've been able tonight (this morning) to squeeze out a couple of minutes for a brief answer to one of your questions. "Can anyone site any actually epigenetic research by Bruce Liption?" I heard him at an IONS conference a number of years ago, if I remember correctly, in Palm Springs, say something like he did original research during a five-year research fellowship at Stanford which later led to epigenetic research. The latter is my extrapolation based on piecing together some fragments of information. He has a website, you can check all that out for yourself. Sorry I don't have the time. Hope this helps.

    Oh yes, Millis was diagnosed as having the HD gene.

    Stay tuned . . .

  • Anonymous Icon

    dustproduction Jun 30, 2014

    edit: My research falls into the "area" of intersubjectivity theory....

  • Anonymous Icon

    dustproduction Jun 30, 2014

    I am very respectful of your commitment as a caregiver and understand the limitations on your time that it creates.
    My research falls into the are of intersubjectivity theory and so I was very interested in this posting. Personally, I have some reservations about Lipton's writings, but I know a bit about epigenetic research.

    "This particular narrative is supported by rearch into the "social brain:"
    Matthew Lieberman explores groundbreaking research in social neuroscience that reveals that our need to connect with other people is even more fundamental than our need for food or shelter and that the social pain and pleasure we experience has just as much impact as physical pain and pleasure."


    There are many case histories that deal with 'nurturing' to illness. Two that come to mind are:
    Schizophrenia can also have epigenetic triggers (see twin studies). Ms. Longden says in her TEDTalk, "Many people have harmed me in my life, and I remember them all, but the memories grow pale and faint in comparison with the people who've helped me. The fellow survivors, the fellow voice-hearers, the comrades and collaborators; the mother who never gave up on me, who knew that one day I would come back to her and was willing to wait for me for as long as it took; the doctor who only worked with me for a brief time but who reinforced his belief that recovery was not only possible but inevitable, and during a devastating period of relapse told my terrified family, "Don't give up hope. I believe that Eleanor can get through this."


  • Anonymous Icon

    Robert Johnston Jun 30, 2014

    Hi Dustproduction,

    Thank you for your incisive and stimulating beginnings of a discussion on Integral Epigenetics Love Therapy 24/7. I am quite confident continuing this discussion could be profitable to us both. However, I continue to be my beloved Millis' caregiver-husband 24/7 focusing on both maintaining her success to date on lessening her HD symptoms and her parallel, but unrelated to HD, issues with a very painful ,back, namely, scoliosis.

    Judging from the quality and quantity of your questions, comments, etc. I feel certain you are eminently qualified to do the time consuiming work involved in following up on the starter list of references I have given you to answer whatever you want for yourself. Wish I could be of more help to you but the reality of my circumstances right now is that my dear wife comes first 24/7 no matter how attractive the temptation.

    Here's wishing us expanded mutual consciousness, respect, empathy, knowledge, wisdom, and integral health and full functioning . . . individually, socially, ecosystemically, and omnipresently,

    Bob Johnston


  • Anonymous Icon

    dustproduction Jun 29, 2014

    Can anyone site any actually epigenetic research by Bruce Liption?

  • Anonymous Icon

    dustproduction Jun 29, 2014

    Risperidone (/rɨˈspɛərɨdoʊn/ ri-spair-i-dohn) (trade name Risperdal, and generics) is an antipsychotic drug mainly used to treat schizophrenia (including adolescent schizophrenia), schizoaffective disorder, the mixed and manic states of bipolar disorder, and irritability in people with autism.

    Risperidone is a second-generation atypical antipsychotic.[2] It is a dopamine antagonist possessing anti-serotonergic, anti-adrenergic and anti-histaminergic properties.


    So there appears to be a few issues here; 1. has there been a follow up to see if the trinucleotide is still mutating? What was the Rissperidone perscribed to treat? Do you know if this was HD or HDL? It sounds more like HDL.

  • Anonymous Icon

    dustproduction Jun 29, 2014

    About 99% of HD diagnoses based on the typical symptoms and a family history of the disease are confirmed by genetic testing to have the expanded trinucleotide repeat that causes HD. Most of the remaining are called HD-like disorders.[5][54] Most of these other disorders are collectively labelled HD-like (HDL).[54] The cause of most HDL diseases is unknown, but those with known causes are due to mutations in the prion protein gene (HDL1), the junctophilin 3 gene (HDL2), a recessively inherited HTT gene (HDL3—only found in one family and poorly understood), and the gene encoding the TATA box-binding protein (HDL4/SCA17).[54] Other autosomal dominant diseases that can be misdiagnosed as HD are dentatorubral-pallidoluysian atrophy and neuroferritinopathy.[54] There are also autosomal recessive disorders that resemble sporadic cases of HD. Main examples are chorea acanthocytosis, pantothenate kinase-associated neurodegeneration and X-linked McLeod syndrome.[54]


  • Anonymous Icon

    dustproduction Jun 29, 2014

    Personally, I do not see how epigenetics can help HD patients. You have not explained this and it may not be documented.
    There is very little research of the topic.

    hor information
    Huntington's disease (HD) is an incurable and fatal hereditary neurodegenerative disorder of mid-life onset characterized by chorea, emotional distress, and progressive cognitive decline. HD is caused by an expansion of CAG repeats coding for glutamine (Q) in exon 1 of the huntingtin gene. Recent studies suggest that epigenetic modifications may play a key role in HD pathogenesis. Alterations of the epigenetic "histone code" lead to chromatin remodeling and deregulation of neuronal gene transcription that are prominently linked to HD pathogenesis. Furthermore, specific noncoding RNAs and microRNAs are associated with neuronal damage in HD. In this review, we discuss how DNA methylation, post-translational modifications of histone, and noncoding RNA function are affected and involved in HD pathogenesis. In addition, we summarize the therapeutic effects of histone deacetylase inhibitors and DNA binding drugs on epigenetic modifications and neuropathological sequelae in HD. Our understanding of the role of these epigenetic mechanisms may lead to the identification of novel biological markers and new therapeutic targets to treat HD.


    "All humans have two copies of the Huntingtin gene (HTT), which codes for the protein Huntingtin (Htt). The gene is also called HD and IT15, which stands for 'interesting transcript 15'. Part of this gene is a repeated section called a trinucleotide repeat, which varies in length between individuals and may change length between generations. If the repeat is present in a healthy gene, a dynamic mutation may increase the repeat count and result in a defective gene. When the length of this repeated section reaches a certain threshold, it produces an altered form of the protein, called mutant Huntingtin protein (mHtt). The differing functions of these proteins are the cause of pathological changes which in turn cause the disease symptoms. The Huntington's disease mutation is genetically dominant and almost fully penetrant: mutation of either of a person's HTT genes causes the disease. It is not inherited according to sex, but the length of the repeated section of the gene and hence its severity can be influenced by the sex of the affected parent.[13]"

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