Scientists who discovered the Higgs boson chased shadows and silhouettes for months. Enduring skepticism, they finally produced proof that led on March 14, 2013, to official confirmation of the mysterious and coveted “God particle.”
The quest “was like seeing a person in the fog — you knew there was a person there, but you weren’t sure who it was,” Andy Parker, a Cambridge professor and Higgs investigator, said.
Physics: There are 12 different matter particles — 6 quarks which make up protons and neutrons and 6 leptons, which include electrons and neutrinos. These are the basic building blocks of all matter. Then there are the 4 fundamental forces of the universe — gravity, electromagnetic, strong and weak forces. Each of the fundamental forces is thought to have its own boson, or carrier particle. The Higgs boson may transfer mass and it gains mass by passing through the invisible Higgs field, which extends across the entire universe.
Parallel to these important theories in physics, in medicine there are thousands of different named diseases but a very limited number of theories of disease under which they fall: the germ theory, immune theory and carcinogenesis (mutations leasing to cancer) being most recognizable by laymen.
Toxicant-induced Loss of Tolerance, like the Higgs boson, has remained in the shadows awaiting confirmation by the right researchers with the right tools. It is a transformative disease paradigm hidden by the ever present but elusive phenomenon “masking.” Masking is something we all experience but most are unaware of. It is related to addiction: If we are unmasked and go into withdrawal, e.g. from caffeine, favorite foods or alcohol, we may deliberately ingest a little hair of the dog that bit us to curtail unpleasant withdrawal symptoms.
What exactly is TILT? TILT is not simply an acronym — like the Higgs boson, it is a radical discovery that has the potential to transform medical science and neighboring fields of addiction, toxicology, psychology/psychiatry. Theories of disease affect how we think about underlying causes for illness, what researchers study, and suggest new ways to diagnose and treat conditions as diverse as fever, cancer and asthma. TILT joins a tiny handful of existing theories of disease, taking its place alongside the germ theory (infection), the immune theory, carcinogenesis and endocrine disruption. Currently we are in the germ theory stage in terms of our understanding of TILT, somewhere near the same stage as the germ theory of disease was in the 1890s or the immune theory of disease in the 1960s before the discovery of IgE.
Why has TILT come to light so late in human history — 120 years after the germ theory and 50 years after the immune theory of disease? It’s really no surprise: The causative agents for the germ theory and the immune theory have been with us since humankind began. On the other hand, the synthetic organic chemicals that have led to the 2-step TILT process are new since World War II. Doctors today don’t recognize the huge impact of indoor air. We spend 90 percent of our day indoors and exposed to tens of thousands of evolutionarily novel synthetic organic chemicals.
In science new theories emerge when we observe new patterns that point to an underlying structure we do not understand. Compelling anomalies spur the search for new theories. Observations that don’t fit prevailing paradigms point to the existence of new rules. A period of uncertainty and debate precedes the emergence of a new paradigm.
As with the Higgs boson, enough evidence currently exists to dispel doubts about TILT, but scientific inquiry is the key to advancing our understanding.