The National Academy
of Research Biochemists
of Research Biochemists
Stephen Barrett, M.D.
The National Academy of Research Biochemists (NARB) was a professional-sounding organization whose only requirement for membership was payment of a fee. It is one of several that anyone could join in order to get a professional-looking "credential" to hang on the wall. This article is based mainly on investigations conducted in 1992. Since that time, I have seen no mention of NARB in any of the many "alternative" publications I monitor. However, some practitioners have listed NARB membership among their credentials.
In 1992, NARB's membership application was an 8.5 x 3.5-inch card that asked only for the individual's name, company/organization if applicable, address, telephone number, referral source, and the date of application. Membership, which cost $79, provided a one-year subscription to NARB's "journal" and a membership certificate "to frame and proudly display."  The certificate, signed by NARB president James Homer Russell, reads:
NARB appears to have begun operating in 1981, when it began monthly publication of "The Clinical Nutritionist." In 1986, its publication was changed to "The Journal," which became bimonthly in June 1989. NARB's membership flyer states that, "Every issue brings our members the enjoyment of reading and understanding many truths hidden from most physicians." The 1992 issues—the only ones I have seen—have 16 to 20 pages each (not including their covers) and contain a total of 15 full-length articles, seven by Richard P. Murray, DC, and three by Judith A. DeCava, CNC. Many of the articles make unfounded recommendations for supplements. One article covers the use of tongue and pulse diagnosis for detecting "toxic metals" in the body. Another suggests that the cause of AIDS is not a virus, and several others attack fluoridation and immunization.
The masthead stated that NARB was located in Fullerton, California and that its "owner" was the James Homer Russell Foundation. Three other Russells were listed as journal editors. NARB's members were said to be "osteopaths, naturopaths, medical doctors, dentists, chiropractors, nutritional consultants, nurses, professionals, students . . . and anyone interested in the most up-to-date information concerning biochemical nutrition." NARB is not listed in the 1988 edition of Encyclopedia of Organizations or the 1998 edition of Gale's Encyclopedia of Health Organizations and Agencies.
NARB's most visible member was Richard P. Murray, DC. During the late 1970s, Murray was one of two lecturers at the "Doctors' Seminar on Nutrition," a meeting primarily for chiropractors, at which he taught them how to use dietary supplements to treat disease. Brochures for the seminar said that he practiced "more nutrition than any other doctor in America" and was selling "over $200,000 worth of supplements each year." (It was not specified whether this was a wholesale figure or the price paid by patients.) Murray retired from active practice in 1986, continued to give lectures until at least 1992, and died in 1996.
In 1991, a seminar flyer described Murray as "the dean of contemporary clinical nutrition," an "internationally acclaimed researcher, teacher, and consultant," and a life-long friend and colleague of Dr. Royal S. Lee. Lee was a nonpracticing dentist who co-founded the National Health Federation (a "health food" industry advocacy group), started a food supplement company ((Vitamin Products Company), and organized the Lee Foundation for Nutritional Research, a prolific distributor of health and nutrition literature. In 1939, he was convicted of misbranding a vitamin concoction (Catalyn) by falsely claiming that it was effective against more than 50 ailments. He was fined $800 and ordered to pay $4,006 in court costs. In 1941, 1946, and 1954, the Federal Trade Commission ordered him and his company to stop disseminating false advertisements for many of their vitamin products. In 1962, he and the company were convicted of misbranding 115 products by making false claims of effectiveness against more than 500 diseases and conditions. Lee received a one-year suspended prison term and was fined $7,000. In 1963, a prominent FDA official said Lee was "probably the largest publisher of unreliable and false nutritional information in the world." Lee died in 1967, but the company (now called Standard Process, Inc.) is still marketing many of the same products—primarily through chiropractors. One of Lee's principles, listed in Standard Process's booklet "Applications of Nutritional Principles for the Chiropractic Profession," was "A fact need not be 'proved' to be useful."
Dietitian Jack Raso, MS, RD, attended a Murray seminar in June 1992. The event, attended by about 50 people, was sponsored by a distributor for Nutri-West, another company that markets mainly through chiropractors. During the meeting, Murray described how he had twisted his ankle while stepping walking on a pile of lumber. After about twelve days of limping around with what he thought was a sprained ankle, he discovered a splinter of wood in the crumpled flesh of his heel. He removed it but soon afterward he became delirious and wound up in a hospital where a diagnosis of gangrene led to amputation of his leg. Murray's lecture was filled with such nonsense as:
- The diet/serum cholesterol/heart disease connection is a "scam"
- Pasteurization renders calcium unabsorbable from milk
- Food devoid of enzymes cannot sustain human life
- Everything we eat is contaminated with poison. 
Copies of NARB's "journal" and other handouts were displayed on a table at the back of the room. Most of the handouts were 2-page articles written by Murray or DeCava. Murray's articles were headed "Institute of Practical Biochemistry, Educational Division of the Biomedical Health Foundation." DeCava's articles were mainly about products.
DeCava's writings also include The Real Truth About Vitamins and Antioxidants, an anti-immunization book, and Nutrition News & Views, a newsletter that NutriPlex Formulas distributed in 2000 to health professionals who were frequent customers. Various biographical sketches have included "CNC, PhD" after her name and described her as: a "nutritional counselor" who served for many years as chief consultant for R. Murray & Associates; a "regular writer" for the Institute of Practical Biochemistry; and executive vice president of the Biomedical Health Foundation. "CNC" stands for Certified Nutritional Consultant, a dubious credential obtainable for $150 plus passage of an open-book examination.
NARB also offered tapes of several nutritional seminars (most including presentations by Murray) and copies of the "Murray Health Scan," an 8-page form to be completed by clients and sent with $65 to Murray for "complete nutritional analysis."
Other NARB Members
Since 1999, I have searched the Internet and organizational directories for evidence that NARB, the James Homer Russell Foundation, the Institute of Practical Biochemistry, or the Biomedical Health Foundation were still active. I found no such evidence, but various Web sites have contained information about several people who included NARB membership in their credentials.
- Avraham Ben-Rahamiël Qanaï, ND, OMM, AKTh who practiced naturopathy in Troy, New York.
- Adriaan Van Beveren, PhD, CNC, who operates the Health Integration Center in Skillman, New Jersey, represents himself as a clinical physiologist and nutritional biochemist. Several years ago, his Web site indicated that he had "chosen to emphasize the function (enzymology) of healthy people" and that, "Distress, accidents, and auto-intoxication make up the bulk of discomfort in our culture. Distressing vibrations (such as those resulting from the inability to be in charge of one's own life) percolate up from the auric fields affecting molecular and biochemical events manifesting in physiological and psychological phenomena and, in time, finally incorporate anatomical consequences."
- Robert Borzone, DC, taught at the New Center College for Holistic Education & Research. (in 2007, Borzone asked me to remove his name from this article and said that he and a colleague terminated their memberships in 1988 when they found that references cited in one of Murray's articles "were not related to the information in the article or could not be found at all.")
- Gregory Earl Caplinger is a medical impostor who has been prosecuted for practicing medicine without a license and is now serving a is serving a long prison sentence for health-related swindles.
- Stephen A Cherniske, MS has been described as a biochemist, nutritionist, medical writer, and "one of the leading anti-aging authorities."
- Lawrence S. Conlan, DC, a chiropractor who practiced in Boulder, Colorado. In 2009, Conlan notified me that he had "joined that organization approximately 1981 or 82 while in chiropractic college because I had taken a seminar on a weekend studying an acupuncture form whose teacher automatically signed us all up in the organization."
- Richard D. Fischer, DDS, who practices dentistry in Annandale, Virginia. His Web site describes him as a "charter member" of NARB, a board-certified naturopath, and past president (1994-1996) of the International Academy of Oral Medicine and Toxicology, an organization that opposes the use of amalgam fillings.
- Gust C. Gallucci, DC, a chiropractor in Mayfield Heights, Ohio.
- Alfred W. Garbutt III, DC, a chiropractor who practices in La Crescenta, California.
- Vincent D. Gentiluomo, DC, founder/promoter of the Gentle Awakening Program, which he says can awaken "permanent peace of mind."
- Roberta Lee, DD, PhD, ND, who is said to have been a "special consultant to the United States Army in studies relating to Kirlian Photography and stress-induced situations."
- Louis E. Persichetti, DC, who operated the Greentree Total Health Center, in Marlton, New Jersey and "specialized in the treatment of neck and back pain, muscular sprains and strains, carpal tunnel syndrome, pinched nerves, arm and leg pain, numbness and tingling, TMJ syndrome and all chronic and difficult conditions."
- Skip Shoden operates Higher Ground Health Products, Marina Del Ray, California, which sells "the most energetically superior, well researched natural health supplements available on the market today."
- Bruce West, DC publishes Heath Alert, a newsletter filled with sensational claims that various nutrient products made by Standard Process Laboratories are effective against a wide range of diseases. For many years he also sold the products. The newsletter's home page describes him as a "founding member" of NARB. He advertises himself as "Dr. Bruce West" without mentioning that he is a chiropractor. In private correspondence, West has referred to himself as a "clinical biochemist" and said he "subspecialized" in biochemistry and received a "Ph.D." with his D.C. degree when he graduated from the Columbia Institute of Chiropractic, but I have seen no public mention of this. (Of course, no such training program would provide the equivalent of an standard university Ph.D. program in biochemistry.)
- Membership. Undated flyer, distributed in 1992. Fullerton, CA: National Academy of Research Biochemists.
- Raso J. Chiropractic nutrition: The "supplement underground." In Raso J. Mystical Diets. Amherst, NY: Prometheus Books, 1993, pp 213-223.
This article was revised on May 26, 2009.