Saturday, August 27, 2005

5 y.o. Autistic boy dies during chelation therapy

News was released overnight confirming that a 5 year old with Autism, has died during chelation therapy in the U.S.

Chelation is the removal of heavy metals within the body with a binding agent. It is a legitimate therapy that is used in cases of heavy metal poisoning. The anti-vaccinationists and environmental medicine supporters have jumped at this treatment as a method to remove toxins from the body. One of the toxins they claim to be able to remove from the body is mercury, which the anti-vaccinationists claim is used in vaccinations and causes autism.

Their theory is that if mercury causes autism (which it doesn't) then removing the mercury will cure the autism. This leads alternative therapists to use chelation on people who will not get any benefit from the treatment. Chelationists treat for Mercury and other heavy metals without even testing to see if there is an excess amount of the metal in the victim's system.

EDTA, is just one of many chelating agents. This appears to be the agent of choice for many people, despite the fact that it is relatively ineffective in removing mercury. EDTA is administered intraveneously, where the much more effective DSMA is simply taken as a pill. Apart from being able to charge more for an IV treatment then a pill, it is hard to understand why EDTA would have been used.

So, will this needless death stop the chelationists? Not likely! Today I received a copy of an e-mail that is already being sent to medical and alternative practitioners. This e-mail is from a doctor who believes that mercury causes autism and offers EDTA chelation therapy. The letter warns people to ignore the upcoming poor media, claims that there has NEVER been an EDTA death when it is administered correctly and confirms "I hope those who have experience with it in their practice are NOT GOING TO STOP USING it.."

Straight from the horse's mouth. No talk about starting to look at the reality of no link between autism and vaccinations, no talk about not using the outdated and ineffective EDTA, no talk about stopping a practice which has no solid scientific evidence behind it.

"There is only one truth. How we interpret that truth is called belief."
"The existence of belief does not indicate the prescence of truth"

As further information comes to light and as I complete further research, this topic will be updated.

Sunday, August 21, 2005

Prince Charles Charity Promotes Health Fraud

Australia's future head of state has just launched a promotion enticing doctors become involved in health fraud. Through his registered charity, The Prince of Wales's Foundation for Integrative Health, Doctors are being encouraged to provide patients with herbal treatments and vitamins, rather than medications.

This from the same unreliable source who last year tried to get the government to research Gerson Therapy (carrot juice and coffee enemas) as a cancer cure. Now I enjoy a good hot cup of coffee as much as anyone, but I don't think I'll be tempted to try a coffee enema. I prefer to drink mine. Obviously no-one has told Prince Charles about the study in the Lancet showing high levels of Beta Carotene actually increase the risk of cancer. (especially in smokers)

The Gerson Institute is now operated by the founder's daughter. While the office is in San Diego, the treatments are performed in licensed clinincs, mostly operating out the Mexican town of Tijuana. Why Tijuana? you might ask. The US government frowns upon organisations that charge US$4,900 per week with treatments that have no evidence of effectiveness. That's right, there is no clear evidentiary proof that Gerson Therapy works. Working over the border in Mexico, they are not subject to US laws.

Gerson supporters will immediately point you to a book that supposedly details the successful treatment of 50 patients, but those claims do not hold up under closer scrutiny. A retired Australian Surgeon, Peter Moran, has delved into the so-called 50 cases and completed a case by case review. The review points out that in most cases the cancer was not confirmed before the treatment. Having patients being cancer-free is a bit easier, when they never had cancer in the first place. The US National Cancer Institute has also reviewed 10 cases, selected by Dr. Gerson's patients, but they were unable to say if it was the Gerson therapy that was responsible for the improved health as the patients were also having regular cancer treatment.

This is also a popular way to claim success. Have the patient undergo chemotherapy and eat a carrot. If they are cured, it must have been the carrott, if they die, it's proof that chemo is a failure.

It is clear that Prince Charles has no real idea about the way in which cancer works. That he uses his influence to promote fraud is bad enough, but how on earth does he manage to get this fraud promoting organisation to be tax-free and eligible for tax deductible donations. Is this the type of person that Australians want as our next head of state? Is this the type of person who should be giving any medical advice at all? Would Prince Charles forgo conventional treatment and rely on Gerson Therapy if he was diagnosed with cancer?

Being advised that you have cancer can be a severe blow. It's something that only those of us who have been through it will ever really understand. While it may be tempting to try a "natural alternative", the consequences of that decision are devastating. A small study at the Westmead hospital in Sydney, Australia on breast cancer patients, showed that those with operable cancer who elected to delay conventional treatment to trial alternative therapies, had their cancer metastasize (spread to other parts of the body) by the time they decided the alternative treatment was not working.

The "natural alternative" may not kill you, but it may delay treatment so that a curable cancer does kill you. Dr. Crea, as quoted in a newspaper interview, said "There is no alternative therapy to cure a breast cancer. Women can think there is if they like, but they end up dead."

"There is only one truth. How we interpret that truth is called belief."
"The existence of belief does not indicate the prescence of truth"

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Home treatments put children in danger

Research by the Royal Children’s Hospital in Melbourne has shown that parents had given more than half of their patients, treatments that are untested or have failed testing. In the majority of cases, the treatment was decided on advice from family and friends, not from anyone with medical training. What is more alarming, is that two-thirds of parents treating their children with these untested and failed remedies never discuss the use of the treatments with their doctor. (Links to study not yet available on-line)

This is a major concern as the various herbs, vitamins and other treatments can interact with real medicine. Herbs such as St John’s Wort and Ginko Biloba and some vitamins are known to magnify the effect of certain medications, while making others ineffective. It is vital for the health of each child, that doctors know what children are being given at home.

While we all need a certain amount of vitamins to be healthy, there is little evidence that taking vitamins in large doses is beneficial. In fact, with some vitamins, there is ample evidence that it can do more harm than good.

Several studies have shown a link between Vitamin A and osteoporosis. A 2004 study showed an alarming correlation between food allergies and children taking multivitamin supplements at an early age.

A healthy balanced diet should provide more than enough of the essential vitamins to avoid illness. If you are concerned that your children may not have enough vitamins, it is far safer to open the fridge and grab some fruit or vegetables, than to grab for a bottle of pills.

If in doubt, see your doctor first.

"There is only one truth. How we interpret that truth is called belief."
"The existence of belief does not indicate the prescence of truth"