Monday, March 22, 2010

Get Your Holistic Fix

Last weekend, I noticed an interesting article in the print and on-line versions if the St. Petersburg Times:

Hepatitis C outbreak at Brandon holistic clinic blamed on syringes

A hepatitis C outbreak at a holistic medical clinic in Brandon was likely caused by the reuse of syringes on patients undergoing intravenous therapies, a state health official said Friday.
The news above would not be that interesting, as it can happen anywhere, although I do not think it happens too often at hospitals anymore, however, it's the reason people went to this "clinic" that makes me sad:
Dr. Carol Roberts, director of the clinic, said the eight patients were undergoing chelation therapy to remove what she described as toxic metals from their bodies.
So, we have a clear case, where alt-med (or, as some prefer to call it, SCAM - So-called Complementary and Alternative Medicine) really, really can do harm. I can almost bet that most of the people who were getting this therapy did not have anything wrong with them, but were sold this unproven, unnecessary and dangerous modality as a way to "get the toxins out of their body". It can't do any harm, it's holistic (or natural), you know!!!
As pointed out in the article:
Chelation, which uses IV medications to grab heavy metals and minerals out of the blood and remove them from the body, is approved by the FDA only for lead poisoning and heavy-metal toxicity. The use of it by some practitioners for conditions like autism and heart disease has drawn controversy to the practice.
Hopefully, a bit of attention in the news will help to steer a few people away from this (or other "holistic") woo-woo nonsenses.