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Tags alternative medicine , chelation

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Old 23rd June 2008, 09:41 PM   #1
HipNixon
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Chelation newspaper article

This is a shameless plug for an article that I printed in my newspaper last month. It has generated several letters to the editor and some harassing telephone calls.

I thought you might like to see how skepticism looks when its written for the mainstream media. I went to great lengths to make sure it was fair to both sides.


Trick or treatment?
Local doctor says he can cure severe brain and heart problems, but medical experts say the procedure is modern snake oil and may kill some patients.

By Michael Hartwell
In a small office filled with framed Bible passages and Kevin Trudeau books about medical conspiracies, Dr. Raymond Psonak confidently states that he can cure or severely reduce the effects of Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer's disease, multiple sclerosis, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, Lou Gehrig’s disease and autism.

“That’s the biggest thing we’re doing now,” said Psonak of autism. He runs the Environmental Health & Complementary Medicine clinic near the Interstate 495 ramp in Gray with his wife Janet, a registered nurse. She assists him and doubles as the receptionist.

Psonak, a former engineer and a licensed osteopath, uses a technique called chelation therapy where patients are hooked up to an IV drip and receive ethylenediamine tetraacetic acid, known as EDTA.

Laura, a 38-year-old mother from Cumberland has two sons, one 6 and one 7, with forms of autism being chelated by Psonak. She asked that her last name and the names of her children be left out.

“I immediately saw changes in my sons,” said Laura. “I recovered my oldest child with it.”

She said she was frustrated with the lack of hope her regular doctor gave her in regards to treatment for autism.

“I couldn’t believe what I was being told, that there was nothing I could do,” she said. Laura said she read a couple books about biomedical solutions like chelation and found more support on the Internet.

She said before chelation, her older son could only say two words: “Momma” and “more.” Now, according to Laura, he can compose sentences and taught himself to operate a computer by watching his brother use it.

According to Psonak, chelating-agent EDTA was developed in American in the 1940s to treat shipbuilders who had high exposure to lead. EDTA binds to heavy metals in the bloodstream and it is removed by the urinary system.

Psonak said that most doctors misunderstand an array of neurological disorders. He said these disorders can be attributed to heavy metal poisoning, such as lead or mercury, and chelation therapy will remove them and help reverse the damage.

Psonak said chelation agents also work to unclog blood vessels and can eliminate the need for certain operations, although most experts are skeptical.

In a typical week, Psonak said he administers chelation therapy to 12 to 15 different patients. Some come to the office multiple times a week, depending on the diagnosis, and each visit costs between $100 and $160.

“Lou Gehrig’s disease is pretty much a death sentence,” said Psonak. “There’s nothing the medical profession can offer.”

Experts disagree

Dr. Ron Burgess of Southern Maine Medical Center in Kennebunk, on the other hand, said he knows exactly why he doesn’t use chelation to treat neurological disorders: it’s dangerous and it there’s no reason to believe it works.

Burgess is also the president of the Maine chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics and said he warns parents of children with neurological disorders like autism to avoid chelation therapy.

"You have to weigh the risks and the benefits," said Burgess. "The risks far outweigh any benefit you could get."

Burgess said chelation may cause low blood pressure, low blood sugar and loss of consciousness or even death. He said on top of that, no study has concluded any benefits of chelation therapy for neurological disorders.

Psonak said the only side effects he’s aware of are to blood pressure and blood sugar, and he compensates for this by having the patient eat before treatment and slowly administering the EDTA. He said a treatment session takes about three hours and the only death he’s heard was from an allergic reaction.

"The only time chelation is effective is when someone has acute lead poisoning," said Burgess. "It’s a standard medical treatment that’s been pulled over to the complimentary medicine"

Complimentary and alternative medicine is a popular branch of medicine that is based on new age religious beliefs instead of scientific observations. Burgess said there is a lot less government regulation in complimentary and alternative medicine.

“Wherever services are scattered and uneven, you see a rise of fad cures and pseudoscience, said Vincent Strully, chief executive officer and founder of the New England Center for Children in Southborough, Mass, a school that specializes in teaching autistic children. He said autistic children need to be treated with educational approaches, “Not chemistry and psychopharmacology.”

Burgess said that even when children come in with acute lead poisoning, chelation therapy isn’t always the answer.

"We're always very hesitant to chelate kids because it could cause more damage," said Burgess. He said that chelation therapy pulls heavy metals that have settled into the bones and tissue. These metals travel through the blood stream and into the brain, where they may cause additional damage.

Strully said doctors like Psonak believe their treatments are working because of confirmation bias. That is, when they see a patient who seems to be approving they attribute it to the treatment. When patients don’t improve they write it off as a fluke. In something as fluid as human behavior, it’s easy to think the patient is improving when they are staying the same.

“Wherever services are scattered and uneven, you see a rise of fad cures and pseudoscience,” said Strully. He said until evidence surfaces that shows otherwise, autistic children need to be treated with educational approaches, “Not chemistry and psychopharmacology.”

Parents swear by chelation

Laura said she is confident that chelation worked for her children.

“They’re wrong, they absolutely wrong,” she said of doctors who reject chelation. “I have two sons in my living room who have been cured. How is it that parents are not being told about this?”

She now heads a support group in Portland made up of more than a score of mothers with autistic children who use chelation therapy.

Speaking in general about parents who give their children chelation therapy, Dr. Robert Baratz, an assistant clinical professor of medicine at Boston University School of Medicine and an active researcher, said it’s not uncommon for parents to see positive results that aren’t there.

“When you want to believe, you believe,” said Baratz. He said some autistic children naturally show improvements or receive false diagnosis. Baratz said a parent who has tried an unconventional treatment will attribute any positive results to that treatment, even if they are using mainstream treatment at the same time.

He said to see if a treatment works, large studies need to be made by “Objective, dispassionate observers.” He said it’s a bad idea to take the word of desperate parents and doctors who are already selling the treatment.

“In science, you make an observation and you try to figure out why it happens. What these guys are doing is starting with a conclusion and trying to prove it,” said Baratz. He said the research clearly shows that chelating autistic children doesn’t help them and puts then at risk of serious side effects.

“The fact of the matter is, this is a form of child abuse,” said Baratz. “And they’re absolutely in danger of dying.”

Metal poisoning

“All the autistic kids we have tested have heavy metal poisoning,” said Psonak. He said autism is caused by mercury poisoning and most of the people he tests show some form of heavy metal poisoning and are in need of chelation treatment.

Burgess said the problem is there is no standard for what amount of heavy metal exposure is a cause for concern.

“I call that the penny stock argument,” said Baratz. “When a penny stock doubles in value, how much did you make?”

“A penny,” he said. He said the levels being observed by chelation doctors like Psonak are usually a few parts per billion.

“No one has a level of zero,” said Baratz. He said tests have shown trace amounts in the graves of indigenous people.

Psonak said that autism rates used to be one in 3,000, but now the rate is 1 in 150. He said this jump can partially be explained by thimerosal, a mercury-based preservative that was present in vaccines until 1999. He said some vaccines still have some heavy metals in them.

“The rates of autism have continued unaffected by the introduction and removal of thimerosal,” said Strully

Burgess said children will get more than four times the amount of mercury from eating a predatory fish meal, like tuna or swordfish than they would have got from a vaccine when thimerosal was used.

Psonak said that when most doctors test for heavy metal poisoning, they use a standard blood test and will often come up with negative results. He said this is flawed because heavy metals may have been absorbed into tissues and bones.

He said when he tests a patient to see if they have heavy metal poisoning and are in need of chelation therapy, he gives them a single chelation treatment to draw out the metals and then checks their blood for heavy metals.

“The recommendation for chelation is typically preceded by a phony test for heavy metals, following by a phony claim that the cause of the autism is heavy metal poisoning,” said Dr. Stephen Barrett, a retired psychiatrist who operates the website Chelation.watch.org. He said the treatment is worthless for anything other than acute lead poisoning.

Cleaning blood vessels

Psonak said that chelation therapy can also clear blood vessels of calcium buildups. He said in the 11 years he’s been giving chelation therapy, he’s seen numerous patients make miraculous recoveries.

He said one patient had a gangrene leg that three different surgeons said should been amputated. Psonak said gangrene is when blood is unable to feed oxygen to tissue and he chelated the man to improve blood flow. He said the gangrene got better over the next month and the surgeon said he no longer needed to amputate if it continued to improve. It improved, according to Psonak, and no amputation was ever needed.

On his website, Psonak says most coronary bypass operations are unnecessary.

“If you have been told that you need a coronary bypass operation, you can "bypass' the bypass with Chelation therapy,” it reads.

Psonak said the Food and Drug Administration has approved chelation therapy for lead poisoning, but nothing else.

“The FDA has not approved it for taking plaque out of arteries,” he said. He said the way the law works, physicians are allowed to experimentally use treatments on patients if they think it can help.

Baratz said he’s encountered this approach before and finds it unethical.

“They are in fact doing an experiment on their patients, the question is for what gain, and the answer is for money,” said Baratz.

The American Heart Association has a section on its website devoted to chelation therapy and claims of blood vessel cleansing.

“After carefully reviewing all the available scientific literature on this subject, the American Heart Association has concluded that the benefits claimed for this form of therapy aren’t scientifically proven. That’s why we don’t recommend this type of treatment,” it reads.

The webpage also lists potential side effects as kidney failure, bone marrow depression, shock, low blood pressure, convulsions, allergic reactions, disturbances of hearth rhythm and respiratory arrest.

In 1998, the Federal Trade Commission charged the pro-chelation American College for Advancement in Medicine with false advertising. Among other claims for chelation therapy, the FTC banned the organization from advertising chelation as a treatment for any form of circulatory disease. However, this ban affects the organization as a whole while individual members are still able to continue to make these claims.

When asked, Psonak said he hadn’t heard about the FTC ban and would look into it.

Back in Gray, Dr. Psonak and his wife said they believe they’re helping a lot of people with chelation therapy and business is booming. Psonak announced this week he is changing the name of his clinic to the Chelation Medical Center, LLC and is looking for another location.

“We’ve outgrown our space here,” said Psonak. He said he’s hoping to replace his 1,200 square foot clinic with a place atleast twice as large.
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Old 23rd June 2008, 10:40 PM   #2
Slimething
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Why did you try to make it even-handed? I think your heart was in the right place but bunk is bunk. All you did by not stridently going after the quack is giving him the doubt he needs to fire back at you for presenting the science. If you have a point to make, make it. Don't pussyfoot with these people.
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Old 23rd June 2008, 11:03 PM   #3
jimtron
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Originally Posted by Slimething View Post
Why did you try to make it even-handed? I think your heart was in the right place but bunk is bunk. All you did by not stridently going after the quack is giving him the doubt he needs to fire back at you for presenting the science. If you have a point to make, make it. Don't pussyfoot with these people.

I disagree--I think it's best when a news article take a neutral point of view and tells both/all sides of the story, letting the reader make up their own mind.

Nice work, Hipnixon!

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Old 23rd June 2008, 11:27 PM   #4
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That's a pretty common position skeptics take when they criticize the media. So why didn't I just walk up, hit chelation hard and fast and call it a day.

Because that's not fair.

A few years ago when I was in college and wrote an article asking for more research into the claims of intelligent design, I received a few responces from biology department faculty that said I misunderstood the issue. I remember one them, a Dr. Kinnison, was suprised at how eager I was to print his defense of evolution.

As a truth-seeker, I believe in the power of the public forum. This was a front-page news story, not a mid-issue editorial. Thusly, I need to make sure both sides get to make their arguments. Thats not the same as giving equal time and space to unequal positions.

If I wrote an article about plate tectonics, I wouldn't seek out a young-earth creationist. I would, however, give that side some space if it was a story on young-earth creationism. This was an article on chelation and the public deserves to know what the chelation mongerors believe.

I've talked to a dozen people who read the story and every one of them walked away with the position that Dr. Stephen Barrett presented. I believe skeptical arguements are so strong that they don't need propaganda.

In this article, science and pseudoscience were put in the same arena. As a gatekeeper of information, I made sure no logical fallacies went unchecked. I kept tactics like the Gish Gallop down.

What skepticism needs to win is trained referees, not cheerleaders.
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Old 24th June 2008, 08:38 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by HipNixon View Post
What skepticism needs to win is trained referees, not cheerleaders.
I agree. Especially if we want to do some good among believers of quackery or psychics. If we only use 'cheerleading', a layman will see two strident defenses and have to choose between them. When hysteria comes down, a sober, even-handed response has more chances of getting him/her to question his/her beliefs. We do need more objective and less opinionated journalism. Teach people to think by themselves !

Good article by the way.
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Old 24th June 2008, 11:32 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by HipNixon View Post
That's a pretty common position skeptics take when they criticize the media. So why didn't I just walk up, hit chelation hard and fast and call it a day.

Because that's not fair. {snip}

As a truth-seeker, I believe in the power of the public forum. This was a front-page news story, not a mid-issue editorial. Thusly, I need to make sure both sides get to make their arguments. Thats not the same as giving equal time and space to unequal positions.
"Fair" is fine when a social issue is the topic. It does not work when one is dealing with factual issues.

Originally Posted by HipNixon View Post
If I wrote an article about plate tectonics, I wouldn't seek out a young-earth creationist. {snip}
Why not? There are flat-Earthers, too. If you want to be "fair," you should always seek alternative opinions, no matter how stupid. You wrote an article about chelation which, in the context, is abject quackery. That is not a matter of opinion, it is a fact. A "fair" presentation leaves people with the impression that it may not be quackery.

Originally Posted by HipNixon View Post
I've talked to a dozen people who read the story and every one of them walked away with the position that Dr. Stephen Barrett presented. I believe skeptical arguements are so strong that they don't need propaganda.
This anecdote does not sway me. When we consider how many people use quackery, today, I don't think John Q. Public has the ability to sort things out.

Originally Posted by HipNixon View Post
In this article, science and pseudoscience were put in the same arena. As a gatekeeper of information, I made sure no logical fallacies went unchecked. I kept tactics like the Gish Gallop down. {snip}
If you filtered the banter, that's not "fair." (You get credit for knowing about Gish.)

Offering quackery as if it were debatable is not a public service.
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Old 24th June 2008, 11:54 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by JJM View Post
"Fair" is fine when a social issue is the topic. It does not work when one is dealing with factual issues.
Don't you think the type of audience the article is aimed at has a role too ? I mean, if you're talking here about chelation (or Sylvia Browne), you can say that it's shameless fraud, and we'll all agree. But, if you're talking about it to, say, my clueless new-ager cousin who would consider it to treat her autistic son, I think you have to be a little less opinionated to make yourself heard. You have to present the facts, yes, but in such a way that shows that you have examined the claims objectively.
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Old 24th June 2008, 01:46 PM   #8
JJM
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Originally Posted by krazyKemist View Post
Don't you think the type of audience the article is aimed at has a role too ? {snip}
One must always address the appropriate audience; but pretending that chelationists have a valid point of view does not serve the purpose.
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Old 24th June 2008, 01:49 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by JJM View Post
This anecdote does not sway me. When we consider how many people use quackery, today, I don't think John Q. Public has the ability to sort things out.
This is a large part of why skepticism and critical thinking are so generally unpopular. Arguments in favour of skeptical approaches typically take this sort of dismissive, paternalist, elitist attitude which alienates and angers an audience against the skeptic. The "because I said so" overbearing headmaster approach is rarely effective. It does nothing but feed the skeptic's ego, and persecution complex when he's rejected due to his abrasive and exclusionary demeanor.

By contrast, new age and other woo is often presented in a much more sympathetic manner, making the feel that he's more involved, and has gained special knowledge that others around him lack, feeding on the victim's ego and sense of self-worth. It's inclusive, rather than exclusive; and people will always respond better to such an approach.

People are capable of thinking critically, and making informed decisions, when they're presented with the information. Some will always make the wrong decisions, for whatever reasons they have; and no amount of browbeating or implied insults will change that.
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Old 24th June 2008, 02:23 PM   #10
JJM
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Originally Posted by luchog View Post
{snip} People are capable of thinking critically, and making informed decisions, when they're presented with the information. {snip}
A few people are, my experience with the general public contravenes you. Do you have data? I do not; except, woo is, unquestionably, big business. Their customers are not very discerning.
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Old 24th June 2008, 02:34 PM   #11
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Quote:
Why not? There are flat-Earthers, too. If you want to be "fair," you should always seek alternative opinions, no matter how stupid. You wrote an article about chelation which, in the context, is abject quackery. That is not a matter of opinion, it is a fact. A "fair" presentation leaves people with the impression that it may not be quackery.
I don't know how many flat-earthers there are, but I'm guessing it's less than 1% of the population. On the other hand, there is a very high percentage of people that believe in stuff like chelation therapy, homeopathy, evils of Western medicine etc. I know many people who believe in this stuff, people who are otherwise very intelligent and rational. One common complaint I hear from these folks, is that us skeptics don't even give the "alternative" methods a chance, because we're too closed-minded, or in the pocket of big pharma, or alternative medicince seems too weird to use, etc. So we can come off as smartass and cranky and closed-minded, or we can show people that we have open minds, and that we try to be objective, and argue both/all sides. I think that's a much more diplomatic, and more importantly, effective way of arguing.

eta:
Quote:
Arguments in favour of skeptical approaches typically take this sort of dismissive, paternalist, elitist attitude which alienates and angers an audience against the skeptic. The "because I said so" overbearing headmaster approach is rarely effective. It does nothing but feed the skeptic's ego, and persecution complex when he's rejected due to his abrasive and exclusionary demeanor.

By contrast, new age and other woo is often presented in a much more sympathetic manner, making the feel that he's more involved, and has gained special knowledge that others around him lack, feeding on the victim's ego and sense of self-worth. It's inclusive, rather than exclusive; and people will always respond better to such an approach.
Excellent points. I think we need to ask ourselves, do we want to get through to people who believe in woo, or are we only concerned with being right?

Last edited by jimtron; 24th June 2008 at 02:39 PM.
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Old 24th June 2008, 03:24 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by jimtron View Post
I don't know how many flat-earthers there are, but I'm guessing it's less than 1% of the population. On the other hand, there is a very high percentage of people that believe in stuff like chelation therapy, homeopathy, evils of Western medicine etc. I know many people who believe in this stuff, people who are otherwise very intelligent and rational. One common complaint I hear from these folks, is that us skeptics don't even give the "alternative" methods a chance, because we're too closed-minded, or in the pocket of big pharma, or alternative medicince seems too weird to use, etc. So we can come off as smartass and cranky and closed-minded, or we can show people that we have open minds, and that we try to be objective, and argue both/all sides. I think that's a much more diplomatic, and more importantly, effective way of arguing.

eta:

Excellent points. I think we need to ask ourselves, do we want to get through to people who believe in woo, or are we only concerned with being right?
"Whadda we Want?
No more Woo!
When do we want it?
We want it NOW!"

trouble is, the ones who keep chanting the mantra are a big part of the problem...
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Old 24th June 2008, 04:53 PM   #13
JJM
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Originally Posted by jimtron View Post
{snip} I think we need to ask ourselves, do we want to get through to people who believe in woo, or are we only concerned with being right?
Do you think presenting quackery as if it were, somehow, rational gets the point across that it is not?
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Old 24th June 2008, 06:51 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by jimtron View Post
... On the other hand, there is a very high percentage of people that believe in stuff like chelation therapy, homeopathy, evils of Western medicine etc. I know many people who believe in this stuff, people who are otherwise very intelligent and rational.
...
Don't know many people who "believe" in homeopathy, evils of Western medicine etc, but Chelation is based on science, not belief. Not only do many intelligent, educated Doctors know about it, but research on it is ongoing, and very promising. It is a complex and wide subject. Even those who should know better, still seem to be locked into the old EDTA controversy.

Quote:
What’s chelation therapy?
Chelation therapy is administering a man-made amino acid called EDTA into the veins. (EDTA is an abbreviation for ethylenediamine tetraacetic acid.
http://www.americanheart.org/present...tifier=3000843

They seem to be ignorant of advances and studies on Chelation, which is not just EDTA. EDTA is just one of many chelating agents.

Originally Posted by jimtron View Post
... One common complaint I hear from these folks, is that us skeptics don't even give the "alternative" methods a chance, because we're too closed-minded, or in the pocket of big pharma, or alternative medicince seems too weird to use, etc. So we can come off as smartass and cranky and closed-minded, or we can show people that we have open minds, and that we try to be objective, and argue both/all sides. I think that's a much more diplomatic, and more importantly, effective way of arguing. ...
Unless you are a Doctor who knows all about Chelation, or a researcher/Doctor working with Chelation, you can come across as ignorant, uninformed, and both a smartass AND a cranky close minded fool.

Even leading researchers don't know everything about Chelation. Why should anyone listen to you? ("You" being anyone who acts like an authority on chelation) If you are not a specialist in the field, you probably shouldn't say anything at all.

Originally Posted by jimtron View Post
...

I think we need to ask ourselves, do we want to get through to people who believe in woo, or are we only concerned with being right?
I'm more interested in knowing the truth than I am in being right. A quick search on chelation (15 minutes) turned up enough documents to dismiss anyone who claims "Chelation is woo". And that was without going to any "pro chelation" or alternative sites.

I have a dozen documents in front of me right now that show without a doubt, that Chelation is a very promising and useful medical treatment, for things ranging from Wilson's Disease to Heart disease, to minimize retinal inflammation secondary to laser photocoagulation, inhibition of tumor growth, and more. Agents like alpha-lipoic acid, dihydrolipoic acid and trientine are showing amazing results in both animal and human studies. Some of the studies are 12 years old. It isn't all new stuff.

Sources

Department of Veterinary Radiology, School of Veterinary Medicine, Rakuno Gakuen University, Hokkaido, Japan.

Département de pharmacologie, physiologie et physiopathologie, faculté de pharmacie, université de médecine et pharmacie « Iuliu Hatieganu », 41, Victor-Babes, Cluj-Napoca, Roumanie.

Diabetes 53:2501-2508, 2004
American Diabetes Association, Inc.

Department of Pediatrics, Mount Sinai Medical Center, Mount Sinai School of Medicine, New York, New York, USA.

Developmental Medicine Center, Children's Hospital, Boston, Harvard Medical School, MA 02115, USA.


Department of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences, University of British Columbia, 2550 Willow Street, Vancouver, BC, Canada, V5Z 3N9.


A Pubmed search will turn up hundreds of documents.

Last edited by robinson; 24th June 2008 at 06:53 PM. Reason: formatting
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Old 24th June 2008, 08:25 PM   #15
Slimething
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Originally Posted by HipNixon View Post
I thought you might like to see how skepticism looks when its written for the mainstream media. I went to great lengths to make sure it was fair to both sides.
Originally Posted by HipNixon View Post
That's a pretty common position skeptics take when they criticize the media. So why didn't I just walk up, hit chelation hard and fast and call it a day.

Because that's not fair.
Perhaps I was a little too terse in my criticism because you didn't get the point. You did not write a skeptical article. You wrote a review article. Then you got complaints from the woos and complained about it here.

You wrote a very good review article but it was in no way skeptical. There is nothing in your article that would make anyone who wasn't convinced in one thing or the other to question their belief or change their minds. There was no compelling fact in your article showing true evidence that one side was right or wrong. All you wrote was contradictory opinions from disagreeing experts.

If you want to write a skeptical article, do so. If you want to write expository articles about controversies, do that. The two are not equal. There is no need to be fair to both sides when one side is provably wrong. Don't complain about negative feedback as you gave those people plenty of credibility in your article to overcome their fear of looking foolish.
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Old 24th June 2008, 09:47 PM   #16
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Originally Posted by Slimething View Post
Perhaps I was a little too terse in my criticism because you didn't get the point. You did not write a skeptical article. You wrote a review article. Then you got complaints from the woos and complained about it here.

...

If you want to write a skeptical article, do so. If you want to write expository articles about controversies, do that. The two are not equal. There is no need to be fair to both sides when one side is provably wrong. Don't complain about negative feedback as you gave those people plenty of credibility in your article to overcome their fear of looking foolish.
I wish there was a way to respond without being condescending, but you've stepped outside your realm of understanding and adopted a malevolent tone.

Woo thrives in a one-sided climate. I believe when you show a more reasonable explanation in symphony with the nonsense, the truth shines through for most people.

The mainstream media does not work like a science lab. If a lot of people believe in a viewpoint, it usually needs to be addressed. Not always endorsed, but at the least addressed. Being fair to a view means to reveal what the proponents believe, and that's what the article did.

What you're asking me to do is masquerade as an expert and preach to the choir. I don't understand why you characterize any response to criticism as "complaints," but I imagine this will be added to the list.
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Old 24th June 2008, 10:18 PM   #17
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Wow, just wow. So you took my assessment as malevolent and I've missed the point? Why the heck did you even ask for a critique of your article if you weren't open to criticism? Why come here and parade a non-skeptical piece and ask "gee, how do guys like it?"

I've tried nicely but now I'll put it in plain English. Your piece was not persuasive. It was not dispositive. It was anything but skeptical. No facts. No stats. No theme. Just a bunch of "here it is, take away what you will". If you want to be mainstream, you have achieved the mediocrity you aspired to. Your piece does nothing for someone looking for information on which to make a decision.

I'm not asking you to mimic expertise, merely disclose the expetise of others. As a matter of fact, I'm not asking you do to anything anymore. I'm outta here. Sorry to bruise your ego. Wow, did you ever find the wrong forum!

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Old 24th June 2008, 10:58 PM   #18
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Double post.

Last edited by Slimething; 24th June 2008 at 11:00 PM.
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Old 25th June 2008, 12:09 AM   #19
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Originally Posted by JJM View Post
Do you think presenting quackery as if it were, somehow, rational gets the point across that it is not?
No.
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Old 25th June 2008, 12:50 AM   #20
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Originally Posted by robinson View Post
Don't know many people who "believe" in homeopathy, evils of Western medicine etc, but Chelation is based on science, not belief. Not only do many intelligent, educated Doctors know about it, but research on it is ongoing, and very promising. It is a complex and wide subject. Even those who should know better, still seem to be locked into the old EDTA controversy.

http://www.americanheart.org/present...tifier=3000843

They seem to be ignorant of advances and studies on Chelation, which is not just EDTA. EDTA is just one of many chelating agents.
Or, perhaps, you are ignorant of the facts http://www.quackwatch.org/01Quackery...chelation.html and the heart association is not so ignorant.

Originally Posted by robinson View Post
Unless you are a Doctor who knows all about Chelation, or a researcher/Doctor working with Chelation, you can come across as ignorant, uninformed, and both a smartass AND a cranky close minded fool.
You must be "a doctor who knows all about ... " because, otherwise, you seem to be ignorant, uninformed and a cranky close minded fool.

Originally Posted by robinson View Post
Even leading researchers don't know everything about Chelation. Why should anyone listen to you? ("You" being anyone who acts like an authority on chelation) If you are not a specialist in the field, you probably shouldn't say anything at all.
Or, you are a "leading reearcher ..." because, if you are not a specialist in the field, you probably shouldn't say anything at all.



Originally Posted by robinson View Post
I'm more interested in knowing the truth than I am in being right. A quick search on chelation (15 minutes) turned up enough documents to dismiss anyone who claims "Chelation is woo". And that was without going to any "pro chelation" or alternative sites.

I have a dozen documents in front of me right now that show without a doubt, that Chelation is a very promising and useful medical treatment, for things ranging from Wilson's Disease to Heart disease, to minimize retinal inflammation secondary to laser photocoagulation, inhibition of tumor growth, and more. Agents like alpha-lipoic acid, dihydrolipoic acid and trientine are showing amazing results in both animal and human studies. Some of the studies are 12 years old. It isn't all new stuff.

Sources

Department of Veterinary Radiology, School of Veterinary Medicine, Rakuno Gakuen University, Hokkaido, Japan.

Département de pharmacologie, physiologie et physiopathologie, faculté de pharmacie, université de médecine et pharmacie « Iuliu Hatieganu », 41, Victor-Babes, Cluj-Napoca, Roumanie.

Diabetes 53:2501-2508, 2004
American Diabetes Association, Inc.

Department of Pediatrics, Mount Sinai Medical Center, Mount Sinai School of Medicine, New York, New York, USA.

Developmental Medicine Center, Children's Hospital, Boston, Harvard Medical School, MA 02115, USA.


Department of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences, University of British Columbia, 2550 Willow Street, Vancouver, BC, Canada, V5Z 3N9.


A Pubmed search will turn up hundreds of documents.
It is unfortunate that you do not understand any of it. Funny, you searched the Net without coming up with any URLs.

This is a perfect example of what goes wrong when the reader is left to sort out information on technical topics.
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Old 25th June 2008, 01:44 AM   #21
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I did a google scolarsearch on chelation. There were plenty of studies on using it for confirmed heavy metal poisoing and for clearing iron in beta thalassemia. But in the area the article was covering, I got things like this in heart disease:

Quote:
Chelation therapy for coronary heart disease: An overview of all clinical investigations.
Clinical Investigations
American Heart Journal. 140(1):139-141, July 2000.
Ernst, E. MD, PhD, FRCP (Edin)

Abstract:
Background: Chelation therapy is popular in the United States. The question of whether it does more good than harm remains controversial.
Aim: The aim of this systematic review was to summarize all the clinical evidence for or against the effectiveness and efficacy of chelation therapy for coronary heart disease.
Methods: A thorough search strategy was implemented to retrieve all clinical investigations regardless of whether they were controlled or uncontrolled.
Results: The most striking finding is the almost total lack of convincing evidence for efficacy. Numerous case reports and case series were found. The majority of these publications seem to indicate that chelation therapy is effective. Only 2 controlled clinical trials were located. They provide no evidence that chelation therapy is efficacious beyond a powerful placebo effect. Conclusion: Given the potential of chelation therapy to cause severe adverse effects, this treatment should now be considered obsolete. (Am Heart J 2000;140:139-41.)
http://pt.wkhealth.com/pt/re/amhj/ab...195628!8091!-1

And this RCT:

Quote:
Conclusion Based on exercise time to ischemia, exercise capacity, and quality of life measurements, there is no evidence to support a beneficial effect of chelation therapy in patients with ischemic heart disease, stable angina, and a positive treadmill test for ischemia.
http://jama.ama-assn.org/cgi/content/abstract/287/4/481

And for autism:

Quote:
Chelation therapy neither safe nor effective as autism treatment
http://aapnews.aappublications.org/c...tation/19/2/63

Quote:
...there is no compelling evidence to suggest that chelation therapy is an effective treatment for autism. A review of Medline (1966 to April 2006) and Premedline did not yield any relevant reviews or randomised controlled trials of chelation therapy for autism spectrum disorder.
http://www.bmj.com/cgi/content/full/333/7571/756
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Old 25th June 2008, 11:35 AM   #22
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Originally Posted by robinson View Post

I'm more interested in knowing the truth than I am in being right. A quick search on chelation (15 minutes) turned up enough documents to dismiss anyone who claims "Chelation is woo". And that was without going to any "pro chelation" or alternative sites.
I've seen nobody say "chelation is woo". I've seen people say "chelation is woo, when used for [application]". A chelating agent, as defined in chemistry, is an organic molecule (of any type) which can bind a metal by coordination using more than one bond. You could say that it "grabs" a metal. Different chelating agents have different specificities. EDTA, for example, has a high specificity for calcium, and none to speak of for mercury. Which makes it totally inadequate to treat mercury poisioning, and thus autism if you view it with the (not even wrong) antivaxer's rationale. And a high risk (cardiac arrest, kidney damage, ect.) when injected intravenously by somebody who does not take adequate precautions.

Quote:
I have a dozen documents in front of me right now that show without a doubt, that Chelation is a very promising and useful medical treatment, for things ranging from Wilson's Disease to Heart disease, to minimize retinal inflammation secondary to laser photocoagulation, inhibition of tumor growth, and more. Agents like alpha-lipoic acid, dihydrolipoic acid and trientine are showing amazing results in both animal and human studies. Some of the studies are 12 years old. It isn't all new stuff.
Chelation is useful for diseases or conditions which are caused by accumulation of metals (whether external poisoning or defective enzymes). Wilson's, for example, is caused by an accumulation of copper due to a defective enzyme. If you are using a chelating agent against a condition which does not depend directly or indirectly on metal overload, then we're not talking about chelation, even if the same substance is sometimes used as a chelating agent. Many compounds have multiple biological effects. I'd even say most of them.

As for heart disease (or rather atherosclerosis), the rationale for the use of chelation has been quite completely debunked. Because the plaque that clogs artheries contained high concentration of calcium, it was thought that EDTA, by removing calcium, would soften the artheries and solve the problem. However, we now know that atherosclerosis involves damaged artheries, not just plaque. It is actually an autoimmune destruction which starts 15 to 20 years before any symptoms (if there are symptoms) appear. The plaque is a failed attempt of the body at repairing the damage. A little like what happens when a liver becomes cirrhotic. Removing plaque, even if you succeeded in doing it, would not solve it in the slightest.
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Old 26th June 2008, 02:53 PM   #23
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Originally Posted by krazyKemist View Post
As for heart disease (or rather atherosclerosis), the rationale for the use of chelation has been quite completely debunked. Because the plaque that clogs arteries contained high concentration of calcium, it was thought that EDTA, by removing calcium, would soften the arteries and solve the problem.
Doing a modest amount of reading, that doesn't match the historical record.

Doctors noticed, while doing chelation therapy for heavy metal poisoning, that it also reduced or relieved patients symptoms of atherosclerosis. Which led to it's use in that regard.

After a patient died (they didn't know about the calcium/potassium balance problem back then), it was pretty much stopped until more research was done.

Animal and human studies showed benefits, and Doctors started using it again, but with safer methods, especially in regards to calcium and potassium levels. Human studies that showed a benefit were rejected by the AMA, and they tried to stop all Doctors from using it.

Non-American Doctors never stopped, but in America it became a topic of considerable controversy. Still is it seems.

Currently a large human trial is underway, to settle the issue once and for all. For AMA Doctors.
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Old 26th June 2008, 03:29 PM   #24
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I was just gonna say what you have said Krazykemist, although you put it so much better.

My son has Sideroblastic anemia, which causes an iron overload in his body. He has been on chelation treatment for 13 years.The treatment has worked wonderfully for him as it has estracted loads of excess iron from him.

As to whether it would be successfull for heart problems or autism I just cant see how it would work.
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Old 26th June 2008, 04:59 PM   #25
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You never know what new scientific discoveries are going to be discovered. Deferoxamine (DF), a chelating agent used to treat iron overload (he leading cause of death in beta-thalassemia major), turns out to have other uses.

Quote:
New Treatment Boosts Bone Healing And Regrowth

ScienceDaily (Jan. 12, 2008) — A drug originally used to treat iron poisoning can significantly boost the body’s own ability to heal and re-grow injured bones, according to researchers at the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB).

The researchers injected the drug deferoxamine (DF), which is designed to reduce iron overload, into injured mouse bones. They found DF triggered the growth of new blood vessels, which in turn kicked off bone re-growth and healing.
http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases...0110085148.htm
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Old 26th June 2008, 10:00 PM   #26
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Originally Posted by robinson View Post
Doing a modest amount of reading, that doesn't match the historical record. {snip}
Why don't you share what you are reading with us? I cited an article that describes, in detail, why most of the stuff you are reading is wrong. The ability to read is not the same as the ability to understand.

Try this: http://www.sciencebasedmedicine.org/?p=132

Last edited by JJM; 26th June 2008 at 10:07 PM.
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Old 27th June 2008, 08:07 AM   #27
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Quote:
However, their evidence consists of anecdotes, testimonials, and poorly designed experiments.
http://www.quackwatch.org/01Quackery...chelation.html

Quote:
Atherosclerosis
Proponents of EDTA chelation therapy for heart disease believe that this process may help people with atherosclerosis or peripheral vascular disease (namely, decreased blood flow to the legs) by clearing clogged arteries and improving blood flow. However, this proposed mechanism has not been proven. For example, in a study of 30 people with atherosclerosis of the carotid arteries (vessels that supply blood to the brain), 10 months of EDTA chelation treatments significantly improved blood flow to the brain. The problem with the information from this study, however, is that these patients were not compared to any other group. Therefore, it is not clear if they got better simply by chance or because the EDTA intervention really made a difference.
http://www.umm.edu/altmed/articles/e...cid-000302.htm

It is most odd, that study mentioned, the one with 30 people, I can not find. It isn't mentioned on the pro chelation sites either. (Yes, I went there at last. Horrible)

But I did learn some interesting stuff. And that old bugaboo showed up again. Actually, the double headed bugaboo showed up. Several times. Fascinating.
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Old 27th June 2008, 08:12 AM   #28
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Quote:
However, their evidence consists of anecdotes, testimonials, and poorly designed experiments.
http://www.quackwatch.org/01Quackery...chelation.html

Quote:
Atherosclerosis
Proponents of EDTA chelation therapy for heart disease believe that this process may help people with atherosclerosis or peripheral vascular disease (namely, decreased blood flow to the legs) by clearing clogged arteries and improving blood flow. However, this proposed mechanism has not been proven. For example, in a study of 30 people with atherosclerosis of the carotid arteries (vessels that supply blood to the brain), 10 months of EDTA chelation treatments significantly improved blood flow to the brain. The problem with the information from this study, however, is that these patients were not compared to any other group. Therefore, it is not clear if they got better simply by chance or because the EDTA intervention really made a difference.
http://www.umm.edu/altmed/articles/e...cid-000302.htm

It is most odd, that study mentioned, the one with 30 people, I can not find. It isn't mentioned on the pro chelation sites either. (Yes, I went there at last. Horrible)

But I did learn some interesting stuff. And that old bugaboo showed up again. Actually, the double headed bugaboo showed up. Several times. Fascinating.
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Old 27th June 2008, 12:36 PM   #29
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Originally Posted by robinson View Post
You never know what new scientific discoveries are going to be discovered. Deferoxamine (DF), a chelating agent used to treat iron overload (he leading cause of death in beta-thalassemia major), turns out to have other uses.


http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases...0110085148.htm
But that's probably not due to a chelating effect (you would have to look at the mechanism to prove/disprove it), but rather to another effect of the same drug (a so-called side-effect). It might be that this compound is, in addition to its ability to bind iron, an agonist of the VEGF receptor, for example. So it's not justified to talk about chelation in that case, not without a known mechanism of action.
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Old 27th June 2008, 01:36 PM   #30
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Actually, the problem we have when discussing chelation is the same problem we have with every, shall we say, more science-based treatment alternative medicine has co-opted. The problem of excessive oversimplification and whoolly definitions.

Take antioxidants, for example. A broad category of molecules which may have many other effects than inhibitor of superoxide dismutase (SOD; that's what a classic antioxidant does), some of which can be way more important than their power to inhibit SOD. Now that alt. med., the supplement industry and its close friend nutraceutics has gotten hold of this, all sorts of things are peddled (and charged a premium for) as containing wonderful "antioxidants", some of which may have numerous other effects. In fact, as a medicinal chemist, if you tell me "antioxidant", the term is very close to meaningless now.

For chelation, it's about the same thing, except that it still has a proper definition. For the chelationist, every health problem under the sun, from autism and heart disease to cancer, is caused by "heavy metal poisoning" and removing toxic metals the only "natural" way to treat the "real underlying problem". Some even go as far as pretending that chelating agents can remove fat or cholesterol, which is total BS (and if such tendencies continue, the alt. med. definition of "chelation" will become as meaningless as "antioxidant" or "toxin"). Now both of these things are false. Heavy metal poisoning is pretty rare and is mostly linked to occupation or environment. Iron, copper, zinc or other oligoelements overload is also generally rare and part of genetic disorders, which generally have pretty striking symptoms. Removal of existing metals using chelation is a legitimate treatment.

However, even if EDTA were proven active against atherosclerosis, it would still be false to announce to the world "chelation works against coronary disease", when the actual result would be "IV EDTA has a positive effect on coronary disease". Without the biochemistry of EDTA's action, you cannot say for sure that it acted as a chelating agent. What does it change ? Well, it means that another chelating agent, even one that has the same metal specificities as EDTA, will probably not have the same effect, even though you're technically still doing chelation.
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Old 9th July 2008, 11:30 AM   #31
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Looks like chelation therapy might be federally funded by the US National Institute of Mental Health. Check out this article on MSN:
Fringe autism treatment could get federal study
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