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What is Chelation?

The Truth About Chelation Therapy  -  Part 1

If EDTA Chelation Therapy is so Good, Why Is It Not More Widely Accepted?

 James P. Carter, MD, DrPH

Dr. Carter is Professor and Head, Nutrition Section, Tulane University School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine, New Orleans, Louisiana.

 

ABSTRACT: A summary of medical politics, turf struggles between medical specialties, and the medical economics of EDTA chelation therapy is presented to answer the question, "If EDTA chelation therapy is so good, why is it not more widely accepted?"

Most people, including physicians, are not aware of the medical politics, legal machinations and economic sanctions that covertly control the practice of medicine in the United States. A physician who introduces an innovative and nontraditional type of therapy often becomes the target of those forces.

That is especially true if a ‘new’ therapy, like EDTA chelation: 1) involves a major shift in the scientific paradigm; 2) if acceptance of the new therapy somehow implies that currently used medical practices are inappropriate; or 3) if the new therapy threatens the financial well-being of a politically powerful and well established branch of the medical profession. Quite the opposite occurred with the immediate and widespread acceptance of bypass surgery and balloon angioplasty, which quickly brought wealth and fame to surgeons, cardiologists, large teams of health care professionals, and the hospital industry.

When a radical new therapy like chelation is first introduced, physicians who do not utilize that therapy feel threatened, both professionally and financially. Their professional integrity is threatened by obsolescence of their scientific knowledge and they lose patients who seek out the new therapy. They forget that if their established treatments were really successful, and without major disadvantages, patients would not look to another type of treatment.

As with EDTA chelation therapy, major pressures are brought to bear on the "deviant" physician to coerce him back into the accepted mold.

He is ostracized by his peers; he comes under professional attack for "lack of ethics;" his medical and mental competence are questioned; he is accused of "exploiting" his patients for personal gain; and epithets of "quack" and "charlatan" are hurled his way. Ad hominum attacks are common, in the absence of more cogent and scientific criticisms.

Well known historical examples of that phenomenon occurred with the introduction of the germ theory of disease. That simple concept took 50 years for complete acceptance by the medical profession.

Lister was viciously attacked when he proposed that wound infections were not inevitable after surgery if aseptic techniques were used.

Similarly, Semmelweis received such treatment when he urged doctors to wash their hands before delivering babies to prevent maternal deaths from puerperal sepsis.

Lister's recommendations were not accepted by mainstream medicine for many decades, and Semmelwels was persecuted to his death by medical colleagues, who were incensed by the notion that they themselves transmitted disease from patient to patient on their unwashed hands.

Has human nature changed since that time?

The history of medicine is replete with examples of medical "heretics" who were eventually credited with major advances. They were often not recognized for their achievements until after death. Paracelsus, for example, is exalted as one of the great pioneers in medicine, but he was the original "quack" in his own time.

Paracelsus introduced the use of mercury to treat syphilis. There was no other cure for syphilis at the time, although, as with many treatments today, the lethal dose of mercury was close to the therapeutic dose. Paracelsus was viciously attacked by his medical peers and derisively called a "quack" (short for "quacksalber," the old German word for mercury).

Inertia in science and medicine is a powerful force and is reinforced by major economic and legal forces in the United States. Many industries and special interest groups that are politically and economically powerful would be hurt financially if chelation therapy were to become more widely accepted. Those same industries have a major influence in our society at all levels. Grants for university and medical school research often stem from those same sources. They spend heavily to lobby for laws, regulations and government funded medical research to favor their own interests and to suppress competition. It is difficult to obtain NIH research funds in the face of opposition from powerful lobbies that occur when that research goes against those special interests.

 

Those same special interests have a major influence on lay and professional exposure through the news media. Advertising revenues are essential to the survival of medical journals, newspapers, magazines, television and radio. Even with freedom of the press, the media cannot survive without advertising revenues. There often exists an understandable reluctance to bite the hand that feeds them. It is difficult to educate the public and the medical profession about new developments without media cooperation. Medical schools also cannot afford to offend their corporate sources of research funds.

 

The welfare of the American public is often pushed aside by the industrial quest for profits and pressures to suppress competition.

 

The welfare of the American public is often pushed aside by the industrial quest for profits and pressures to suppress competition. Every industry wants a monopoly, if that can be achieved.

Unfortunately, mainstream medicine has come very close to that goal.

Scientific arrogance is commonplace. Physicians consider themselves to be experts in their own field. If a majority of physicians do not endorse a new therapy, they collectively rely on public recognition of their own "expertise" to discount a new concept that they themselves have not yet embraced. They forget that all great advances in medicine began with a small minority. Their thinking tends to follow along these lines: "If I'm the expert and I don't use this new therapy and if my many colleagues and peers are experts and they don't believe in the new therapy, then we must be right and that small group of physicians who believe differently must be wrong. We're the experts."

The most frequent criticism leveled by critics of non-traditional and alternative medical therapies is that new treatments are "unproven" because randomized, double-blind, controlled studies have not yet been done to prove effectiveness. Those criticisms ignore the fact that most medical procedures routinely performed in the practice of medicine are also unproven using those same criteria.

The Office of Technology Assessment, a branch of the United States Congress, with the help of an advisory board of eminent university faculty, has published a report with the conclusion that, " . . . only 10 to 20 percent of all procedures currently used in medical practice have been shown to be efficacious by controlled trial." Therefore, 80% to 90% of medical procedures routinely performed are unproven.1

That report further points out that the research which purports to prove effectiveness of the remaining 10% to 20% of medical procedures is largely flawed, and “many of the other procedures may not be efficacious." The most frequent reason for not accepting the value of EDTA chelation therapy reflects a flagrant double standard.

A complete program of chelation therapy involves dietary changes, away from highly refined and processed foods. The use of nonprescription nutritional supplements is emphasized more than expensive and highly profitable drugs manufactured by the pharmaceutical industry. Chelation therapy is performed in doctors' offices, without the need for hospitals, surgeons, cardiologists and the large team of health professionals who profit greatly in dollars and reputation from the $6 billion per year bypass surgery and balloon angioplasty industry.

 

Continued - Part 2

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IV EDTA THERAPY
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IV GLUTATHIONE THERAPY
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