May 28, 2010

Alternative medicine news

Both of these are from the NYT. The first is on herbal supplements:
Nearly all of the herbal dietary supplements tested in a Congressional investigation contained trace amounts of lead and other contaminants, and some supplement sellers made illegal claims that their products can cure cancer and other diseases, investigators found.

The levels of heavy metals — including mercury, cadmium and arsenic — did not exceed thresholds considered dangerous, the investigators found. However, 16 of the 40 supplements tested contained pesticide residues that appeared to exceed legal limits, the investigators found. In some cases, the government has not set allowable levels of these pesticides because of a paucity of scientific research.
The next is on Andrew Wakefield, a British doctor who was behind a discredited study linking autism and vaccines:
LONDON — A doctor whose research and public statements caused widespread alarm that a common childhood vaccine could cause autism was banned on Monday from practicing medicine in his native Britain for ethical lapses, including conducting invasive medical procedures on children that they did not need.

The General Medical Council applied its most severe sanction against the doctor, Andrew Wakefield, 53, who abandoned his medical practice in Britain in 2004 as questions intensified about his research and set up a center to study childhood developmental disorders in Texas, despite not being licensed as a physician there.

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