Another plug for the use of DMSO (dimethyl sulfoxide)--with some justified ire at FDA foot-dragging. Podiatrist Walker quickly says that he's voicing the recommendations of researchers (not speaking for himself); and readers are cautioned against employing the book as a self-treatment guide. (Rather, seek out a physician familiar with DMSO.) The claim, however, is that DMSO, a by-product of pulp and paper manufacturing, reduces swelling and inflammation, relieves pain, slows the growth of (and may kill) bacteria, fungi, and viruses. Also: ""it heals burns and relieves sprains and arthritis""; ""it has worked effectively against cataracts, sports injuries, scleroderma, myasthenia gravis, tuberculosis, and has even lessened mental retardation for mongoloids""; it may be effective against cancer, heart disease, and stroke; it increases the effect of antibiotics; it can ""open blocked sinuses within a few minutes."" Much soft evidence is adduced--both scientific (journal reports, some quite dated, many foreign--South American, etc.--and some veterinary) and anecdotal (""Within three days I had no swelling, no soreness, no discoloration; I could do anything""). Nonetheless, there may well be something to DMSO: why has the FDA delayed in investigating it and approving it for wider use? Walker's main argument is that DMSO acts differently from ""ordinary medications,"" and thus its effectiveness cannot be studied or defined in standard terms; his explanation of its mechanism is incomplete and unconvincing. A better point is that because DMSO gives the user a garlicky/fishy odor and breath, it is always detectable (and therefore untestable in the single-and double-bind studies recognized by the FDA). The end result of FDA refusal or inability to modify its regulations, trumpets Walker, is that ""patient advocacy doesn't seem to exist when it relates to DMSO."" A step up from Barry Tarshis' 1981 DMSO--but hardly the dear, evenhanded coverage needed.