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Premature kudos for yet another controversial therapy. Simply explained, chelation therapy is ""the intravenous injection of a man-made amino acid"" in order to improve body circulation. Because the amino acid combines with calcium and other metals in the body, it may prevent calcium from settling in arterial walls and causing them to harden--or keep calcium from causing artery spasms which block blood flow. Consequently, chelation therapy has been proposed for treating heart attack, stroke, gangrene, and other circulatory disorders. Sound evidence does suggest, moreover, that it may be valuable. But in reviewing the studies, Walker has swallowed the pros whole, downplayed the indications of serious side effects, and revved up the results: ""how would you react to learning that your senile old mother, vegetating in a nursing home, could be restored to the active, alert, productive person she once was?"" This kind of unhelpful hype is rife throughout the book. There are three messages: the conditions chelation works for; how to ""chelate yourself"" with common substances (some harmless vitamins and foods, such as garlic and onions, seem to have the desired effect); and why chelation is not presently available for use in this country (""The Political Economics of Chelation Therapy""), In his quick analysis, Walker blames physician ignorance, health-insurance industry opposition, greedy surgeons (who'd rather operate than medicate), and so on--all possible factors, but not fully explored here. Since such conditions do exist, sound, informative guides to possible alternative therapies are welcome--not, however, emotional appeals that raise people's hopes too soon.

Pub Date: Sept. 30th, 1982
Publisher: Evans