Private hospital, The Breakspear, offer several medical products and services. Some of which look like they may be of dubious value.
They offer nutritional therapy, which for some reason includes advice on “detoxification“. More worryingly, they also offer chelation therapy for coronary and cerebrovascular disease, CFS, autism and, bizarrely, for “preventative medicine” and “anti-ageing”. The Quackwatch website has a page on chelation therapy that looks at some of the claims around coronary disease. The idea that chelation therapy can aid CFS is entirely new to me – and I could find not a single study on Pubmed that addressed use of chelation for CFS. The use of an unsafe and unproven treatment such as chelation for “preventative medicine” or as an “anti-ageing” therapy? The mind boggles.
The mistaken belief that mercury is a cause of autism has led some to claim that chelation can aid ASD. Let’s take a look at some of the available evidence. This abstract notes that some of the ‘treatments’ touted for autism “have safety concerns without demonstrated efficacy, such as chelation therapies.” A study looking at concentration of metallic elements and autism found that “A meta-analysis including the present and previous similar studies excluded any association of autism with hair concentrations of mercury, cadmium, selenium, lithium and copper.” The Mayo Clinic has a nice summary: “Chelation therapy is not an effective autism treatment, and it may be dangerous.”
And on to a related topic: the Breakspear Hospital still (defying all logic) offers single vaccines for measles and rubella. I pointed out how stupid and dangerous alternative vaccine schedules were back in January 2010 when I wrote about the recommendations of Dr Richard Halvorsen. Offering single vaccines for measles and rubella (at £90 a pop) instead of the triple vaccine MMR means that children are left unprotected against mumps. Infertility and subfertility are not unknown in males following mumps infection. Other complications of mumps include encephalitis, pancreatitis, meningitis, and hearing loss. The opening paragraph of their page on single vaccines appears to imply (wrongly) that MMR contains mercury:
Breakspear Medical Group’s Immunisation Department offers the individual vaccinations for measles and rubella and other mercury-free immunisations because we believe you should have the right to choose what is best for you and your child.
I believe that some of the claims on the website may be misleading and/or unsubstantiated and have submitted a complaint about the Breakspear Hospital.
H/T to Charlotte, for alerting me to the Breakspear’s activities, and to Le Canard Noir, for writing about the Breakspear back in 2007 (helpfully summarising some of the dubious treatments offered by them at the time). Charlotte mentioned the Breakspear as being an example of an institution that opposed the MMR vaccine in a comment complaining about my blog post pointing out that Dr Sarah Myhill’s website contains statements that are unsupported by evidence, misleading, or untrue. This appeared to me to be an example of the well-meaning defence with a suggested alternative target. I decided that, on balance, it would be best on this occasion to maintain my criticism of Dr Myhill but also to criticise the Breakspear.
Before posting your personal anecdotes about your amazing recoveries from various illnesses, please read this post on evidence-based medicine.