Allan Parachini wrote erudite and in many ways accurate articles on chelation therapy in the April 14 edition ("Chelation Under a Cloud"). He did, however, reveal what appears to be a personal prejudice that unfairly clouds the chelation issue. He used misleading definitions, guilt by association, and failed to mention the outstanding credentials of many of the chelation proponents.
I find it difficult to believe, for example, that Parachini does not know that the AMA is a "trade group" just as is AAMP. "The American Academy of Medical Preventics," he states, ". . . a name which sounds a great deal like that of a mainstream medical organization. But it is a trade group. . . . " (italics mine) I am not quarreling with the power and importance of the AMA or any other group that Parachini may imply is "mainstream." Every mainstream organization, including AAMP and AMA-related groups, is a private club, a guild, a union or, in effect, a trade group. There are many prominent and articulate public figures who consider the AMA totally self-serving. Regardless of opinion, the fact is that both the AMA and the AAMP are trade groups. This attitude of selective condemnation by Parachini unfortunately pervades the articles.
The next point is guilt by association. In the second article about the image of the chelation proponents, Parachini devoted most of the space to a Dr. Frank Gaunt. Gaunt is nothing in the chelation movement. He has more to do with plastic surgery than he has to do with chelation. But he had lost his license in California for doing illegal breast implants long before he began doing chelation in Missouri. He tarnishes the image of plastic surgery as well as chelation. Gaunt did not lose his license for chelation therapy. No physician has lost a license for doing proper chelation therapy, despite the veiled implications in the articles.
Parachini committed a serious crime of omission. He failed to mention the outstanding "mainstream" credentials and qualifications of many of the chelation proponents and AAMP members. He did identify one of our members, Dr. H. Richard Casdorph, as a leading chelationist. If Parachini wanted to be evenhanded, he could have noted that Casdorph is a board certified specialist (American Board of Internal Medicine), has earned a Ph.D. in Medicine and Physiology from the University of Minnesota, was a (part-time clinical instructor) at UC Irvine Medical School for 10 years, and did a 4 1/2-year fellowship in cardiology at the highly esteemed Mayo Clinic. He has published over 50 medical articles. Many scientists consider his three chelation articles valid supporting evidence for chelation therapy's effectiveness.
Conspicuous by their absence in this article were such men as Dr. Ralph Lev, a respected vascular surgeon who joined the chelation group after his father-in-law suffered a stroke severe enough to relegate him to a nursing home. Lev reluctantly had him chelated, which reversed the effects of the stroke so that he could return to normal life. Lev could easily have taken the easy way and continued to be a closet chelation sympathizer as so many physicians are.
Ralph Lev showed more courage. Although a successful and prosperous practitioner of the socially acceptable competing technology (vascular surgery), his conscience would not allow him to stay in the closet. Such men as he and Dr. Emmanual Cheraskin (MD and DMD), professor emeritus of the Department of Preventive Medicine, University of Alabama Medical School, and Dr. Martin Rubin, professor of biochemistry, emeritus, at Georgetown University medical and dental schools, have become researchers and proponents of chelation therapy as have others of great stature in medical research. There is a high percentage of physicians with double doctorates in AAMP as well as many graduates of high-quality medical schools such as Harvard, Yale and Johns Hopkins.
We have here an honest scientific controversy. Many times in such disputes throughout history, David has slain Goliath. Much of "mainstream medicine" is against chelation as it was against penicillin and physical therapy and many other new modalities that it first suppressed and then embraced. It is not easy to be a leader in a vital and passionately confusing profession like medicine. Nor is it easy to report on such matters. I can understand Parachini's taking sides on such an issue. But it is important for the public to hear both sides fairly. The arguments against chelation have merit as do the arguments for it. Chelation will triumph if it merits it. As long as it is not suppressed with dogma and prejudice, it will emerge in its rightful place in medicine.
MURRAY R. SUSSER MD
Chairman of the Board,
American Academy of