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From: (Steven B. Harris )
Subject: Re: Bee Sting Therapy (was Re: Australasian College of Natural 
Date: 08 Aug 1995

In <400q3h$> (Philip P Calvert)

>In article <3vu6h2$>
>(Steven B. Harris ) writes:
>>>Danny Bielik                                            PO Box 521
>>>Australasian College of Natural Therapies               Broadway NSW 2007
>>>(02) 660 0555  Fax: (02) 660 2047                       Australia
>>>For information or a prospectus,
>>Comment: Even your name pisses me off.  As though there were orthodox
>>physicians out here practicing "unatural therapy."  As opposed to
>>letting bees sting you, taking germanium pills, or letting somebody run
>>8 gallons of water up your butt, all of which Mother Nature obviously
>>intended as obvious and natural treatments for disease.  <Shakes head
>>in disbelief>.
>>                                          Steve Harris, M.D.
>While I can appreciate Dr. Harris' anger, I get the impression from his
>comments that he takes a dim view of apitherapy ("bee sting therapy").
>In response, I would like to add the following quote:
>     "Consider this the next time an uninformed doctor or friend calls
>apitherapy 'quack medicine'.  There is no scientific evidence that
>apitherapy does not work! None.  All the evidence in the scientific
>literature point towards it being very effective.  If he is speaking as a
>scientist, he ought to be able to refer you to scientific literature that
>supports his point (double-blind placebo controlled studies in the
>scientific literature).  He won't be able to do that because the only
>studies about apitherapy are positive.  That doesn't mean that apitherapy
>does work.  Only that it appears promising.  Don't forget to add that we
>agree that appropriate studies need to be done.  What is slowing the
>process down is lack of funds-- not the nature of the treatment.
>Therefore, anyone who maintains that apitherapy is quackery is not
>speaking as a scientist.  He is only telling you his personal
>(uninformed) opinion.  The most he can reasonably say as a scientist is
>'I haven't seen any impressive literature and I would be surprised if
>apitherapy helps.' At that point, he might be open to review the
>literature we have collected. Who knows, he might become the next in a
>long line of pleasantly surprised doctors."-- Bradford Weeks, M.D.
>The above was taken from BeeWell, the quarterly newsletter of the
>American Apitherapy Society, Inc., P.O. Box 74, North Hartland, VT 05052.

Comment: naturally, you missed my point.  It doesn't matter to me if bee
sting therapy DOES work: I'm agnositic on the issue.  This issue is
whether or not you can tell whether something is "natural" and
therefore good, just by thinking about it hard.  Being stung by bees is
unpleasant, and not something most people would think to allow done.  It
is painful.  There is no doubt that at some level it is toxic (and that
this varies dramatically from person to person-- ONE sting will be fatal
to some people).  I suspect that the number of children and adults
killed by bee-stings in one way or another does not compare well at all
with the number of people killed by the polio vaccine that some
alternatives are going on and on about.  The main differences here lie
in who thought of a therapy, and who uses it-- not in its essential
danger or discomfort or "naturalness".

As I pointed out to somebody here not long ago, if lithium had not been
accidentally discovered by Cade in the 1950s, it surely would not be
part of mainstream medicine now-- there simply is no economic way to
develop it.  I'm sure that if that "alternative history" <g> had
happened, and that if naturopaths were using lithium now on manic
depressives, we'd have all kinds of hell.  We'd have the FDA trying to
put people in jail for using lithium.  We'd have naturopaths damning
orthodox doctors for failing to pay attention to a "natural cure," and
so on.  Instead of the way it is now, where orthodox doctors use
lithium, and alternatives roll it right in with everything else when
they talk about "toxic drugging" of the mentally ill.  All of this is
stupid, stupid, stupid!  Harlan Ellison was right.

                                        Steve Harris, M.D.

From: B. Harris)
Subject: Re: alternative treatments for manic depression
Date: Mon, 27 Oct 1997

In <>
(Marleenoet) writes:

>>>Right.  Lithium is a mineral, so you need to get it from some other source.
> Your body can't manufacture minerals.
>Kristen asked:
>>Just out of curiosity, does anyone know what (if any) side effects are
>>possible from taking lithium?  Does lithium exist in the bodies of those
>>who are not manic-depressive already?  In short, how does lithium work
>>to treat manic-depression?

The answer to the last is easy:  nobody knows!

Lithium exists in the body in tiny amounts, mostly as a result of
drinking water, which may or may not have some in it.  These doses from
water are on the order of 1/1000th those used in lithium therapy.  Even
the highest lithium waters will not give 1/100th the dose used in
therapy, even if drunk exclusively.  Since even 1/10th the dose used in
therapy is ineffective, there is absolutly NO reason to imagine that
bipolar disorder can be treated with lithium as it naturally occurs, or
that naturally occuring lithium or its absense has anything to do with
the disorder.  Lithium is here being used as a drug, not a nutrient.

A similar example occurs with the vitamin niacin, which lowers
cholesterol when taken in gram quantities.  High cholesterol is not
thereby a niacin deficiency, however.  People who ARE niacin deficient
don't get high cholesterol, for example.

                                     Steve Harris, M.D.

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