I hope you all have taken some time to enjoy family and friends this summer. In the midst of hectic schedules and urgent demands, it is good to “keep the Sabbath.” Even if only for personal rejuvenation, taking a break from “work” and reconnecting with those people important to you is so important.
…Now that you are relaxed and pondering great things,..
"There's a South Pole," said Christopher Robin, "and I expect there's an East Pole and a West Pole, though people don't like talking about them." Pooh was very excited when he heard this, and suggested that they should have an Expotition to discover the East Pole, but Christopher Robin had thought of something else to do with Kanga; so Pooh went out to discover the East Pole by himself." (A.A. Milne. Winnie-the-Pooh; Chapter IX)
Just as Christopher Robin speculated on the possibilities – in a perfectly logical fashion, one might argue; but was so very wrong – so we as Medical Toxicologists are often asked to provide an opinion or recommend a course of action that goes against “common wisdom.”
I am thinking, in particular, of the many internet sites, celebrity testimonials, and practitioner claims related to “detoxification” or cleansing/chelation promises. I am sure we are all too aware of the common deceptive practices such as provoked urine testing, inappropriate laboratory testing, and laboratory malfeasance related to how results are depicted and interpreted.
Yet if we are so acutely aware of these kinds of fraudulent activities, how is the public so unaware? We have peer-reviewed hypothesis-testing research and publications, but that is obviously not enough; particularly in this age of near-daily predatory journal growth. Slick marketing, instilling false hopes, testimonials based on associations and not causation are all a part of this scam that will outrun scientific debate. In this kind of setting, there are some important roles for regulatory agencies and even the health insurance industry in reining in deceptive, wasteful, and harmful practices.
Over the years, ACMT has had a voice in this process, but it has been muted by our small size. Each of you confront these issues in your own practice or consultation or education services. Please use some of the resources ACMT has to expand your capacity. Washington State cited the ACMT position statement in formulating their guidelines. A number of state medical boards have reached out to ACMT members for assistance in their own disciplinary proceedings. The Position Statement and Guidelines Committee and the Practice Committee are two member activities that could use additional assistance in confronting these issues across the country. Help your patients avoid pointless trips around the globe looking for what isn’t there!