From the Associated Press:

Heart attack survivors are again being enrolled in a controversial federal study of an alternative treatment while the government investigates whether they were told enough about possible health risks.

The $30 million study, with 1,500 participants so far, is one of the largest alternative medicine experiments ever launched. It tests high doses of vitamin and mineral supplements and chelation, a treatment used for lead poisoning that has not been proved safe or effective for heart disease.

Researchers suspended enrollment last August, when the federal Office of Human Research Protections began a probe into whether the people in the study were being fully informed of risks and adequately protected.

Chelation (pronounced kee-LAY-shun) involves intravenous doses of a drug, in this case disodium EDTA. Proponents claim it can flush out calcium that has built up in artery walls. Stiff or clogged arteries can lead to heart problems. There already are several conventional treatments for heart disease, including medicines, surgery and artery-clearing angioplasty.

When the study began in 2002, it aimed to enroll 2,400 people at more than 100 sites in the United States and Canada. But recruitment has lagged, and study leaders now hope to enroll at least 1,700.

Around a long time, IV Chelation therapy has is detractors and proponents. My wife works for an eye doctor whose father and grandfather had major blockages in their corotid arteries. After undergoing this therapy, both blockages were substantially reduced. It is also practiced in some countries in Europe. The time for a study of this technique is long overdue in the United States. Should chelation therapy prove effective, there won’t be too many patients walking around with 25 stents or bypass surgery scars. Of course, there will also be a great loss of cash flow for both surgeons and interventionalists.


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