Harvard University asked more
than 22,000 doctors, all at least 40 years old, to take aspirin
every day for four years. By then, 104 had heart attacks; five
were fatal. In contrast, of those who took an inactive dummy pill,
189 had heart attacks and 18 died.
Doctors have got excited about
these results because, while 500 people a day die of heart disease
in the UK, the drugs used to prevent this happening have some
unwanted effects and have not been proved to be totally effective.
Aspirin, on the other hand, is universally regarded as safe, cheap
But even as the Americans
stampeded to their medicine cabinets (helped by a massive publicity
campaign mounted by aspirin manufacturers), warnings were sounded
by British experts. Sir Richard Doll points out that if aspirin
helps people who have already had heart attacks, then it does
so at the expense of causing more strokes. The benefits to healthy
people are even less obvious.
This sounds familiar. International
authorities have recommended that anyone with higher than average
levels of cholesterol circulating in the blood should start corrective
treatment with drugs. Yet the Helsinki Heart Study (on 19,000
men aged 4055), the World Health Organization study (on
10,000 men), and the Lipid Research Clinics Coronary Primary Prevention
trial (3,800 'at risk' men), have all shown that any reduction
in the number of expected deaths from heart disease is balanced
by an increase in deaths from other causes.
The implication is that these
may be caused by the 'preventive' drugs themselves; an idea supported
by the many nonfatal effects reported in the drug users.
These include more gastrointestinal complications (and surgery
to put them right), more gallstones and more cataracts.
Because of this predilection
to use drugs as preventive medicine, many people are becoming
wary of health screening. Having regular checkups, particularly
if they involve an enthusiastic, interventionist doctor who monitors
blood pressure and goes in for cardiograms and stress tests, may
actually be dangerous to health.
Aspirin, too, is not the innocuous
substance it is made out to be. Children's aspirin was withdrawn
from overthecounter sale after many years of assumed
safe use. It causes gastrointestinal bleeding and pain. Drugs,
it seems, are a very poor form of preventive medicine.
The irony is that we have
all the information we need to stop heart disease without drugs.
Evidence is that these alternatives are not only safe and effective
ways of staying alive, but that they can actually reverse the
process of conditions like atherosclerosis, even at the emergency
stage when a man is scheduled for bypass surgery.
That was the experience of
Richard B, a 42yearold businessman and amateur athletics
coach, who remembers running a fast track 200 metres in the middle
of the pack, floating easily across the finish line and
waking up in intensive care.
He knew about diet and exercise
and it hadn't saved him from a heart attack. It turned out that
he was genetically unable to produce a cholesterolcontrolling
enzyme. Unable to walk after his spectacular collapse, he was
whisked to the front of the waiting list and booked in for double
bypass surgery. The operation was due to take place the day after
He was too doubtful to go
in for it. Bypass surgery is not a permanent solution and is frequently
ineffective. A 1,000man study by the American Veterans Administration
found that bypass surgery was of no benefit for anyone but those
with the rare leftmain artery disease. Bypassing clogged
arteries is one thing; but what about the ones that are left?
These too will become clogged, and more surgery will be needed,
until the unfortunate patient runs out of replacement tissue.
It makes much more sense to do something about root causes.
Richard opted instead for
chelation. This treatment, combined with a lowfat, highfibre,
lowsugar diet, and supplements of vitamins and minerals,
enabled Richard to report to his disbelieving consultant three
months later that he was back in athletics training and did not
need any operation.
The consultant wanted to conduct
an angiogram, in which a dye is injected into the arteries and
examined under Xrays. Richard refused, because
during a previous angiogram his heart had stopped while he was
on the table.
There was no real need. Here
was a man who couldn't walk because of the pains in his chest,
now back to an hour's running not jogging a day,
plus circuit training, and all without drugs.
Besides, American scientists
had already established a precedent, with a paper published in
1977 in the Annals of Internal Medicine. Their patients, average
age 48, all had angiograms to diagnose extensive blockage due
to atherosclerosis. After 13 months on a lowfat diet they
were angiogrammed again: in nearly half, the existing deposits
of arterial plaque had begun to disappear. With the known benefits
of chelation, and the technology to check on how the arteries
are functioning without invasive measures, Richard felt confident
to refuse more surgery.
His case is typical of those
gathered in the files of chelation centres throughout the world.
And from those supplied by the Chelation Centre, London, for this
book, it is clear that even though their cases are supervised
by a consultant physician and endocrinologist and have full test
data available, many doctors and surgeons find it very difficult
to believe that their patients have been able to recover so well.
One professor of cardiology
at a leading American university school of medicine confirmed
the excellent physical status of a patient who had used chelation
therapy, but felt moved to add a handwritten postscript: 'As you
know I really don't believe chelation is effective!'
All good closingoftheranks
stuff. Unfortunately, this dubious sort of behaviour is resulting
in a safe and effective treatment being denied patients
not on the basis of serious scientific analysis, but as a result
of sniggering humour.
The patient who made this
correspondence available was a man aged over 60 who had received
a triple bypass operation at this same American university. Six
weeks later he began to experience severe recurrent angina. At
first he responded to calcium channel blocking drugs, but after
a few more months is angina got so bad that he was unable to walk.
On his own initiative, and
still suffering despite the best that hightech medicine
could offer, he began chelation therapy. He had 20 treatments
in all. Eight months after his first chelation session he reported
back to the university: he was totally without symptoms. Not only
was he able to walk, but was walking up hills and was working
a full day. No shortness of breath, no sideeffects from
His physical examination proved
his blood pressure to be 150/90. His pulse was 77. His chest was
clear. His heart not enlarged, and with a murmur and a '4th heart
sound'. He had stopped all his drugs two weeks before the examination,
because he was feeling and functioning so well. 'As you know I
really don't believe chelation is effective!. The only comment.
If this was an isolated case
of benefit, where calcium blockers and operations and/or surgical
operations had brought no relief, then perhaps it would be understandable.
But the evidence has been accumulating for years; and patients
who have tried, or who want to try, chelation must by now be very
familiar to American heart surgeons.
The attitude in Britain is
little better, although perhaps slightly less aggressively and
blindly 'anti'. In fact, a patient who wrote to the British Heart
Foundation, the heart research charity, for their opinion on chelation
was told, quite reasonably, that there were two sides to the argument
and there was no reason at all why he should not explore the matter
But the BHF also passed on
another example of deeply entrenched dogma. They told him:
You may or may not be aware
that chelation therapy has been around for some 30 years and opinions
regarding its value vary enormously . . . One of our professors
who is an expert on atheromatous coronary artery disease and has
done a lot of research on it recently summed up the situation
by saying that the evidence of benefit is almost nonexistent
and the experimental basis for supposed advantage is very weak.
The general consensus of opinion seems to be that there is no
advantage over calcium antagonists such as Adalat.
The BHF has made no secret
of the fact that it has funded a lot of research into this group
of drugs over the years.
Mr SC, another 60yearold,
was also a victim of this dogma when, following angioplasty
surgery to repair the blood vessels in his chest in the
heart unit of the prestigious Stanford University School of Medicine
in California, he experienced considerable pain from 'residual'
angina. This sideeffect of surgery had been predicted, but
not the degree.
He was placed on calcium blockers,
a high dose of six 10 mg tablets three times a day. Even so, the
angina did not stop. After only two chelation infusions, the angina
This story had a happy ending.
Mr SC's regular doctor (he does not live in America) is a cardiac
surgeon. And when Mr SC returned home after chelation, this doctor
was so impressed he proposed to use angioplasty and chelation
as complementary treatments in future. The patient reports this
surgeon's more openminded view of the process:
His opinion is that EDTA removes
only a microscopic layer of plaque (as well as smoothing
the artery wall due to healing of the cells that line the
arteries). He feels, however, that the removal of even a microscopic
layer of plaque in arterioles supplying blood to artery
muscles could improve blood flow to the artery muscles substantially
and would likely prevent artery spasm, thereby preventing
much angina pain in an extraordinarily short space
What can chelation achieve
in a patient with heart problems? Let's follow the history of
one man in more detail. (As with all case histories, I am grateful
to the late James Kavanagh of the Chelation Centre of London and
Pagham, West Sussex, for providing full data. Names of patients
have been changed and, unless their specific permission was given,
have only been identified to me by initials.)
The case we'll follow is of
a 62yearold man whose chief complaint was angina.
This had come on after surgery to his prostate and was so severe
that it used to wake him up, on average, three times a night.
Luckily for us, this gentleman is scientifically trained and kept
precise notes of his progress before, during and after the chelation