Sunday, July 24, 2005

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Avoiding Fraud
FDA defines health fraud as the promotion, advertisement,
distribution, or sale of articles, intended for human or animal use, that
are represented as being effective to diagnose, prevent, cure, treat, or
mitigate disease (or other conditions), or provide a beneficial effect on
health, but which have not been scientifically proven safe and effective
for such purposes. Such practices may be deliberately deceptive, or
done without adequate knowledge or understanding of the article.

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imagery for asthma and breast cancer. (With imagery, patients are
guided to see themselves in a different physical, emotional or spiritual
state. For example, patients might be guided to imagine themselves in
a state of vibrant health and the disease organisms as weak and
destructible.)
While these alternative therapies are the subject of scientifically valid
research, it's important to remember that at this time their safety and
effectiveness are still unproven.

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acupuncture to treat depression, attention-deficit hyperactivity
disorder, osteoarthritis, and postoperative dental pain
hypnosis for chronic low back pain and accelerated fracture healing
Ayurvedic herbals for Parkinson's disease. (Ayurvedic medicine is a
holistic system based on the belief that herbals, massage, and other
stress relievers help the body make its own natural drugs.)
biofeedback for diabetes, low back pain, and face and mouth pain
caused by jaw disorders. (Biofeedback is the conscious control of
biological functions such as those of the heart and blood vessels
normally controlled involuntarily.)
electric currents to treat tumors

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Anyone who wants to be treated with an alternative therapy should
try to do so through participation in a clinical trial. Clinical trials are
regulated by FDA and provide safeguards to protect patients, such as
monitoring of adverse reactions. In fact, FDA is interested in assisting
investigators who want to study alternative therapies under carefully
controlled clinical trials.
Some of the alternative therapies currently under study with grants
from NIH include: