Dr. Stephen B. Edelson of Atlanta, Georgia developed a system for treating autoimmune disorders that caught my attention. His book, “What Your Doctor May Not Tell You about Autoimmune Disorders," has a copyright date of 2003 and is still on the shelves at my local bookstore. If you have read this book already, you may want to check Reference 2, which reports that the Edelson Center for Environmental and Preventive Medicine has been closed after three lawsuits. If you haven't read it, you may still want to check it out with a healthy dose of skepticism. Many of the ideas are popular in the alternative medicine literature.
Autoimmune disorders include rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, inflammatory bowel disease, multiple sclerosis, and many others. Standard medical therapies are focused on interfering with the inflammatory process. There is no cure. The treatment goal is to keep the disease in remission as much as possible. In most of the medical literature, researchers report they don't understand why the immune system attacks our own tissues in the first place. If we knew the source of the problem, we should have a better idea where to look for a cure.
Edelson offers a theory for the mechanism of autoimmune attack. His book explains that environmental toxins such as heavy metals, free radicals, and other chemicals oxidize proteins on the surface of our cells. This chemical change makes our own proteins look foreign to the immune system. Since lymphocytes see only the surface of other cells, not the DNA inside, they can't recognize which cells belong to our own body if the surface is changed.
Of course, many people are exposed to environmental toxins and do not develop autoimmune disorders. Genetic differences may make some individuals more susceptible than others.
The Edelson therapy plan includes many ideas for good health in general:
1. Clean environment. Ideally, replace carpet in your home with wood or tile to reduce allergens. If you do have carpet, vacuum it frequently. Use non-toxic cleaning agents such as borax, vinegar, and baking soda. Keep your heating and air conditioning systems clean and well maintained.