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Canadian Quackery Watch

The original unedited report is below. It is still circulating around the internet is various forms.
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    Pig Treatment Used to Treat Mentally Ill People


    Jul 3 2001 11:58AM

    LONDON (Reuters) - A mineral supplement developed for calming aggressive pigs has been modified to treat children and adults with serious mental disorders, a Canadian scientist said on Tuesday. The concoction of minerals, initially dismissed by the scientific establishment as "snake oil," was developed by the owner of an animal feed company in Canada to help a friend with children suffering from severe psychological disorders.

    David Hardy used his knowledge of animal nutrition to create the treatment made up of 36 components, most of them minerals, and the effects on the children were dramatic enough to encourage him to develop it further.

    While stressing the research was preliminary, a leading pediatrician from Alberta Children's Hospital in western Canada said it was convincing enough to conquer her skepticism.

    "The breakthrough here is the breadth of the supplement and the magnitude of the effect," Bonnie Kaplan, professor of pediatrics, told Reuters at the British Psychological Society's European Congress of Psychology in London.

    "We are seeing people who are totally cured of bi-polar disorder -- i.e. manic depression or violent mood swings."

    Three tests -- two on children and one on adults -- showed an improvement in behavior soon after taking the medication. Kaplan said the encouraging result of those tests, which involved small groups, meant that a larger experiment would be launched later this year to test the treatment's effectiveness.

    "It is not as strange as it may seem," she said. "We are used to testing on laboratory animals, just not farm animals. And stomach medicine taken by humans is tested on pigs first."

    But there is still considerable resistance to the idea, particularly among pharmaceutical companies.

    Kaplan said Hardy believed the mineral mixture should not be taken at the same time as conventional medicines used by psychological patients.

    "My speculation, and it is only speculation at this point, is that if you are already on medication, and you give the brain the nutrients it needs to make it work on its own, it causes an overdose," she said.

    The treatment was applied first to the family of Canadian Tony Stephan, who had nine children by his wife before she committed suicide. The genetic mental disorders she and other family members suffered from were passed to four of the nine.

    "David and he went to a drug store and started pulling mineral supplements off the shelves," Kaplan said.

    Within weeks he had found a combination which led to a dramatic improvement in the ill boys' behavior, she said.

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