Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Alternatives to alternative

"It was in the grip of these doubts when, inside Goofy’s Kitchen, Jim and Louise returned to their table from the buffet and noticed 6-year-old David hadn’t come with them. They saw him standing at the buffet, devouring a waffle. The Laidlers feared the worst. “We’d been told that the slightest smidgen of gluten would crash him,” Jim says. “It was absolutely devastating to watch.” But by the end of the vacation, they realized David was fine. Nothing happened.

When they returned home, the Laidlers took David off his restrictive diet, and he continued to improve—rapidly. Louise stopped Ben’s supplement regimen—without telling Jim—and Ben’s behavior remained the same. Then, after months of soul-searching, Jim Laider took to the internet to announce his 'de-conversion' from alternative medicine—a kind of penance, but also a warning to others. 'I had this guilt to expunge,' Jim says. 'I helped to promote this nonsense, and I didn’t want other people to fall for it like I did.'...

When Jim Laidler became an alt-medicine apostate, proponents of the treatments he criticized went on the attack. He received death threats from parents. It’s an intellectually and emotionally bruising battle no matter which side you’re on, one that today pits not just doctor against layperson, but also doctor against doctor. And as the Laidlers demonstrate, it can pit well-trained doctors against their own psyche. 'I was happier because we felt like we were doing something right,' Jim Laidler says of the treatments he gave his sons over the course of so many years. 'That’s how the madness begins. You want to believe that it’s working, so you force yourself to see results, and silence the scientific part of your brain.'"


  1. Rather than draw Milhon’s blood to determine whether or not he had HIV, Clark promised him a “one minute test” that was “all electronic.” Clark pulled out her signature “Syncrometer,” an electronic device of her own invention meant to measure the presence of a virus within a body. Huffman later described the Syncrometer as a flat box with “Vi-Tel 618” written on top in big orange letters. Powered by a car battery, the box had a gold wand attached to it. Clark scanned Milhon’s body with the wand, waved it over his wrists, and informed the patient he did indeed have HIV, but luckily he was cancer free.

    Clark assured her newly diagnosed patient that there was nothing to worry about. “We’ll have you cleared up in less than two weeks,” she said.

    “You mean you can cure it?” Milhon asked.

    “Yes, I can kill the virus in three minutes,” Clark replied with unwavering confidence. Milhon may have been excited by the naturopath’s promises. To be promised a cure—let alone a near-instantaneous one with no pain or suffering—seemed like a miracle. Clark handed Milhon a prescription for an antigen blood test and told him to drive to nearby Indianapolis and return with the results. Milhon and Huffman did as Clark instructed.

    What Clark didn’t know was that Milhon did not have HIV, he was not a bisexual man, nor was he even friends with Amy Huffman. Rather, he was an investigator in the Indiana Department of Health. Huffman was the Brown County deputy attorney general. By the time Milhon and Huffman returned to Clark’s office, someone had tipped her off, and she softened her original bold claims and kindly escorted the pair out of her office.


  2. Last year, my mother was suffering migraines all day, every day. It was a severe form of light sensitivity. This retired R.N. was willing to try any treatment to make the pain go away. She hoped that acupuncture might help, and it did not. She tried a very expensive, imported headband thing that tingled her head nerves. Nada. Her doctors supported her desperate desire to try alternative treatments.

    But lucky for my mom, her doctors also prescribed meds that had a proven history of helping others. They experimented a bit with dosage, and tried alternating drugs. They tailored a treatment that proved effective for her. Slowly, she built up a tolerance of light that is nearly back to normal. Thanks to modern medicine and caring doctors, she suffers very rarely now.

    I write these lists because I care about people. People who are opting out of effective medical treatments that actually reduce suffering and save lives. People who are spending thousands on “alternative” treatments and “natural” remedies that work no better than a sugar pill. People who fret that certain foods will kill you. Children who are suffering and dying from vaccine-preventable diseases.

  3. Some of the advocated treatments are dangerous, the authors suggested, pointing to chelation therapy (treatment designed to neutralize toxic metals in the body) and intravenous silver infusions. Bismacine, an injected product that contains high amounts of the heavy metal bismuth, caused at least one death in the United States, in 2006; the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has warned against its use.

    Some of the curatives are costly.

    “In the authors’ collective experience many patients have reported spending thousands of dollars on office-based purchases of nutritional therapies alone,” the article noted.

    And use of any of these unproven alternative therapies creates another problem, the authors warned: It can delay the process of identifying and treating the real cause of the person’s symptoms.

    “Those patients are suffering: they deserve our compassion and the best that science-based medicine has to offer, not just belief-based explanations and untested interventions,” said Dr. Harriet Hall, one of the founders of the blog Science-Based Medicine (

    Hall, who was not involved in the study, called it excellent.

    “The paper points out that there is no evidence that ’alternative’ treatments help these patients, and in most cases there isn’t even any rationale for trying them,” she said via email.


    Lantos PM, Shapiro ED, Auwaerter PG, Baker PJ, Halperin JJ, McSweegan E,
    Wormser GP. Unorthodox alternative therapies marketed to treat lyme disease. Clin
    Infect Dis. 2015 Jun 15;60(12):1776-82.

  4. Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food?
    [Who said anything about medicine? Let’s eat! – attributed to one of Hippocrates forgotten (and skeptical) students]

    This idée fixe that diet can fix everything even leads respectable doctors to write stories that are in some ways balanced but in other ways maddeningly credulous, like this story published last week in The New Republic by Dr. Sushrut Jangi, an Instructor in Medicine at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, entitled “The Nutrition Gap.” You can tell right away that there are going to be…problems…with the article by its summary:

    In America, where the pharmaceutical industry is king, many doctors dismiss nutritional therapies as quack medicine. But many patients disagree, and they’re taking matters into their own hands—sometimes to the detriment of their health. Can food cure disease? And are doctors ready to think outside the pillbox?

    Yes, the trope is there, that pharma rules all and nutritional therapies are dismissed as quackery. Of course, one has to distinguish between different nutritional therapies because many nutritional “therapies” promoted by alternative medicine are quackery. Unfortunately, Dr. Jangi can’t quite bring himself to do that properly. Before I get to the most egregious examples of that failing, first I must in all fairness acknowledge one thing that he gets right, and that’s his pointing out that there is a “nutrition gap in America, a disconnect between how patients and clinicians perceive diet,” a gap that has “been largely filled by opportunists like Gwyneth Paltrow and Dr. Mehmet Oz, obscuring many meaningful advances in understanding how nutrition influence health.” Right on! There are so many quack nutritional therapies out there, so many diets, so many claims, and so little science to back them up that it’s no wonder that it’s hard for a nutritional therapy to break through.


  5. You can pick your friends. You can pick your nose. But you can’t pick your friends nose.

    Unless you practice Nasal Cranial Release.

    There are so many pseudo-medicines, it is hard to keep track. New variations appear, new combinations of old SCAMs occur, old pseudo-medicines wax and wane, although no pseudo-medicine ever dies. Except phenology? Maybe? I find a few phrenology sites on the web, but I cannot tell if they are real or satire...

    The same concept applies to SCAMs. Whose goofiness reigns supreme? Homeopathy? Reiki? Epigenetic Birth Control? They are all equally goofy, each in their own special way.

    In my feeds I saw the announcement that “Anderson Chiropractic Announces Nasal Cranial Release Therapy“. I had never heard of Nasal Cranial Release Therapy. It sounds bad, turning humans into a PEZ dispenser, popping off the skull by way of the nose, a particularly horrific form of rhinotillexomania. It’s not that goofy. But close...

    Balloons, or hobbit condoms, I can’t tell from the photographs, are inserted in the nose and inflated to realign cranial bones. Really. Watch the video. Judging from the patient it is not a pleasant experience. And I always watch these videos with the eye of an infection control doctor. No gloves or hand hygiene to be seen and given the propensity for MRSA to be harbored in the nose it gives me the willies. The procedure appears to be booger compression, an intervention I suspect no one really needs. Compressing snot is unlikely to have any significant anatomic or physiologic effects.

    Nasal Cranial Release was developed in the 1930s by a chiropractor and naturopath in Portland Oregon to treat concussion and traumatic brain injury. Really. It gives me the heebie-jeebies to think of inflating a balloon in the nose after traumatic brain injury. The balloon should do nothing to normal skulls, but if there were an occult basilar skull fracture?

    After a shorter version of this essay a chiropractor commented

    Please don’t generalize. Most chiropractors don’t do this ridiculous crap and we definitely do not learn this in chiropractic school.

    As if correcting spinal subluxations, the raison d’être of chiropractic, is any less goofy. And maybe the other ridiculous crap in chiropractic school will be no longer be taught:


    Video at:

  6. However, on Thursday she was happy to announce: 'I think I have officially been given the all clear,' she shared excitedly, clarifying: 'Well, I'm not healed but I'm not in pain anymore so that's good.'...

    Kelly then went on to explain the cause behind her miracle cure, which is a new cleanse the blonde beauty has been trying.

    'I've been working with this guy. His name is Dr. Daryl Gioffre, and he is a chiropractor, but also a nutritionist, and he put me on this cleanse,' she said.

    'It's an antacid, like high-alkaline cleanse, and it has changed my life,' the TV personality gushed of her new diet, adding: 'And I swear, I think it’s responsible for me not being in pain.'

    Kelly also revealed that the cleanse - which she insists is not your typical 'green juice a day' cleanse - has 'changed the way I think about food.'

    And she isn't being too strict on herself either, as the actress admitted: 'I'm still drinking coffee, even though I lied and told him [Gioffre] I wasn't.'

    'It's a very manageable cleanse. It's very manageable,' the star explained to co-host Michael Strahan, when he joked maybe he should be cleansing as well.

    She continued: 'You're not hungry. You eat. I actually eat much more on this cleanse than I do in my actual life, but it's what you eat and how you eat it.'

    'See, that's important,' Michael noted, joking that he tried to do a juice cleanse for a week, but lasted 'how many days in a week? Seven - I probably lasted seven... minutes.'

    'Right, I need to chew. I can't do it,' Kelly concurred, as she continued to tout her new antacid, high-alkaline cleanse.

    Dr. Gioffre's website promotes alkaline supplements, and the doctor also advertises a Get Off Your Acid eating plan.


  7. Sautéed or blended into smoothies raw, the placenta is becoming an increasingly popular side dish for women after childbirth who are hoping it will help boost their energy and mood.

    Some new mothers have the organ -- which develops in the uterus during pregnancy -- dehydrated and put into capsules that they can take in the weeks to months after giving birth.

    Although placenta consumption has been recommended since at least the 1500s --in ancient China, it was mixed with human milk as an antidote for exhaustion, there has been a resurgence in the practice in the last several decades, and especially in the last few years, in the US, Canada and Europe. It has been embraced by celebrities including January Jones and Alicia Silverstone.

    Eating placenta purportedly offers new mothers numerous benefits: preventing postpartum depression, reducing pain and postpartum bleeding, increasing breast milk production and improving mother-infant bonding. Yet, very few studies have actually examined what kind of advantage the practice gives women, such as by comparing outcomes like mood between women who ate placenta and those who did not.

    An article published Thursday in the Archives of Women's Mental Health surveyed the research to determine what can really be said about the benefits and risks of placenta consumption...

    What Clark found was that there are "no good data" either for or against the therapy, Clark said...

    Among the academic reports of placentophagy, a small 1954 study found that 86% of mothers who ingested freeze-dried placental tissue said they felt "good" or "very good" in terms of their milk production. However, as Clark and her colleagues pointed out, this study did not look at the effects in women who did not consume placental tissue and whether their milk production was also improved. In a more recent 2013 study found, based on an Internet survey, 40% of mothers reported being in a better mood, which was the main reason (34%) they gave for eating their placenta.

    The strongest evidence for a benefit of placentophagy, Clark said, comes from a series of experiments that found that lab rats that eat their placentas immediately after giving birth appeared to have less pain. However the way the placental tissue was prepared and consumed in these studies was different than what is typical in people. "It has been suggested that the pain-mediating factor was very sensitive to temperature, and would not last more than 24 hours at room temperature" whereas placentavores usually eat the tissue later, or do not keep it cool enough to preserve this factor, Clark said.


    Cynthia W. Coyle, Kathryn E. Hulse, Katherine L. Wisner, Kara E. Driscoll, Crystal T. Clark. Placentophagy: therapeutic miracle or myth? Archives of Women's Mental Health 04 Jun 2015

  8. Autism cure

    Last week a jury in Washington state convicted a man of conspiracy, smuggling, and defrauding the United States because he marketed a concentrated form of bleach as a miracle cure. When sentenced in September, he faces up to 34 years in prison.

    From 2007 to 2011, Louis Daniel Smith operated a business called Project GreenLife that sold a product called “Miracle Mineral Supplement” online. MMS contains a diluted form of sodium chlorite, which Smith instructed customers to mix with citric acid to create chlorine dioxide, and then drink.

    Chlorine dioxide is primarily used in industrial applications to bleach wood and treat wastewater, and causes nausea, diarrhea, and dehydration when ingested by humans. The instructions that Smith provided with his MMS product stated that these symptoms were all signs that the MMS was doing its job. Instructions also stated that the product could be safely used on pregnant women, children, and infants. This “miracle cure,” he claimed, could treat AIDS, cancer, autism, malaria, hepatitis, lyme disease, asthma, and the common cold.,,

    “[Smith] was taking advantage of desperate people and desperate parents,” Steven Novella, assistant professor of neurology at Yale School of Medicine, told BuzzFeed News. “It’s the perfect storm of snake oil quackery.”


  9. See 6/5/15 8:46 am above

    Some women use a naturalistic approach to arguing in favor of spaghetti with placenta-infused meat sauce or a plate of raw placenta simply seasoned. They point to virtually all other mammals, even the trusty family dog, who are unafraid and actually embrace eating the placenta. To which scientists coolly retort: Look at what else your dog eats.

    Owing to celebrities’ public influence, however, a lack of data has done little to reduce the practice’s staying power. The truth is, people have been eating placenta since the 1960s, when back-to-nature folk decided the best stuff on earth actually came from inside our own bodies. Maybe...

    “[For] women who are very conscientious about what they put in their body during pregnancy and nursing and who maybe would avoid raw fish or certain cheeses or whatever else,” Coyle told The Atlantic, “before making this decision just be aware that it’s still unknown what’s being consumed.”


  10. Gluten free museum. Courtesy of a colleague.

  11. Instead of qualifications in boring things such as nutrition and science, the wellness guru has a blog and an Instagram account. From these, she advises thousands, even millions, of followers in her friendly, informal tone to avoid the likes of tropical fruits (too high in sugar) and stock up instead on cold-pressed green juices. She makes dark references to the many ways in which today's food industry is making us all sick. She also includes many, many photos of herself to confirm the efficacy of her recommendations.

    The wellness blogger is, crucially, photogenic and young, which is why "wellness" looks so much more desirable than it did a decade ago, when it was poo-fixated Gillian McKeith telling us to eat more fibre. "Eat like me, look like me", is the message. Typical photo poses include sitting on a beach lounger in a bikini while drinking from a coconut or reclining in a rustic kitchen in skinny jeans, a cute porcelain bowl of vegetables in one hand.

    There are differences, however: some bloggers endorse juice fasts whereas others scorn juice and compare its sugar content to that of Coca-Cola; some promote fasting, others advise against. Such subjective disagreements are perhaps inevitable among a profession in which no training is required...

    But food bloggers and nutritionists, unlike dietitians, are not regulated, and a few problems have emerged in this wellness gold rush. Until earlier this year, Belle Gibson was a successful blogger in Australia. Her claims that she had cured herself of various cancers through eating fruit and vegetables brought her enormous attention. She is estimated to have made more than US$1 million from her app, The Whole Pantry, and the book of the same name, which was published by Penguin. Apple was planning to include her app on the Apple Watch. She boasted that she had encouraged "countless others" who suffered from cancer to reject conventional medical treatment and opt instead to treat themselves naturally.

    In April, it was revealed that Gibson's story was bogus: she never had cancer. She gave a tearful interview to Women's Weekly magazine in which the journalist drily reported, "She says she is passionate about avoiding gluten, dairy and coffee, but doesn't really understand how cancer works." Penguin said it had published the book "in good faith" and had never sought to verify Gibson's claims (See Internet advice for physicians 6/29/15)...

    The publishers of wellness books may not demand real nutritional expertise, but sometimes the gaps in the bloggers' knowledge show. In one recent exchange on her blog, which gets 2.5 million hits a month, British wellness blogger Ella Woodward was asked by a commenter why she doesn't use millet in her recipes: "I don't use millet as it contains gluten and all my recipes are gluten-free. Hope you love the recipes! X," she explained.

    Her loyal followers pointed out that millet does not, in fact, contain gluten. Woodward, undaunted, simply moved the goalposts: "I prefer to stay away from millet as I personally find it difficult to digest. Have a nice day! X," she replied.

  12. “We need to keep Andrew for an inpatient stay, with traction on the leg and surgical reduction tomorrow morning” reported Dr. Kuennen. At this point, Stephanie’s motherly nurturing instincts sounded the alarm.

    “The thought of him staying all night in a hospital bed, being fed non-organic GMO food while given synthetic drugs from big pharma made me scared. How is his body supposed to heal with these chemicals in his system?” She thought about the surgical steel, anaesthesia, staples, and pain killers that the impersonal institution of modern healthcare was thrusting upon her like she had no other choice. “I decided this was not right for him or our family, and if I disagree with some of it, I disagree with all of it. I can do a better job with personal care and proven remedies” she remarked.

    The family then left AMA. At home, Stephanie first called Ellen, her Reiki healer. When she arrived, Ellen held her hands over the fracture site for a few minutes, closed her eyes to focus on transferring positive energy, then finished. Next, Stephanie researched “proven herbs and essential oils for healing” on Google and got to work.

    “The testimonials from the website I found during my research made me feel like I had found the answer. The body has a way of healing itself, and the answers to unlocking that healing power can be found in nature.” After a quick trip to the herbalist, Stephanie made a mixture of rose otto oils for bleeding reduction, then thyme for disinfection. She then used tea tree and lavender oil to promote wound healing. Finally, she blended eucalyptus and birch bark leaf herbs into a tea with glacial spring water and made her son drink it as he passed out from the pain.

    Several hours later, Andrew walked down the stairs. “Look mom!” he exclaimed. Sure enough, the leg was healed, and he could walk again...

    Word spread to Dr. Kuennen quickly. “I am not sure what to make of this. If too many patients do this, I am going to have to sell my other home in Aspen.”

  13. Scans have determined that, proportionally, the brains of dolphins are almost as big as those of humans. But should you trust cetacean intelligence with the tall order of, say, assisting a woman in childbirth?

    One woman in Hawaii seemed to think so. Dorina Rosin and her husband Maika Suneagle said they planned to rely on the unpaid and untrained help of dolphins to deliver their baby in the Pacific Ocean. The couple, who live on Hawaii’s big island and run a spiritual healing center, had planned to employ their flippered midwife on-the-fly by showing up at the ocean once Rosin went into labor. For an added bonus, Rosin said her baby would be able to “speak dolphin” as a result of immediate exposure to the animals.

    Rosin is one of several women featured in a documentary about unusual birthing practices. She also communed with the creatures in dolphin blessing ceremony in preparation for her labor. Fortunately for the baby, mom went into labor in the middle of the night, and with no time to head to the sea she had to give birth on dry land.

    Dolphin-assisted birth, a newer take on water births, is apparently a trend growing in popularity. The Sirius Institute in Hawaii, a New Age center dedicated to encouraging the bonds between dolphins and humans, offers assisted childbirth. However, it’s unclear if any women have actually gone through with it. One couple from North Carolina traveled to the center for prenatal bonding but the actual birth with dolphins didn’t happen.

    According to its website, “pioneering” Russian midwife Igor Tscharkofsy began assisting births in the Black Sea with dolphins that lived there: “Some of the reported occurrences include a mother and a baby playing with the dolphins within 45 minutes of the birth, another instance of a free dolphin escorting a newborn human baby to the surface for its first breath.”

    A research assistant working along with Tscharkofsy claimed the babies born in the ocean reached developmental milestones, such as walking and talking, six months ahead of babies born in regular settings.

  14. Pre-birth dolphin contact in helping assure a more gentle, easier birth

  15. Five Americans came down with an unusual illness after traveling to Germany for a controversial treatment involving injections with sheep cells, health officials reported Wednesday.

    The treatment is not permitted in the U.S. The New York residents received the "live cell therapy" in May last year. About a week later, they developed fever, fatigue and other symptoms of a dangerous bacterial illness called Q fever.

    Two told investigators that they were part of a group that, for the last five years, had traveled to Germany twice a year for the injections. They said they get them to improve their health and vitality. There is no published clinical proof the treatments work, health officials say.

    The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Wednesday released a report on the outbreak, which included a Canadian case — another medical tourist who got the treatment in Germany at about the same time. The four women and two men ranged in age from 59 to 83.

    Live or fresh cell therapy involves injecting people with fetal cells from sheep. It's sometimes offered as an anti-aging therapy, but also has been touted as a treatment for conditions ranging from impotence to migraines to liver disease.

    Q fever is caused by a hardy germ found in cattle, sheep and goats. People usually get it from inhaling barnyard dust — it's an occupational hazard for farmers.

    But cases in the U.S. are unusual — each year fewer than 200 are reported. It is treated with antibiotics and U.S. residents rarely die from Q fever; three or four deaths are reported in the worst years.
    Courtesy of:

  16. Andrew I. Geller, M.D., Nadine Shehab, Pharm.D., M.P.H., Nina J. Weidle, Pharm.D., Maribeth C. Lovegrove, M.P.H., Beverly J. Wolpert, Ph.D., Babgaleh B. Timbo, M.D., Dr.P.H., Robert P. Mozersky, D.O., and Daniel S. Budnitz, M.D., M.P.H. Emergency Department Visits for Adverse Events Related to Dietary Supplements. N Engl J Med 2015; 373:1531-1540October 15, 2015


    Dietary supplements, such as herbal or complementary nutritional products and micronutrients (vitamins and minerals), are commonly used in the United States, yet national data on adverse effects are limited.


    We used nationally representative surveillance data from 63 emergency departments obtained from 2004 through 2013 to describe visits to U.S. emergency departments because of adverse events related to dietary supplements.


    On the basis of 3667 cases, we estimated that 23,005 (95% confidence interval [CI], 18,611 to 27,398) emergency department visits per year were attributed to adverse events related to dietary supplements. These visits resulted in an estimated 2154 hospitalizations (95% CI, 1342 to 2967) annually. Such visits frequently involved young adults between the ages of 20 and 34 years (28.0% of visits; 95% CI, 25.1 to 30.8) and unsupervised children (21.2% of visits; 95% CI, 18.4 to 24.0). After the exclusion of unsupervised ingestion of dietary supplements by children, 65.9% (95% CI, 63.2 to 68.5) of emergency department visits for single-supplement–related adverse events involved herbal or complementary nutritional products; 31.8% (95% CI, 29.2 to 34.3) involved micronutrients. Herbal or complementary nutritional products for weight loss (25.5%; 95% CI, 23.1 to 27.9) and increased energy (10.0%; 95% CI, 8.0 to 11.9) were commonly implicated. Weight-loss or energy products caused 71.8% (95% CI, 67.6 to 76.1) of supplement-related adverse events involving palpitations, chest pain, or tachycardia, and 58.0% (95% CI, 52.2 to 63.7) involved persons 20 to 34 years of age. Among adults 65 years of age or older, choking or pill-induced dysphagia or globus caused 37.6% (95% CI, 29.1 to 46.2) of all emergency department visits for supplement-related adverse events; micronutrients were implicated in 83.1% (95% CI, 73.3 to 92.9) of these visits.


    An estimated 23,000 emergency department visits in the United States every year are attributed to adverse events related to dietary supplements. Such visits commonly involve cardiovascular manifestations from weight-loss or energy products among young adults and swallowing problems, often associated with micronutrients, among older adults. (Funded by the Department of Health and Human Services.)

  17. In a multitude of ways, Thiering was prepared for her baby’s arrival.

    One thing she was not prepared for, however, was to go to court.

    At 33 weeks pregnant, Thiering got a court order giving her the rights to her placenta.

    “I grew my baby, I grew my placenta,” Thiering said. “There should be no one that can tell me what I can or can’t do with it.”

    Thiering said she was going over her birth plan with her OB-GYN in March when she mentioned she wanted to encapsulate her placenta.

    After a postpartum friend told Thiering she put her placenta in a smoothie, the mom-to-be began to look into the idea.

    Placentophagy, or the act of eating one's own placenta, has increased in Western culture. Proponents claim it can increase your energy level and milk production and help ward off postpartum depression. However, the benefits have not been scientifically proven.

    After conducting her own research, Thiering decided to encapsulate her placenta.

    "Taking a multivitamin is something that I do regularly anyway so putting it in a gelatin capsule just seems so simple and if it’s going to benefit me and my husband, my baby, I might as well," she said. "The benefits just seem to outweigh any sort of negative. I’m really excited about it. If it does nothing, it does nothing, but it's the whole perspective of being able to kind of have what I want, rightfully so. "

    Planning to deliver at River Oaks Hospital, Thiering's doctor said she might want to check with the hospital on its rules and regulations beforehand.

    When she called the hospital, Thiering was told she would need a court order.

    “I’m thinking, ‘What? For my own body part? Why do I need a court order?’”

    Thiering was told it was an issue with the Mississippi Department of Health and she was considered a "third party" to her placenta.

    "If I give birth to my baby and then I give birth to my placenta, do you own my baby, too? Do I have a third party to my own child? Well, of course not. So then why am I the third party to my own body part? It just doesn’t seem to make sense," she said.

    According to a memo obtained by The Clarion-Ledger, state epidemiologist Dr. Thomas Dobbs defined the placenta as “medical waste.”

    Thiering petitioned the Rankin County Chancery County on May 2, asking for the rights to her placenta. Judge John McLaurin granted the order on May 17.

    “It was pretty simple but totally unnecessary in my opinion to need any of that,” she said. “I don’t think it’s right for someone who has no experience to dictate what a woman can do with her body…he’s not a woman. He shouldn’t have a right to dictate what I can do with my body.

    "It’s your body part and no matter what women want to do with it, it’s their right to have it."

  18. (Notice the author is Robin Cook.)