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Indexed/Abstracted in: CAB, EMBASE, PubMed/MEDLINE, Science Citation Index Expanded (SciSearch), Scopus
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Online ISSN 1827-1715
Vanelli M., Chiari G., Gugliotta M., Capuano C., Giacalone T., Gruppi L., Condò M.
In the last two years we discovered that three of our patients with type 1 diabetes mellitus (0.8%) suffered an unexpected worsening in their glycemic control due to a reduction of their insulin dosage in favour of some ''alternative'' diabetes treatments using herbs, vitamins, fantastic diets and trace elements prescribed by non-medical practitioners. The first patient, a 6.6 year old boy, was admitted to hospital because of a severe ketoacidosis with first degree coma as a result of his parents having reduced his insulin dosage by 77% and replacing the insulin with an ayurvedic herbal preparation (Bardana Actium Lapp). The second patient, a 10.4 year old boy, was admitted to hospital after his teachers noticed that he appeared tired, thinner and polyuric. During hospital admission for mild ketoacidosis the mother, reluctant at first, finally confessed that her son was under the care of a ''clinical ecologist''. Having identified several food allergies this ''clinical ecologist'' had placed the child on a spartan diet of bread, water and salt, and had reduced his insulin dosage by 68%. The third patient, a 21 year old male, upon transfer to the Adult Diabetic Center, reported that he had been under the care of a pranotherapist for several years. The pranotherapist had prescribed a cellular nutrition preparation (called ''Madonna drops''), a meditation program and also a 50% reduction in his insulin dosage. During this period his HbAlc values had increased from 6.4% to 12%. Current orthodox diabetes treatments are considered unsatisfactory by many people and it is thus not surprising that they search for ''miracle'' cures. It is important, however, that hospital staff do not ridicule the patients or their parents for trying these alternative therapies. Nevertheless, it would be useful for staff to discuss in advance these ''therapies'' with patients, highlighting their ineffectiveness and strongly discouraging cures that call for a reduction or elimination of the insulin treatment.