Funding for Scientologist Agent Orange treatment in question - 2012-09-14
Experts in the field have criticized the method, which involves vitamin supplements, exercise and sauna therapy, saying it has not been vetted scientifically. They doubt such a method, originally developed to treat drug abuse, would help remove dioxin, the toxic chemical left behind by Agent Orange.
David Carpenter, director of the Institute for Health and the Environment at the University at Albany, is currently conducting research under a grant from the US Department of Defense to see if the program is effective in reducing the symptoms of Gulf War Illness, a disease found in American veterans of the 1990-1991 Gulf War.
"A major factor in the treatment is the use of increasing concentrations of the Vitamin niacin, which has long been known to act on fat stores in the body, where the dioxins are stored," Carpenter told Vietweek. "The Scientologists believe that the niacin mobilizes the contaminants from the fat store, which makes them more likely to be excreted. The use of the sauna is to make the person sweat, and that is supposed to help purge the chemicals out of the body."