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environmental medicineFringe medicine
A field that explores the role of dietary and environmental allergens in health and illness. The intent of EM is to identify toxins in the environment through elimination diets, skin testing, provocation/ neutralisation testing, electroacupuncture, biofeedback, and radioallergosorbent testing, and to reduce patient exposure to noxious agents in the environment. Environmental medicine (EM) is believed by its practitioners (clinical ecologists) to address a wide range of conditions.
The concepts and practices of clinical ecology (environmental medicine) have been evaluated by several professional bodies, including the American Academy of Allergy and Immunology; all have concluded that environmental disease has not been proven to exist and that clinical ecology (environmental medicine) is not a valid discipline. Although there is little data to support the efficacy of EM in peer-reviewed journals, the concept that low levels of noxious components in the environment may cause disease has been attractive to some workers.
Neutralisation, a test of uncertain validity which consists of either subdermal injection or sublingual placement of the allegedly offending substance and evaluating the reactions; some clinical ecologists identify offending substances by crystals, pendulums, galvanometers and other devices.
Disease managed by environmental medicine
• Cardiovascular (angina, arrhythmia, thrombophlebitis, vasculitis);
• Paediatric (bedwetting, chronic otitis, learning disabilities);
• Endocrine (autoimmune thyroiditis, hypoglycaemia);
• ENT (allergies, sinus headaches, vertigo);
• Gastrointestinal (bloating, constipation, gastritis, inflammatory bowel disease, irritable bowel syndrome);
• Gynaecologic (dyspareunia, premenstrual syndrome);
• Skin (angiooedema, eczema);
• Neuromuscular (epilepsy, headaches, migraines, myalgias);
• Psychiatric (anxiety, ADD/ADHD, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, sexual dysfunction);
• Rheumatic (rheumatoid arthritis, systemic lupus erythematosus).
A form of medical practice based on two concepts: that a broad range of environmental chemicals and foods can cause symptoms of illness (such as malaise, fatigue, dizziness, joint discomfort) and that the immune system is functionally depressed by exposure to many synthetic chemicals in the workplace, the home, or contemporary agricultural products. The premise of clinical ecology is that these exposures are toxic or that they trigger hypersensitivity reactions, or environmental illness.