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A substance that occurs naturally in minute amounts in certain foods, which has industrial and health-related applications. Animal studies have shown it to have analgesic, anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, vasodilatory and other properties; up to the 1960s, DMSO had been administered orally, topically or parenterally by mainstream physicians for various conditions, including arthritis, bursitis, cancer, emphysema, mental illness and pain. In the face of its association with lenticular degeneration, DMSO was removed from general use; some practitioners of alternative healthcare continue to recommend DMSO for these and other uses.
Topical DMSO is associated burning, itching and an unpleasant odour.
DMSO is FDA-approved for treating interstitial cystitis, and may be of use in treating scleroderma, sprains, arthritis, cerebrovascular accidents, familial amyloidotic polyneuropathy and acetaminophen hepatotoxicity. DMSO reduces the ice crystals formed in frozen section tissues from the operating suite, and may be an effective cryopreservative.