environmental disease

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environmental disease

Fringe medicine
A hypothetical polysymptomatic condition attributed by so-called “clinical ecologists” to immune dysregulation induced by contaminants (e.g., allergens and chemicals, including pesticides and petrochemicals) present in the air, water, food and soil that cause poor nutrition, infection, hereditary factors, and physical and psychological stress, resulting in various physical and mental disorders. Clinical ecologists believe that the immune defects caused by environmental disease lead to mood and thought disorders, psychotic episodes and fatigue; vaguely defined gastrointestinal, respiratory and urinary tract symptoms; rashes; arthritis-like symptoms; and cardiac arrhythmias. Psychiatric disorders (e.g., depression, anxiety and somatisation) are reported to be 2.5-fold greater in those with environmental disease, suggesting that the condition is not entirely organic in nature.

The mainstream medical community is largely skeptical of the existence of environmental disease, given the plethora of symptoms attributed to it, the lack of consistent laboratory abnormalities and the use of unproven therapies to treat it. The concepts and practices of environmental medicine (clinical ecology) 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 environmental medicine (clinical ecology) is not a valid discipline.

Environmental disease cannot be diagnosed by standard allergy tests or other standard examinations; clinical ecologists use a test of unproven validity known as neutralisation.
Differential diagnosis
Allergies, early diabetes, chronic otitis media, infectious mononucleosis, nasal polyps, respiratory tract infections, sinusitis, thyroid disease and other conditions may mimic environmental disease, and if misdiagnosed and treated incorrectly, will delay more effective (mainstream) therapy.
Avoidance of environmental pollutants, chemicals and pesticides; consumption of organic foods; changing residence or place of employment; nutritional supplements; antifungal agents; hormones; gamma globulin; inhalation of pure oxygen; drinking urine.
Segen's Medical Dictionary. © 2012 Farlex, Inc. All rights reserved.
References in periodicals archive ?
MCS has been described under various names since the 1940s: idiopathic environmental intolerance, environmental illness, environmental hypersensitivity, and universal reactors.
Other names include "chemical hypersensitivity," "environmental hypersensitivity," "total allergy syndrome," "cerebral allergy," "chemical AIDS," and "20th Century Disease." In February a World Health Organization (WHO) workshop in Berlin concluded that MCS should be called "idiopathic environmental intolerances," with idiopathic defined as "self-originated" or "of unknown causation."
The reviewers said Rea used "no appropriate controls and the patients were assumed to have environmental hypersensitivity mainly by being referred to the unit." It strains belief that out of all the hypochondriacs and people with psychosomatic illness out there, none manage to find their way to Rea's clinic.

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