Friday, January 19, 2018

"First, do no harm"

From wikipedia:
Primum non nocere is a Latin phrase that means "first, do no harm." The phrase is sometimes recorded as primum nil nocere. 
Non-maleficence, which is derived from the maxim, is one of the principal precepts of bioethics that all healthcare students are taught in school and is a fundamental principle throughout the world. Another way to state it is that, "given an existing problem, it may be better not to do something, or even to do nothing, than to risk causing more harm than good." It reminds the health care provider that they must consider the possible harm that any intervention might do. It is invoked when debating the use of an intervention that carries an obvious risk of harm but a less certain chance of benefit.
In October, I reported that my husband's co-worker had seen a 2/3 reduction in her chronic migraines since she started taking a mere 70 mcg of a molybdenum supplement at bedtime. The Recommended Daily Allowance (RDA) for molybdenum is 45 mcg for an adult woman, and she wasn't even doubling that.
For three months she took molybdenum, during which she had only one major headache and only a few little ones. It was a dramatic lessening of migraines from what she had been experiencing before she started taking molybdenum. Then she told her doctor that she was taking supplemental molybdenum. 
The doctor's response was, "That's a metal! Stop taking it." So she stopped taking it. And now her migraines are back. 
This doctor's directive appears to be based on incomplete information, and it manifestly did harm to my husband's co-worker. Molybdenum is an essential trace nutrient. It is included in Pediasure and Centrum multivitamins. It is relatively high--for a micronutrient--in lentils and beans, meaning billions of people eat it regularly. Can molybdenum be harmful in excess? Yes, particularly if inhaling it in an industrial setting. ( Anything--including water and oxygen--is harmful in excess. But not getting any molybdenum at all will put a human in a coma. ( Blanket restrictions are inappropriate where a nutrient is clearly contributing to better health; at the very least, performing some extra investigation is appropriate before intervening in such a way.
Having experienced three months of substantial relief from migraines due to molybdenum, my husband's co-worker is now going to look into taking the Centrum multivitamin formulations that include 45 mcg molybdenum, as well as increasing her intake of lentils. She says she's "a believer" about molybdenum's effectiveness to decrease migraines.
I wish the researchers I've been emailing about molybdenum for migraines (and nausea/vomiting from gastrointestinal viruses) would take my reports seriously so that news about its effects would spread in the medical community. I'll keep sending out emails until it does. Come on, medical world! Don't let me down!

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