Message Number: YG7016 | New FHL Archives Search
From: Matt Staroscik
Date: 2001-09-05 20:39:00 UTC
Subject: Re: Silver (last one, I promise)

I don't want to get into a protracted argument either but I too had to
reply to some points.

At 08:20 PM 9/5/2001 +0000, you wrote:
>For many many years, all babies born had silver nitrate placed in their eyes
>to prevent infection at the time of birth. It was automatic.

People have used all kind of remedies that turned out to be no good. "They
used to do it" is not a scientifically rigorous argument.

>It wasn't until the 1950's that
>antibiotics came into play.

Penicillin was discovered/invented in '28 or thereabouts.

>Many metals can be colliodal, this
>is just the method of getting it ready for absorption into the body.

A suspension of elemental metal is the worst thing to do if you want the
material to be biologically available. Iron, for example, is absorbed by
the body best in an oxidation state of +2. Elemental iron can't be taken up
by the body. Particles can be *dispersed* through the body, but that is a
lot different than the atoms being available for use as enzymatic cofactors
or what have you. (But again, silver has no role in metabolism. Our bodies
do not need it. That's high school biology.)

Elemental silver may have some antibacterial properties. But lots of things
have those properties in a petri dish, and they still make bad medicine. We
don't ingest rubbing alcohol.

Just because someone's mom or ferret took silver and had good results
doesn't mean the silver was responsible. Coincidence and the placebo effect
are both factors that hinder the credibility of any anecdotes.

Claims *require proof*, and until someone does a real clinical study of the
medicinal properties of elemental silver the claims of its effectiveness
should be viewed with suspicion. Find some studies of silver interfering
with bacterial metabolism and I'm all ears. I'd like to know precisely what
enzymes it clogs up and how. But I suspect these studies have not been done
because there's no real evidence of silver's effectiveness outside of a
culture dish.

If there were anything to the claims of silver's effectiveness, I would
expect one of the major pharmaceutical firms to jump on it. They spend
gazillions developing new drugs... and then they have to test them. They'd
make a *huge* profit if they could simply prove the safety and
effectiveness of a commonly-available compound. But that isn't happening
and I don't believe that there's some kind of conspiracy to blame.

We are dealing with the health of our pets here, and in the larger sense
the health of society. Critical thinking and the scientific method have
been responsible for many of the advances we enjoy on a daily basis, like
the computer you are reading this on. Is it so far-fetched to ask that the
same standards be applied to health care?

OK, enough on this topic. I'm going to play with my ferrets!

Matt Staroscik * KF6IYW * mstaroscik@h... *