Medicine: DMSO Dustup

Wonder or quack drug?

It relieves the pain and swelling of arthritis, heals burns, soothes toothaches, eases headaches and muscle strains, and clears up viral, fungal and bacterial infections. It helps retarded children, prevents paralysis from spinal-cord injuries, and even grows hair on bald pates. And it is safe to use. At least so claim the dedicated defenders of dimethyl sulfoxide (DMSO), which was enthusiastically promoted as a "wonder drug" in the early 1960s but then fell from grace after the Food and Drug Administration halted its testing in 1965 because of possible harmful side effects.

Now a combination of a congressional hearing,...