Medicine: Capsules: Mar. 16, 1981


Enthusiasts claim that DMSO (dimethyl sulfoxide) is a remedy for everything from acne to mental retardation. Critics denounce the substance as a quack cure unsupported by scientific studies. Now though, researchers at the Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions have documented that DMSO can exert a powerful effect on the immune system, suggesting that it might one day be helpful in treating rheumatoid arthritis and other immune-system diseases.

Neurologists Alan Pestronk and Daniel Drachman stumbled on the intriguing discovery while experimenting with the drug frentizole as a possible treatment for myasthenia gravis, a muscle-weakening disease in which antibodies damage the microscopic...

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