Wolf's MCS Review

Wolf's MCS Review - R eview Articles Multiple Chemical...

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Review Articles Multiple Chemical Sensitivity Review Articles: Feature "MCS" Multiple Chemical Idiopathic Environmental Christian Wolf Sensitivity (MCS) Intolerances (IEI) Clinical Dept. of Occupational Medicine, Clinic for Internal Medicine IV, University of Vienna, W/ihringer Giirtel 18-20, A-1090 Vienna, Austria Abstract Multiple Chemical Sensitivity (MCS) is a systemic disorder causing central nervous, irritative and gastrointestinal symptoms, and can be included in the category of "idiopathic environmental intoler- ance" (IEI). This term describes phenomena with multiple, recur- rent symptoms associated with various environmental factors that are tolerated by most people without problems. Those advocating these concepts attribute the symptoms to exogenous substances. Those opposing them explain the phenomena by classical condi- tioning or other psychopathological processes. To the extent that controlled studies are available, they have not furnished any hard evidence for toxic or immunological causes. In addition to psy- chopathological origins, neurobiological processes are also impli- cated. Keywords: Multiple chemical sensitivities (MCS); idiopathic envi- ronmental intolerances (IEI) 1 Introduction "Idiopathic Environmental Intolerance" (IEI) is a collective term for multiple recurrent symptoms that are thought to be associated with various environmental factors and tol- erated by most people without problems. These phenom- ena cannot be explained by any defined physical or psy- chological processes [23], i.e. there is no apparent cause. Many cases of IEI are attributed to subliminal chemical noxae, a factor which is also reflected in the concept of "Multiple Chemical Sensitivity" (MCS). MCS was first de- scribed by RANDOLPH around 40 years ago in the United States [31, 32]. The theory has since been propagated by his followers, who call themselves "clinical ecologists", as well as by others [10, 11, 22]. For some time, the issue of MCS remained confined to the United States. In recent years, however, European outpa- tient clinics of environmental and occupational medicine too have been increasingly frequented by people who sus- pect environmental and, to a lesser extent, workplace-re- lated exposure to subliminal chemical or physical influ- ences as underlying longstanding diseases. Such patients typically show a considerably impaired subjective state of health, and most of them have dramatically changed their lifestyle in order to avoid the presumed environmental or workplace-related causes. Many of them demonstrate com- prehensive examination reports and diagnostic findings and, to the extent that these are based on objective meth- ods, they are usually normal. It is not uncommon, however, that allegedly abnormal findings of alternative techniques of "measurement" such as electric acupuncture, bioreso- nance or hair analysis may also be provided. Advocates of conventional medicine have denied the exis- tence of such a syndrome and emphasized the role of psy- chological reasons in the majority of cases.
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This note was uploaded on 04/13/2010 for the course PSYCH 101 taught by Professor Gabbart during the Spring '08 term at Union College.

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Wolf's MCS Review - R eview Articles Multiple Chemical...

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