10 Oct 2011

Researcher critical of alternative therapy claims

9:35 pm on 10 October 2011

A researcher has criticised Science Minister Wayne Mapp for promoting a New Zealand company that sells alternative medicines.

New Image produces a range of products based on colostrum, the first milk produced after birth from cows, and markets it with testemonials claiming it can cure or alleviate symptoms of diseases including diabetes and multiple sclerosis.

University of Otago researcher Michelle McConnell specialises in colostrum and says there have only been a handful of limited trials showing it has any benefit to human health.

Dr McConnell says it is not acceptable for New Image to give sufferers of multiple sclerosis false hope.

She was also suprised to hear that the company and its products were promoted by Dr Mapp in a link on its website.

The minister says he did not intend to endorse the products in his speech and has asked for the video to be removed.

New Image is standing by the testimonials, saying a woman involved states she does not know if the product will have the same effect on others who have multiple sclerosis.