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"The bottom line is that Scientologists seek conventional medical treatment for medical conditions," said Tommy Davis, a spokesman for the Church of Scientology International in Los Angeles.
Kawasaki syndrome, the disease the family has said sickened Jett when he was a toddler, can cause inflammation in blood vessels and arteries. It typically features a persistent high fever accompanied by symptoms that can include bloodshot eyes; swelling in hands, feet and neck lymph nodes; a red rash on the arms and legs; and cracked, swollen lips.
Most cases occur in the first five years of life, and if treated promptly with aspirin and intravenous gamma globulin, children are essentially cured, said Dr. Cody Meissner, chief of pediatric infectious diseases at Tufts Medical Center in Boston.
While inflammation can sometimes lead to burst arteries or heart damage, Meissner said most children have no complications. And those who do would develop them soon after diagnosis -- not several years later, Meissner said.
"If 10 years or more had gone by, it would be very unlikely that seizure activity could be attributed to Kawasaki disease," Meissner said.
Kelly Preston blamed household cleaners and fertilizers for the disease and said a detoxification program based on Scientology teachings helped improve his health, according to People magazine.
Meissner said there is scientific evidence linking professional-strength carpet cleaners with the disease.
Davis, the Scientology spokesman, acknowledged the detoxification program, but said its benefits are spiritual.
"Scientology is a religion," he said. "We deal with the spirit, and mental and spiritual factors that affect someone's happiness and well-being."
Copyright 2009 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
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