A parent had been giving mega-doses of vitamin E to an 8-year-old child with 21-D trisomy for five years in the firmly rooted belief that this therapy was responsible for the child's freedom from constant symptoms of systemic and respiratory infection. The design of an unbiased double-blind clinical trial permitted the parent to reach, on her own, the face-saving conclusion that continuation of this therapy was no longer necessary. Applications of this approach and the underlying nonjudgmental attitude to other potentially harmful health behaviors and practices are discussed.

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