gms | German Medical Science

27th German Cancer Congress Berlin 2006

German Cancer Society (Frankfurt/M.)

22. - 26.03.2006, Berlin

Does Iridology and Darkfieldmicroscopy according Enderlein allow the early detection and prevention of cancer?

Meeting Abstract

  • corresponding author presenting/speaker Samer El-Safadi - Universitätsklinik für Gynäkologie und Geburtshilfe, Giessen, Deutschland
  • Hans-Rudolf Tinneberg - Universitätsklinik für Gynäkologie und Geburtshilfe, Giessen
  • Friedel Brück - Praxis für Naturheilkunde, Lahnau-Dorlar
  • Karsten Münstedt - Universitätsklinik für Gynäkologie und Geburtshilfe, Giessen

27. Deutscher Krebskongress. Berlin, 22.-26.03.2006. Düsseldorf, Köln: German Medical Science; 2006. DocPO426

The electronic version of this article is the complete one and can be found online at:

Published: March 20, 2006

© 2006 El-Safadi et al.
This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License ( You are free: to Share – to copy, distribute and transmit the work, provided the original author and source are credited.



Backround: Iridology and darkfieldmicroscopy according Enderlein have become very popular among patients because these diagnostic tools pretend to give accurate answers regarding a person’s health status without stressful or painful interventions. Iridology claims that certain positions on the anterior iris surface are associated with different organs. Weaknesses and a pathological status are supposed to appear with various signs in the iris and make it able to localise the malignancy process at a symptom less, very early stage. Darkfieldmicroscopy draws conclusions from minute abnormalities in a drop of blood and is considered to predict pathological processes such as a metastatic condition. Both methods are widely used by health practitioners (non-medically qualified complementary practitioners) and physicians in Germany and the USA.

A prospective study was to examine whether either or both diagnostic tools from alternative medicine can accurately stage cancer disease?

Material and Methods: A health practitioner, who is well familiar with both methods for many years, investigated 110 patients without knowing the patients history. Participants of the study were completely covered with exception of the eyes and no conversation was permitted. He was presented patients with 5 types of different tumors (at least 10 each). The remaining patients served as the control group. For iridology the health practitioner was allowed to suggest up to five diagnoses.

Results: Among the patients with 5 different tumor entitiesonly 3 patients were correctly identified with iridology(sensitivity 0.04). Among the 12 patients with an acute or metastasis tumor disease 3 were correctly identified by darkfieldmicroscopy, however, in 30 cases the diagnosis of active cancer disease was made in absence of any clinical signs and in many cases without prior history of cancer.

Conclusions: Bothmethods produce high rates of false diagnosis which means that patients may be unnecessarily scared and may end up receiving complementary therapy with some financial impact on one hand and may appease patients in advanced stages in spite of symptoms on the other. Our findings suggest that the use of iridology and darkfieldmicroscopy is discouraged.