With international renown, and patients, one Nicosia doctor offers contentious treatment to sufferers of Lyme disease and many other problems. Dismissing detractors as being in the pockets of Big Pharma, he tells THEO PANAYIDES of the importance of keeping up
Dr Yuri Nikolenko looks like he must be a character, a plain-spoken, paunchy Ukrainian with a waddle in his walk and green eyes in a pale, pouchy face. The 59-year-old head of the Medinstitute Clinic in Nicosia has – or cultivates – a languid, affable manner, slowly manoeuvring his big bulk around the three floors of the clinic. “Give me one minute,” he calls apologetically, gazing across with a mournful bloodhound expression. “For the beautiful, it’s fourth floor,” he jokes faux-flirtatiously when a group of ladies in the lift seem unsure which button to press (they’re looking for Dermatology, run by Yuri’s daughter Valentina). He has a touch of the concierge or the bus driver, one of those professions that depend on being stolid and ingratiating – but in fact he’s a scientist and a chess master (a game he’s been playing since the age of four), a judo adept and former deep-sea diver; and he also runs this clinic which he founded in 1989, drawing patients from all over the world.
All that said, there’s an ethical dimension in publishing a profile of Yuri, indeed it’s not just ethical but also inescapable. We talk a lot about ozone therapy, sitting in his office at the Medinstitute – it’s a central part of what the clinic offers, albeit not the only thing – and anyone reading will presumably want to do some further research. Google ‘ozone therapy’, however, and the first thing that comes up – literally the first thing – is the Wikipedia article on the subject, which begins as follows:
“Ozone therapy is a form of alternative medicine that purports to increase the amount of oxygen in the body through the introduction of ozone. It is based on pseudoscience and is considered dangerous to health, with no verifiable benefits.”