Consumer Health Digest #06-28
Your Weekly Update of News and Reviews
July 11, 2006
Consumer Health Digest is a free weekly e-mail newsletter edited by Stephen Barrett, M.D., and cosponsored by NCAHF and Quackwatch. It summarizes scientific reports; legislative developments; enforcement actions; news reports; Web site evaluations; recommended and nonrecommended books; and other information relevant to consumer protection and consumer decision-making.
Kevin Trudeau's "secret" source revealed. Kevin Trudeau, whose "Natural Cures" books are filled with false claims, has published an explanation for his knowledge that is even more preposterous than the claims themselves. His most recent (third) book states that a "secret society" gave him "health secrets, access to the inner circles of the rich and powerful, and the ability to live a life of luxury." Page 11 states:
As a member of this secret society I have sat in private meetings with the heads of state from countries around the world. I have attended secret international business meetings where business leaders, politicians, and media moguls coerce together to create the new world order with global control over individual people everywhere. I have been shown and have seen with my own eyes secret government and corporate documents. I have heard with my own ears how BigPharma, the food industry, and the oil industry are working together with governments and media outlets around the world. I have been in over sixty countries, yet there are no stamps of evidence in any of my passports. I have been to Area 51 in Nevada. (This top secret military installation is still denied to exist by the U.S. government.) This is where much of our technology has been developed. Area 51 houses most extraterrestrial artifacts, including a working spacecraft and dead alien bodies. I've seen these things with my own two eyes. As a member of this secret society I was used in covert operations around the world.
Canadian study finds no autism-vaccine connection. A major study has found no relationship between vaccine use and the incidence of autism and other pervasive developmental disorders (PDD). [Fombonne E and others. Pervasive developmental disorders in Montreal, Quebec, Canada: Prevalence and links with immunizations. Pediatrics 188:e139-e150, July 2006] After examining what happened to 27,749 children born from 1987 to 1998 who attended the 55 English-speaking schools in the province of Quebec , the researchers concluded:
- After June 1996, all pediatric vaccines were thimerosal-free. The overall prevalence of PDD was higher, but the prevalence among thimerosal-exposed children was lower than the prevalence among those who had not been exposed. This ruled out an association between PDD and thimerosal exposure.
- The overall PDD increase was most likely due to (a) broadening of diagnostic concepts and criteria, (b) increased awareness and identification of cases, and (c) improved access to services, which brought more cases to light.
- There was no relationship between PDD and measles-mumps-rubella vaccinations (which never contained thimerosal).
Mercury scaremongers sharply criticized in judge's ruling. A federal court judge has struck a major blow against spurious legal actions which claim that mercury exposure is a cause of autism. With a brilliant analysis, the judge dismissed a lawsuit by a couple who claimed that RhoGAM shots the mother received during pregnancy and shortly after delivery had caused their child to become autistic. (RhoGAM is used to prevent destruction of the newborn's red blood cells due to an Rh-factor incompatibility between mother and child.) The couple charged that the mercury preservative (thimerosal) in the shots was responsible. There is no scientific evidence that mercury is a causative factor, but the parents hoped to establish a connection through testimony by Mark R. Geier, M.D., Ph.D., who has testified in about 100 cases of alleged vaccine injury that that thimerosal in vaccines caused autism. However, the judge concluded:
- When subjected to extensive cross-examination, Geier could not point to a single study that conclusively determined that any amount of mercury could cause the specific neurological disorder of autism.
- Geier's conclusion that the peer-reviewed literature he has relied upon supports his theory that autism can be caused by thimerosal is flatly contradicted by all of the epidemiological studies available at this time.
- Geier's testimony was excluded or accorded little or no weight in more than ten of the vaccine cases. In one case, the special master who presided over the case referred to him as "intellectually dishonest." In another case, the special master referred to him as "a professional witness in areas for which he has no training, expertise, and experience."
- Because the parents could not establish causation, the RhoGAM case could not proceed.
Hawaii governor vetoes anti-thimerosal bill. A bill to ban the use of thimerosal in pediatric vaccines has been vetoed by Hawaii Governor Linda Lingle. Flu vaccine is the only is vaccine that currently contains thimerosal. Lingle's statement of objections says:
This bill is objectionable because it restricts the use of FDA-approved vaccines for no scientifically sound reason. This restriction will put the health and well-being of Hawaii residents at risk, particularly in the event of an influenza pandemic. . . .
This bill ignores the body of current scientific evidence on thimerosal-containing vaccines. It also ignores the American Academy of Pediatrics, the Hawaii Academy of Family Practice, the Hawaii Medical Association, the Hawaii Chapter of the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology, and numerous physicians who are on record opposing this legislation. Its enactment could cause some parents to doubt the general safety of vaccines and to decline vaccinations for their children, a step backward in our efforts to encourage families to participate in vaccination and to reduce or eliminate preventable illness and deaths from communicable diseases.
Bills to block the use of thimerosal in pediatric vaccines have been enacted in California, Delaware, Illinois, Iowa, Missouri, New York, and Washington.
De-licensed podiatrist reinstated. In July 2005, the California Board of Podiatric Medicine reinstated Gary Lee Weber, D.P.M., who tried to abolish the board after his license was revoked in 2001. The reinstatement order placed Weber on probation for five years with the provision that he follow the American College of Foot and Ankle Surgeons' Preferred Practice Guidelines and have his practice monitored for three years. The guidelines preclude further use of a questionable bunion operation that got him into trouble. Quackwatch has a detailed account of his regulatory history.
This page was posted on July 13, 2006.