Consumer Health Digest #09-09
Your Weekly Update of News and Reviews
February 26, 2009
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.
Chiropractic castigated from within. A team of research-oriented chiropractors have bared their profession's shortcomings in an article that calls for "dramatic changes." The article states:
- Chiropractic's market share is dwindling.
- Despite its longevity, the profession has not succeeded in establishing respect within mainstream society,
- A Gallup Poll found that it rated dead last among healthcare professions with regard to ethics and honesty.
- Many chiropractors aggressively (and dogmatically, without evidence) have opposed public health measures such as vaccination and fluoridation.
- The profession must become more involved in teaching patients how to stay healthy without frequent, endless visits to chiropractic offices.
- Many chiropractic colleges embrace the concept of spinal subluxation as the cause of a variety of internal diseases and the metaphysical, pseudo-religious idea of "innate intelligence" flowing through spinal nerves, with spinal subluxations impeding this flow. These concepts lack a scientific foundation and should not be taught at chiropractic institutions as part of the standard curriculum. Faculty members who hold to and teach these belief systems should be replaced.
- There is a tremendous void in how chiropractic graduates develop any meaningful hands-on clinical experience with real patients in real life situations.
- The chiropractic profession has an obligation to actively divorce itself from metaphysical explanations of health and disease as well as to actively regulate itself in refusing to tolerate fraud, abuse and quackery, which are more rampant in chiropractic than in other healthcare professions
[Murphy DR and others. How can chiropractic become a respected mainstream profession? The example of podiatry. Chiropractic & Osteopathy 16(10), 2008]
Major quack device marketer jailed. A federal jury has convicted James Folsom of 26 felony counts relating to his sale of quack medical devices. Evidence presented at his trial indicated that for more than ten years, he conspired with others to ship Rife-type biofrequency devices in interstate commerce. Royal Raymond Rife (1888-1971) claimed that cancer was caused by bacteria and that his devices could emit vibrations that would shatter them. Folsom is a former business associate of Kimberly Bailey, a Fallbrook, California woman who sold similar devices until she was sentenced to life in prison in 2002 for plotting the kidnapping, torture, and murder of a business partner. John Bryon Krueger, who operated the "Royal Rife Research Society," was sentenced to 12 years in prison for his role in the crime and, in a separate case, received a concurrent 30-month sentence for illegally selling devices. Device Watch has additional details and links to court documents.
Nevada bill aims to legalize quackery. Nevada State Senator Michael A. Schneider has introduced S.B. 69, an 85-page bill that would:
- Declare Nevada a "freedom of health" state.
- Affirm that patients are "entitled to access to and the use of the products and services of any provider of health care chosen by the patient, including, without limitation, a complementary integrative medical physician or any other provider of health care."
- Replace the current homeopathic board with a Board of Complementary Integrative Medical Examiners that has the same powers but can authorize people to become licensed or certified as a "complementary integrative medical physician," "advanced practitioner of complementary integrative medicine," "complementary integrative medical assistant" or "complementary integrative medical nutritionist."
- Require insurance providers to recognize the "ABC Coding system" (a nonstandard coding system for "alternative" and "complementary" services) as a valid means of communicating.
The practices that would be permitted under the bill's umbrella would include biofermentics, bio-oxidative therapy, electrodiagnosis, herbal therapy, homeopathy, naturopathy, neural therapy, neuromuscular integration, orthomolecular therapy, nonembryonic stem cell therapy, peptides, and "any intravenous infusion, intramuscular injection, subcutaneous injection and intradermal injection of nutrients, including, without limitation, vitamins, amino acids, minerals, enzymes, compounded pharmaceutical preparations, homeopathic medications, organ preparations, ozone, hydrogen peroxide and chelating agents." S.B. 69 may be the worst piece of health-related legislation in U.S. history. Senator Schneider introduced a similar bill in 2007. Susan E. Gallagher, a professor at the University of Massachusetts, has posted a guide to Schneider's promotion of "medical tourism in Nevada. "
This page was revised on February 27, 2009.