Consumer Health Digest #11-36
Your Weekly Update of News and Reviews
October 27, 2011
Consumer Health Digest is a free weekly e-mail newsletter edited by Stephen Barrett, M.D., with help from William M. London, Ed.D., M.P.H. 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.
Autism guide published. The National Institute of Mental Health has just published A Parent's Guide to Autism Spectrum Disorder, an excellent 27-page booklet that provides practical information about the symptoms, diagnosis, associated health problems and treatment plus theories about causation. It can be downloaded free of charge from the NIMH Web site.
Another "fibromyalgia specialist" facing serious charges. William M. Spurlock, M.D., who practiced at a Fibromyalgia & Fatigue Center in the Dallas/Ft. Worth area for four years, has been accused of multiple acts of unprofessional conduct in connection with his treatment of 12 patients. The complaint states that, for each patient, he (a) diagnosed fibromyalgia and/or chronic fatigue, (b) ordered laboratory tests that were medically and scientifically unsupported, (c) based his treatment on the test findings, and (d) prescribed treatments that were not medically recognized for the particular patient's condition. The board also charged that Spurlock's medical records were inadequate. Spurlock has been subjected to disciplinary action three other times:
- In 2007, the Board entered an agreed order based on Spurlock's long-term use of non-indicated drugs to treat back pain and fibromyalgia. He was assessed a $1,000 administrative penalty and required to take continuing education in the areas of pain management and endocrinology.
- In 2009, the Board entered an agreed order based on Spurlock's failure to maintain adequate medical records. He was required to pay a $2,000 administrative penalty and take 10 hours of continuing medical education in recordkeeping.
- In August 2011, the board reprimanded Spurlock and assessed a $2,000 administrative penalty for failing to comply with the education requirement of the 2009 order.
The Texas Medical Board appears to have far more interest than other licensing boards in curbing unscientific medical practices. The Casewatch Web site has posted documents for about 20 such cases.
Reebok settles deceptive advertising case. Reebok International has settled FTC charges that ads for its "toning shoes" were misleading. The ads in question stated that the sole technology of Reebok's EasyTone walking shoes and RunTone running shoes featured pockets of moving air that created "micro instability" that would tone and strengthen muscles during walking or running. Under the settlement, Reebok must pay $25 million and refrain from making unsubstantiated claims that toning shoes or other toning apparel are effective in strengthening muscles. [Reebok to Pay $25 Million in Customer Refunds To Settle FTC Charges of Deceptive Advertising of EasyTone and RunTone Shoes. FTC news release, Sept 28, 2011]
This page was posted on October 27, 2011.