Consumer Health Digest #13-12

Your Weekly Update of News and Reviews
March 21, 2013


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.


Long-term study shows fluoridation benefits adults. An Australian study has found that consuming fluoridated water significantly reduces tooth decay, even if its use doesn’t start until adulthood. The study examined data from 3,779 older teens and adults who had lived for various amounts of time in fluoridated communities. Survey examiners measured levels of decay, and study participants reported where they had lived since 1964. The researchers then determined the percentage of each participant’s lifetime in which the public water supply was fluoridated. They found that adults who had lived more than 75% of their life in fluoridated communities had about 30% less tooth decay than those living 25% or less in fluoridated areas. People with the longest exposure to fluoride had the greatest benefit, but even those who were born before fluoridation was widely adopted received some benefit. [Slade GD and others. Effects of fluoridated drinking water on dental caries in Australian adults. Journal of Dental Research 92:376-382, 2013]


ISM issues White Paper on attachment therapy. The Institute for Scientific Medicine has published a white paper on Attachment Therapies and Associated Parenting Techniques written by psychologist Jean Mercer, Ph.D. Attachment therapy (AT) encompasses a range of questionable interventions based on the assumption that most childhood mental health disturbances are caused by a failure of emotional attachment which AT advocates claim should normally start before birth. Practitioners advocate what they consider to be reparative reenactment of early infancy experiences by:

These methods are often accompanied by unproven approaches such as craniosacral therapy, Tomatis Sound Therapy, and quantitative electroencephalograpy (QEEG). Several deaths have been associated with AT administered by practitioners and parents. The white paper expresses concern that social agencies and the courts have been overly accepting of AT beliefs and practices.


LA Better Business Bureau chapter expelled. The Council of Better Business Bureaus has expelled BBB of the Southland,which covered Los Angeles, San Bernardino, Orange and Riverside counties. A spokesperson has said that the national organization had conducted three audits in addition to hearings that looked into alleged "pay to play" practices as part of a two-year probe that eventually led to the local group's expulsion. The Los Angeles Times has reported that the chapter, which was the nation's largest, was accused of demanding that businesses pay membership fees in exchange for good ratings. In 2010, ABC News reported that a group of Los Angeles business owners critical of the BBB paid dues for several fake companies, including Hamas (which the U.S. Government considers a terrorist group). [Flores A. Better Business Bureau expels Los Angeles area chapter. Los Angeles Times, March 12, 2013]


Institute for Integrative Nutrition facing discrimination suit. Three women have filed a federal class-action complaint against the Institute for Integrative Nutrition (IIN) and its founder Joshua Rosenthal. The suit accuses the defendants of discriminating against female employees on the basis of sex, pregnancy, and marital status and retaliating against employees who complained. The chilling details included these allegations:

IIN, founded in 1992 and headquartered in New York City, refers to itself as "the world's largest nutrition school." Its primary offering is a part-time one-year course promised to enable graduates to practice as "health counselors." Said to have enrolled more than 30,000 students, it has, in recent years, flooded the marketplace with graduates who describe themselves as "board-certified health counselors." Credential Watch has details about its programs.


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