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NCAHF News, May/June 1989

Volume 12, Issue #3

CALIFORNIA CHIROPRACTIC BOARD'S ATTEMPT
TO EXPAND SCOPE OF PRACTICE THWARTED

The Sacramento County Superior Court has ruled against the California Board of Chiropractic Examiners (CBCE) in a lawsuit brought by the California Medical Association and a number of physicians with the state's medical and physical therapy licensing boards as interveners. The background of this case goes back to CBCE's attempt to have colonics included in chiropractors' scope of practice (BMQA v. Luly and CBCE, 1984). The California Department of Justice ordered DCs to stop doing colonics on the basis that such constituted medical practice. CBCE joined Luly in challenging the ruling and lost. CBCE then attempted to include colonics--and some other dubious practices--within the chiropractic scope of practice by redefining chiropractic practice. Handicapping CBCE is the fact that the 1922 chiropractic practice act was established by a voter referendum which can only be changed by another referendum. Several landmark decisions, the most important of which is Crees v. BMQA (1963), have held that DC scope of practice can only be revised within the confines of what chiropractic was believed to be in 1922. The Sacramento court has made a summary judgment upholding both the Crees and Luly decisions further setting the cement around greatly limiting DC's scope of practice in California.

Comment: California has more DCs (8500+, 20% of the world's total), and chiropractic colleges (5 of 16 in the USA) than any other political region; plus, Los Angeles College of Chiropractic seems to be the most progressive in turning chiropractic into a respectable profession; therefore, events in California are bound to have an important influence on DCs everywhere. We wonder if the state's rigid practice act might eventually force progressive DCs to form a new profession.

OREGON TAKES LICENSE OF HOLISTIC PHYSICIAN

On March 22, the Oregon Court of Appeals upheld the license revocation of Lynn Anderson, MD (Washington Medical School, St. Louis, 1973) who formerly practiced in Medford, Oregon. The medical board issued the revocation after Anderson refused to submit to a board interview in 1986 that was part of an investigation into complaints by former patients.

Anderson described herself as a "holistic" physician. She says that her refusal to cooperate with the board was based upon her belief that it would be biased against her as a holistic practitioner. She says that members of the board are physicians schooled in mainstream medicine and refuse to be educated in what holistic medicine is all about. Anderson now resides in Hawaii where she says that she is doing "research and writing." She says that she plans to appeal the decision. (The Mail Tribune (Medford, OR), 3/23/89.)

GILDA RADNER

The recent death of comedienne Gilda Radner represents a set-back for the "think-yourself-well" movement in cancer therapy. Ms. Radner has received widespread publicity as a celebrity spokesperson who was alleged to have "beat ovarian cancer with the help of a psychological regimen outlined by a Northern California wellness clinic" (Florida Magazine, 4/16/89). Radner was featured on the cover of Life magazine touting the mind over matter approach to cancer therapy. Although upbeat psychological programs theoretically might help people overcome depression and despair, the false hope of these unproven methods has great potential for abuse, and the popularity of such programs is being capitalized upon by quackery. It is very doubtful if the media will publicize Radner's failure to anywhere near the degree it did her alleged success. This is a lesson in how the media helps advance dubious cancer treatments.

SUPPLEMENT USE BY HEALTHY ELDERLY

Dietary supplements apparently provide some benefit and some risk to the healthy elderly population. Use of supplements markedly decreased the proportion of subjects with inadequate nutrient intakes using a 2/3s of RDA criterion for vitamins B6, B12, D, folic acid and calcium. However, potentially excessive levels of thiamine, vitamins A and E were observed.(Hartz et al. J American College of Nutrition, 7:119-128, 1988).

NORTH CAROLINA BOARD OF MEDICAL EXAMINERS
CONDEMNS CHELATION THERAPY

The North Carolina Board of Medical examiners has resolved that "chelation therapy is of no proven benefit in the treatment of atherosclerotic disease and should not be used for this purpose until its clinical efficacy is established by formal, controlled , clinical trials or by some objective evidence of its benefit. Moreover, treatment with chelating agents, including EDTA, has some associated toxicity and should not be considered a completely benign procedure." (From the Board's 12/88 newsletter.)

CLAUDE PEPPER (1900 - 1989)

NCAHF wishes to pay tribute to Congressman Claude Pepper who died on May 30. Mr. Pepper was an exemplary figure who fought to improve the lot of common people. His 1984 anti-quackery hearings established the problem as a national issue and set the pace for reform. NCAHF was pleased to see Pepper receive a quackbusters T-shirt for his 85th birthday at the 1985 National Health Fraud Conference. NCAHF's national media awards given for the best anti-quackery coverage are named for Mr. Pepper. Hopefully, some of today's legislators will catch the vision of public service Mr. Pepper represented and follow in his footsteps.

PHARMACISTS ADMONISHED TO AVOID NUTRITIONAL QUACKERY

Wayne Bidlack, PhD and Mark Meslin, MS, RD, have co-authored "Nutritional quackery: selling health misinformation" (Calif Pharmacist, 36:34-43, Feb, 1989) which admonishes pharmacists to provide accurate health advice as a duty to their customers and their profession. Their exceptionally well-done article describes nutritional quackery's methodology and provides information on many dubious products. Among the methods used to promote nutritional quackery are: exaggerated claims for special foods or products; distortion by omission; distortion from a scientific fact; false nutritional premise; promotion of unrecognized nutrients as beneficial to good health; promises to prevent or cure diseases; and, promises of an easy solution to a difficult problem. Dubious products covered include: wheatgrass, wheat germ, barley green, yogurt, superoxide dismutase, glutathione peroxidase, L-lysine, "health foods", "natural foods", protein & amino acid supplements, Vitamin C, pyridoxine, mineral supplements, Vitamin A, and pangamic acid. The authors conclude by telling what can be done to identify and fight nutritional quackery. This is one of the best articles on the topic we have seen for awhile.

NCAHF BOARD MEMBER WINS AWARD

Victor Herbert, MD, JD, has been awarded the 1989 Dupont Specialty Diagnostics Award for his work in nutrition and metabolism, and for the subsequent significant development of ligand assays for vitamins and hormones. The Clinical Ligand Society particularly recognized Dr. Herbert's development of the first radioassay for the surface cell receptors for B12 binding protein, for a radioassay for vitamin B12, and for the concept of coated charcoal for the separation of free from bound ligand. The award was presented at the society's annual meeting in May.

ESSAYS CRITICAL OF NEW AGE

Prometheus Books has published Not Necessarily the New Age: Critical Essays (1988), which is 395-pages representing 17 critiques of New Age activities and thought. Jeff Walker reviews the work in The Ontario Skeptic. Readers may want to scrutinize Walker's review before ordering this anthology, and may do so by sending a SSAE to NCAHF and 50 cents in cash or stamps. A portion of Walker's review includes statements attributed to Marc Madoff, editor and publisher of a New York-based holistic magazine. Madoff excoriates his community for flinging itself into a pyramiding scam disguised as a prosperity workshop; "The holistic community... has never had the guts to police its own, to reject the leeches and New Age scum that have permeated our ranks from day one. As a result, we've taken in and supported some of the lowest dregs that mainstream society has thrown away, and we've gone beyond supporting them; we've made them our leaders. And in doing so we've created a sick community, one that thrives in a fantasy world where the normal laws of logic and reason don't apply..." Medoff declares that being openminded and nonjudgmental have gone to such extremes that "what we have here is a social circus; anything goes, and nothing is wrong." He admits that the New Age is a sales promotion package and now disassociates his magazine from the concept and much of its content. [$19.95; order from Prometheus Books, 700 East Amherst St., Buffalo, NY 14215.]

RAW MILK DAIRY ORDERED TO STOP FALSE ADVERTISING

California's Alta-Dena Dairy has been ordered to stop advertising their raw milk products as safe and healthier than pasteurized milk by Alameda County Superior Judge John Sutter. Judge Sutter concluded that "overwhelming evidence... proved... that Alta-Dena's raw milk frequently contains dangerous bacteria which causes serious illness. Pasteurization kills such bacteria. Yet for 35 years, Alta-Dena carried out a false and misleading advertising campaign touting its raw milk now sold under the 'Stueve's Natural' label as 'safe', the 'safest' and superior to pasteurized milk. Alta-Dena's health and nutrition claims have also been misleading and sometimes downright dangerous." The Judge's decision would require that all raw milk product cartons carry a clear warning about the dangers of raw milk. The court action came in a suit brought by Consumer's Union and the American Public Health Association. The court order would also require the dairy to pay $100,000 as restitution to a fund to fight consumer health fraud, and civil penalties of $23,000 to the Alameda County District Attorney. [Consumer's Union News, press release dated 4/10/89; contact person: Elizabeth Laporte, 414/391-8100.]

CLINICAL ECOLOGY OVERVIEW

Stephen Barrett, MD, provides a concise yet comprehensive overview of the pseudomedical practices of "clinical ecology" and "candidiasis hypersensitivity" ("yeast infection") in the March-April, 1989 Nutrition Today. Dr. Barrett summarizes the key points presented in past critiques of these topics, and provides a great deal of new information, some of which is startling. Most amazing is the fact that the American Medical Association and American Academy of Family Physicians grant continuing medical education credit for questionable courses offered by the American Academy of Environmental Medicine, a mutual admiration society for clinical ecologists. Particularly revealing is the information on the political activities of practitioners and patients, and the implications their purported claims have for insurance companies who are pressured to pay for dubious treatments. In 1977, a federal tax court ruled that, Theron Randolph, MD, a leading proponent of clinical ecology, could deduct the extra cost of "organically grown" foods as a medical expense! Equally impressive is Dr. Barrett's overview of "candidiasis hypersensitivity." This dubious malady is also linked to AIDS, rheumatoid arthritis, multiple sclerosis, schizophrenia, "hypoglycemia", and alleged dental amalgam (mercury) toxicity. Here again, Barrett summarizes key material from the past and provides new information. Barrett concludes with recommendations to improve consumer protection. These include: (1) scrutiny of practitioners by state licensing boards; (2) FDA action against the illegal marketing of anti-candida products; and, (3) withdrawal of continuing education certification by medical organizations.

CLINICAL ECOLOGIST GUILTY IN CHILD'S NEAR-DEATH

The College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario (Canada) Discipline Committee accepted the guilty plea of Dr. Irvine Allen Korman following a near-fatal allergic reaction of a child who he failed to properly assess and wrongly advised. A mother, herself a dentist, brought her two children to Dr. Korman for treatment of allergy problems both have had since birth. The boy had become worse since starting school. The children were tested, the boy more so than the girl, in two ways. First, was the sublingual application of a solution followed by 10-minutes observation for unusual behavior (This sublingual provocative test is condemned by the American Academy of Allergy and immunology.). The second test was "applied kinesiology" in which the patient holds a closed glass container of a solution of the substance to be tested in one hand while the examiner tests the strength of the opposite abducted arm ("muscle-testing"). The mother did not understand the second test and questioned Dr. Korman about the reliability and predictability of this test for peanut sensitivity. Korman told her that he had absolute confidence in these tests and assured her that it was all right to give the children peanuts. The mother purchased some "organically-grown" peanut butter and gave each child a tiny amount on a piece of bread. "A dramatic scene followed. Both children collapsed. The girl was terribly white-faced, regained consciousness, was given medication, vomited, developed huge hives, but continued to breathe. The boy kept struggling, could not open his eyes, was gasping for breath, was blue and choking. An ambulance took the family to the hospital where the children were given adrenaline and within a few hours were fine again, but naturally somewhat shaken." Korman was given a recorded reprimand, had his license suspended for 60 days, with an additional 12-months suspension if he failed to complete the McMaster Physician Review Program with special attention to the areas of immunology, allergy and nutrition; plus, any remedial programs that may be recommended under the Physician's Enhancement Program. Further, Korman had to agree to an investigation within one year of completion of the McMaster Programs. [From: Discipline Commitee, Report of Proceedings, The College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario, pp.9-10, February, 1989.]

FOLLOW-UP OF FAITH HEALER'S PATIENTS FINDS NO MIRACLES

Reporter C. Eugene Emery, Jr, of Providence, Rhode Island, conducted a follow-up investigation of people who were alleged to have been cured by faith healer Rev. Ralph A. DiOrio, a catholic priest, in a November, 1987, faith healing service held in Worcester, Massachusetts. Emery's 9-page report entitled "are they really cured?" appeared in the Sunday Journal Magazine, section of the Providence Journal, 1/15/89. Emery evaluated twenty-eight people who claimed cures. Ten of these were chosen at his request by DiOrio's own organization as representing their 10 "best" cases. None could be established as having been cured. In some it could not be established that they actually had the diagnosis they claimed. Others were not cured according to their doctors. Still other "cures" were most likely attributable to medical treatment or the natural history of the disease. Nevertheless, all continued to believe that they had experienced a miracle despite the paucity of evidence. Emery's case by case description is interesting and useful. Even more fascinating is the willingness of believers to cling to their beliefs in the face of counter evidence. This report exposes the invalidity of personal testimonials in cases of alleged faith healing--with some implications for any healing experience which encourages the "will to believe."

SUBLIMINAL SEDUCTION IN MARKETING

"Ever since September of 1957, when movie theatre patrons were alleged to have been subliminally induced to buy popcorn and Coca Cola, covert manipulation has been regarded by some writers as a serious possibility entailing an unconscionable invasion of privacy." So begins Thomas Moore's "The case against subliminal manipulation" (Psychology & Marketing, Special Issue: Subliminal Influences in Marketing, Vol.5, No.4, pp.297-316, Winter, 1988). Moore does not claim that advertisers cannot induce people to buy things, but he does make a case against subliminal influence. He notes that attempts at marketing applications of subliminal motivation haven't even established awareness thresholds. Moore discusses problems associated with attempting to conduct valid research on the question, and some unusual topics such as backward messaging on rock & roll records. This is not light reading, but it is helpful to anyone interested in claims regarding subliminal massaging.

HYDROGEN PEROXIDE POISONINGS

A 35% solution of hydrogen peroxide (10 times stronger than the 3% solution commonly used as a disinfectant) has been touted as "Hyper-oxygenation Therapy" for AIDS, cancer and more than 60 other conditions. Although the promoters of 35% H202 solution dub it "food grade" (an unrecognized term), in fact, H202 is highly corrosive and dangerous at that concentration. This was tragically demonstrated recently when a mother took a bottle of what she thought was water from her refrigerator and poured drinks for her two children and the child of a neighbor. The neighbor's child died and the others were severely injured. The H202 had been obtained by mail-order as an "alternative medicine." Such products are sold under such labels as "Biowater" and "H202." Federal officials have been trying to block promotion of the chemical since 1985. [The Morning Call, (Allentown, PA) April 14, 1989.] FDA reports a second case of H2O2 poisoning that involved a similar incident in which a 4-year-old child mistook H2O2 in a refrigerator container for water and served drinks to her two brothers. The resulting injuries required more than 6-months of medical care and cost thousands of dollars (FDA press release no. P89-18, 4/13/89).

Comment: Defenders of quackery may argue that the above cases are no different than any other child-poisoning from the medicine cabinet, and should be thought of simply as unfortunate events. NCAHF contends that they differ in one important way: there was no potential benefit to having 35% H202 in the house, only risk. People cannot avoid living with risks, but only those offering proven benefits can be justified.

AUTHOR RETRACTS FALSE STATEMENTS
ABOUT NCAHF PRESIDENT

To avoid a lawsuit, Sandi Mitchell, author of But It Really Works, has apologized to NCAHF President William Jarvis for using his name and making false statements about him and NCAHF. Mitchell states that she will split the book, remove references to Jarvis, and have it rebound. The book is largely an attack on registered dietitians for their attempts to outlaw unqualified nutritionists through state licensure. Mitchell had promulgated false statements originating with Clinton Miller and the National Health Federation that Jarvis and NCAHF have received large sums of money from the pharmaceutical industry and are working in secret with MDs and dentists to destroy freedom of choice in health care. She also made these false statements in an article published by Health Store News, Feb-March, 1987. Mitchell lists her training to be in psychology, sociology and guidance counseling. She also claims a "PhD" from unaccredited Donsbach University.

TOXICITY OF HYDROGEN PEROXIDE

According to Dreisbach's Handbook of Poisoning, 10th Edition (Los Altos: Lange Medical Publ, 1980, p.371, concentrated solutions (20-30%) of H2O2 are strong irritants to the skin or mucous membranes, and 6% is a weak irritant. When used as a colonic lavage, H202 has caused gas embolism and gangrene of the intestine at concentrations down to 0.75%. Gosselin, Smith and Hodge (Clinical Toxicology of Commercial Products, 5th Edition, Baltimore: Williams & Wilkins Publ, 1984) state that decomposition of H202 may release large volumes of oxygen (10 times the volume of the solution). Cases of rupture of the colon, proctitis, and ulcerative colitis have been reported following H202 enemas. Powders and tablets that generate H202 have caused oral and esophageal burns when ingested.

PHYSICIANS GROUP RELEASES POSITION PAPER ON QUACKERY

The American College of Physicians have released a position paper on health quackery. The document was published in the ACP Observer in April, 1989 (Vol.9, No.4). ACP defines health quackery as "the promotion and commercialization of unproven and potentially dangerous health products and procedures." It points out that quackery's essential elements are deception and a primary concern for profit, and that the deception invariably includes omission of adverse information regarding efficacy or safety. The position paper makes it clear that it is not addressing the intentional, unnecessary and inappropriate use of otherwise legitimate tests and therapies by some practitioners. That type of substandard care is to be addressed by future position papers. The ACP supports an informed and active opposition to fraudulent treatment practices. It encourages physicians to (1) elicit information from their patients about use of dubious products and services; (2) be knowledgeable about quackery; (3) to be active in their communities in raising public awareness about the lack of scientific evidence supporting dubious practices; and, (4) to report questionable health products and practices to the appropriate authorities.

Comment: ACP deserves commendation for its action. Outside observers may find it surprising, but public declarations encouraging members to actively oppose quackery are rare. NCAHF's experience has been that medical doctors tend to view quackery as inevitable and invincible. Many simply give up without a fight. NCAHF points out that quackery's inevitability is like that of disease and death, and just as physicians do not give up on these human problems, neither should they surrender to quackery without a fight. The realistic goal is not to eliminate quackery, but to minimize its negative impact upon society.

CALIFORNIA MIDWIFE CONVICTED

Rosalie Tarpening, 62-year-old lay midwife, has been convicted of second-degree murder in the stillbirth of a baby girl delivered after 50-hours of labor. Philip Coscia said that his wife, Susan, 37, begged to be taken to the hospital during the delivery but Tarpening talked her out of it saying that "it was the most natural thing for a baby to be born." Tarpening denied this saying that she recommended hospitalization when the labor failed to progress. The jury did not believe her. Experts testified that the baby would probably have lived if medical care had been solicited early in her labor. Tarpening was also convicted of the unrelated offenses of practicing foot reflexology, iridology, and colonic irrigation. Ten years ago, Tarpening was convicted of practicing medicine without a license in Madera County after a newborn with breathing problems died. Tarpening, a Jehovah's Witness, never attended college, but has a certificate from the now-defunct Los Angeles College of Physical Therapy. She believes that she is being persecuted for using "alternative therapies." Her conviction carries a maximum sentence of 15 years to life imprisonment. She is to be sentenced in August. (San Francisco Examiner, 5/21/89.)

HOW MEDICAL DOCTORS VIEW CHIROPRACTORS

Family physicians in the State of Washington were surveyed about their knowledge and views of chiropractors; 79% (476) responded. 66% indicated discomfort with what DCs do while acknowledging their effectiveness with some patients; 25% viewed DCs as an excellent source of care for some musculoskeletal problems. Only 3% regarded DCs as quacks that patients should avoid. In spite of the AMA's previous injunction against referring patients to DCs, 57% admitted that they had done so. (Cherkin, et al., "Family physicians' views of chiropractors: hostile or hospitable? Am J Public Health, 79:636-7, 1989).

Comment: This study provides evidence that the AMA's ethical prohibition against cooperating with DCs was ineffective. In her dubious antitrust decision against the AMA, Judge Susan Getzendanner held that the ethical prohibition was probably effective despite an absence of evidence establishing that it was so. This assumption weighed heavily upon her issuance of an injunction.

GERMANIUM CLAIMS CALLED "PURE GOBBLEDYGOOK"

Health food companies are marketing germanium as an "adaptogen," which they define as something that enhances the body's ability to cope with any stress, or as an "electronutrient," which supposedly "optimizes life force." The University of California, Berkeley Wellness Letter (June, 1989) calls such claims "pure gobbledygook," but point out that the FDA does not consider them to be medical claims. They say that FDA banned the import of germanium from Japan last June, but that American companies are still marketing domestic products. Long-term use of germanium has been implicated as a factor in kidney failure. Economic damage may be caused by the fact that germanium pills can cost consumers anywhere from $1 to $12 a day.

Comment: FDA again demonstrates its inability or lack of will to curtail quackery by not recognizing that terms "adaptogen" and "optimizes life force" clearly represent claims to alter bodily functions. Just because the promoters of quackery employ vague pseudoscientific language instead of more precise medical terms is no reason to ignore the ultimate purpose of such language.

CAUSE OF ADVERSE REACTION TO USA FIBER BAR

Many readers will recall USA, Inc., which must have set some kind of records for slick salesmanship and a supernova-like burn out. One of the problems USA, Inc. had with its product line involved adverse reactions to their Fiber Energy bar or Calorie Control Formula. Despite the fact that the company is gone, the scientific mop-up continues. Allergists Atkins, Wilson and Bock report that the cause of the adverse reactions appears most likely to have been cottonseed protein sensitivity. Seven subjects who experienced the reactions were evaluated by skin-testing and double-blind, placebo-controlled food challenges. An unwillingness to subject patients to serious adverse reactions limited the methodology somewhat, but the cause of the problem was reasonably established. (J of Allergy Clin Immunology, 82:242-50, 1988)

REVIEW OF NRDC PESTICIDES BOOK

The book Pesticide Alert: A Guide to Pesticides in Fruits and Vegetables, (San Francisco: Sierra Club Books, 1988) by Lawrie Mott and Karen Synder of the National Resources Defense Council (NRDC) is reviewed by Robert M. Hollingsworth, Director of the Pesticide Research Center at Michigan State University. From Hollingsworth's review, it is clear that the NRDC-Sierra Club publication lives up to its to-be-expected biases, but the reviewer is fairer to the authors than they are to their topic. He gives credit for helping draw attention to several needs in refining and improving ways to ensure that pesticides to not constitute a health threat to consumers. Hollingsworth provides substantive criticism of major flaws in the authors' statements and examples. His review will be useful to anyone attempting to balance the overstatements of the radical environmentalist movement. (Chemical & Engineering News, 5/8/89, pp.35-6).

SHOULD FOOD TERRORISTS BE HELD LEGALLY LIABLE?

Daniel E. Koshland, Jr. editorializes in Science (4/7/89) that it is time to recognize that public interest groups have conflicts of interest, just as do business groups. "Businesses prefer to be out of the limelight; public interest groups like to be in it," says Koshland. "Because they are selling products in the marketplace, businesses downplay discussions of hazard. Because public interest groups acquire members by publicity, they emphasize hazards. Each group convinces itself that its worthy goals justify oversimplification to an 'ignorant' public. Businesses today have product liability and can incur legal damages if they place a dangerous product on the market. Public interest groups have no such constraints at the moment; it may be time to develop appropriate ones so that victims of irresponsible information have redress. Public interest groups, as well as apple growers, contribute importantly to our society, but both groups should be accountable for their acts."

USE OF "ALTERNATIVE" THERAPIES BY AIDS PATIENTS

Roger Hand, MD, (University of Illinois at Chicago) interviewed 50 AIDS patients about their use of so-called "alternative" therapies. For comparison, Dr. Hand also interviewed 30 cancer patients and 64 patients with other medical conditions. Eighteen of the 50 were using one or more alternative therapies compared to 2 of 30 cancer patients and 3 of 64 general medical patients. The therapies used by the AIDS patients were acupuncture (15 patients), imagery (12), massage therapy (11), megavitamins (10), acupressure (8), unapproved medications (7), and high cereal diet (1). Two cancer patients and one general patient used imagery, and two general patients used megavitamins. Treatments were obtained from local nonphysician practitioners, many of whom worked in community-organized alternative care clinics. All of the AIDS patients believed the remedies to be of value, but none expected to be cured by them. (New Engl J Med, 320:672-3, 1989)

VITAMIN TELEMARKETING SCAM

Two people have been charged with "unfair or deceptive acts or practices" in connection with a vitamin telemarketing scam in Connecticut. Biagio A. Marra and Alphonse Cassanova of the Vita-Plus company allegedly grossed $286,115 during the four months they sold vitamins over the telephone. More than 80 complaints were received from dissatisfied customers who apparently were misled on the price of the supplements ($3.95 became $395.00) and prizes they expected to receive. (The News-Times (Danbury, CT, 3/30/89.)

ANTIFLUORIDATIONISTS LAUNCH NEW PROPAGANDA ATTACK

After several years of relative quiet, John Yiamouyannis, the world's leading antifluoridationist has launched a new blitz. After failing to convince people that fluoridation is unsafe, JY's newest claim is that it is not effective. JY obtained raw survey data from the National Institute of Dental Research (NIDR) through the Freedom of Information Act and "analyzed" it by to his own unconventional methods (for instance, JY claims to have "age-adjusted" DMFT rates by adding the DMFT rates for each of 13 age groups and dividing by 13 which would yield an average, but not an age-adjusted average).

Since NIDR has not yet published a proper analysis of the raw data, there is nothing to compare with JY's calculations.

A review of the handling of JY's "study" becomes an instructional classic in media manipulation. JY submitted his paper to Community Dentistry & Oral Epidemiology (CD&OE), a peer-reviewed journal. Without waiting for acceptance, JY circulated copies to other antifluoridationists puffing its importance by informing them that it had been submitted to CD&OE. On May 1, the Center for Health Action (an antifluoridation agency JY founded) held a press conference at the National Press Club in Washington, DC, at which he presented the results of his "study."

A chorus of antifluoridation litany has followed JY's announced study. Antifluoridationist Bette Hileman, an associate editor at Chemical & Engineering News (C&EN), misrepresented JY's monograph as "New studies (plural) cast doubt on fluoridation benefits" (C&EN, 5/8/89) in which she attempts to increase JY's credibility by stating that his article has been submitted to the Danish journal (the article was eventually rejected). She also attempts to build credibility by noting that the union of professional employees at the Environmental Protection Agency has written a letter to EPA Administrator, William Reilly asking him to suspend EPA's unqualified support of fluoridation. She doesn't reveal that the union local leader is an antifluoridationist.

Hileman wrote an antifluoridation article disguised by the title "Special Report: Fluoridation of Water," that appeared in the 8/1/88 C&EN. The article was so biased that even Surgeon General C. Everett Koop, MD, took time to write a lengthy rebuttal (C&EN, 11/28/88). In December, 1988, the US Public Health Service's Dental Disease Prevention Activity Center for Prevention Services at Atlanta issued a four-page response to Hileman's article noting that Hileman's article was "highly slanted, giving credibility to anti-fluoridation claims that have been proven unsubstantiated."

Unfortunately, the antifluoridationists have already won something from this fiasco. Research shows that the mere mention of controversial issues creates a negative bias against a technology (J Communication, Spring, 1981). Few editors are sufficiently informed on fluoridation to spot disinformation. As a result, this antifluoridation propaganda will be inadvertently spread by well-intended publishers. The NCAHF main office in Loma Linda will supply readers with copies of the antifluoridation articles and/or rebuttals for its usual service and postage charges. NCAHF also has articles that expose JY's fallacious cancer-fluoridation links.

[According to a report in The Atlanta Constitution (4/20/78), JY served as a nutrition adviser to the parents of 4-year-old Chad Green during the time the Greens were deciding how to treat little Chad's acute lymphocytic leukemia. The Greens illegally removed Chad from Massachusetts, taking him to Tijuana for laetrile treatment where the boy died. The case was nationally-publicized in the 1970s.]


Newsletter Contents Copyright 1989, National Council Against Health Fraud, Inc.
Items may be be reprinted without permission if suitable credit is given.

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