Consumer Health Digest #05-15
Your Weekly Update of News and Reviews
April 12, 2005
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.
Spammer receives 9-year prison sentence. Jeremy Jaynes (a/k/a Jeremy James and Gaven Stubberfield), who was convicted last November of using false Internet addresses and aliases to send mass e-mails through an AOL server, has been sentenced to nine years in prison. Virginia law classifies spam activity as a class I misdemeanor or a class 6 felony if the volume exceeds 10,000 in any 24-hour period, 100,000 in any 30-day period, or 1 million in any one-year time period or the resulting revenue exceeds $1,000 from one specific offering or $50,000 from all offerings. Jaynes, who was based in North Carolina, reportedly grossed $750 per month peddling porn, mortgage interest rate ads, and sham products. Based on the number of complaints, he was ranked #8 on spamhaus.org's worldwide spammer list. Virginia is also prosecuting Texas-based Jennifer Murray for sending emails promoting Human Growth Hormones ("HGH") which claim to: increase sexual potency and vigor up to 75%; promote body fat loss up to 82%; increase wrinkle reduction up to 61%; boost energy level up to 84%; improve memory up to 62%; and build muscle strength up to 88%. Clearswift estimates that about half of all spam is health-related.
British groups publish comprehensive fluoridation report. The British Fluoridation Society, UK Public Health Association, British Dental Association, and Faculty of Public Health have jointly produced a second edition of One in a Million: The Facts about Water Fluoridation. The 114-page report concludes:
- Despite an overall improvement in dental health over the past 30 years, tooth decay remains a significant public health problem in some parts of the UK. Inequalities in dental health are widespread throughout the UK, with children living in the poorest, non-fluoridated communities continuing to suffer unacceptably high levels of tooth decay.
- Many studies have confirmed that water fluoridation reduces tooth decay and has no harmful side effects. Children are the group that benefit most, but adults benefit too.
- Fluoridation has been practiced for almost 60 years, and, in addition, people have drunk naturally fluoridated water for generations. Worldwide, over 400 million people consume fluoridated water, including the residents of 46 of the 50 largest U.S. cities. Given the number of research reports reviewed by . . . expert panels, it seems to us inconceivable that any adverse health effects would not by now have been uncovered.
Chiropractor sentenced for unlicensed practice. Larry M. Lammers of Ida, Michigan, who pleaded no contest to three charges of practicing medicine without a license has been sentenced to a year in jail followed by five years of probation. He was also ordered to pay a $1,500 fine and $900 for costs. The case arose because he treated at least seven patients in the office of his father (a medical doctor) in December 2003. [Tanber GJ. Unlicensed practitioner sentenced, unrepentant: Defendant could go free despite 1-year jail term. Toledo (Ohio) Blade, April 8, 2005] News reports also indicate that Lammers: (a) received a valid chiropractic license in Florida in 1977 that was nullified in February 1998; (b) had been convicted in Florida of practicing medicine without a license; and (c) is facing a similar charge in Kentucky. Lammers reportedly told the judge that he completed four years of online study at St. Luke School of Medicine, based in Liberia, West Africa. However, this is not a legitimate school and has no legal standing in the United States. Because Lammers has been incarcerated since his arrest in March 2004, he will either be released or held for extradition to Kentucky. In October 2004, the Kentucky Cabinet for Health & Family Services (a regulatory agency) levied a $90,000 fine against Injury & Rehab Centers of Kentucky (d/b/a Accident Injury Medical Centers) for activities allegedly related to Lammer's actions in Kentucky. During the hearing, evidence was presented that Injury & Rehab's treatment protocols were developed by Lammers, who also treated patients, gave injections, and referred patients for diagnostic testing without physician supervision. [Hearing initiated by Grange Insurance results in large fine against illegal clinics in Kentucky. Grange Insurance press release, Oct 19, 2004]
Report predicts chiropractors will remain deeply divided. The Institute of Alternative Futures (IAF) has concluded that chiropractic leaders are deeply divided over issues of philosophy. A recent IAF-generated survey found that although most of the schools lean toward a "liberal" viewpoint, the "conservative" schools are larger and will continue to graduate more students during the next decade. The report—The Future of Chiropractic Revisited: 2005 to 2015—can be downloaded free of charge.
Skeptical "CAM" conference May 21. On Saturday, May 21, 2005, the Commission for Scientific Medicine and Mental Health will host a conference on "Curing the Ills of Alternative Medicine and Questionable Mental Health Practices," at the Center for Inquiry in Amherst, New York. The conference will explore what is driving the assault on science-based medicine and mental healthcare and what can be done to stop the erosion of healthcare standards. The admission fee is $45 for student and $69 for others. Conference registration can be done online.
Quackery exhibit in Philadelphia. Through June 26 the Philadelphia Museum of Art is hosting an exhibit called Quack, Quack Quack: The Sellers of Nostrums in Prints, Posters, Ephemera, and Books, which traces the history of patent and quack medicines over the past four centuries. The display includes 75 works ranging from humorous caricatures of itinerant quacks, flamboyant advertising posters, and promotional pamphlets for rival panaceas to prints that document the first government attempts to curtail the more flagrant abuses. The exhibit was prepared by William H. Helfand, whose book Quack, Quack, Quack contains about 200 images, most of which are in black and white.
This page was posted on April 12, 2005.