Consumer Health Digest #06-31

Your Weekly Update of News and Reviews
August 1, 2006

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.

Slim evidence that dietary supplements affect cancer outcome. The Journal of the National Cancer Institute has published two negative reports related to diet and cancer. In one, the authors did a meta-analysis of 59 clinical trials and concluded:

There was no evidence of an association between the use of antioxidant or retinol supplements and all-cause mortality. Meta-analyses of all other outcomes did not show clear evidence of benefit or harm. The impact of most nutritional interventions cannot be reliably estimated because of the limited number of trials, many of which were of low quality. There is no evidence that dietary modification by cancer patients improves survival and benefits disease prognosis. [Davies AA and others. Nutritional interventions and outcome in patients with cancer or preinvasive lesions: Systematic review. Journal of the National Cancer Institute 98:961-973, 2006]

The other study, which involved Chinese adults, showed that garlic and vitamin supplements did not reduce the prevalence of precancerous lesions or stomach cancer, but treatment to kill Helicobacter pylori (the bacterium responsible for most peptic ulcers)) may limit the progression of these lesions to cancer and reduce their prevalence. [You W-C and others. Randomized double-blind factorial trial of three treatments to reduce the prevalence of precancerous gastric lesions. Journal of the NationalCancer Institute 98:974-983, 2006]

Chiropractic leaders reaffirm subluxation beliefs. The World Federation of Chiropractic, an association of chiropractic organizations in 85 countries, has adopted an "identity statement" based on a survey in which thousands of chiropractors were asked how the public should perceive them. [Carey PF and others. Final report of the Identity Consultation Task Force, April 30, 2005] The survey report states that 65% of respondents said that the phrase "management of vertebral subluxation and its impact on general health" fits chiropractic "perfectly" or almost perfectly. [Consultation on Identity. Quantitative research findings. (Slide #30) World Federation of Chiropractic, Dec 2004] Chiropractic evolved from theories that spinal misalignments ("subluxations") are the cause or underlying cause of ill health and that detecting and correcting them will restore health. [Barrett S. "Subluxation": Chiropractic's elusive buzzword. Chirobase, May 21, 2006] Many chiropractic leaders claim that "modern" chiropractic has discarded such beliefs, but the recent survey demonstrates that they remain widespread.

"Toxic mold specialist" facing additional charges. Andrew W. Campbell, M.D., medical director of the Center for Immune & Toxic Disorders in Spring, Texas, is facing charges that he mistreated seven of his patients and improperly billed their insurance companies. The Texas State Board of Medical Examiners' first amended complaint accused him of (a) performing inadequate history and physical examinations, (b) ordering excessive and unnecessary laboratory tests, (c) failing to maintain records that were adequate to justify what he did, and (d) submitting insurance claims forms that were misleading and/or fraudulent. The second amended complaint states that in each of these cases, he had "relied on junk science," ordered inappropriate tests, and improperly diagnosed "toxigenic mold exposure."

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This page was revised on August 10, 2006.