Consumer Health Digest #07-04
Your Weekly Update of News and Reviews
January 23, 2007
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.
Human growth hormone panned as antiaging therapy. Two Stanford University researchers have concluded that human growth hormone GH) is not effective as an "antiaging" therapy. Examining 31 reports, the authors concluded: "The literature published on randomized, controlled trials evaluating GH therapy in the healthy elderly is limited but suggests that it is associated with small changes in body composition and increased rates of adverse events. On the basis of this evidence, GH cannot be recommended as an antiaging therapy." [Liu H and others. Systematic review: The safety and efficacy of growth hormone in the healthy elderly. Annals of Internal Medicine 146:104-115, 2007]
Kevin Trudeau may be hustling pool players. Questions have arisen about Kevin Trudeau's "sponsorship" of the International Pool Tour, which he promoted with promises of high payments to its winners. According to an article in Details magazine, Trudeau collected millions of dollars for entry fees but paid only a small fraction of the prize money he had promised. Noting that Trudeau had sought a partnership with BioSante Pharmaceuticals board member Peter Kjaer and his wife, a former board member, the article stated: "Had the merger gone through, Trudeau would be in business with a leading figure in the industry he's made millions vilifying." [Dolan JD. The hustler: Infomercial king Kevin Trudeau promised professional pool players millions in winnings when they joined his International Pool Tour. So where's the money? Details, Jan/Feb 2007]
Dubious autism article retracted. The journal Autoimmunity Reviews has retracted a poorly reasoned article which claimed that mercury toxicity can cause autism and that the prescription drug Lupron may be useful in treating autistic children and adolescents. The article was written by Mark R. Geier, M.D., and his son David A. Geier, B.A., who have two patent applications pending for an autism treatment using Lupron. The retraction occurred after a blogger complained that the research described in the article violates internationally-accepted standards for the protection of human research subjects and that the authors had (a) insufficiently disclosed their conflicts of interest, (b) relied on suspect sources, (c) misrepresented the work of other authors, and (d) provided inadequate case documentation [Seidel K. Significant misrepresentations: Mark Geier, David Geier & the evolution of the Lupron Protocol (Part Thirteen). Neurodiversity Weblog, Jan 23, 2007]
British authorities halt illegal product sales. Walter J. Wright (a/k/a Jim Wright) of Port Talbot, South Wales, United Kingdom, has been ordered to provide 120 hours of community service and pay costs of £1,000 for illegally marketing dietary supplement and herbal products with claims that they were effective against several diseases. Wright's mail-order company, Ynoddfa Marketing, sold B17 tablets, Quikheal Green, Omega UR tonic, AO Heart Drops, Eczema, and Myco+. through the Web sites Goodbye 2 Cancer and healing4all.co.uk. After Wright failed to heed a warning letter, enforcement officers from the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) visited his home and seized products that had been stored in his garden shed. In November 2006, Wright pleaded guilty to one charge of selling an unlicensed medicine (B17 tablets claimed to cure cancer) and was found guilty of five charges of selling unlicensed medicines. [Former vicar punished for illegally selling unlicensed medicines. MHRA press release, Dec 14, 2006]
Doctor under investigation for selling bogus cancer cures. The Wall Street Journal has reported that Christine Daniel, M.D., who operates the Sonrise Clinic in Mission Hills, California, is being investigated for allegedly having sold expensive herbal nostrums as cancer cures. [Sataline S. 'Christian wellness' practitioners draw federal scrutiny. The Wall Street Journal, Jan 24, 2007] The report states:
- Daniel, who is also a Pentacostal minister, promoted her products and services through religious TV, radio and Web sites
- Some patients said they paid as much as $6,000 weekly for care at Daniel's clinic, while others reported paying a similar amount for a monthly supply of her mixtures.
- According to an FDA investigators' affidavit:
- Federal investigators have identified at least three dozen people who drank Daniel's mixtures, including at least eight who died of cancer.
- The FDA is looking into allegations that Daniel violated federal law by introducing an unapproved drug into the market, misbranding a drug, and committing mail and wire fraud.
- Daniel is also being investigated by the California medical board.
- Daniel, in an interview and through her attorney, denies doing anything wrong.
This page was revised on January 25, 2007.