Consumer Health Digest #08-25

Your Weekly Update of News and Reviews
June 17, 2008

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.

Stroke triggers major anti-chiropractic lawsuit. A Canadian woman who was paralyzed by a neck manipulation has filed a class-action lawsuit intended to stop inappropriate chiropractic manipulation and force Canadian regulators to deal with this problem. The suit, which is seeking more than $525 million in damages, targets Alberta chiropractors who provide inappropriate spinal manipulations and regulators who have failed to curb their use. The woman, Sandra Nette, now has "locked-in syndrome," a condition that has been described as "the closest thing to being buried alive." She is fully aware of her surroundings and suffers at times from extreme pain. She cannot swallow, speak, or breathe without regular mechanical ventilation and suctioning of her secretions. She cannot move her legs or left arm. Slight use of her right arm enables her a to use a computer keyboard to communicate through a voice synthesizer. Her story has been posted to YouTube. In addition to litigating on their own behalf, she and her husband want the court to permit them to represent all persons who paid for or received spinal manipulation (other than spinal manipulation to treat a diagnosis of acute or sub-acute uncomplicated back pain) from an Alberta chiropractor during the past decade. They also want to have the defendant chiropractor represent a class of Alberta chiropractors who provided inappropriate manipulation. [Barrett S. Stroke caused by neck manipulation triggers class-action lawsuit. Chirobase, June 19, 2008]

Ontario bans smoking in cars when children under 16 are present. The Ontario Legislative Assembly has enacted the Protecting Children and Youth from Second-Hand Smoke in Automobiles Act, which prohibits smoking in a motor vehicle with a child present. Violations can trigger a penalty of up to $250 for each offense. Nova Scotia and British Columbia have similar laws and Prince Edward Island and New Brunswick are also considering them. Research has shown that even under full ventilation, inhalable particle concentrations inside the cars were at least 13 times that of the outdoor concentration. With no ventilation, these concentrations reached levels as high as 300 times the outdoor particle concentration. [Backgrounder - Tobacco smoke concentration in cars. Ontario Medical Association fact sheet, March 2008]

Feds target "fake cancer cures." The FDA and FTC have issued an unprecedented number of warning letters to Internet marketers of alleged "anti-cancer" products. The FDA's warnings went to Ageless Cures, Best on Earth Products, Burt Hampton (The Original Cream Company), Coral Calcium, Gemtronics, Generation, H & L Worldwide Inc (Vitasprings), Herbal Remission, Herbs for Cancer, Herbtime, JHS Naturals, Millenium Health, New Sun Inc, Nutrition 2000,, Precision Herbs, Richard McPhail (Be Healed), Road to Healing, Superb Herbs (a/k/a FemHealth), The Institute for Healthy Aging, Triherba Marketing, USA Golden Vision, Vitapurity (a/k/a Vitapurity Corp and Vitapurity Nutraceuticals), Vitasalus, Inc (Nu-Gen Nutrition), and The FDA has also issued tips about cancer scams and identified 125 products to avoid. The product ingredients include bloodroot, shark cartilage, coral calcium, cesium, ellagic acid, cat's claw, and mushroom varieties such as Agaricus Blazeii, Shitake, Maitake, and Reishi. The FTC has warned more than 100 marketers whose names have not been publicly disclosed

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This page was posted on June 19, 2008.