Consumer Health Digest #09-44

Your Weekly Update of News and Reviews
Oct 29, 2009

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.

Yet another study debunks vaccination-autism link. New findings from the CHildhood Autism Risks from Genetics and the Environment (CHARGE) study have found no difference in the blood levels of mercury among children ages 2-5 with autism spectrum disorders and children who were developing normally. [Hertz-Picciotto I and others. Blood mercury concentrations in CHARGE Study: Children with and without autism. Environmental Health Perspectives, Oct 19, 2009] The complete report is available online.

Vaccination crusader honored and libeled. Paul Offit, M.D., has received the American Academy of Pediatrics President’s "Certificate for Outstanding Service," in recognition of his ongoing commitment to promote immunization." Offit, a pediatrician, is chief of infectious diseases and the director of the Vaccine Education Center at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. His 2008 book, Autism's False Prophets, exposed the opportunism of lawyers, journalists, celebrities, practitioners, politicians, and miscellaneous cranks who are promoting the myth that vaccines cause autism. Vaccine opponents, enraged by both the book and the award, have responded by making false and misleading statements about him.

Wrist bracelets ineffective against osteoarthritis pain. A study has found no significant differences in the amount of pain, stiffness, or physical function experienced by osteoarthritis patients during periods when they wore either a commercially available magnetic wrist strap, a weak magnetic wrist strap, a demagnetized wrist strap, or a copper bracelet. During the 16-week study, each of the 45 participants wore all four devices. The authors concluded: "Magnetic and copper bracelets are generally ineffective for managing pain, stiffness, and physical function in osteoarthritis. Reported therapeutic benefits are most likely attributable to non-specific placebo effects." [Richmond SJ. Therapeutic effects of magnetic and copper bracelets in osteoarthritis: A randomized placebo-controlled crossover trial. Complementary Therapies in Medicine, Aug 28, 2009]

New book debunks "pop psychology" myths. Four psychology professors have produced a book that debunks 50 "pop psychology" myths and briefly mentions many more. [Lilienfeld SO and others. 50 Great Myths of Popular Psychology: Shattering Widespread Misconceptions about Human Behavior. Wiley-Blackwell, 2009] The myths include :

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This page was posted on October 27, 2009.