Consumer Health Digest #11-16

Your Weekly Update of News and Reviews
June 9, 2011

Consumer Health Digest is a free weekly e-mail newsletter edited by Stephen Barrett, M.D., with help from William M. London, Ed.D., M.P.H. 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.

Study looks at vaccine hesitancy. A study of 376 responses to a prominent survey has found that most parents take their children for recommended vaccinations, but there are widespread fears that vaccines cause autism and that children are getting too many vaccines at once. [Kennedy A and others. Confidence about vaccines in the United States: understanding parents' perceptions. Health Affairs 30:1151–1159, 2011] A book review in the same journal issue identified reasons for these unfounded fears:

For more about vaccine fears, see:

New data on cancer survivors published. The National Cancer Institute and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have analyzed cancer incidence and follow-up information from nine Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results (SEER) programs to estimate the number of people in the United States ever diagnosed with cancer who were alive on January 1, 2007. [Cancer survivors —United States, 2007. MMWR 60:269-272, 2011] The analysis found:

Anti-quackery classic posted. Quackwatch has posted a digital copy of Lessons from the History of Medical Delusions, by Worthington Hooker, M.D. The book was published in 1850, when scientific medicine was in its infancy, but Hooker correctly identified what he called "the principal elements or cases of medical delusions" as dispositions toward (a) considering whatever follows a cause as being the result of that cause, (b) basing one's beliefs on a single theory, (c) espousing the opposite of what is generally believed, (d) theorizing instead making strict observations, (e) fashion in diseases and in their remedies, (f) undue fondness toward new things, and (g) putting a low value upon the medical profession.

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This page was revised on June 10, 2011.