Consumer Health Digest #12-06

Your Weekly Update of News and Reviews
February 9, 2012

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.

UK "nutritional therapists" provide poor advice. Five undercover researchers who made a total of 15 visits to 14 "nutritional therapists" in the United Kingdom got inappropriate advice from all of them. [Are nutritional therapists gambling with your health? Which? Feb 2012, pp 58-60] The investigators noted:

A similar investigation in 2000 yielded similar findings.

New data on access to health care published. A study of data from the 2009-2010 National Health Interview Survey has found that the number and rate of adults aged 18 to 64 years who lack health insurance has been increasing, in part due to the historically high unemployment rates. [Driscoll AK, Bernstein AB. Health and access to care among employed and unemployed adults: United States, 2009-2011. NCHS data brief #83. National Center for Health Statistics, Jan 2012] However, even having comprehensive health insurance coverage does not guarantee access to needed services, in part because of co-payments and deductibles. The data showed:

Contraceptive access will increase. President Obama has announced a policy intended to accommodate religious freedom while ensuring that women have access to preventive health care, including contraception, at no additional cost, no matter where they work. The Affordable Care Act, called for most health insurance plans to cover women's preventive care services—such as well-woman visits, mammograms, immunizations, as well as contraception—without charging a co-pay or deductible beginning in August 2012. However, in response to protests from Catholic churches, President Obama has modified the rules:

Source: President Obama announces new policy to improve access to contraception. White House Policy Blog, Feb 10, 2012.

New site to benefit endangered animals. One of Dr. Stephen Barrett's granddaughters (age 13) has launched a charity web site ( to help endangered animals via the World Wildlife Fund. The site offers interesting T-shirts and various other novelty items with all profits going to the fund.

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This page was revised on February10, 2012