Consumer Health Digest #13-01
Your Weekly Update of News and Reviews
January 3, 2013
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.
2012 Slim Chance Awards announced. Francie M. Berg, M.S., who operates the Healthy Weight Network, has issued the 24th annual set of "Slim Chance Awards" to weight-loss schemes promoters. Her 2012 picks are:
- Worst claim: Dr. Oz. Dr. Mehmet Oz touted raspberry ketone on "The Dr. Oz Show" as "the number one miracle in a bottle to burn your fat. " He also claimed that the product regulates the hormone adiponectin so fat in cells is "broken up" more effectively to enable "fat burning." But the only relevant research he cited was conducted on lab rats and mammalian cell cultures rather than clinical research does with people.
- Worst product: QuickTrim. QuickTrim formulas include various chemical cocktails claimed to "detoxify and clean" the body and "burn" calories. Potentially hazardous ingredients include stimulant laxatives and unspecified amounts of caffeine. A $5 million class action lawsuit against sellers and promoters has alleged 28 different misrepresentations made for QuickTrim products.
- Most outrageous: Fake News Acai Berry Scammers. Marketers of acai berry and "colon cleanser" products falsely claimed their products would cause rapid and substantial weight loss. The outrageous ads included fake news Web sites that used names and logos of major broacast and cable networks. FTC action led to large financial settlements.
- Worst gimmick: Ab Circle Pro. Ads have falsely claimed that three minutes of working out with the device are equivalent to 100 sit-ups and can cause the user to lose ten pounds in two weeks. Marketers have signed an FTC consent agreement to provide at least $15 million in refunds and to refrain from making unsupportable claims in the future.
Nurses top "most trusted" poll. A recent Gallop Poll in which participants were asked to rate the honesty and ethical standards of various professions found that nurses have the most "very high" or "high " ratings (85%), followed by pharmacists (75%), medical doctors (70%), dentists (62%), psychiatrists (41%), and chiropractors (38%). Journalists (38%), lawyers (19%), and members of Congress (10%), were among the lowest. [Congress retains low honesty rating. Gallup Politics Web site, Dec 3, 2012]
Chelator escapes discipline. The Texas Medical Board has dismissed a complaint against Jesus Caquias, M.D., former medical director of CARE Clinics, where thousands of autistic children were inappropriately chelated. CARE Clinics closed in 2009 after the FBI seized its medical and financial records. In 2010, the board charged that Caquias had provided substandard care to four patients. In 2012, a hearing was held during which the central issue was whether or not his records were adequate. Caquias testified that records that would exonerate him were destroyed while in FBI custody. (The records seized by the FBI were destroyed by fire or water after a pilot intentionally crashed his airplane into the IRS building in Austin.) The presiding administrative law judges concluded that without complete records, the board could not prove its case against Caquias—and the board then dismissed the charges. Autism Watch has a detailed report about CARE Clinics.
Prominent chiropractic educator dies. Sid E. Williams, D.C, generally regarded as the second most prominent chiropractic promoter and practice-builder, has died at the age of 84. Williams founded and served as president of Life College of Chiropractic. His notorious "Blue Book" (Dynamic Essentials of the Chiropractic Principle, Practice and Procedure), was loaded with deceptive techniques to persuade the patient "beyond any doubt that he is actually physically sick; that a spinal condition caused it, and that something needs to be done chiropractically to correct it." Chirobase has additional information about Williams's views. The leading chiropractic practice-builder, James W. Parker, D.C. died in 1997.
This page was revised on January 6, 2013.