Consumer Health Digest #13-06

Your Weekly Update of News and Reviews
February 7, 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.

Site launched to oppose naturopath licensing. Attorney Jann Bellamy has launched the No Naturopaths Web site to expose naturopathy's shortcomings and oppose its efforts to expand licensure. Naturopaths are currently licensed in Alaska, Arizona, California, Connecticut, the District of Columbia, Hawaii, Idaho, Kansas, Maine, Minnesota, Montana, New Hampshire, North Dakota, Oregon, Utah, Vermont, Washington, and the U.S. Territories of Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands. The site offers background information and a handy 2-page fact sheet.

Antifluoridation claims blasted. The Quackwatch Web site has posted an article about the activities and views of Yolanda M. Whyte, M.D., a pediatrician who has been campaigning against fluoridation. She speaks at community meetings, has testified at legislative hearings, and is currently appearing in a misleading video sponsored by the Fluoride Action Network (FAN), the primary U.S. antifluoridation organization. One of her favorite claims is that 41% of Americans suffer from fluorosis, which she characterizes as a toxic disease caused by fluoridation. An article explaining why she is mistaken has been posted to the Dental Watch Web site, and Healthy Kids, Healthy Portland has produced a superb video to counter Whyte's misinformation.

Arizona chiropractors in financial trouble. Nationwide, chiropractors are imperiled because (a) the supply exceeds the demand, (b) many people feel negatively toward them because many chiropractors try to lure patients into long-term contracts for care that is unnecessary, (c) insurance companies are aware of this problem, (d) chiropractors who enter managed care programs may be closely monitored, and (e) as our health care system demands greater accountability, chiropractors will fall short because most of what they do has not been substantiated by research. U.S. Commerce Department reports indicate that between from 1992 through 1997, the average gross income per chiropractic office rose at less than half the rate of inflation, which is equivalent to a loss of 20% in purchasing power. Since the cost of running the offices increased during this period, the purchasing power of the chiropractor's take-home pay was even lower. [Barrett S. Chiropractic income has been dropping steadily. Chirobase, Feb 7, 2013] In January 2013, the president of the Arizona Chiropractic Society stated that insurance company denials have resulted in "hundreds of Arizona chiropractors closing their doors and many filing for bankruptcy." [Immerman AM. Legislature convenes January 14th, ACS is ready. Arizona Chiropractic Society News, Jan 2013]

Sports supplements evaluated. Since 2009, the British Journal of Sports Medicine has been running series of monthly articles that discuss the evidence that dietary supplements and foods enhance health and athletic performance. More than 30 articles have been published so far. Except for a few that have been posted by their authors, access to their full text requires a subscription.

"CAM" cancer therapy guide published. Barrie Cassileth, Ph.D., who heads the Integrative Medicine Department at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center has compiled The Complete Guide to Complementary Therapies in Cancer Care to help patients and professionals place the claims made for offbeat cancer treatments in perspective. The book explains what each modality is, what practitioners say it does, the beliefs upon which it is based, the research evidence to date, and what it can do for you (usually nothing). References and additional information are available on the MSKCC Web site.

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