Consumer Health Digest #13-08

Your Weekly Update of News and Reviews
February 21, 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.

New alliance pressing for registration of all clinical trials. Sense About Science, Bad Science, the BMJ Group, the James Lind Initiative, and the Centre for Evidence-based Medicine are spearheading an effort to mandate registration of all clinical trials. This is very important because suppression of negative results could (a) make it appear that ineffective treatments are effective and (b) lead to resources being wasted by repeating fruitless research. The alliance's first effort is a petition that states:

  • Thousands of clinical trials have not reported their results; some have not even been registered.
  • Information on what was done and what was found in these trials could be lost forever to doctors and researchers, leading to bad treatment decisions, missed opportunities for good medicine, and trials being repeated.
  • All trials past and present should be registered, and the full methods and the results reported.
  • We call on governments, regulators and research bodies to implement measures to achieve this.

Click to sign petition

So far, more than 31,000 people have signed the petition at All Trials Registered | All Results Reported.

Fluoridation editorials posted. Dental Watch has posted excerpts from editorials and columns published in 45 newspapers between 2005 and 2012. The vast majority are strongly supportive. In Portland Oregon, where a referendum that will affect 900,000 residents is scheduled for May, The Oregonian stated:

Of the 50 biggest cities in the United States, only a handful do not fluoridate their water, and the list could soon be smaller.

. . . . A serious move to fluoridate drinking water here will receive fevered opposition, just as it has over the years in many places. City residents will be told that proponents want to lace their drinking water with toxic industrial waste. They'll be directed to Internet sites claiming, among other things, that fluoridation could hurt kids' brains, lower their IQs and compromise various other organs and glands.

To believe such crackpottery is implicitly to believe the following: That state and federal health agencies are, for some mysterious reason, hiding the truth and helping to poison more than 200 million citizens, aided by the American Dental Association and, we guess, credulous editorial boards like The Oregonian's. While we don't consider any of these groups infallible, or even close, it's far more likely that fluoridation receives so much mainstream support because it does exactly what it's supposed to. It reduces the incidence of cavities.

Be wary of "Liproxenol." Bill Sukula, Ph.D. has done an amazing investigative report about "Liproxenol," a dietary supplement claimed on its Web site to have produced weight loss of 44 pounds in 5 weeks. Among other things, Sukula found that the product is promoted with before-and-after testimonials with text and/or pictures that match those used for other products. He has also found that the sellers set up "review" sites that are intended to look independent but promote the product and interlink to crowd the top of search engine results. Last year Australia's Complaints Resolution Panel, which investigates alleged breaches of Australia's Therapeutic Goods Advertising Code, ordered seller Carlos Lopez to withdraw the claims and publish a retraction. However, Internet searches indicate no evidence that he did so.

Previous Issue || Next Issue

This page was posted on February 25, 2013.