Consumer Health Digest #13-22

Your Weekly Update of News and Reviews
June 6, 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 project reports on alleged "CAM" cancer treatments. The National Information Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine at the University of Tromsø, Norway, is now operating a project that reviews alleged "complementary and alternative" cancer treatments. The project—called "Concerted Action for Complementary and Alternative Medicine Assessment in the Cancer Field" (CAM-Cancer)—is funded mainly by the university's National Research Center in Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NAFKAM) and Reliable Cancer Therapies (RCT), a non-profit organization that provides research-based information on cancer treatments. The CAM-Cancer Web site has about 60 reports that can be downloaded and freely reproduced.

UK activists attack misleading "CAM" regulatory agency. The Nightingale Collaboration, a group of British activists, has submitted 100 complaints against practitioners and clinics registered with the UK's Complementary and Natural Healthcare Council (CNHC). The CNHC was set up in 2008 with government support to regulate Alexander therapy, aromatherapy, Bowen therapy, craniosacral therapy, healing, hypnotherapy, massage therapy, microsystems acupuncture, naturopathy, nutritional therapy, reflexology, reiki; shiatsu, sports therapy, and yoga therapy. To display the CNHC "quality mark," registrants must meet a long list of standards that include, "Advertisements must not be misleading, false, unfair or exaggerated." The Collaboration's home page summarizes the situation this way:

Tetanus case attracts media attention. The parents of a 7-year-old boy who suffered terribly and nearly was killed by tetanus are speaking out about their poor decision not to provide measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) shots to the boy. The parents attributed their decision to statements on the Internet that vaccines cause autism and are promoted by drug companies purely for profit. Widespread media coverage of the story in Australia and New Zealand is motivating parents to get their children immunized. [Wynne E. Parents' fear of vaccinations nearly killed their son [ABC-TV Perth, Australia, June 6, 2013]

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This page was revised on June 10, 2013.