Consumer Health Digest #14-16

Your Weekly Update of News and Reviews
May 4, 2014

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 report on cholesterol control available. The editors of the University of California, Berkeley Wellness Letter have produced an outstanding 64-page report on everything most people need to know about understanding and controlling their cardiovascular risk factors. The report can be downloaded for $19.95 from the publisher's Web site.

Study suggests that hundreds of thousands of deaths per year can be prevented. Researchers from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have estimated that more than 250,000 deaths per year from the top five causes of disease in the United States (heart disease, cancer, chronic lower respiratory diseases, stroke, and unintentional injuries) are potentially preventable. [Yoon PW and others. Potentially preventable deaths from the five leading causes of death—United States, 2008-2010. MMWR 63:369-374, 2014] The number was determined by examining the rates of death from each these causes among people 80 or less and comparing the number of expected deaths (based on average death rates for the three states with the lowest rates for each cause) with the number of observed deaths. The researchers concluded:

Cigarette smoking is the biggest contributing factor to four of the five leading causes and also contributes (through fires) to unintentional injuries.

List of key fluoridation reports compiled. Dental Watch has posted brief descriptions and links that activists will find useful in promoting fluoridation. The list was compiled by Matt Jacob of the Children's Dental Health Project.

Jennifer McCarthy blasted. Actress Jennifer McCarthy, who for years has been one of the most visible opponents of vaccination, is now claiming she was actually pro-vaccine and has been "misbranded." But Frank Bruni, who vividly describes her antivaccination history, notes that she may simply be afraid that that her new position on ABC's "The View" might be jeopardized by continued fearmongering. [Bruni F. Autism and the Agitator. New York Times, April 21, 2014]

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This page was posted on May 4, 2014.