Consumer Health Digest #14-23

Your Weekly Update of News and Reviews
June 29, 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.

Arnold Relman dead at 91. Arnold Relman, M.D. a prominent medical editor and ethicist, has died from complications of melanoma on his 91st birthday. He was a professor of medicine and social medicine at Harvard Medical School, edited The New England Journal of Medicine from 1977 to 1991, and wrote extensively about medical publishing, medical ethics, and the need for reform of the U.S. health care system. In 1980, he warned that the American Health care system was more focused on making money than on curing the sick and was in need of major reform. In 2012, he said that medical profiteering had gotten even worse than he could have imagined. [Martin D. Dr. Arnold Relman, 91, journal editor and health system critic, dies. The New York Times, June 21, 2014] Relman was also sharply critical of "alternative" and "integrative" medicine. His incisive reports on Andrew Weil and naturopathy are posted on Quackwatch.

"Gluten-free" fad criticized. The Wall Street Journal has published an article examining the extent to which Americans have become wary of gluten and how food companies and restaurant chains are taking advantage of their fears. [Jargon J. The gluten-free craze: Is it healthy? The Wall Street Journal, June 23, 2014] Gluten is a term for proteins that act to give dough its elasticity and enable it to rise. The article notes:

Kathleen Helms gets prison sentence. Kathleen Helms, who falsely represented herself as a doctor of naturopathy and has been arrested twice of practicing medicine without a license, has been sentenced to 20 months in prison. San Diego Deputy District Attorney Gina Darvis noted that Helms had (a) inappropriately diagnosed patients with Lyme disease, (b) treated them with bovine stem cells from Germany, and (c) caused several patients to become ill and one to nearly die as a result. [Johnson J. Fake doctor receives 20-month sentence. KGTV ABC10 San Diego, June 17, 2014]

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This page was posted on June 29, 2014.