Consumer Health Digest #15-17
Your Weekly Update of News and Reviews
May 3, 2015
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.
California chiropractors opposing vaccination bill. Senate Bill 277, which would end California's "personal belief" exemption for 10 vaccines, has drawn opposition from at least two chiropractic organizations:
- The California Chiropractic Association is actively lobbying against California Senate Bill 277, which would end the state's "personal belief" exemption against ten types of vaccinations now required to begin school. [Mason M. Chiropractors lobby against bill ending belief exemptions for vaccines. Los Angeles Times, March 5, 2015] CCA's Web site advises members to say that they are "NOT anti-vaccine we are pro-informed consent and choice."
- Life Chiropractic College West sponsored a talk by Andrew Wakefield, who lost his British medical license for unprofessional conduct related to vaccine scaremongering. The San Francisco Chronicle has reported that he received standing ovations after he advised hundred of students that SB 277 was a step toward mandatory vaccination that could have dire consequences. The paper also noted that the school's president was considering hiring buses and canceling classes so students could attend a Senate hearing. [Allday E. Anti-vaccine leader tells parents to fight immunization bill. San Francisco Chronicle, April 25, 2015]
The pending bill was introduced in response to the recent outbreak of measles among children who had visited Disneyland. In a letter to the Los Angeles Times, William M. London, Ed.D., M.P.H., noted that mandatory childhood vaccination should be regarded as a social obligation rather than a matter of misinformed consumer choice.
Lyme disease quackery examined. An team of infectious disease experts has summarized the scientific status of more than 30 "alternative" Lyme treatments promoted through the Internet. [Lantos PM and others. Unorthodox alternative therapies marketed to treat Lyme disease. Clinical Infectious Diseases, April 20, 2015] The report concluded:
- The treatments could be classified into five broad categories: (a) oxygen and reactive oxygen therapy, (b) energy and radiation-based therapies, (c) nutritional therapy, (d) chelation and heavy metal therapy, and (e) biological and pharmacological therapies ranging from certain medications without recognized therapeutic effects on Borrelia burgdorferi (the organism that causes Lyme disease) to stem cell transplantation.
- Many patients with medically unexplained symptoms are incorrectly told and come to believe that they chronically suffer from the tick-borne infection Lyme disease.
- Review of the medical literature did not substantiate efficacy or, in most cases, any rationale for the advertised treatments; and many are potentially harmful.
IOM skeptical of dietary supplements offered for Alzheimer's disease. The Institute of Medicine has concluded that there is little evidence that supplements of antioxidants (vitamin E, vitamin C, flavonoids, or carotenoids), B vitamins (B6 , B12 or folate), or vitamin D can improve mental function in people who are not deficient. [Blazer DG and others. Cognitive Aging: Progress in Understanding and Opportunities for Action. Washington, DC: National Academies Press, 2015] The report concluded:
The medical literature does not convincingly support any vitamin supplement intervention to prevent cognitive decline. There is evidence to support the replacement of folate among older people who are folate-deficient, as evidenced by high homocysteine levels, but not for the supplementation of older persons who are not deficient. Whether it is worthwhile to screen for these deficiencies in general populations remains an unanswered question. To date, the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force has not issued recommendations regarding such screenings.
This page was posted on May 3, 2015.