Consumer Health Digest #16-22
Your Weekly Update of News and Reviews
June 12, 2016
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.
"Gluten-free" fad debunked. Celiac disease is a chronic autoimmune condition characterized by small intestinal inflammation and triggered by gluten exposure in genetically sensitive individuals. Gluten is found in wheat, barley, and rye. The Journal of Pediatrics has published an analysis of fads and fictions associated with the gluten-free diet (GFD). [Reilly NR. The gluten-free diet: Recognizing fact, fiction, and fad. The Journal of Pediatrics, May 10, 2016] The author noted:
- The true incidence of celiac disease is well below 1%. Non-celiac gluten sensitivity also exists. Its prevalence is unknown but also low. Yet a 2015 survey of 30 000 adults in 60 countries worldwide found that 21% of those surveyed rated gluten-free as a "very important" attribute when making food purchasing decisions.
- Although avoiding gluten is vital for people with celiac disease, there is no evidence that this benefits otherwise-healthy and symptom-free adults and children.
- Market research has found that consumers without celiac disease purchase the vast bulk of gluten-free products.
- There is no evidence that processed gluten-free foods are generally healthier than their gluten-containing counterparts.
- Unnecessary gluten-free dieting can lead to obesity, insulin resistance, and metabolic syndrome; deficiencies in B vitamins, folate, and iron; increased exposure to arsenic (in rice) and mercury; and greater food costs.
- There is no evidence that delaying gluten introduction to infants prevents celiac disease.
Licensing board limits treatment of children by Australian chiropractor. The Chiropractic Board of Australia has obtained an undertaking from chiropractor Ian Rossborough that limits his ability to treat children under the age of 18. The action was triggered by a complaint from Victoria's Health Minister Jill Hennessy who said she was "visibly shaken" while watching a video in which Rossborough popped the spine of a four-day-old premature infant to treat colic. [Australian Associated Press. Video of chiropractor cracking baby's spine 'extremely distressing'. The Guardian, May 5, 2016] Rossborough's practice limitations include: (a) no assessment or treatment of children under the age of 2, (b) no spinal manipulation of patients between the ages of 2 and 6, (c) any treatment of children between the ages of 2 and 18 must be closely supervised by another chiropractor approved by the Board, and (d) audits of his charts and practices every three months.
Chiropractors banned from marketing diabetes program in Iowa. Iowa Attorney General Tom Miller has stopped chiropractors Jeffrey Murray Hockings and Dean Draluck from marketing their Help Your Diabetes (HYD) program in Iowa. The compliance agreement bans them from engaging or participating, directly or indirectly, in any form of marketing of a diabetes program to Iowa residents. The Attorney General's news release states:
- Last year, Hockings conducted a "Help Your Diabetes" seminar at a Cedar Rapids hotel, selling enrollments in 2- to 4-month programs that included dietary supplements, recipes, and follow-up phone and email support.
- Two elderly Iowans who attended the seminar and paid approximately $4,000 each in enrollment fees, complained to Iowa's Consumer Protection Division after Hockings refused to allow them to cancel and obtain refunds.
- Contrary to Iowa law, Hockings replied that the contracts they signed waived their rights to cancel or seek refunds. However, the agreements violated the Iowa Door-to-Door Sales Act by not mentioning the lawful right to cancel and by including a waiver of the right to cancel.
- Iowans should be wary of seminars and sales meetings that offer free meals, gifts, or extraordinary claims that entice you to attend. Sellers often use high-pressure sales tactics to promote the purchase their products or services.
Neither Hockings nor Draluck is licensed to practice chiropractic in Iowa. Hockings, who is licensed in California, was the target of an investigative report in in 2011. [Lazarus D. Diabetes breakthrough? He may charge you $15,000 to find out. Los Angeles Times, June 17, 2011] Draluck had a Florida license that was indefinitely suspended in 2013 for failing to tell the licensing board that he had been convicted of driving under the influence and driving with a suspended driver's license. HYD licenses its program to about 40 offices, most operated by medical doctors, some of whom have a chiropractic associate.
This page was posted on June 13, 2016.