Consumer Health Digest #16-24
Your Weekly Update of News and Reviews
June 26, 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.
Couple convicted of killing their child get sentenced. Canadians David and Collet Stephan, who were convicted of a criminal charge of "failing to provide the necessaries of life" to their 19-month son, Ezekiel, have been sentenced. [Bell D. David Stephan gets jail time, Collet Stephan gets house arrest in son's meningitis death CBC News, June 24, 2016]
- David was ordered to serve four months in prison.
- Collet was ordered to serve three months on house arrest and to post an unedited copy of the sentencing hearing to all Web and social media sites with which she is personally affiliated.
- Both were ordered to complete 240 hours of community service.
- The couple's three other children must see a medical doctor at least once a year and a public health nurse every three months.
Press reports indicate that Ezekiel died of bacterial meningitis while they treated him for 2½ weeks with hot peppers, garlic, onions, and horseradish and a product from a naturopath said to be aimed at boosting his immune system. [Alberta parents convicted in toddler's meningitis death. CBC News, April 26, 2016] Before the sentencing hearing, Collet urged her Facebook supporters to send handwritten letters to her lawyer "regarding Dave and myself's parenting character, concern for our children losing us and how this verdict will affect your parental rights." David is vice-president of Truehope Nutritional Support, a company that markets "natural remedies."
"Dr. Sebi" debunked on Quackwatch. Dr. Stephen Barrett has written a major investigative report about Alfredo D. Bowman, (a/k/a/"Dr. Sebi") who is promoted by himself and others as a self-taught healer who has cured thousands of people with serious diseases and has proved in court that his methods are effective. Among other things, Sebi, who has no health-related training, claims that (a) all diseases are caused by compromised mucous membranes, (b) disease can only exist in an acid environment, (c) he has cured many AIDS patients, and (d) his nutritional and herbal products have been proven effective by decades of experience and research. [Barrett S. A skeptical look at "Dr. Sebi." Quackwatch, June 22, 2016]
Bloggers blast MEND Protocol. Neurologist Steven Novella, M.D., has sharply criticized the MEND Protocol, which proponents describe as a personalized approach "to address the active underlying pathways for Alzheimer's disease including metabolic issues, toxicity, inflammation, and mitochondrial damage." [Novella S. MEND Protocol For Alzheimer's Disease. Science-Based Medicine Blog, June 22, 2016] Novella notes:
- Essentially MEND's approach is to address all the markers in Alzheimer's disease, things that basic science studies show might be off, without addressing the issue of whether or not these markers actually cause or drive Alzheimer's disease.
- The theory behind MEND's "personalized approach" is a salad of technobabble.
- The recently published article, "Reversal of cognitive decline in Alzheimer's disease," describes a case series of ten patients who reportedly improved on the MEND Protocol. However, the study was unblinded and had other serious flaws that make it uninterpretable.
This page was posted on June 25, 2016.