Consumer Health Digest #17-36

Your Weekly Update of News and Reviews
September 17, 2017

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. Its primary focus is on health, but occasionally it includes non-health scams and practical tips.

Spooky2 Rife System debunked. Device Watch has published a detailed investigative report on Spooky2 Rife System, a low-voltage device system that is claimed to be "the world's most advanced, effective and affordable therapy system today." The system is based on the work of Royal Raymond Rife (1888-1971), an American inventor who claimed that his specially designed optical microscopes could reveal microbes that were too small to see with previously existing technology. He also claimed to have identified a viral cause of all cancers and to have developed a "beam ray" device that could destroy all microorganisms by vibrating at their "resonant frequency." Spooky2, which is billed as "the affordable Rife device for every home, is sold direct to consumers by the Nanjing Clean Energy Electronic Technology Co., Ltd of China (also called CLEN) and promoted by Cancer Clinic (NZ) Ltd of New Zealand with the declared mission "to eliminate cancer and all illness." Proponents claim that Spooky2 devices "generate resonance waves that destroy harmful pathogenic organisms without doing any harm to the users," but they also claim that "healing" frequencies can heal virtually every part of the body and that "detox" frequencies help rid the body of nonspecific toxins.. The centerpiece of the system is the Spooky2 frequency generator that is controlled by proprietary software that runs on a Windows computer. The author of the Device Watch report tested himself repeatedly and found that the results were preposterous. First he did a pair of scans one day apart and found that (a) the device listed 42 "frequencies" (corresponding to 42 diagnoses) the first time and 30 different "frequencies" (corresponding to 30 diagnoses the second time), (b) no condition listed in either scan was found in the other scan, and (c) he did not have any of the 72 conditions. To further test consistence, he ran four scans a day for four consecutive days and found that the number of conditions reported varied ranged from 6 to 77, with an average of 38, with few conditions reported more than once. The author, who is a technology consultant, believes that FDA regulatory action is urgently needed. [Frost J. A skeptical look at the Spooky2 Rife System. Device Watch, Sept 14, 2017]

"Remedial plan" ordered for "integrative medicine" doctor in Texas. The Texas Medical Board has concluded that Jerald Tennant, M.D. acted unprofessionally (a) by disseminating false, misleading, or deceptive advertising through two websites, (b) by soliciting patients for treatment of macular degeneration using the misleading statement that "traditional medicine has little to offer except vitamins like lutein," and (c) through his use of the title "Doctor of Pastoral Medicine," which is not recognized by the state of Texas. Tennant neither admitted nor denied these findings but agreed to a "nondisciplinary remedial plan" under which he must:

Tennant does business as Senergy Medical Group and the Tennant Institute for Integrative Medicine.

Another "integrative medicine" doctor facing charges in Texas. The Texas Medical Board has charged Ted Leroy Edwards, Jr., M.D. with "failing to meet the standard of care and nontherapeutically prescribing pancreatic cancer treatment for one patient." The complaint states that the treatments included intravenous vitamin C, oxidative therapy, pulse therapy, and a regimen of oral supplements that included Biomulsion D, Poly MVA, Argaricu Blazei Murill, curcumin, indol 3 carbinol, genistein, protease, and Apex water, none of which met the generally accepted standard of care for patients with metastatic pancreatic cancer. Edwards practices as part of the Hills Medical Group at the Center for Health and Healing in Austin, Texas.

FDA warns against curcumin injections. The FDA has received reports of patients who experienced hypersensitivity reactions immediately after received intravenous infusions of curcumin (a component of the spice turmeric) compounded with polyethylene glycol 40 castor oil. The PEG 40 castor oil was a component of a curcumin emulsion product compounded by a pharmacy, ImprimisRx, located in Irvine, California. One patient was being treated by a naturopath for eczema; the other was being treated for thrombocytopenia (low platelet count) at a "holistic health center." Hypersensitivity reactions to other intravenous products containing polyethylene glycol castor oil have been reported and are the subject of warnings for a number of FDA-approved drugs. On June 23, ImprimisRx recalled all unexpired products containing the ungraded PEG 40 castor oil. The FDA is concerned about the risks associated with compounded drugs, particularly those that use non-pharmaceutical grade components and ingredients that lack a USP monograph. The problems in this case included (a) the absence of a label warning about hypersensitivity associated with PEG 40 castor oil, (b) use of an ungraded inactive ingredient (PEG castor oil), and (c) the fact that IV curcumin has not been established as safe or effective for treating eczema or thrombocytopenia. [Compounded curcumin emulsion product for injection by ImprimisRx: FDA investigation: serious adverse events associated with use. FDA safety alert, Aug 4, 2017]

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