Consumer Health Digest #17-37
Your Weekly Update of News and Reviews
September 24, 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.
European Union's science advisors denounce homeopathy. The European Academies' Science Advisory Council (EASAC), has published a statement to reinforce criticism of the health and scientific claims made for homeopathic products and call upon policy-makers to improve consumers' right to correct information. The statement notes that (a) the mechanisms of action claimed for homeopathy are implausible and inconsistent with established scientific concepts, (b) there are no known diseases for which robust evidence exists that homeopathy is effective beyond a placebo effect, and (c) promotion of homeopathy can lead to harmful delay in getting effective medical care and can undermine public confidence in the nature and value of scientific evidence. The Council recommends:
- There should be consistent regulatory requirements to demonstrate efficacy, safety, and quality of all products for human and veterinary medicine, to be based on verifiable and objective evidence, commensurate with the nature of the claims being made.
- Without such evidence, a product should be neither approvable nor registrable by national regulatory agencies for use as a medicinal product.
- Evidence-based public health systems should not reimburse homeopathic products and practices unless they are demonstrated to be efficacious and safe by rigorous testing.
- The labeling of homeopathic products should be similar to that of other health products; that is, there should be an accurate, clear and simple description of the ingredients and their amounts in the formulation.
- Advertising and marketing of homeopathic products and services must conform to established standards of accuracy and clarity. Promotional claims for efficacy, safety and quality should not be made without demonstrable evidence.
The EASAC reflects the views of 29 European national science academies and academic bodies. [Homeopathic products and practices: assessing the evidence and ensuring consistency in regulating medical claims in the EU. EASAC, Sept 2017]
Systematic review blasts "adrenal fatigue" diagnosis. Some healthcare providers are using the term "adrenal fatigue" to describe an alleged condition caused by chronic exposure to stressful situations. According to this theory, chronic stress can lead to "overuse" of the adrenal glands, eventually resulting in their functional failure. Last year, two Brazilian endocrinologists concluded that "adrenal fatigue"—also referred to as "adrenal burnout" and adrenal "exhaustion"—should be regarded as a myth. Their review analyzed the 58 most relevant studies identified in a systematic literature search. [Cadegliani FA, Kater CE. Adrenal fatigue does not exist: a systematic review. BMC Endocrine Disorders 16:48(1), 2016] A Science-Based Medicine article describes the origin and danger of the "adrenal fatigue" concept. [Gavura S. Adrenal fatigue: A fake disease (updated). Science-Based Medicine, June 29, 2017]
Robert O. Young's guilty plea published. Quackwatch has published a copy of the guilty plea of Robert O. Young, who earlier this year was sentenced to prison for practicing medicine without a license. As part of the plea agreement, Young declared, under penalty of perjury, that he was not a microbiologist, hematologist, medical doctor, naturopath or trained scientist and that he did not have any post high-school educational degree from any accredited school. Quackwatch also has a comprehensive article about his activities.
This page was posted on September 24, 2017.