Consumer Health Digest #17-38

Your Weekly Update of News and Reviews
October 1, 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


Chiropractic "subluxation" characterized as unconscionable instrument of fear. J. Keith Simpson, an Australian chiropractic educator, has criticized the use of fear in chiropractic marketing. [Simpson JK. Appeal to fear in health care: appropriate or inappropriate? Chiropractic & Manual Therapies 25:27, 2015] His critique concludes:

The portions of Simpson's article that focus on chiropractic have been posted to Chirobase.


New York Times criticized for publishing silly health information. Health News Review has severely criticized the New York Times for publishing an article titled "An upbeat mood may boost your flu shot's effectiveness," which was published in the newspapers Well section. [Joyce M. The NY Times 'Well' section is unwell. Health News Review, Sept 27, 2017] The critique noted:

HealthNewsReview.org, which has more than 50 expert reviewers, grades and critiques health-related stories and news releases that include promotional claims about specific treatments, tests, products, or procedures. The commonly covered topics include drugs; devices; dietary supplements; dietary recommendations; diagnostic and screening tests; surgical procedures; and mental health interventions.


Australian cancer fraudster fined. The Federal Court of Australia has ordered Annabelle Natalie Gibson (a/k/a Belle Gibson) to pay AUS$410,000 for engaging in unconscionable conduct relating to the sale of her book and app, The Whole Pantry. [Annabelle (Belle) Gibson and Inkerman Road Nominees Pty Ltd - Court action. News release, Sept 28, 2017] The court found that Gibson, 25, had falsely stated that (a) she had been diagnosed with brain cancer, (b) she was given only four months to live, (c) after rejecting standard treatment, she cured herself with "natural" methods, and (d) a portion of the proceeds from the book that described her methods would be donated to charities. The Court also ordered Gibson to pay AUS$30,000 for costs to Consumer Affairs Victoria, which initiated the case against her.


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This page was revised on October 3, 2017.