Consumer Health Digest #17-39

Your Weekly Update of News and Reviews
October 15, 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.


Naturopathy's top critic profiled. Quartz Media has published the remarkable story of Britt Hermes, a former practitioner who abandoned naturopathy when she concluded that what she had been taught was not valid. The article states: "For the past few years, after realizing she had been swindled in her education, Hermes has waged a war on naturopathy. On blogs and in online publications, she has opened a window into a profession that resists external scrutiny of its training and practices." [Rathi A. The journey of a "doctor" who joined the cult of alternative medicine and then broke out of it Quartz, Sept 30, 2017] Last year, Hermes's blog, "Naturopathic Diaries," won the Ockham award for the best blog of the year given by The Skeptics magazine.


Chiropractor who treated thyroid disease sentenced for practicing medicine without a license. In 2017, Diem T. Nguyen, D.C., who advertised herself as "Dr. Thyroid" and offered non-drug treatment for a spectrum of thyroid disorders, has been sentenced to serve three years probation and ordered to repay two of her victims. [Johnson D. Board to decide professional fate of El Dorado Hills chiropractor convicted of practicing medicine without license. Fox 40, Sept 19, 2017] At the time of her arrest, she operated New Life Integrative Wellness clinics in Elk Grove and El Dorado Hills, California. In 2013, when she did business as NorCal Natural Integrative Healthcare, her Web site offered "A New Thyroid Treatment Approach That Moves Directly To The Underlying CAUSE Of Your Thyroid Problem. . . By Utilizing Advanced Lab Measurements and a Comprehensive Functional Approach!"


Another California chiropractor arrested for practicing medicine without a license. Brent A. Hill, who surrendered his chiropractic license last year, has been charged with practicing medicine without a license and illegal possession and sale of testosterone. [Carlson K. Former Modesto chiropractor charged with practicing medicine without a license. Two employees are also charged. Sacramento Bee, Sept 12, 2017] In 2016, Hill and the California Board of Chiropractic Examiners entered into a stipulated agreement under which he surrendered his license rather than defend against charges filed by the board. The charges involved illegal administration of hormones to three female patients. From 2006 onward, Hill operated the Hill Center for Integrative Medicine in Modesto, California. One of its offerings was the "Hill Diet," a six-week 500-calorie diet accompanied by injections of human chorionic gonadotropin (HCG) and other substances. The center also offered other hormone injections.


Documents from Congressional hearings on quackery posted. Casewatch now has full reports on seven days of hearings on health frauds and quackery held in 1963 and 1964 by the Senate Special Committee on Aging and two days of hearings held in 1984 by the House Select Committee on Aging. Together they provide a comprehensive look at the marketplace at those times and government efforts at controlling the problem.


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This page was posted on October 16, 2017.