Consumer Health Digest #17-42

Your Weekly Update of News and Reviews
November 12, 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.


"Lyme literate" doctor disciplined again. Bernard Raxlen, M.D., a psychiatrist who markets himself as a specialist in treating Lyme disease, has been disciplined again. Raxlen is part of a small network of doctors who—contrary to prevailing medical beliefs—assert that Lyme disease often becomes chronic and should be treated with long-term antibiotic therapy. His New York clinic Web site states that (a) "over 90% of his practice is now devoted entirely to Chronic Lyme Disease (CLD) and co-infections" and (b) he has treated over 3,500 cases of tick-borne disease. He has been disciplined at least six times:

It is not clear whether the 2017 consent order requires Raxlen to stop inappropriately diagnosing Lyme disease or administering inappropriate antibiotic regimens.

FDA may revoke soy protein/heart disease health claim. The FDA is proposing to revoke the currently authorized claim that consuming soy protein reduces the risk of heart disease. FDA-authorized health claims are intended to reflect well-established relationships based on the most robust level of scientific evidence. To date, 12 such claims have been authorized. The soy-protein claim has been permitted on packaged foods since 1999. In 2000, the American Heart Association Nutrition Advisory Committee concluded that is was prudent to include soy protein in a diet that is low in saturated fat and cholesterol. However, subsequent AHA reviews concluded that although very large amounts of soy protein (more than half the daily protein intake) may lower LDL cholesterol, (a) the experimental data were from individuals with very high cholesterol levels, (b) the reduction is small, (c) there was no improvement in other blood lipid levels or blood pressure, and (d) any direct benefit on cardiovascular health is minimal at best. [Jones DW. Letter to FDA Division of Dockets Management, Feb 19, 2008] A statement released with FDA's recent announcement appears to agree with the AHA position. [Statement from Susan Mayne, Ph.D., on proposal to revoke health claim that soy protein reduces risk of heart disease. FDA news release, Oct 30, 2017] This is the first time the FDA has proposed to revoke an authorized claim.


Eric Braverman facing more legal problems. Eric R. Braverman, M.D., who operates a high-priced "brain health" clinic in New York City, is facing a peck of trouble.

Quackwatch has a comprehensive article about Braverman's activities and links to relevant documents.


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This page was posted on November 12, 2017.