Consumer Health Digest #18-05
Your Weekly Update of News and Reviews
February 4, 2018
Consumer Health Digest is a free weekly e-mail newsletter edited by William M. London, Ed.D., M.P.H., with help from Stephen Barrett, M.D. 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.
Hazardous conditions are common in nursing homes. Kaiser Health News (KHN) has been studying the regulation of safety hazards in nursing homes. After looking at four years of federal inspection records that covered 16,268 nursing homes, it concluded:
- Nationwide, 74% of the facilities were cited for lapses in infection control and 70% were cited for food safety hazards.
- In California, 1,118 of 1,251 (89%) were cited.
- Nurses and aides were often not familiar with basic protocols, such as wearing protective clothing when coming into contact with contagious residents and isolating contagious patients from others in the home and visitors. Many were not cleaning patients properly. Many, in a rush and understaffed, used shortcuts that compromised sanitary precautions.
- Only 161 out of 12,056 (1.3%) of homes that violated infection-control rules deficiencies received a high-level citation that can result in a financial penalty, without which citations appear to have little deterrent value.
GOOP expo critiqued. Jen Gunter, M.D. has published an amusing and informative blog about Gwyneth Paltrow's in GOOP Health" summit, which the company promoted as a "health defining day." [Gunter J. In GOOP health: wellness Panem style. Dr. Jen Gunter blog, Jan. 28, 2018] Gunter's report described:
- a "research medium" who says death isn't real
- a panel discussion that featured comments such as "The brain is a filter that gets in the way of primordial consciousness" and "We don't need evidence based medicine if we have experiences"
- an OB/GYN who sells supplements even though ACOG says that is not ethical
- weight-loss advice involving "getting your chakras tested for solar plexus deficiency"
- a woman who claimed to have died of lymphoma and then cured herself
- an AIDS-denying psychiatrist who charges $4,497 for consultations and offers cures without ever using medications
- promotion of love as a cancer cure
The 19 "experts" listed in the advance program included four actors and an astrologist. Gunter, an obstetrician-gynecologist and pain medicine physician, has expressed safety concerns about Paltrow's GOOP products, such as at-home coffee enemas and jade eggs for vaginal insertion. She paid $650 to attend the summit in New York City.
Claims for Miridia Technology's products scrutinized. Dr. Stephen Barrett has called on the FDA to look closely at the activities of Meridian, Idaho-based Miridia Technology, Inc., which markets:
- the AcuGraph system, which is claimed to "determine health problems and make therapeutic recommendations based on measurements of skin resistance at so-called 'acupuncture points.'"
- Stimplus Pro, a hand-held device that is claimed to "locate and measure skin resistance at acupuncture points and deliver corrective microcurrents at those points."
- herbal products for which therapeutic actions relevant to various diseases are claimed.
[Barrett S. A skeptical look at the AcuGraph and Stimplus Pro. Device Watch, Jan. 21, 2018.]
"Health freedom" arguments criticized. Professor William M. London's May 2017 'health freedom' movement versus consumer protection" webinar is now available online. It includes: (a) a brief history of health-related consumer protection, (b) how the "health freedom" movement undermines consumer protection and pubic health initiatives, and (c) why quackery should be considered a pervasive societal scandal. The webinar was part of the "Talking Public Health Series" sponsored by the Southern California Public Health Association, California Baptist University's Department of Health Science, and CBU Online.
This page was posted on February 4, 2018