Consumer Health Digest #18-13

Your Weekly Update of News and Reviews
April 1, 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.

Reports blast high-priced German cancer clinics. Longreads has criticized several private "alternative" clinics that attract terminally ill cancer patients and charge exorbitant prices. [Gellman L The last resort. Longreads, March, 2018] The report notes:

Elaborating on the Longreads report, David Gorski, M.D., Ph.D., has concluded:

People will often say of a terminal illness: How could things get any worse? The lesson of Hallwang tells us. Things can get worse if you're induced into chasing false hope. Things can get worse if you are enticed into eschewing effective palliative treatment and suffer more than is necessary—or even die prematurely from the treatment. Things can get worse if you drain your life's savings, leave nothing behind for your family, and spend the rest of your life chasing ever more money. Things can get worse if your family joins you in draining their life's savings to pay for your treatments. Things can always get worse, and quack cancer clinics virtually guarantee that they will. [Gorski D. The deadly false hope of German alternative cancer clinics. Science-Based Medicine, Mar 26, 2018]

U.S. abortion services assessed. The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine has issued a 186-page report titled The Safety and Quality of Abortion Care in the United States. Its findings include:

The full report can be read online or downloaded free of charge by registered users of the National Academy Press Web site.

"Neurotransmitter-related disease" marketer scrutinized. Dr. Stephen Barrett has critiqued the views and activities of Marty Hinz, M.D., who asserts that amino acids and other supplements can improve various conditions by balancing neurotransmitter chemicals in the brain. Hinz also owns DBS Laboratory Services, which does urine testing for neurotransmitters; and his daughter operates a company that sells the relevant supplements. Dr. Barrett writes that he's skeptical because:

[Barrett S. A skeptical look at Marty Hinz, M.D. and his views of "neurotransmitter-related diseases." Quackwatch, March 28, 2018]

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This page was posted on April 3, 2018.