Consumer Health Digest #19-13
Your Weekly Update of News and Reviews
March 31, 2019
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.
Chiropractic board issues policy on pediatric spinal manipulation. The Chiropractic Board of Australia has announced an interim policy that advises chiropractors to not use spinal manipulation to treat children under two years of age. The Board intends to issue a final policy after the healthcare quality and safety improvement agency Safer Care Victoria completes its independent expert review of the current best evidence regarding the safety and efficacy of the practice. [Interim policy on spinal manipulation for infants and young children. Chiropractic Board of Australia. Mar 14, 2019] Chiropractic professional associations have promoted pediatrics as a chiropractic specialty for treating a variety of child health conditions and to provide "wellness care" despite the lack of evidence that benefits exceed harms. Four articles on Science-Based Medicine provide additiional perspective on chiropractic mismanagement of young children.
- Bellamy J. Australia's Chiropractic Board bans spinal manipulation for children under two pending evidence review March 28, 2019
- Homola S. Subluxation correction: A chiropractic treatment for babies. Feb 26, 2016
- Jones C. Chiropractic and the newborn baby. Feb 27, 2016
- Bellamy J. Chiropractic pediatrics conference features anti-vaccination ideology…as usual. Aug 3, 2017
GoFundMe blocks fundraising for treatment at Hallwang Clinic. The Financial Times has reported that the crowdfunding platform GoFundMe is banning campaigns seeking donations for expensive treatments at the Hallwang Clinic in Germany, which caters largely to foreigners with life-threatening cancer. [Budryk Z. GoFundMe bans donations for controversial cancer treatments. The Hill. Mar 20, 2019] David Gorski, MD, PhD has criticized Hallwang Clinic for:
- offering dubious treatments such as homeopathy, ozone therapy, high dose vitamin C, and orthomolecular medicine in combination with standard treatments
- featuring glowing testimonials from patients who had died
- offering off-label, non-validated uses of expensive drugs
- offering unproven experimental therapies at high prices
- the conflict of interest of its parent company
- failing to publish findings regarding its hyped treatments in medical journals
- failing to ensure that patients have informed consent to receive treatments
- discouraging patients from talking to the press.
[Gorski D. The deadly false hope of German alternative cancer clinics. Science-Based Medicine, Mar 26, 2018] He has also commented on recent studies that exposed crowdfunding as a major source of revenue for promoters of implausible treatments: Crowdfunding: The fuel for cancer quackery and Crowdfunding: The fuel for cancer quackery (part 2).
No antibody responses found for homeopathic vaccines. A well-controlled study in a sample of 150 university students found:
- Homeopathic "nosodes" promoted for prevention of diphtheria, pertussis, tetanus, mumps, and measles did not evoke antibody responses.
- Their antibody responses were similar to placebo.
- Standard vaccines for the same diseases provided a robust antibody response in most of those vaccinated.
[Loeb M. et al. A randomized, blinded, placebo-controlled trial comparing antibody responses to homeopathic and conventional vaccines in university students. Vaccine. 36(48):7423-7429, 2018] Nosodes are homeopathic products made from pathological organs or tissues; causative agents such as bacteria, fungi, ova, parasites, virus particles and yeast; disease products; or excretions. Some homeopaths falsely claim that nosodes are effective as vaccines. Health Canada was recently criticized for continuing to license homeopathic nosodes and merely warning the public that they are not a substitute for vaccines. [Ireland N. Stronger action urged against homeopathic products touted as alternatives to vaccines. CBC News. Mar 18, 2019]
This page was revised on March 26, 2019