Consumer Health Digest #19-44

Your Weekly Update of News and Reviews
November 3, 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.

"Slapping healing" promoter convicted of manslaughter. Hong Chi Xiao has been found guilty of manslaughter over the death of a six-year-old boy attending Xiao's week-long workshop in Sydney, Australia offering "paida lajin," a method involving slapping and stretching the body. The boy's parents enrolled him in the workshop seeking to end the need to inject him with insulin four times a day. Xiao allegedly:

The boy eventually vomited a syrupy black substance, became too weak to stand or open his eyes, and also had a seizure. He died five days into the workshop of diabetic ketoacidosis, a build-up of acid in the body due to lack of insulin. As he was dying, participants slapped his arms. In a separate case, a court in England has issued a warrant for Xiao's arrest over the alleged gross negligence manslaughter of a 71-year-old with diabetes who attended one of Xiao's workshops. [Mitchell G. Alternative therapy practitioner guilty of manslaughter over six-year-old's death. Sydney Morning Herald, Oct 21, 2019] In April 2011, Taiwanese authorities fined Xiao NT$50,000 (£1,060, $1,600) for "promoting folk remedies as medically effective", after he claimed that diabetic patients did not need medication and could be cured with paida lajin. [Wong T. What happens at a slapping workshop? BBC News, May 1, 2015]

Multilevel marketer Neora sued. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has sued the multi-level marketer Neora, LLC (formerly known as Nerium International, LLC) and its chief executive officer, Jeffrey Olson for: (a) operating as an illegal pyramid scheme, (b) falsely promising distributors they will achieve financial independence if they join the scheme, and (c) deceptively promoting "EHT" supplements. The FTC is seeking to permanently stop the defendants' deceptive practices and return money to consumers. [FTC sues multi-level marketer Neora, formerly known as Nerium, alleging it operates as an illegal pyramid scheme. FTC press release, Nov 1, 2019] The FTC alleges that Nexium:

The FTC has reached a proposed settlement with two related companies, Signum Biosciences and Signum Nutralogix, that supply EHT supplements to Nerium and have helped to deceptively promote Nerium's products. Under the settlement, the Signum companies are barred from making baseless claims about EHT or other supplements.

Warning issued about unauthorized soft-shelled hyperbaric chambers. Health Canada is advising Canadians that:

Health Canada has updated its hyperbaric oxygen information page for consumers.

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This page was posted on November 3,, 2019.