Consumer Health Digest #19-51
Your Weekly Update of News and Reviews
December 29, 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.
Chiropractors warned about misleading childbirth care claims. The College of Chiropractors of British Columbia (CCBC) has announced that it has amended its Professional Conduct Handbook and Efficacy Claims Policy statement because of concerns about misleading statements by some chiropractors about pregnancy and childbirth care. The policy statement now says that chiropractors should not represent to patients or to the public that chiropractic has any beneficial effect on:
- fetal development or position such as: breech/breech turning or position and intrauterine/in utero constraint
- labor or birth such as: easier or shorter labor, preventing the need for medical interventions and preventing premature or traumatic birth
- hormone function or postpartum depression
CCBC's notice specifies that chiropractors should not imply that the Webster technique, a treatment of the pelvis and lower spine, can influence fetal positioning. The Professional Conduct Handbook now states: "When communicating with the public, a chiropractor may advertise or reference the Webster Technique or Certification only as "a specific chiropractic sacral analysis and diversified adjustment for all weight-bearing individuals." After January 3, 2020, according to the CCBC, complaints about statements that breach the new standard will be investigated. [Lindsay B. Chiropractors making misleading claims about pregnancy and birth targeted by B.C. regulator. CBC News. Dec 23, 2019]
"Brain health" supplements panned. The Global Council on Brain Health (GCBH) has issued a 31-page report that summarizes 15 consensus statements; expert recommendations for individuals, health care providers, people with mild cognitive impairment, dementia, or other brain disorders; practical tips for consumers; a discussion of specific supplements promoted for brain health; issues in safety, efficacy, marketing, and regulation of dietary supplements; and this conclusion:
There is no convincing evidence to recommend dietary supplements for brain health in healthy older adults. The consensus statements and recommendations above are based on the current state of science as of May 2019. Supplements have not been demonstrated to delay the onset of dementia, nor can they prevent, treat or reverse Alzheimer's disease or other neurological diseases that cause dementia. For most people, the best way to get your nutrients for brain health is from a healthy diet. Unless your health care provider has identified that you have a specific nutrient deficiency, there is not sufficient data to justify taking any dietary supplement for brain health. The GCBH does not endorse any ingredient, product or supplement formulation specifically sold for brain health. Because no government agency determines dietary supplements are safe or effective before they are sold, consumers should approach supplements claiming to improve or boost brain function with skepticism. Because dietary supplements can be sold without a government agency first determining that they are safe or and effective before they are sold, consumers should also be aware that in addition to being a waste of money, some supplements could physically harm them. Despite claims to the contrary, brain health supplements have not been established to maintain thinking skills or improve brain function. However, there are many other lifestyle habits such as getting enough sleep, exercising regularly, eating a healthy diet, staying mentally active and being socially engaged that are recommended by the council. For evidenced-based strategies on what you can do to help maintain your brain health as you age, see the council's other reports [available at GlobalCouncilonBrainHealth.org.]
GCBH is an independent collaborative of scientists, health professionals, scholars, and policy experts from around the world convened by AARP with support from Age UK to advise what older adults can do maintain and improve their brain health. [Global Council on Brain Health. The real deal on brain health supplements: GCBH Recommendations on vitamins, minerals, and other dietary supplements. AARP Web site, 2019]
"Bioresonance" blood test scrutinized. Bioresonance Analysis of Health (BAH) is a method that purportedly measures the electromagnetic frequencies of a single drop of blood to pinpoint underlying dysfunction in the body. The test reports are said to measure "levels of health" of "energy anatomy and emotions," "immune," "physical nutrition," "source nutrition," "nervous system/brain," "chemical and metal toxicity," and "infections and dysbiosis." USA Today has reported:
- The test was invented by Thomas Szulc, M.D. who runs a medical practice called the New York Center for Innovative Medicine in Huntington, New York.
- Szulc's Web site says the test "has been repeatedly shown to achieve extraordinary results."
- Szulc and his son Casper co-own a business called Innovative Medicine, which sells supplements and other products promising to "awaken your healing potential."
- Gwyneth Paltrow's lifestyle Web site Goop has featured Szulc's methods including the blood test.
- Practitioners throughout the country, many of whom are naturopaths, claim that the test can identify underlying dysfunctions. [The Center Web site identifies the alleged dysfunctions as stressors, toxicities, imbalances, energy distrurbances, poor gut health, and all types of infectious agents.]
- There is no evidence-based or peer-reviewed research behind BAH.
- Neither the method nor the device used to analyze the blood are FDA approved, so practitioners are not legally allowed to claim the test can diagnose, treat, or cure a disease.
- A typical course of treatment offered by one naturopath includes seven to eight BAH tests, each of which costs $100, which does not include the cost of office visits.
- BAH is not covered by insurance.
[Fornarola I. A single drop of blood: No research or FDA approval behind doctor's testing methods. USA Today. Dec 21, 2019] The New York State Department of Health's Professional Misconduct and Physician Discipline database contains no record of disciplinary action against Dr. Szulc.
This page was posted on December 29, 2019.