Consumer Health Digest #20-05

Your Weekly Update of News and Reviews
February 2, 2020

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.

European manifesto against pseudo-therapies published. The Association to Protect the Sick from Pseudoscientific Therapies (APETP in Spanish), a civil society association formed by victims of pseudoscientific therapies along with scientists, doctors, nurses, physiotherapists, computer scientists, lawyers, and other professionals has published the European Manifesto Against Pseudo-Therapies. Scientific and medical personnel who add their names as signatories of the manifesto declare that:

Collaborators with APETP include the Skeptic Circle, the AARP Society for the Advancement of Critical Thinking, the Association of Pharmacists in Favor of Scientific Evidence, and Red UNE. The APSPT Web site is in Spanish but can be read in English with Google Translate.

India blasted for promoting irrational coronavirus preventive measures. In response to the ongoing novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) outbreak, which the World Health Organization has declared to be a public health emergency of international concern, the Indian Government's Press Information Bureau tweeted:

Advisory for #CoronaVirus
Homoeopathy for Prevention of Corona virus Infections
Unani Medicines useful in the symptomatic management of Corona Virus infection
Details here:

The details are in a press release offering recommendations from India's Research Councils under the Ministry of AYUSH (ayurveda, yoga & naturopathy, unani, siddha, sowa rigpa and homoeopathy). The recommendations have received criticism from scientific and medical experts around the world. Federation of Indian Rationalist Associations (FIRA) president Narendra Nayak said:

When all the authorities including World Health Organization claim there is neither any vaccine nor any treatment for coronavirus, the government is promoting unproven therapies to lull people into a false sense of security that they can be safe if they consume such concoctions. [Rationalists decry Centre's advisory on Coronavirus. Times of India. Jan 30, 2020]

No acceptable evidence of Functional Neurology benefits found. Canadian chiropractor Frederick Robert Carrick's Functional Neurology (FN) therapeutic approach is based on the notion that lesions in the nervous system, including the brain, consisting of groups of dysfunctional neurons, explain many health conditions and that these lesions can be successfully improved by various types of stimulation, including spinal manipulation. Based on a review of all published documents Carrick has published over approximately the last 20 years, researchers have concluded:

We found no acceptable evidence in favour of effect/benefit of the FN approach. We therefore do not recommend its promotion as an evidence-based method. Further research on this topic should be conducted in collaboration with independent scientific institutions using commonly accepted research methods. [Demotier M. Leboeuf-Yde C. Unravelling Functional Neurology: an overview of all published documents by FR Carrick, including a critical review of research articles on its effect or benefit. Chiropractic & Manual Therapies. 28, Article 9, 2020]

Carrick responded to the paper by claiming FN is supported by various biomedical papers, but he cited no relevant clinical research that showed benefit. [Carrick FR. Response to the paper "unraveling functional Neurology: an overview of all published documents by FR Carrick, including a critical review of research articles on its effect or benefit." by Marine Demortier and Charlotte Leboeuf-Yde. Chiropractic & Manual Therapies 28, Article 10, 2020] A recent systematic literature review paper concluded that it is premature to promote the use of spinal manipulation as a treatment to improve "brain function."

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This page was posted on February 2, 2020.