Consumer Health Digest #12-28

Your Weekly Update of News and Reviews
August 16, 2012


Consumer Health Digest is a free weekly e-mail newsletter edited by Stephen Barrett, M.D., with help from William M. London, Ed.D., M.P.H. 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.


Veterinary TCM concepts exploded. Based on his investigation of handwritten manuscripts from China, veterinarian David Ramey has concluded:

There's a small subset of individuals who say that they are practicing what they call "Traditional Chinese Veterinary Medicine" (TCVM) on animals, including horses. They say that they're practicing according to how the ancient Chinese practiced veterinary medicine on animals, practicing in a way that's different from the unnatural, reductionist, drug- and surgery-filled "western" medicine that most veterinarians are taught. . . . What they are doing . . . . has essentially nothing to do with the way that the Chinese practiced veterinary medicine on animals throughout history. Instead, what the "TCVM" advocates have come up is a modern fairy tale—loosely based on a selected few historical theoretical concepts, and fine-tuned for western sensibilities—that has no foundation in how veterinary medicine was actually practiced in China. [Ramey D. "Traditional" Chinese veterinary medicine: A modern fairy tale. David Ramey, DVM Web site, Aug 17, 2012]


Quackwatch targets schemes directed at Web site owners. Quackwatch has posted an article about four types of schemes to which Web site operators are exposed:

[Barrett S. Predatory attacks on Web site owners. Quackwatch, July 31, 2012]


Wakefield's libel suit dismissed. Andrew Wakefield, who lost his British medical license after triggering a scare that linked autism to the measles-mumps-rubella vaccine, has lost a frivolous suit in Texas against the British Medical Journal (BMJ), its editor (Fiona Godlee), and investigative reporter Brian Deer. In 2010, the British Medical Council found Wakefield guilty of serious professional misconduct and struck him from the physician register. The suit is mainly concerned about a BMJ article written by Deer, an accompanying editorial that discussed Wakefield's conduct, and a Lancet article Wakefield wrote that was later retracted. The suit, filed in Texas, was dismissed on jurisdictional grounds. The Respectful Insolence Blog has an excellent summary of the situation. A brief filed during the case provides a detailed account of Deer's devastating investigation.


FTC curbs mouthguard claims. Brain-Pad, Inc. and its President Joseph Manzo have settled FTC charges by agreeing to refrain from making unsupported claims that their mouthguards reduce the risk of concussions from lower jaw impacts, reduce the risk of concussions generally, or have been clinically proven to do either. Commenting on the settlement, an FTC official stated: "Mouthguards can help to shield a person's teeth from being injured, and some can reduce impact to the lower jaw—but it's a big leap to say these devices can also reduce the risk of concussions." [Settlement with FTC prohibits marketer Brain-Pad, Inc. from claiming that its mouthguards can reduce risk of concussions. FTC news release, August 16, 2012]


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This page was posted on August 18, 2012.