Consumer Health Digest #06-32
Your Weekly Update of News and Reviews
August 8, 2007
Consumer Health Digest is a free weekly e-mail newsletter edited by Stephen Barrett, M.D., and cosponsored by NCAHF and Quackwatch. 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.
FTC wants domain ownership easy to identify. The Federal Trade Commission believes that making Web site ownership apparent will help protect consumers from Internet fraud. In testimony before a House sub committee, the agency urged:
- The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) should ensure that Whois databases are kept open, transparent, and accessible.
- Congress should enact the US SAFE WEB Act to provide the FTC with additional tools to fight Internet and other fraud.
[Public Access to Whois Databases. Prepared statement of the Federal Trade Commission before the Subcommittee on Financial Institutions and Consumer Credit of the House Committee on Financial Services Washington, D.C., July 18, 2006]
Gentle Wind Project facing dissolution. The Maine Attorney General has charged the Gentle Wind Project (GWP) and six of its officers and directors with making false claims and engaging in improper financial practices. The complaint alleges that the defendants:
- Manufactured "healing instruments," the designs of which they say were received by a GWP co-director in the form of telepathic impressions from the "Spirit World."
- Offered the instruments as "gifts" in exchange for "suggested donations" that ranged from several hundred to many thousands of dollars said to be 80% tax deductible.
- Falsely claimed that use of the instruments can improve the user's mental, emotional, and physical well-being.
- Improperly disbursed hundreds of thousands of dollars to themselves.
The complaint also asks the court to (a) enjoin further sales of the "healing instruments, (b) dissolve the GWP corporation, (c) ban the offending parties from serving as officers and directors of another nonprofit corporation, (d) order all funds they improperly obtained to be returned, and (e) provide for consumer restitution.
Fluoride exposure during pregnancy found unnecessary for developing teeth. Researchers have compared the fluoride content of deciduous (“baby") teeth that had been exposed to fluoride during and after pregnancy with that of teeth exposed to fluoride after birth. The teeth came from 185 small children who had participated previously in a randomized, double-blind study of prenatal fluoride supplementation. After analyzing samples from all of the teeth, the researchers concluded that the amount of fluoride integrated into the teeth of the two groups was similar. [Sa Roriz Fonteles C and others. Fluoride concentrations in enamel and dentin of primary teeth after pre- and postnatal fluoride exposure. Caries Research 39:505-508, 2005] This finding strengthens previous beliefs that fluoride exposure during pregnancy is of minor importance compared to the benefits from exposure during infancy and childhood.
Chiropractic imposter pleads guilty to health care fraud. William E. Walker, 50, of Decatur, Georgia, has admitted to posing as a chiropractor, performing services for patients, and fraudulently billing insurance companies for over $600,000. Court documents indicate that Walker owned and operated the Candler Parkway Chiropractic Clinic in Decatur, Georgia, since approximately 1995. Because he was never licensed as a chiropractor in Georgia, he initially hired chiropractors to provide services to patients. However, from about September 2002 through January 2006, he no longer employed any chiropractors, but performed the chiropractic services himself and billed his patients’ insurance companies for these services in the name of one of his former chiropractor employees. By the time his scheme was uncovered, he had received over $400,000. The charges carry a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000. The charges carry a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000. Sentencing is scheduled for September 7.
This page was posted on August 11, 2006.