Consumer Health Digest #12-32
Your Weekly Update of News and Reviews
September 20, 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.
Portland City Council votes to fluoridate. The City Council of Portland, Oregon has voted 5-0 to implement fluoridation early in 2014. Portland is the largest city in the U.S. that remains nonfluoridated. Its water system, serves 900,000 people, including some communities who are outside the city limits. . [Johnson K. Portland approves fluoridation by '14. New York Times, Sept 12, 2012] Before the vote, Portland Mayor Sam Adams posted a thoughtful letter explaining why he supported fluoridation. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has identified water fluoridation as one of ten great public health achievements of the 20th century. Opponents to the city government's decision are calling for a referendum.
Physicist details why homeopathy is impossible. David Grimes, an Irish physicist, has provided a detailed critique of homeopathy-related claims related to ultradilution, chemical limits, "water memory," and electromagnetic signals. He notes:
- Many homeopathic products are so dilute that they are unlikely contain a single molecule of "active ingredient."
- To achieve the claimed dilution of many common products, a single molecule of active ingredient would require a container greater than our solar system.
- Some products are claimed to contain a concentration of active ingredient that could not be achieved with a single molecule in a container the size of the universe. This is obviously impossible.
- Claims that water can "remember" formerly present substances are false because studies have shown that if any such capability exists, it does not last more than a fraction of a nanosecond.
- Claims that in extreme dilutions bacterial DNA produces electromagnetic signals are based on improperly designed research.
- The claim that greater dilution produces greater therapeutic effect is the opposite of what what is usually found in nature.
The author concluded: "The proposed mechanisms of homeopathy are shown to be implausible when analyzed from a physical and chemical perspective, and thus it is of no surprise that the biological effects of homeopathy cannot be measured in large-scale clinical trials." [Grimes D. Proposed mechanisms for homeopathy are physically impossible. FACT 17:149-154, 2012]
Massachusetts will post more about disciplinary actions. In line with a new law, the Massachusetts Board of Registration in Medicine has announced that it will expand the types of disciplinary actions it will post online and lengthen the time the information will be maintained. The law requires that in addition to disciplinary acts by hospitals, the Board must post action by clinics, nursing homes, and any other employer of physicians within the state. Previously, it was required to post information for ten years about criminal convictions; charges for felonies and serious misdemeanors to which a physician pleads "no contest" or which are continued without a finding; final in-state and out-of-state medical board disciplinary actions; hospital disciplinary actions; and medical malpractice payments. The Board must now make this information available indefinitely. Previously, physician profiles have been posted only for active licensees. Under the new law, the Board will maintain profiles of both current and former licensees, unless the Board knows that the licensee is deceased. [Major changes to physician profiles. Board of Registration in Medicine Newsbrief, Fall 2012]
This page was posted on September 23, 2012