Consumer Health Digest #15-30

Your Weekly Update of News and Reviews
August 2, 2015


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.


Cancer scammer dies. Nicholas Gonzalez, who claimed he could cure cancers with dietary supplements and coffee enemas, has died at the age of 67, apparently of heart-related causes. He was one of the few high-profile providers of dubious cancer treatment permitted to practice in the United States. Although New York's licensing board disciplined him in 1994 for unprofessional conduct, it did not prohibit his "metabolic" treatment. Quackwatch has additional information about Gonzalez.


Choosing Wisely campaign expands. Choosing Wisely, an ABIM Foundation initiative, provides reports from more than 70 professional organizations about avoiding wasteful or unnecessary tests, treatments, and procedures. Some reports focus on things that clinicians and patients should question. Others, prepared with help from Consumer Reports, are intended primarily to educate patients. Individual reports can be located through a search feature on the Web site. The entire set of recommendations can be downloaded as a PDF document.


Dubious enzyme product debunked. Dr. Stephen Barrett has posted an investigative report about DZ10, an enzyme product claimed to improve digestion, increase energy, and cause weight loss. [Barrett S. Dubious claims made for DZ10 enzyme supplement. Quackwatch, July 26, 2015] The marketing began with a crowdfunding initiative on Indiegogo.


Unlicensed "alternative practitioner" arrested in Toronto. The Toronto Police Financial Crimes unit has announced the arrest of Dennis Robinson, 67. Its news release states:

Robinson's Web site, which also identifies his facility as "Naturopathy Research Centre," states that it focuses on research and treatment in the areas of ayurvedic, biochemic, spagyric, naturotherapic [sic], osteopathic manual, nutripathic therapies and practice." Press reports indicate that he has been charged with two counts of fraud under $5,000 and two counts of assault. Prosecutions related to health fraud and quackery are rare in Canada.


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This page was posted on August 2, 2015.