Consumer Health Digest #17-17

Your Weekly Update of News and Reviews
April 23, 2017


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. Its primary focus is on health, but occasionally it includes non-health scams and practical tips.


Trump fires Surgeon General. The Trump administration has removed Vivek Murthy, M.D., as U.S. Surgeon General. Murthy, who co-founded and served as president of Doctors for America, regarded gun control as a public health issue and said so both before and after his appointment as Surgeon General. While serving, he was also outspoken about the need for vaccination and climate control. He had 21 months remaining of his 4-year term. His firing took place one week before the 2017 Annual NRA-ILA Leadership Forum, where Trump is scheduled to speak. The NRA-ILA, which is the lobbying arm of the National Rifle Association, describes itself as a "must-stop for candidates seeking the highest levels of elected office." Its Web site urges visitors to "oppose any and all gun control proposals that have been, or will be, introduced."


Death by naturopathic injection confirmed. The San Diego Medical Examiner has confirmed that 30-year-old Jade Erick was killed by an intravenous turmeric solution administered by a California naturopath whom she had consulted for treatment of eczema. [Hermes BM. Confirmed: Licensed naturopathic doctor gave lethal 'turmeric' injection. Forbes, April 10, 2017] The naturopath, Kim Kelly, had advocated the use of intravenous curcumin for "any type of inflammatory condition, whether it be arthritis, autoimmune conditions, Alzheimer's or dementia" and claimed that "promising effects have been observed in patients with various pro-inflammatory diseases." Curcumin is a constituent of turmeric, which is useful as a spice but has not been proven safe and effective for the treatment of any health problem. [Nelson KM. The essential medicinal chemistry of curcumin. Journal of Medicinal Chemistry 60:1620-1637, 2017]


"Radiation harmonizer" flunks test. CHOICE testing of the Geoclense Home and Workplace Harmonizer has found that it does not work as claimed. The device is a block of green plastic resin with a plug molded into the back. Orgone Effects Australia claims that when its $165 device is plugged in, it will neutralize harmful effects of radio and electromagnetic frequencies from sources such as Wi-Fi, mobile phone towers, your home's smart meter, your neighbor's television, "noxious resonance from mold and fungus," and even "human-generated bioplasmic radiation" such as "imprints" from emotional stresses and "psychic attacks." The tests found that the device drew no power when plugged in, had no effect on nearby magnetic fields, and failed to detect other measurable effects that the marketers touted. [Good vibes guaranteed? CHOICE, March 6, 2017]


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This page was posted on April 23, 2017.