Consumer Health Digest #01-25

Your Weekly Update of News and Reviews
June 18, 2001


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.


Prevention scores worst in ACSH magazine survey. The American Council on Health's periodic evaluation of nutrition information in 20 of the most popular magazines has found, for the first time, that none of them scored "Poor." The rankings were:

Prevention magazine's score was 14 percentage points lower than in 1995-1996. The evaluators concluded that its information sources were well documented but it "overextrapolates scientific findings and gives questionable supplementation recommendations." The full report Nutrition Accuracy in Popular Magazines (1997-1999) can be downloaded free of charge or ordered for $5 from the American Council on Science and Health, 1995 Broadway, New York, NY 10023.


Life Chiropractic College put on probation. The Council on Chiropractic Education (CCE) , which accredited chiropractic schools, has placed Life University's College of Chiropractic (LUCC) on probation. A CCE announcement said there were "serious deficiencies," but no further information would be provided. LUCC, with about 3,500 chiropractic students, is by far the largest chiropractic school. A Life official has said that CCE wants the school to demonstrate that it uses a medical model approach during patient intakes at clinics, but a Georgia law prohibits chiropractors from making medical diagnoses. [Lewis S. Life program at risk. Atlanta Journal-Constitution, June 17, 2001]


Second anti-Ritalin suit dismissed. A federal judge in Texas has dismissed a lawsuit claiming that the American Psychiatric Association and the patient-support group Children and Adults with Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (CHADD) had illegally conspired with the Ritalin's manufacturer to promote the drug for treating children with attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder. The judge ruled that the charges alleged in the suit were too vague and and unclear and did not state a legal claim. A similar action was dismissed in California in April, but suits are pending in New Jersey, Florida, and Puerto Rico. The lawyer for the Texas suit has stated that the Church of Scientology is not part of the lawsuits. [Albert T. Ritalin foes lose two rounds against drug maker, APA. American Medical News June 11, 2001]


Hormone-replacement therapy update. A meta-analysis has concluded that it is uncertain whether beginning HRT after age 60 will help reduce hip fractures and has raised the question of whether it would be better for women at risk for osteoporosis to take one of the newly developed bone-protective biphosphenate drugs. [Torgerson DJ, Bell-Syer SEM. Hormone replacement therapy and prevention of nonvertebral fractures: Meta-analysis of randomized trials. JAMA 285: 2891-2897, 2001] [Accompanying editorial: Grady D, Cummings SR. Postmenopausal hormone therapy for prevention of fractures: How good is the evidence? JAMA 285:2909-2910, 2001] Quackwatch summarizes the current scientific viewpoint.


FTC attacks six Internet marketers. As part of its "Operation Cure-All" campaign the Federal Trade Commission has attacked false and unsubstantiated claims by six Internet marketers of health-related products. In five cases, the parties entered a consent agreement. In the sixth (Western Dietary Products Co.), the marketer agreed to a preliminary injunction. The MaxCell case included a $150,000 payment to the FTC for consumer redress. Additional information and links to pertinent documents are available on the agency's Web site.

Seller and Location False or Unsubstantiated Claims
Panda Herbal International, Inc., also doing business as Viable Herbal Solutions, and its owner, Everett L. Farr III (Bensalem, Pennsylvania
  • "Herbal Outlook" (a St. John's wort product) could treat such diseases as HIV/AIDS, herpes simplex, tuberculosis, influenza and hepatitis B infections and has no known contraindications or drug interactions.
  • Herb Veil 8 (a topical ointment) is effective against carcinomas, adenocarcinomas and melanomas.
ForMor, Inc., doing business as ForMor International, and its president, Stan Gross (Birmingham, Alabama)
  • "St. John's Kava Kava," a product containing St. John's Wort and other herbs, is effective in the treatment of HIV/AIDS, colds, syphilis, tuberculosis, dysentery, whooping cough, mania, hypochondria, fatigue and hysteria.
  • Colloidal silver is proven effective in treating over 650 infectious diseases, has no adverse side effects, and is effective against arthritis, blood poisoning, cancer, cholera, diphtheria, diabetes, dysentery, gonorrheal herpes, influenza, leprosy, lupus, malaria, meningitis, rheumatism, shingles, staph infections, strep infections, syphilis, tuberculosis, whooping cough, and yeast infections.
  • Shark cartilage pills are effective against arthritis; other degenerative and inflammatory conditions; and brain cancer.
MaxCell BioScience, Inc., also doing business as Oasis Wellness Network, and its president, Stephen Cherniske (Broomfield, Colorado)
  • "Longevity Signal Formula," which contains the hormone DHEA, reverses the aging process and prevents, treats or cures numerous age-related diseases and conditions, including atherosclerosis, arthritis, high blood pressure, elevated cholesterol levels, weight gain, and poor liver function.
  • Their at-home urine test called the Anabolic/Catabolic Index™ Test (ACI Test) provides a clinical gauge of an individual's overall healthiness and youthfulness.
Robert C. Spencer and Lisa M. Spencer, doing business as Aaron Company (Palm Bay, Florida)
  • Colloidal silver has been medically proven to kill over 650 disease-causing organisms in the body and is effective in curing diseases ranging from cancer and multiple sclerosis to HIV/AIDS
  • Chitosan enables consumers to lose substantial weight without a restricted calorie diet.
  • Ultimate Energizer product, which contains ephedra (ma huang), a natural source of ephedrine, is safe and has no side effects. 
Michael Forrest, doing business as Jaguar Enterprises of Santa Ana, also known as Jaguar Enterprises (Mesquite, Texas)
  • Their electronic devices (Black Box; Magnetic Pulser; Magnetic Multi-Pulser; Beck-Rife unit; Portable Rife Frequency Generator; PC-Rife #1; PC-Rife #2; PC-Rife #3) are effective against cancer, AIDS, arthritis, Gulf War syndrome, chronic fatigue syndrome, bacterial and viral infections, and parasites, by passing an electric current or magnetic pulse through the body
  • "Miracle Herbs" is effective against cancer of all types, AIDS, and bacterial and viral infections.
Western Dietary Products Co., doing business as Western Herb & Dietary Products, Inc. and its owners Marvin and Miguelina Beckwith (Blaine, Washington)
  • Various herbal formulas and packages including Black Walnut Tincture, Wormwood Tincture, and Cloves Tincture can treat and cure cancer, Alzheimer's, diabetes, arthritis, and HIV/AIDS and would make surgery and chemotherapy unnecessary for persons with cancer.
  • The "Zapper Electrical Unit" is effective against Alzheimer's and HIV/AIDS.

Previous Issue || Next Issue

This page was posted on June 18, 2001.