Consumer Health Digest #07-18

Your Weekly Update of News and Reviews
May 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.


Evangelistic healer sued for wrongful death and financial improprieties. Darlene Bishop, co-pastor of Solid Rock Church in Monroe, Ohio, is being sued by the children of the late country music songwriter Darryl Perry, who died of cancer in May 2005. Bishop is Perry's sister and executor of his estate. The suit accuses her of (a) wrongful death, (b) clergy malpractice, (c) undue influence, (d) coercion, (e) tortuous interference with medical treatment, (f) fraud, (g) tortuous interference with inheritance, and (h) breaches of certain fiduciary duties. The second amended complaint states:

Bishop's book, Your Life Follows Your Words, states that she herself had "received a miraculous healing from cancer." However, during a deposition in the case, she admitted that she had never been medically diagnosed with cancer.


Review doubts that group therapy increases cancer survival. Researchers at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine have concluded that there is no compelling evidence linking psychotherapy or support groups with survival among cancer patients. [Coyne JC and others. Psychotherapy and survival in cancer: The conflict between hope and evidence. Psychological Bulletin 133:367-394, 2007] After extensive review, the researchers concluded:


FDA defends aspartame safety. FDA has severely criticized the study of aspartame entitled, "Long-Term Carcinogenicity Bioassays to Evaluate the Potential Biological Effects, in Particular Carcinogenic, of Aspartame Administered in Feed to Sprague-Dawley Rats," conducted by the European Ramazzini Foundation (ERF) of Bologna, Italy. [FDA Statement on European aspartame study. FDA Web site, April 20, 2007] Aspartame was approved in the United States in 1981 and is one of the most widely used artificial sweeteners. When metabolized by the body, it is broken down into two common amino acids, aspartic acid and phenylalanine, and trivial amounts of methanol. These three substances are available in similar or greater amounts from eating common foods. The FDA's criticism emphasizes three points:


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This page was posted on May 8, 2007.