Consumer Health Digest #09-21
Your Weekly Update of News and Reviews
May 21, 2009
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.
Lupron treatment for autism blasted. The Chicago Tribune has published two articles about the use of Lupron for autism and its principal promoters, Dr. Mark Geier and his son David. One article notes:
- The therapy is based on medically unsupported claims that autism is caused by a harmful link between mercury and testosterone. Prominent pediatric endocrinologists interviewed for the reports say that the Lupron protocol for autism is supported only by junk science and that the Geiers' claims that autistic children have high testosterone levels are based on misinterpretation of laboratory tests.
- Experts also expressed concern that the drug can delay the onset of puberty and have harmful effects on bone development. [Tsouderos T. 'Miracle drug' called junk science: Powerful castration drug pushed for autistic children, but medical experts denounce unproven claims. Chicago Tribune, May 21, 2009]
The other article notes:
- Abbott Laboratories, which sells Lupron in the U.S., has concluded that there is no scientific evidence to justify further research on the drug as an autism treatment.
- Court records show that judges also have become increasingly wary of Dr. Geier, who has testified close to 100 times in vaccine-related cases. [Mills S, Jones T. Physician team's crusade shows cracks: Dr. Mark Geier and son David tout powerful drug Lupron, but scientists see serious flaws in their research. Chicago Tribune, May 21, 2009]
Earlier this year, an expert panel of endocrinologists concluded that there is no evidence supporting Lupron therapy for treating autistic children. [Carel JC and others. Consensus statement on the use of gonadotropin-releasing hormone analogs in children. Pediatrics 123:e752-762, 2009]
Texas board suspends license of Rodney Dotson. The Texas Medical Board has suspended the license of Rodney N. Dotson, M.D., who has been doing business as the Rennaissance Center for Natural Health in Amarillo, Texas. Dotson has been in regulatory trouble for more than 25 years and has been ordered at least six times to stop various medical practices, undergo further training, and have his practice monitored by another doctor. The suspension was triggered by his failure to comply with requirements of an order issued in 2008.
Food co-op battling to evade licensing laws. John and Jacqueline Stowers, who operate Manna Storehouse in LaGrange, Ohio, have asked their county court to stop the county health department and state agriculture department from regulating their business, which they describe as an "organic and natural foods cooperative" that sells food and grocery items. The Stowers claim that the co-op is a "members only" operation, not a retail establishment, that is exempt from licensing laws. The current Web site states that membership dues are $10 to join and $5 per year for renewal. To join, prospective members must submit an application and be interviewed. They must also agree not to discuss the co-op with any government agency, testify against the company, or sue the company for any reason. In 2008, an investigator from the Ohio Department of Agriculture visited the store, completed a membership application, paid a membership fee, and purchased some eggs. On December 1, 2008, armed with a search warrant, government officials seized records and computers. About two weeks later, the Stowers filed suit, claiming that the search was improperly conducted and that their business should be exempt from regulation. [Barrett S. Unlicensed "food co-operative" battling government authorities. Quackwatch, May 2, 2009]
Boy, 13, flees to avoid cancer treatment. A Minnesota district judge has issued a felony arrest warrant for the mother of a 13-year-old Daniel Hauser, whom the judge ordered to undergo chemotherapy for Hodgkin's disease. Cancer specialists had determined that with chemotherapy, the boy had a 90% or better chance of cure, but after one treatment, the family refused to continue. Daniel's mother told the court that she had religious objections to chemotherapy and would resist court orders to provide it. The boy and his mother have been spotted in Southern California and are expected to go to a Mexican clinic. [Wolfe W, Brown C. Hauser, mom may be heading for Mexico." Minneapolis Tribune, May 21, 2009]
This page was revised on May 22, 2009.