Consumer Health Digest #10-52

Your Weekly Update of News and Reviews
December 30, 2010


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.


False dental amalgam toxicity claims slammed again. A study of 56 patients who claimed to have symptoms caused by mercury in their amalgam fillings has found that none of the patients had significant levels of mercury in their blood or urine levels. The researchers noted that 20 of the patients has previously been previously diagnosed with mercury toxicity by "commercial practitioners using unconventional testing panels." [Eyeson J and others. Relationship between mercury levels in blood and urine and complaints of chronic mercury toxicity from amalgam restorations. British Dental Journal 208(4):E7, 2010] A recent review by the American Dental Association Council on Scientific Affairs concluded: "Studies continue to support the position that dental amalgam is a safe restorative option for both children and adults. When responding to safety concerns it is important to make the distinction between known and hypothetical risks." [ADA Council on on Scientific Affairs. Literature rreview: dental amalgam fillings and health effects on amalgam fillings and health effects. Amalgam Safety Update, Sept 2010]

During the past few weeks, unjustified scare headlines have been generated by an anti-amalgam campaign that involved testimony at an FDA hearing. In response, Robert S. Baratz, M.D., D.D.S., Ph.D. noted:

The simple truth is that there is no significant risk because amalgam fillings are safe. . . . The promotion of anti-amalgamism is regularly linked with fringe practitioners, people with financial interests in promoting something else, and pseudoscience. Based on past practices, and rhetoric, I'm one of many who conclude that the anti-amalgamists resemble more a religious cult than a group of serious, objective scientists searching for the truth. [Baratz RS. More notes on the anti-amalgam movement. Dental Watch, Dec 18, 2010]


Offbeat thyroid doctor suspended. The Oregon Medical Board has issued an emergency suspension of the license of John E. Gambee, M.D. The board's order states:


2010 Slim Chance Awards announced. Francie M. Berg, M.S., who operates the Healthy Weight Network, has issued the 22nd annual set of "Slim Chance Awards" to weight-loss schemes promoters. Her 2010 picks are:

Diet Scam Watch has a complete archive of the Slim Chance Awards.


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