Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Prebiotics, Probiotics, and Health Scams


I will be adding to this post.


2015

"The Human Microbiome and Media Confusion", @SITNHarvard 
http://sitn.hms.harvard.edu/flash/2015/the-human-microbiome-and-media-confusion/
"public impression of microbiotic research differs from the present-day reality ... serious risk that pre/probiotics will be marketed as miracle cures for a laundry list of physical and psychological ailments under a pseudo-academic purview." They already have been! Bottom line "Though popular articles may describe some of the particulars and vagaries of the research, they seriously misrepresent the correlations and data by presenting preliminary evidence as something close to proven fact."

Related
2015
"Health Fraud Scams"
http://www.fda.gov/ForConsumers/ProtectYourself/HealthFraud/default.htm#.VZ0WCcFJ13s.twitter
Includes a great short video on typical quackery marketing red flags: "a miracle", testimonials (often recruited from friends and or family), 0 reputable evidence to substantiate claims, questionable or no health credentials - all of which I have also observed in quackery promotion and advertising. 

If and when pre/probiotics are proven beneficial for health above and beyond a balanced diet, components/constituents will be regulated and standardized. 
The raw forms of all plants are subject to variations from: storage, species, crop year, and more. And there can be side effects and interactions from other components/constituents when using quantities medicinally, that are not normally used in food.
2015
EFSA (European Food Safety Authority) approval of bowel health claim for inulin product from chicory  
EFSA approval of "reduction of post-prandial glycaemic responses" health claim for inulin product from chicory 
efsa.europa.eu/en/efsajournal

Studies - the research is ongoing.
2015
"Probiotics (live micro-organisms) to prevent upper respiratory tract infections (URTIs) (for example,the common cold)" 
"probiotics may be more beneficial than placebo for preventing acute URTIs. However, the quality of the evidence was low or very low."

2015
"The propre-save study: effects of probiotics and prebiotics alone or combined on necrotizing enterocolitis in very low birth weight infants." 
"probiotic (Bifidobacterium lactis) and synbiotic (Bifidobacterium lactis plus inulin) but not prebiotic (inulin) alone decrease NEC."
2015 NEC "necrotizing enterocolitis ... common and serious intestinal disease among preemies." kidshealth.org/parent/medical

2014 
"Can probiotics shorten the duration of the common cold? | American Pharmacists Association"
"a specific recommendation and product are not yet available." 

Thursday, July 2, 2015

Rose Water and Rose Products


I will be adding to this post.


I was asked to research rose water because a company is selling it as a drink with what the inquirer considers to be some very questionable claims. I agree! 


2014

"Results showed that the essential oils of these accessions had considerable variabilities for major and minor components."

2013

"A preliminary study on some potential toxic effects of Rosa damascena Mill", a study on dogs, bolding added by me 
"Recent studies suggest a wide variety of therapeutic effects for R. damascena ... little is known regarding potential toxic effects of this herbal medicine ... results suggest minimal nephrotoxic or hepatotoxic effects for the infusion of R. damascena ... however, the medication may be hepatotoxic at extraordinary high doses ... Further research is needed to identify the potentially toxic ingredients" 
Interesting and honest

1991

Bulgarian rose oil aka Rosa damascena oil "Contact dermatitis from geraniol in Bulgarian rose oil", color added by me
http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1600-0536.1991.tb01726.x/abstract
In this case report, the researchers state they were not able to find "any previous case reports of sensitivity to this essential oil, obtained from the Bulgarian rose of the damask family." That does not mean such sensitivity is not possible as you will see as this blog post unfolds.  

2002

"Allergic contact dermatitis following exposure to essential oils.", full text, color added by me
"Keywords: Bulgarian rose oil; hand dermatitis; lavender oil; natural therapist; occupational skin disease; ylang ylang oil ... Allergic contact dermatitis from the topical use of essential oils is not widely recognized as an occupational hazard. Four cases of allergic contact dermatitis to essential oils occurring in three aromatherapists and one chemist with a particular interest in aromatherapy are described ... Case 2 exhibited
sensitivity to geraniol" And from "Table 1 Results of patch tests" all 4 Cases tested positive (sensitivity) to Bulgarian rose oil. 

2009
"Allergic Contact Dermatitis to Cosmetics", color added by me
"In our series, we found 55 positive patch test results to perfumes ... 33 fragrances that caused sensitization from the specific series were geraniol (7 cases), hydroxycitronellal (4 cases) ... oak moss absolute (2 cases), eugenol (2 cases), Bulgarian rose oil (2 cases)

"PATIENT SHEET ROSA DAMASCENA EXTRACT"
"Your patch testing results indicate that you have a contact allergy to ROSA DAMASCENA EXTRACT ... important that you familiarize yourself with this chemical and take steps to avoid coming in contact with it ... can be identified by different names, including: Absolute bulgarian, Rose Oil, Rose De Mai oil, Attar of Rose, Rose oil, Bulgarian, Rose leaf oil ... This may not be a complete list as manufacturers introduce and delete chemicals from their product lines." 

Updated 2015

"Fragrance mix allergy", color added by me
"Fragrance mix is a mixture of 8 individual fragrances that is used to screen for fragrance allergy. The 8 listed are the most common allergy-causing fragrances that are used across many products for their fragrant and flavouring properties ... Geraniol ... Sweet floral odour of rose ... Constitutes a large portion of rose and palmarose oil, geranium oil, lavender oil, jasmine oil and citronella oil ... Present in over 250 essential oils"  

2014

"Assessment report on Rosa gallica L., Rosa centifolia L., Rosa damascena Mill., flos", bolding added by me
http://www.ema.europa.eu/docs/en_GB/document_library/Herbal_-_HMPC_assessment_report/2014/09/WC500172423.pdf
"In conclusion, traditional herbal medicinal products containing Rose flower ... can be registered in the following indications: 1) Traditional herbal medicinal product ... mild inflammations of the oral and pharyngeal mucosa ... 2) relief of minor skin inflammation ... in the absence of sufficient data ... use is intended only in adolescents, adults and elderly ... not recommended during pregnancy and lactation ... no available data on genotoxicity, carcinogenicity, reproductive and developmental toxicity on Rose flower" See also "The indications adopted by HMPC" "The use in children under 12 years of age is not recommended."
References

A problem in identifying a reaction to a product or ingredient can be labeling, which can have different names for identical ingredients. A significant problem is company, quack use of preliminary animal, questionable human studies to make false or misleading claims, with no cautions. 


Dose makes the poison. The amount of something normally used in food is not the same as that used medicinally, or as a replacement for other fluids to ingest. 


Related

"Contact Dermatitis: A Practice Parameter - Update 2015", @AAAAI_org
"These parameters are not designed for use by the pharmaceutical industry in drug development or promotion ... Botanicals” (such as tea tree oil, propolis, and other essential oils) are plant extracts ... increasingly used as additives to skin care products and are potential causes of CD. It is important that patients who are allergic to fragrance also be made aware of the potential dangers of cosmetic products that may contain plant extracts and patients should also be counseled that “natural products” does not equate with safety."

2013

"Allergic Contact Dermatitis to Plant Extracts in Cosmetics" 
"Specific botanicals implicated in causing cosmetic contact dermatitis include ... tea tree oil, peppermint, lavender, lichens, henna ... many plant extracts ... reported to cause allergic contact dermatitis through cosmetic use in one or a limited number of reports. These include Aloe vera ... Azadirachta indica oil (neem oil) ... Curcuma longa (tumeric) ... Glycyrrhiza glabra (licorice) ... Hamamelis virginiana (witch hazel) ... Olea europaea oil (olive oil) ... Ricinus communis oil (castor oil plant) ... Rosmarinus officinalis (rosemary) ... Simmondsia chinensis (jojoba) ... Thymus vulgaris (thyme)" 

2001

"Occupational Acute Anaphylactic Reaction to Assault by Perfume Spray in the Face"
"no history of rashes, wheezing, allergies, or reactions to fragrances, soaps, or perfumes, and there was no history of asthma or eczema ... anaphylactic reaction and respiratory distress as a result of a deliberate assault with a perfume spray ... many organic compounds present in perfumes have been documented to cause or exacerbate asthma, eczema, or dermatitis. This case represents an incident of acute asthmatic symptoms in a person with pollen allergies when exposed to a large amount of perfume" 

Saturday, June 6, 2015

Fraud and Law


I will be adding to this post.

2015

"THE EMOTIONAL IMPACT OF FRAUD VICTIMIZATION"
"Fraud crime is a personal violation."

2013
"FRAUD VICTIM OR RECKLESS INVESTOR? – OUR RESPONSE TO BLAMING THE VICTIM"
"Fraud victims should be aware that the issue of their alleged contributory negligence has been addressed by the courts ... the Supreme Court of Canada held that, with respect to torts of strict liability, such as conversion (theft), the claim itself “militates against the defence of contributory negligence”. ... more plainly, a fraud victim’s lack of due diligence or reckless investing is not a defence available to some who made intentional fraudulent misrepresentations to obtain a fraud victim’s money. ... a fraud victim’s lack of due diligence is not a defence to a fraudster who steals by lies."

2015

"Seller of “Miracle Mineral Solution” Convicted for Marketing Toxic Chemical as a Miracle Cure
"Louis Daniel Smith, 45, was convicted ... of conspiracy, smuggling, selling misbranded drugs and defrauding the United States. Evidence at trial showed that Smith operated a business called “Project GreenLife” (PGL) from 2007 to 2011.  PGL sold a product called “Miracle Mineral Supplement,” or MMS, over the Internet. ... “This verdict demonstrates that the Department of Justice will prosecute those who sell dangerous chemicals as miracle cures to sick people and their desperate loved ones,” said Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Benjamin C. Mizer of the Justice Department’s Civil Division." 

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Cruelty-free Cosmetics


I will be adding to this post.

"The truth about animal research labels.", 2015, @thestarfishca
thestarfish.ca/home/2015/4/th
"these labels mean rather little, both in the U.S. and in Canada. Companies can say “Not Tested on Animals”, even if they actually do. There is no legal definition for animal research claims. Often, this means that the final cosmetic product is not tested on animals, but the individual ingredients are. Other types of labels ... have some meaning granted by a third party organization, but they do not guarantee that no animal testing was done in the creation of the hand soap, face wash, or body lotion."

"Questions and Answers: Animal testing and cosmetics", 2013, updated 2015, Europe

europa.eu/rapid/press-re
"With the full ban in place – can consumers be sure that cosmetics and cosmetic ingredients purchased in Europe were not subject to animal testing?
With the testing and marketing ban in force there can be no new animal testing for cosmetics purposes in the Union – be it for cosmetics products or ingredients thereof - and it is no longer possible to simply carry out testing for these purposes outside the Union and then use the data here to substantiate the safety of cosmetics. Consumers can therefore be sure that the cosmetic use of an ingredient in Europe cannot be the reason for any new animal testing.
However, the majority of ingredients that go into cosmetics are ingredients that are also in use in many other consumer and industrial products, such as in pharmaceuticals, detergents, food ... They may therefore be subject to animal testing requirements under these respective legal frameworks."
Translation - no guarantee. And Note: The ban only applies to new animal testing for cosmetics, not prior testing.

Friday, April 17, 2015

Gluten-free


I will be adding to this post.

To me, it is just as important when debunking quack claims, to offer people reputable sources, for reputable information.

"Should Your Children Avoid Gluten?", 2013
Author information

"7 Myths and Facts about Celiac Disease", 2014
" Myth 5: Kids with celiac disease have to use gluten free soap, shampoo and lotion.
Fact: Gluten cannot be absorbed through the skin, but parents need to be aware of hygiene products that are easily ingestible, especially when bathing younger children."

"Cosmetic Labelling Regulations", 2013
"To date, we have been unable to find any toothpaste that contains gluten."

"Action Alert: Notifying the FDA about Misbranded Gluten-Free Products" | Gluten Free Watchdog, 2014 https://www.glutenfreewatchdog.org/blog/Action-Alert-Notifying-the-FDA-about-Misbranded-Gluten-Free-Products/37
And
"Foods Labeled Gluten-Free Must Now be in Compliance with the FDA Gluten-Free Labeling Rule" | Gluten Free Watchdog, 2014

"Gluten and Food Labeling: FDA's Regulation of 'Gluten-Free' Claims" updated, 2015

"overblown claims for “going gluten-free,” and ridiculous products such as gluten-free skin care products"

Therein lies the "rub" (quandary) to quote Shakespeare. If a cosmetics manufacturer is claiming gluten-free for certain products, can that claim be trusted?
If said cosmetics manufacturer, or anyone promoting them also makes outrageous (health fraud), or drug claims with no proven evidence for those claims, most probably not. They don't have credibility. If you have celiac disease, or young children who do, it is best not to take a risk with such a company for any products needed. Consult with your medically qualified specialist for recommendations.
See also
http://www.fda.gov/forconsumers/consumerupdates/ucm439270.htm, 2015

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Quackery


I will be adding to this post.


Quacks rely on 3 things  
1. ignorance of health issues 
2. emotional manipulation to gain trust - so that 
3. no one will check their lack of evidence

4 signs an adult quack is targeting your children
1. talking like a child
2. their personal woes with real medicine
3. "epiphany" + "cure"

4. using trending: teen and pre-teen texting phrases, slang, acronyms, symbols, Emoji

1922
"QUACKERY, MIRACLE HEALING AND MEDICAL CULTS
How little has changed - free to read, and download both pages as a printable PDF file - full text of the article - fascinating! Quackery 101 - published that long ago, and it is still applicable today. For copyright and other information - see the top left of the page under the article author.

2011
"marketing for these items is changing. Crystals are repackaged as having “the combination of far infrared light, negative ions ... Elixirs, potions, and tonics are rebranded as the “Wonder nutrient of the century-cellular liquid-food liquid minerals ... There was also a so-new-it’s-unnamed product; yet another device “invented by Tesla” that Tesla didn’t seem to know about. ... salesperson ... he didn’t use the word cure, but he did use the phrases “cancer free” and “completely free of any diseases. ... vendor was very cagey ... talking about the product ... for good reason: we recognized it as a  remake of ... (VIBE) Machine recalled by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA)in 2008."

"Medical Quackery PSA", PSA is the acronym for Public Service Announcement, and this one is still valid today, uploaded 2010, credit for Tweeting the video, @SkepticalDDS
"Z-rays" - rebranded now as crystal healing for assorted maladies - the name was taken!

"NOTICES OF JUDGMENT" pdf on the U.S. National Library of Medicine website - regarding the Zerret Applicator and "Z-rays" - Final Disposition - 1950, bolding added by me
https://ceb.nlm.nih.gov/fdanj/bitstream/123456789/14202/4/ddnj03157.pdf 
The pdf is read only. Claims also included: "produces positive Life Energy"; "would produce complete relaxation and a form of healing"; "would provide a natural healing force"; "would work on every atom of one's being"; "would reverse the aging processes and would cause a return to more youthful function, freedom, and mental outlook". They didn't use the word chakras. It was not in vogue at that time. The verdict was guilty, a motion for a new trial was denied, and jail sentences were imposed. I have seen the exact or almost the exact same wording regarding crystal healing on the Internet.

The Zerret Applicator case is spot on as a precedent regarding crystal healing claims!
"What is PRECEDENT?"
"adjudged case or decision of a court of justice considered ... an example ... for an identical or similar case afterwards arising or a similar question of law."

The history of quackery is important - it tells you how and why recent quackery has evolved to "get around laws" and replace failed strategies. Rebranded bs is still bs! Want healthy positive vibes? Think pleasant thoughts, be kind - its free!

Good news? There's a growing "army" of reputable, evidence-based social media users using awareness to clear the landmines of quackery for you.

2015
David Kroll @davidkroll 
@ktanimara Similarly, I've seen homeopathy rebranded as "nanomedicine" to piggyback on a real technological advancement. 

2015
Paul Morgan @drpaulmorgan
"To anyone quoting John Benneth, please note the following"
2010 

2015
Britt Marie Hermes @NaturoDiaries 
"The Doctor is…out"
http://naturopathicdiaries.com/about-me-2/

2014 
"4 of the Biggest Quacks Plaguing America with False Claims About Science" | Alternet, @cliffweathers

"2014 in cancer quackery: UK edition" - JREF, 
"There were at least three successful prosecutions in 2014, one in Essex and two in the City of Westminster." 
EXCELLENT!

Quackery is a worldwide problem with very old roots. Electronic media has simply elevated it to a more profitable, and vast problem.

2014

"Medical council prosecutes 23 quacks"
"The Registrar, Medical and Dental Council of Nigeria (MDCN), Dr Abdulmumini Ibrahim, said on Friday that the council had successfully prosecuted 23 quacks in the medical profession in Nigeria. ... the council was poised to sanitise the profession to restore standards. ... activities of quacks would no longer be tolerated. ... any training institution that falls short of standards, we caution that institutions and if need be, we suspend its accreditation."
EXCELLENT!

2015
"Lab Scientists to Trace Quacks With Hand Writing Detectors"
http://allafrica.com/c/-5Rc-r

2015

"Lyme Disease Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)" - reviewed and updated 
Often a target for quacks to make $
"What is "chronic Lyme disease?""
"chronic Lyme disease” (CLD) ... Because of the confusion in how the term CLD is employed, experts in this field do not support its use"

"Post-Treatment Lyme Disease Syndrome", 2015
The correct title - Information
2014
"Editorial Commentary: Xenodiagnosis for Posttreatment Lyme Disease Syndrome: Resolving the Conundrum or Adding to It?" - from the CDC link above - full text
Bottom line - animal study results used by quacks - INCONCLUSIVE! 

How quackery can and does kill
1. toxic ingredients, medication interactions, dangerous "manipulations" e.g. chiropractic, "torturous treatments" - various
2. delay in REAL needed medication (including vaccines)
3. murder of park rangers, and animals for unproven "remedies" See this blog post.

Quackery is not and never has been benign. Constantly in the news - helpless children suffering and dying and this is NOT new - because people have been duped by manipulative quacks. NO natural oil, or combinations thereof are substitutes for REGULATED SPF sunscreens - recommended strengths - 30+ - the lack of which is a cancer risk. 

Email Reply: Why Ancient Egypt and quackery? 
Years ago "no one could prove them wrong" but they could and did. For example, the quackery claim "cancer is a modern disease" has been disproved. Admitting that interferes with profit, and their scams unravel! 

2013
"Let not thy food be confused with thy medicine: The Hippocratic misquotation" 
"Hippocrates medicine consists of more than 60 texts known as The Hippocratic Corpus (Corpus Hippocraticum). This important text in the history of medicine expounds on the theory of diet. ... the phrase “let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food ”... is nowhere to be seen. This ... is not only a misquotation but it also leads to an essential misconception: in the Hippocratic medicine, even if food was closely linked to health and disease, the concept of food was not confused with that of medicine ... More research is warranted to ascertain the precise origin of the Hippocratic misquotation." 

Qualified medical doctors have always recognized healthy food as important, and REAL food and diet research is ongoing. Quacks have always recognized an opportunity to lie, misinform and run with it. The Hippocrates misquote is misused by quacks to turn certain foods into "superfoods" with FALSE health claims (no reputable evidence for them), to sell questionable, unnecessary, often harmful "natural" supplements, and products out of pure greed. 

2014
"Alternative cancer diets, what does the evidence say?"
"all of them – are not supported by good evidence for efficacy as a treatment or prevention of any type of cancer. In addition, they might also cause harm."

2015
"Kombucha - Scientific Review on Usage, Dosage, Side Effects", @Examinecom
http://examine.com/supplements/Kombucha/ 
"Improper sanitation and too long of a fermentation period can contribute to kombucha’s toxicity, which can result in death. ... death has also resulted from drinking too much kombucha ... health properties are not very convincing"
It is NOT a "superfood"!

2003
"Kombucha: a systematic review of the clinical evidence." Ernst E. is @EdzardErnst

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12808367
"Several case reports and case series raise doubts about the safety of kombucha. They include suspected liver damage, metabolic acidosis ... One fatality is on record."
Since then more fatalities and nonlethal adverse events have been recorded.

2009
"A case of Kombucha tea toxicity." Both this study and the one above it are cited in the 2015 link.
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19460826
"case reports exist of serious ... sometimes fatal, hepatic dysfunction and lactic acidosis within close proximity to ingestion."

As stated in the 2015 source, kombucha tea can be made safely. However, the benefit to risk ratio is NOT good to date, as research continues. Despite reputable research to the contrary, quacks still promote kombucha tea as a "miracle cure" based on anecdotes, lies, and faulty research, with 0 cautions given.