Responses to health misinformation in mass media recommended

Posted 31 July 2019

Fifteen scholars at institutions in Canada have reviewed how health misinformation is spread through mass media and have recommended policy and communication correctives.

Reference: Caulfield T. and others. Health misinformation and the power of narrative messaging in the public sphere. Canadian Journal of Bioethics 2:52-60, 2019

They describe problems of: (a) misleading narratives spread through social media; (b) implicit hype of emerging therapies by the popular press, pseudoscience embraced by journalists; (c) use of “scienceploitation” language of quantum physics, stem cells, genetics, and microbiome research for hype; and (d) misleading narratives in health-related crowdfunding. They recommend four “legal and policy tools” followed by seven “social tools” in response:

  • Better enforcement of existing truth in advertising law, and/or improvements thereto
  • Regulatory policy change and enforcement for health professionals spreading misinformation
  • Policy outlining rules for and encouraging expert media engagement and the use of narrative
  • Litigation
  • Advocacy
Read the rest

Sixty seconds on . . . vitamin drips

Posted 27 July 2019

From the British Medical Journal

Sixty seconds on . . . vitamin drips

Abi Rimmer The BMJ
BMJ 2019; 366 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.l4596 (Published 08 July 2019)

Vitamin what?

Vitamin drips. In the latest trend to sweep the “wellness” market, some people are now choosing to get their vitamin hit through “intravenous (IV) drip therapy.” Vitamin injections or “shots” are also available.

Why?

The companies offering these drips say that they have a whole host of benefits, ranging from basic hydration to anti-ageing. IV Boost UK, for example, offers “skin brightening IV therapy,” which it says “lightens and brightens for clear glowing skin”—for £180 (€201; $225).1 And REVIV says its IV infusion therapies “target a variety of wellness needs.”2

Are they a problem?

Some people have expressed concern over the claims these companies are making. On 2 July a company called Get A Drip withdrew its £250 … Read the rest

16 supplements are useless when it came to heart health and longevity — even vitamin D, iron, and multivitamins

Posted 16 July 2019

Scientists looked at 16 supplements and found most were useless when it came to heart health and longevity — even vitamin D, iron, and multivitamins

Julia Naftulin , Business Insider US

Jul 14, 2019, 12:22 PM

  • A new study, published June 8 in Annals of Internal Medicine, further suggests that investing in supplement pills and powders won’t reduce your risk of heart-related disease or lengthen your life.
  • Researchers looked at more than 100 prior studies including 16 kinds of supplements and found that only two types, folic acid and omega-3, helped reduce people’s heart-related disease risks.
  • Supplements that combined vitamin D and calcium were found to increase a person’s risk of stroke.

There’s plenty of evidence that suggests stocking up on vitamin supplements to stay healthy is a waste of money, if not harmful to health, and a robust new study adds even more weight to Read the rest

Fat burning supplements: doctors warned to look out for toxicity after six deaths

Posted 09 July 2019

By Elisabeth Mahase

BMJ 2019; 365 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.l2251 (Published 17 May 2019)

The UK has seen a sharp rise in cases of toxicity from 2,4 dinitrophenol (DNP)-an industrial chemical often marketed as a fat burning or weight loss supplement-with 20 recorded cases and six related deaths in 2018, the UK National Poisons Information Service (NPIS) has said.1

Although DNP is labelled “unfit for human consumption,” it is still available and sold to people attempting to change their appearance, such as body builders and those trying to rapidly lose weight.

The spike in cases has prompted Public Health England to send a national warning to all healthcare professionals, telling them to “remain vigilant” for cases of DNP poisoning, and advise any patients suspected of consuming the toxic chemical to “discontinue use immediately.”

The notice, which was sent out to NHS trusts, GP practices, and community pharmacies, outlined Read the rest