Consumer Reports Drops The Ball: More Evidence

This blogger recently reported this expose of Consumer Reports. For more evidence of the recent shift of this magazine into unscientific medical reporting, the recent subscribed-to email sent out by Consumer Health Digest reports the following:
Consumer Reports goes "quack!"

The September 2011 issue of Consumer Reports has inappropriately endorsed chiropractic treatment by reporting that subscribers who answered its annual survey said that chiropractic treatment had been more helpful to them than various other treatments for back and neck pain. [Barrett S. Consumer Reports gives bad advice about chiropractors. Chirobase, Aug 7, 2011] The article acknowledges that the survey data might not represent the experiences of the general population and should not be compared to the results of clinical trials. However, it fails to place the survey's findings in proper perspective. In 1975 and 1994, Consumer Reports thoroughly debunked chiropractic's subluxation concept and warned very clearly about bad chiropractic advice and overselling. The September 2011 report provides no such warnings, shows a subluxation-based chiropractor giving an "adjustment," and recommends using the American Chiropractic Association to help find a chiropractor. The article gives similar uncritical advice about acupuncture and massage therapy.

Acupuncture is based mainly based on nonsensical theories about the flow of nonmaterial energy though imaginary "energy channels." Stating that acupuncturists use needles to "purportedly stimulate and restore healing energy" it advises readers to find practitioners by contacting organizations that espouse this nonsense. Massage can be beneficial, but a substantial percentage of massage therapists advocate and use quack "energy medicine" practices.

Consumers Union's longtime medical consultant and (Marvin M. Lipman, M.D.) and a few other senior staff members are fully aware of the problem of quackery, but the magazine has published very little about it during the past 15 years. Quackwatch has added Consumer Reports to its list of nonrecommended periodicals in the category headed "Magazines, Excellent Except for Too Many Poorly Reasoned Articles on "Complementary" and/or "Alternative" Medicine."

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