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July 1979

Health Quacks

Arch Intern Med. 1979;139(7):831-832. doi:10.1001/archinte.1979.03630440089037

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To the Editor.—  In an editorial that appeared in the July 1978 issue of the Archives (138:1065-1066, 1978), Dr Stephen Barrett sounded somewhat upset because of the vitamin-popping air hostess he encountered and because she felt better with the vitamins; he suggests that this is quackery. Finally he asks, "How did the health quack convert this bright young lady into a true believer?" Also, in the concluding remarks Dr Barrett subtly puts the blame on the public, suggesting lack of maturity and lack of indignation against the health quack, and he suggests that health scientists should speak up more clearly and more often. Dr Barrett apparently still hasn't realized that the health scientists have been speaking more and more clearly and as a result have created further antagonism of the medical consumer. The best example is the laetrile phenomenon. As a member of the "establishment" and an advocate of scientific

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