All power to the bracelet or the mind?

"But now the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) has thrown a spanner in the works by announcing that Power Balance’s claims are unfounded. The words “no better than a rubber band” have appeared in media reports around the globe in recent weeks."

A superb article written by the consumer journalist, Wendy Knowler, and published in The Star.

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Competing Interests

One of the most important elements of research, is for the authors to publicly announce any conflict of interest, i.e., did the company pay for the research conducted, do the researchers own shares in the company, etc. 

An article in the British Medical Journal raised the problem of non-financial interests – summarised as “personal, professional, political, institutional, religious, or other associations”. 

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HCG weight-loss products are fraudulent

HCG weight-loss products are fraudulent, FDA says

By Nanci Hellmich,

A popular type of weight-loss products, heavily promoted on the Internet, is fraudulent and illegal, Food and Drug Administration officials say.

HCG weight-loss products that promise dramatic results and claim to be homeopathic are sold as drops, pellets and sprays on the Web, in drugstores and at General Nutrition Centers. They are supposed to be used in combination with a very low-calorie diet of 500 calories a day.

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Study of studies shows few citations

Readers may assume that this site is anti-complementary medicine, or anti alternatives to orthodox medicine. In fact, this site is anti bad-science – which is not confined to only non-orthodox medicine (although this is a major feature of this group) but may also be occur in orthodox medicine. Below is an article that deals exactly with such a topic – a major failure of many orthodox medicine studies.

"Science, so the story goes, is a meticulously built edifice."

"Discoveries balance on ones that preceded them. Research is stimulated by studies that went on before."  

"But what, then, can explain the findings by two investigators at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine? The researchers, Karen A. Robinson and Dr. Steven N. Goodman, looked at how often published papers on clinical trials in medicine cite previous clinical trials addressing the same question." 

"They report in the Jan. 4 issue of

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Salty Aloe

This product claims (in Afrikaans): "Die genesingsvoordele van Salty Aloe is die afgelope paar jaar klinies getoets op mense wie se immuunstelsels onder-druk was." ("The healing benefits of Aloe Salty have been clinically tested during the past few years on people whose immune systems were under pressure.") 

Well the truth is simply that there are no clinical studies conducted on this product. Here is a report written by Annelie Mare published in the Afrikaans newspaper, Die Beeld. 

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CBC Marketplace exposes homoeopathy

". . . . the CBC's Marketplace had a show about homoeopathy. One cannot reasonably expect a 20 minute programme to completely explain anything and everything about homoeopathy. Nevertheless, the programme contains no blatant errors, not obvious bias and it is complete enough to give the lay person an idea about what homoeopathy is and what to expect from it."

This article, although re-hashing previous aspects of homeopathy, expresses these points in a novel and thought-provoking way and hence it is highly recommend reading.

The text is reproduced below, but does not contain the useful layout or hyperlinks as in the original article.

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Crap Detection links

With acknowledgement to Howard Rheingold, as published in his article in the SFGate of the San Francisco Chronicle and reproduced here.

Teachable moment: Crap Detecting
Assessing the Credibility of Online Sources
The CRAP Test
Urban Legends
Check quality of backlinks (links TO a site)
Newstrust guide to finding good journalism online
Museum of Hoaxes
Urban Legends (
Carl Sagan's "Baloney Detection Kit"

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Crap Detection 101

"Every man should have a built-in automatic crap detector operating inside him."
Ernest Hemingway, 1954

An excellent article by Howard Rheingold published in SFGate, the San Francisco Chronicle.

"Unless a great many people learn the basics of online crap detection and begin applying their critical faculties en masse and very soon, I fear for the future of the Internet as a useful source of credible news, medical advice, financial information, educational resources, scholarly and scientific research."

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Beware of Power Balance placebo bracelet

The Power Balance bracelet worn by high profile sports stars to improve their athletic prowess has been exposed as a sham. Here's Dr Ross Tucker's take on it.

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ASA Ruling: Rayma Balance Bracelet

“PAIN? Guaranteed relief or your money back!”

“Do you suffer from arthritis, trigeminal neuralgia, high blood pressure, poor circulation, rheumatism, headaches, migraine, gout, fibrositis, shoulder stiffness or backache?” 

“Amazing Results” 

“Rayma Balance bracelet Natural Pain relief: It’s not Copper; nor is it magnetised”

Actually, all nonsense!

Here is how the ASA ruled against these claims:

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