Health Intelligence Magazine “dead”

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Posted 24 December 2015

Health Intelligence Magazine (HI), a publication of Solal, then CAVI Brands, now Ascendis Health – and often mentioned in CamCheck – will no longer be published. See the “farewell” in the picture below.

HealthIntellFarewell2015-12One of the CamCheck postings was by Kevin Charleston, who wrote: “The irony is that the magazine Health Intelligence is itself a disguised marketing programme for Solal Technologies, a company that actively promotes pseudoscience and aggressively attempts to shut out valid criticism of its advertising.” For this, Solal instituted a High Court action in 2012 against Mr Charleston suing him for R350,000, as reported by GroundUp. Solal has not backed away from this action and it remains on the roll of the High Court despite it being clear that the magazine was at that time, a disguised marketing program for Solal.

Health Intelligence which has the subtitle “the science of health“, was brought to life shortly after the South African Journal (sic) of Natural Medicine (SAJNM) declined to take Solal Technologies’ advertisements. As one of SAJNM’s editorial board, Dr David P van Velden, stated in the February 2009 edition of the magazine, “The recent decision by Natural Medicine’s publisher not to accept further advertising from a particular company (Solal) is to be commended. This company stated that their products are ‘better’ than any other product, which is patently untrue. It is unethical to claim that other products use ‘fillers’ and are not bio-available, and that their (Solal’s formulation) techniques are superior to products from other drug companies.” Van Velden continues: “Such advertisements also tend to make wild statements, for instance that it is not possible to obtain all the necessary micronutrients from a well-balanced diet, or that macro-dosages of certain of their vitamins can cure diseases. These claims are unfounded, medically not justifiable, and essentially profit-driven.” He concludes: “Any advertisement that distorts the truth cannot be accepted by a scientific (sic) publication. We strive towards the highest ethical principles in our journal, and it is our aim to be the most influential health publication in South Africa.” (page 12)

Although Natural Medicine’s claim to be a scientific publication, or even a “medical journal” can certainly be questioned, Health Intelligence claimed that it was: “Sophisticated. Cutting Edge. Credible. As a brand new magazine, Health Intelligence offers you a vastly different approach to the topic of health. No longer are you left in the dark about whether a supplement is good for you or not, or whether one type of food is better than another. Health Intelligence goes further and deeper, because our focus falls squarely on the facts. Health Intelligence offers breakthrough science, enabling you to better protect your health. Thoroughly researched and using only the latest, peer-reviewed studies by leading international and local experts, Health Intelligence articles are not only credible, they are revolutionary, all the while offering life-enhancing advice in a readable and intelligent way. Health Intelligence has an advisory team of local and international experts in anti-aging and preventive medicine, so you receive groundbreaking advice from the most knowledgeable doctors, without having to book a consultation.” Source: Health Intelligence magazine, edition 10. (italics added)

An interesting evolution developed with HI’s referencing of their scientific sources. Initially they used the same format as a medical journal – using superscript numbers and the corresponding references at the end of articles. Analysis of some of the articles and the references showed that the writers frequently misinterpreted the science. One of HI’s main writers at that time had a PhD in (American) English Literature! At a later stage of HI’s evolution, the references were listed at the end of articles with the heading: “References include:”. And in the last few editions, the references were “available on request.”

When HI still belonged to Solal Technologies and CAVI Brands, the publishing editor was Mr Colin Levin, a businessman; the editorial director was Mr Brent Murphy, a pharmacist; Ms Jacqui Moskovitz; the “owner” was Ms Allana Moskovitz, daughter of Ms J Moskovitz. Ms A Moskovitz seemingly volunteered her services as a part-time model for front covers of the magazine, as did the ageing Ms J Moskovitz.

Most magazines depend on advertising for their existence. Health Intelligence seemed to depend mainly on advertising from Solal Technologies; and then on products in the CAVI Brands stable; and in the last editions – Ascendis Health products. Did the business model of advertising in a magazine you own and produce fail? Or were the circulation figures not sufficient to keep the magazine going?

A well-known advertising expert in South Africa stated: “I was interested to see that the editor of a magazine called Health Intelligence that my wife and health conscious daughters-in-law now treat as some sort of oracle, agrees with me.”

Sadly for those like the expert’s wife and daughters-in-law who regarded HI as “some sort of oracle”, they will now have to look elsewhere for health advice. Whether it will be a scientific or reliable “oracle” – or a pseud0-scientific or quasi-reliable “oracle” – is another question altogether.

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