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Bioresonance: a new (and most underwhelming) study

Posted 27 March 2022

From the blog of Prof Edzard Ernst, MD, PhD, FMedSci, FRSB, FRCP, FRCPEd, and a previous Professor of Complementary Medicine.

Bioresonance is an alternative therapeutic and diagnostic method employing a device developed in Germany by Scientology member Franz Morell in 1977. The bioresonance machine was further developed and marketed by Morell’s son-in-law Erich Rasche and is also known as ‘MORA’ therapy (MOrell + RAsche). Bioresonance is based on the notion that one can diagnose and treat illness with electromagnetic waves and that, via resonance, such waves can influence disease on a cellular level.

On this blog, we have discussed the idiocy bioresonance several times (for instance, here and here). My favorite study of bioresonance is the one where German investigators showed that the device cannot even differentiate between living and non-living materials. Despite the lack of plausibility and proof

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There’s a sucker born every minute – particularly in the realm of so-called alternative medicine

Posted 23 March 2022

An post from the blog of Prof Edzard Ernst, MD, PhD, FMedSci, FRSB, FRCP, FRCPEd, and a previous Professor of Complementary Medicine.

“There’s a sucker born every minute”. This phrase was allegedly coined by P. T. Barnum, an American showman of the mid-19th century pictured below. It describes the tendency of the gullible of us to believe all too readily and therefore to be easily deceived.

Gullibility can be described as a failure of social intelligence in which a person is easily tricked or manipulated into a course of action for which there is no plausible evidence. To express it positively, gullible people are naively trusting and thus fall for nonsensical propositions. This renders them easy prey for exploiters.

On this blog, we see our fair share of this phenomenon, e.g.:

  • people who are easily persuaded by anecdotes,
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Keto Diet Pill Scams

Posted 22 March 2022

Spotting a keto diet pill scam is not hard if you know what to look for.

If you’ve ever wondered if that keto diet pill you saw advertised on social media was actually endorsed by the judges on “Shark Tank,” the answer is no – no such product has ever appeared on the pitch show.

Deceptive weight-loss claims. On the order page, the marketers of Trim Life Keto claim that their product helps users lose up to 5 pounds in the first week and up to 20 pounds in the first month “without diet or exercise.” According to the FTC, claims that a product “causes weight loss of two pounds or more a week for a month or more without dieting or exercise” are automatic red flags. Not to mention, on the previous page, see above, the scammers claim their supplement enables users to lose Read the rest

Unsubstantiated collagen supplementation claims spotlighted

Posted 11 March 2022

Collagen, a component of skin, hair, nails, joints, bones, tendons, and cartilage, is marketed by major retailers as a dietary supplement product for health and beauty. Noting that there are over 8.5 million posts with the hashtag “collagen” on Instagram alone and Google searches for collagen supplements have increased rapidly since 2015, researchers: (a) watched and analyzed the first 100 YouTube videos resulting from a search of “collagen,” (b) analyzed the top 50 Instagram photographs with the hashtag “collagen,” (c) reviewed the scientific literature regarding skin, nail, and hair effects of collagen, and (d) reviewed websites of popular collagen brands for claims related to skin, nail, and hair.
Reference: Rustad AM. Myths and media in oral collagen supplementation for the skin, nails, and hair: A review. Journal of Cosmetic Dermatology, 21:438-443, 2022

Their findings included:

  • Over 75% of YouTube videos and Instagram posts recommended collagen
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“Detox” tea buyers to receive refunds

Posted 02 March 2022

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is sending checks totaling more than $930,000 to more than 20,000 consumers who bought deceptively marketed Teami teas. The FTC sued Teami, LLC and its owners in March 2020, alleging that the company made bogus health claims and paid for endorsements from well-known social media influencers who did not adequately disclose that they were being paid to promote the products.

The company claimed without reliable scientific evidence that the Teami 30-Day Detox Pack would help consumers lose weight, and that its other teas would fight cancer, clear clogged arteries, decrease migraines, treat and prevent flus, and treat colds.
Reference: FTC returns more than $930,000 to consumers who bought Teami’s deceptively advertised teas. FTC press release, Feb 22, 2022

In March 2020, the FTC also sent letters warning the ten influencers of the need to make proper disclosures.

Source: Consumer … Read the rest

Intravenous Nutrient Drips: An Expensive Solution to A Nonexistent Problem

Posted 02 March 2022

Nick Tiller
February 21, 2022

Skeptical Enquirer

On the ground floor of a shopping mall in southern California, nestled between a kiosk selling hot pretzels and another selling mobile phones, customers relax in carefully arranged leather sofas while drip bags containing clear liquids drain slowly through veins in their forearms.

These “treatments,” which cost between $200 and $500, are increasingly popular, with similar kiosks and pop-up stores found along high streets and strip malls in the United States and Europe. Even at the exhibition for the Los Angeles Marathon, where runners flock in tens-of-thousands each year to collect their race credentials, runners were waiting up to forty-five minutes to receive a Fitness Drip or an Energy Drip, convinced the infusion would improve their chances of an elusive personal record.

For every ailment, there’s a nutrient drip.

What Are Nutrient Infusions and How Do They Work?

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Comprehensive resource on dietary supplements updated

Posted 23 February 2022

Thomas J. Wheeler, PhD, a retired associate professor of biochemistry and molecular biology at the University of Louisville School of Medicine, has updated the Dietary Supplements section of “A Scientific Look at Alternative Medicine.” Part 1 addresses general aspects including an overview, regulation and labeling, adverse effects, scientific critique, conventional nutrition, antioxidants, phytochemicals, and reviews and major trials of multiple supplements. Part 2 discusses 175 individual products, arranged in alphabetical order, that are marketed as supplements. The original compendium was part of a handout for an elective course that taught medical students to carefully consider the evidence regarding claims for “alternative” products and services.

Source: Consumer Health Digest #22-08, February 20, 2022

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Hangover Cures Aren’t Supported by Scientific Evidence, Scientists Say

If a hangover is an experience you’re familiar with, then you might have your own go-to hangover cure to try and get yourself back from that painful, zombie-fied state.

However, we have bad news: new research suggests that most of these cures don’t have any solid science behind them.

Through a review of 21 placebo-controlled trials that had previously been carried out on a total of 386 participants, the researchers found the scientific evidence for the effectiveness of any so-called hangover cure was dubious at best.

In particular, the way that these experiments are run and assessed needs to be improved – with a standardized scale used to weigh up hangover symptoms, for example, rather than relying on self-reporting.

“Our study has found that evidence on these hangover remedies is of very low quality and there is a need to provide more rigorous assessment,” 

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Does Zinc Really Help Treat a Cold?

Posted 02 November 2021

In 1771, the German physician Hieronymus David Gaubius introduced the western scientific community to “a medication with many promises” – zinc.

More than 200 years later, we can find it amongst the many supplements on pharmacy shelves. It’s even known to be one of the rare things that might help fight off a common cold. Or does it?

Evidence for zinc supplement use is limited, study results have been mixed, and dosage, formulation and length of prescription have not been investigated properly to date.

A new meta-analysis of 28 randomized controlled trials has now strengthened the notion that supplementing zinc could prevent symptoms and shorten the duration of viral respiratory infections, like the common cold or the flu.

“It is commonly thought that zinc’s role in preventing and treating infections is only for people who are zinc deficient; our findings

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Can You Get Too Much Protein?

Posted 15 September 2021

Protein has achieved a venerated status in the dietary world for everything from building muscle to preventing weight gain. But can you get too much of a good thing?

Protein powders that come in chocolate, strawberry, and cookies and cream flavors are doled out by the scoopful and mixed into smoothies, making it possible to effortlessly consume protein in amounts that far exceed dietary recommendations. A canned protein drink can contain almost as much protein as an eight-ounce steak, and snack bars or a small bag of protein chips can pack more of the macronutrient than a three-egg omelet.

But while some nutritionists have encouraged the protein craze, a number of experts are urging caution. They point out that protein powders and supplements, which come from animal products like whey and casein (byproducts of cheese manufacturing)

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