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Endorsements Don’t Guarantee Reliability

If a prominent person endorses a dietary supplement or herbal product, does that mean it will work as advertised? If a company has prominent advisors or consultants or has a research department, does that mean its products are effective? If a magazine, newsletter, or web site has a medical advisory board, does that guarantee its …

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Mission Statement

Quackwatch, Inc., which was a member of Consumer Federation of America from 1973 through 2003, is a nonprofit corporation whose purpose is to combat health-related frauds, myths, fads, fallacies, and misconduct. Its primary focus is on quackery-related information that is difficult or impossible to get elsewhere. Founded by Dr. Stephen Barrett in 1969 as the …

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Therapeutic Touch Protest

On April 1, 1998, my local paper carried a front-page story of an 11-year-old girl who had “debunked” Therapeutic Touch (TT) for her fourth-grade science fair project. The results of her experiment were published in the prestigious Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) that same day. This was a day for scientists and skeptics …

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Therapeutic Touch: Responses to Objections to the JAMA Paper

Proponents of therapeutic touch (TT) postulate that each person has a human energy field (HEF) that can be felt by other people, especially those who intend to do so and have been trained to recognize their perceptions as HEF-related. Emily Rosa’s experiment found that 21 TT practitioners could not perceive her “energy field” under conditions …

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Therapeutic Touch: Further Notes

The woman lying in the bed is in pain. She is just back from major abdominal surgery, and her nurse is working to make her more comfortable. Just then, another staff member comes in the room and announces that she will use Therapeutic Touch to relieve the patient’s pain. She waits a moment, then begins …

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Miscellaneous Hype for Dietary Supplements

Many supplement manufacturers suggest that their products have characteristics that make them unique and/or better than those of their competitors. For example: Nat-rul Health Products has offered “all-day protection” with timed-release vitamin-mineral formulas. RichLife has offered OrganiMins, “the uniquely chelated Organomineral complex that’s nutritionally targeted for specific organs.” Sears Shop at Home Service’s Vitamin Improvement …

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Seven Warning Signs of Bogus Science

The National Aeronautics and Space Administration is investing close to a million dollars in an obscure Russian scientist’s antigravity machine, although it has failed every test and would violate the most fundamental laws of nature. The Patent and Trademark Office recently issued Patent 6,362,718 for a physically impossible motionless electromagnetic generator, which is supposed to …

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“Postmodern” Attacks on Science and Reality

Recent trends in some academic circles have called into question conventional notions of truth and reality. The claim is made in these circles that all statements, whether in science or literature, are simply narratives — stories and myths that do nothing more than articulate the cultural prejudices of the narrator. In this view, one narrative …

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Multilevel Marketing on the Internet

So far we have located the web sites for Alliance, Enrich, FreeLife, Golden Pride, Herbalife, Juice Plus, Life Force, Nutrition for Life, Oxyfresh, Prime Quest, Rexall Showcase International, Sunrider, and USANA.

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“Health Freedom”

If quacks can’t win by playing according to the rules, they try to change them by switching from the scientific to the political arena. In science, a medical claim is treated as false until proven beyond a reasonable doubt. But in politics, a medical claim may be accepted until proven false or harmful. This is …

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