Wednesday, April 15, 2015


I will be adding to this post.

Quacks rely on 3 things  

1. ignorance of health issues 
2. emotional manipulation to gain trust - so that 
3. no one will check their lack of reputable evidence

5 signs an adult quack is targeting your children
1. talking like a child
2. their personal woes with real medicine
3. "epiphany" + "cure"

4. using trending: teen and pre-teen texting phrases, slang, acronyms, symbols, Emoji
5. dressing like teens, styling themselves to appear much younger than their actual age  

"Nostrums and quackery : articles on the nostrum evil and quackery reprinted, with additions and modifications, from the Journal of the American Medical Association." Everything old is new again! You can search within the book, and view it all!


"QUACKERY, MIRACLE HEALING AND MEDICAL CULTS", color and bolding added by me 
"parasites ... clinging to each successive stage of civilization ... in the Vedas of India, the classics of Greece and Rome, the early records of Egypt and Arabia ... quackery described, deplored, and condemned in terms almost of today"
How little has changed - free to read, and download both pages as a printable PDF file - full text of the article - fascinating! Quackery 101 - published that long ago, and it is still applicable today. For copyright and other information - see the top left of the page under the article author.


"Hard (Pseudo) Science: The Second Coming of the VIBE Machine", color and bolding added by me, @SkeptInquiry
"marketing for these items is changing. Crystals are repackaged as having “the combination of far infrared light, negative ions ... Elixirs, potions, and tonics are rebranded as the “Wonder nutrient of the century-cellular liquid-food liquid minerals ... There was also a so-new-it’s-unnamed product; yet another device “invented by Tesla” that Tesla didn’t seem to know about. ... salesperson ... he didn’t use the word cure, but he did use the phrases “cancer free” and “completely free of any diseases. ... vendor was very cagey ... talking about the product ... for good reason: we recognized it as a  remake of ... (VIBE) Machine recalled by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in 2008."

"Medical Quackery PSA", PSA is the acronym for Public Service Announcement, and this one is still valid today, uploaded 2010, credit for Tweeting the video, @SkepticalDDS

"Z-rays" - rebranded now as crystal healing fraud for assorted maladies - the name was taken!

"NOTICES OF JUDGMENT" pdf on the U.S. National Library of Medicine website - regarding the Zerret Applicator and "Z-rays" - Final Disposition - 1950, color and bolding added by me
Claims included: "Expanded Hydrogen Atoms" "natural healing force" "original force which activates every life form would be conducted into the body" "atomic energy" They didn't use the word chakras. It was not in vogue at that time. The verdict was guilty, a motion for a new trial was denied, and jail sentences were imposed. You can find the exact or almost the exact same wording regarding crystal "healing" on the Internet, just reworked for new victims.

The Zerret Applicator (Z-rays) case is spot on as a precedent regarding crystal healing claims!
"What is PRECEDENT?" 
"adjudged case or decision of a court of justice considered ... an example ... for an identical or similar case afterwards arising or a similar question of law."

The history of quackery is important! It tells you how and why recent quackery has evolved to "get around laws" and replace failed strategies. Rebranded fraud is still the exact same fraud! Want healthy positive vibes? Think pleasant thoughts, be kind! It's free!


"October 5, 2015: Manufacturer of Unapproved Medical Devices Sentenced to 18 Months in Prison", color and bolding added by me, @US_FDA
"David Arthur ... manufacturer of an unapproved medical device, was sentenced ... to serve 18 months in custody for his role in the distribution of the Energy Wave. The Energy Wave, a so-called Rife machine, consisted of a micro-current frequency generator with a digital readout and keypad, and two stainless steel cylinders and personal application plates with connections to ports on the generator. Users were provided with an operating manual and list of Auto Codes that set forth hundreds of digital device settings for treatment of specific medical conditions, including AIDS, diabetes, stroke, ulcer, and worm infection. ... Arthur was also fined $3,000 and ordered to forfeit $30,000. ... U.S. Attorney Duffy stated ... This case demonstrates our commitment to protecting the sick and vulnerable from those who would prey upon them and offer expensive miracle cures which have not been proven to be safe and effective for use."

"The history of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder" 
(before more quacks call it a modern disease), some bolding added by me
"an analysis of historical literature suggests that children presenting with symptoms of inattention, hyperactivity, and impulsivity have previously been described by several authors during the last 200 years"

Good news? There's a growing "army" of reputable, evidence-based social media users, using awareness to clear the landmines of quackery for you.


"Dermatologist cautions parents about misinformation on safety of children’s skin care products",  color and some bolding added by me, @AADskin 
Parents who have read about concerns with ingredients found in children’s skin care products sometimes make choices that ... do more harm than good,” said board-certified dermatologist Renee Howard, MD, FAAD, associate clinical professor of dermatology, University of California, San Francisco. “These parents either don’t use the doctor-recommended products on their child or they substitute with natural products, only some of which can be helpful. In children with eczema, these choices can delay the healing process ... lead to skin infections, further sleep deprivation ... disturbance ... learning delays. Are “herbal” or “organic” skin care products a safer option? ...Natural products aren’t necessarily safer ... many have had very limited testing,” ... “Some of these products may not be as effective as traditional skin care products.” ... plant compound calendula is commonly ... in “herbal” or “organic” skin care products, including products to treat eczema. ... is not well tested. “Some studies show calendula is anti-inflammatory, but it’s not clear how much calendula is in these products and how effective calendula is compared to hydrocortisone – a standard treatment for eczema.” ... How can parents get reliable information on the safety of children’s skin care products? ... Dr. Howard recommends parents ask their child’s pediatrician or dermatologist for advice on choosing skin care products ... have an open dialogue about any safety concerns. ... “If parents have any questions or concerns, they should speak openly with their child’s pediatrician or dermatologist. Board-certified dermatologists have years of training, making them experts in all things related to the skin, hair and nails.”


jeremy faust, @JeremyFaust

"Something to Sneeze At", color and some bolding added by me, By @JeremyFaust  
"people are taken in by the seemingly friendly ... marketing of ... products ... fork over their money for what overwhelmingly amounts to snake oil ... Boosting your immunity is actually a pretty bad idea. Even if these remedy and prevention products did what they purport to, you wouldn't want them to." 


Wake Forrest Baptist, @wakehealth
"Acne Can’t Be Prevented or Cured But It Can Be Treated Effectively", color and bolding added by me 
"research has shown that acne is not caused by dirty skin or by eating chocolate, pizza or greasy foods ... "Just like with any condition, there isn’t a magic bullet ... treatment depends on the severity of the acne, the type of acne, where it’s located, and the patient’s individual preference and motivation for treatment" ... Dermatologists today also have advanced ways to treat scarring, including chemical peels, microdermabrasion and laser technologies


"Complementary therapies for acne vulgaris" "Intervention Review", color and bolding by me
"Some low-quality evidence from trials suggest that a unique low-glycemic load diet, tea tree oil and bee venom could reduce the number of skin lesions in acne vulgaris ... lack ... evidence to support the use of other complementary and alternative medicines like herbal medicine, acupuncture or wet cupping in the treatment of this condition. Potential adverse effects exist for herbal medicine; future studies will nevertheless assess the safety of all these complementary and alternative treatments. ... strength of the available evidence is weakened by the inherent limitations of the methodology and the quality of reporting in the included studies. Future studies should be designed to ensure a low risk of bias and meet current standards for reporting clinical trials." UNPROVEN safety and effectiveness - ALL! 

"Observational study of Arctium lappa in the treatment of acne vulgaris." Arctium lappa is also known as burdock, bolding added by me
"uncontrolled observational interventional study was conducted on human subjects ... "Further controlled, randomized studies with larger sample size are desirable" = UNPROVEN - and no kidding! 


Burdock is listed.
"Compositae allergy", color and bolding added by me 
"Allergic symptoms have been reported from ingested compositae ... Case reports have described angioedemaurticaria and systemic contact dermatitis." THAT is NOT "herxing"!


Burdock is listed under "Common irritants"
"Contact dermatitis", @MayoClinic
THAT is NOT "herxing"! 

Despite quack bs and FRAUD about dandelion root and "detoxification", and it "helping acne" this is what the University of Maryland Medical Center (UMMC) has to say about dandelion.
"Dandelion", color and bolding added by me, "Precautions and "Possible Interactions" are offered too, @UMMC
"So far, there have not been any quality scientific studies on dandelion. ... Herbalists use dandelion root to detoxify the liver and gallbladder, and dandelion leaves to help kidney function. ... Most scientific studies of dandelion have been in animals, not people. ... Researchers need to see if dandelion will work in people. ... A few animal studies ... suggest that dandelion might help fight inflammation." = UNPROVEN


"Human clinical trials on for cancer killing dandelion extract", color and bolding added by me, @UWindsor  
"The dandelion root formula in use in the Pandey lab is about five times more concentrated than the extract that can be purchased over the counter ... proven to kill leukemia, melanoma ... pancreatic cancer cells in lab mice." STILL UNPROVEN in people despite quack bs! And quack websites are running wild with it - to make sales - which amounts to FRAUD!

"State of the Art in Acne Scar Treatment", @theclinique


"Do At Home Acne Scar Treatments Work [ Epi #458]", @YouTube  
NO!!! with details why, and treatment options that can work well - the video is only 3 minutes 13 seconds.


"Glycolic Acid Peels Versus Salicylic–Mandelic Acid Peels in Active Acne Vulgaris and Post-Acne Scarring and Hyperpigmentation: A Comparative Study", bolding added by me
"Because both of the peeling agents are superficial peels, they serve only to resurface the upper layers of the epidermis. ... neither of them has a deeper action that could lead to significant improvement in icepick, deep boxcar, and rolling scars." 

Email Reply: what is mandelic acid?

An alpha hydroxy acid (AHA)
2008 - same study as above
"Glycolic Acid Peels Versus Salicylic–Mandelic Acid Peels in Active Acne Vulgaris and Post-Acne Scarring and Hyperpigmentation: A Comparative Study", bolding added by me
"Mandelic acid ... Owing to its large structure, its penetration as a chemical peeling agent has not been easily evaluated or used.

"Antimicrobial Activity of Mandelic Acid Against Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus aureus: a Novel Finding with Important Practical Implications", bolding added by me
"for ... first time, we showed ... antimicrobial effect ... MA ... and encourage ... clinical studies ... for treatment of MSR and other bacterial skin infections." = UNPROVEN!

That hasn't stopped mandelic acid being touted some places and by quacks as a new "super" ingredient to shill for big $ - BOGUS!!! Mandelic acid is a "milder" AHA with apparently fewer side effects. However, research so far is: lacking, of very poor quality, yet to be done!

Quack acne "preventatives/cures"? ALL BOGUS! - 0 reputable evidence to support them, and if you look closely you can see when their skin photos FAIL! There are different ways to make skin look brighter, better, less scarred in photos - lighting, digital photo manipulation e.g. Photoshop - even for videos, and quacks USE them - not always successfully! 

Quacks use all kinds of manipulation to shill UNPROVEN (FRAUD) remedies - first and foremost - emotional to win your trust - copying old, known quack ploys! They also shill UNPROVEN products/services to gain sponsorship/"discounts" (deals)/affiliation - it's all about them - NOT caring about you/your family - their greater "recognition" - greed plus ego!  

Quacks also use: "photo-ops" with pets, sometimes not even their own, and friend/family support ("testimonials") to emotionally manipulate victims. I've read a quack say a family member would do ANYTHING for them - that's unfortunate - UNPROVEN health remedies are not ONLY fraud - they're DANGEROUS too! 

Dr. Amy Tuteur, @ATuteur
"Don't wait! Start your career in quackery today!"
"1: Inspire fear ... 2: Invoke a conspiracy  ... 3: Flatter the reader ... 4: Explain ... intuition is far more important than knowledge" All of the bs covered used then (in 2011) - is still used now! The list is longer - those first 4 I seen EVERY quack I watch plus more use ALL the time - part of the quack (health terrorist) manipulation formula! Quack methods are NOT new - same bs - different day!


"Twenty-Six Ways to Spot Quacks and Vitamin Pushers"

9. "You Are in Danger of Being "Poisoned" by Ordinary Food Additives and Preservatives ... 25. They Warn You Not to Trust Your Doctor" The bs used to get you to TRUST them! I've seen ALL used by various quacks currently as part of their manipulation strategies - and the article was first written - years ago!


David Kroll, @davidkroll 
@ktanimara Similarly, I've seen homeopathy rebranded as "nanomedicine" to piggyback on a real technological advancement. 


Paul Morgan, @drpaulmorgan
"To anyone quoting John Benneth, please note the following"

"4 of the Biggest Quacks Plaguing America with False Claims About Science" | Alternet, @cliffweathers
"This year alone, at least 40 cases are currently in court involving quack doctors on prosecution. Some 32 cases are open ... eight of them are in Lagos. The state has been nicknamed 'the den of quack doctors'. It is a growing clique of increasing organisation and sophistication."
EXCELLENT regarding prosecution!

"2014 in cancer quackery: UK edition" - JREF, 
"There were at least three successful prosecutions in 2014, one in Essex and two in the City of Westminster." 

Quackery is a worldwide problem with very old roots. Electronic media has simply elevated it to a more profitable, and vast problem.


"Medical council prosecutes 23 quacks", bolding added by me, @vanguardngrnews
"The Registrar, Medical and Dental Council of Nigeria (MDCN), Dr Abdulmumini Ibrahim, said on Friday that the council had successfully prosecuted 23 quacks in the medical profession in Nigeria ... the council was poised to sanitise the profession to restore standards. ... activities of quacks would no longer be tolerated. ... any training institution that falls short of standards, we caution that institutions and if need be, we suspend its accreditation."

"Lab Scientists to Trace Quacks With Hand Writing Detectors", @allafrica


"Lyme Disease Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)" - reviewed and updated, some bolding added by me, @CDCgov
Often a target for quacks to make $
"What is "chronic Lyme disease?""
"chronic Lyme disease” (CLD) ... Because of the confusion in how the term CLD is employed, experts in this field do not support its use"

"Post-Treatment Lyme Disease Syndrome", 2015, @CDCgov 
The correct title - Information
"Editorial Commentary: Xenodiagnosis for Posttreatment Lyme Disease Syndrome: Resolving the Conundrum or Adding to It?" - from the CDC link above - full text
Bottom line - animal study results used by quacks - INCONCLUSIVE!  

"Lyme Disease:

Questionable Diagnosis and Treatment", revised 2017, color and bolding added by me
"herxing," a colloquial term for the Jarisch-Herxheimer (J-H) reaction. This reaction is an acute response to the release of toxic or biologically active molecules from certain types of bacteria in the presence of some antibiotics. About 10% of patients treated for early Lyme disease experience a J-H reaction involving chills, fever, muscle pains, rapid heartbeat, and slight lowering of blood pressure during the first 24 hours of antibiotic therapy. These symptoms usually last for several hours, and require little more than aspirin and bed rest. Yet many Lyme newsgroup participants write about a "herx" beginning days or weeks after the start of antibiotic therapy, and "herxing" for weeks at a time—often in a cyclic fashion." Herxing" events have even been likened to an "exorcism" that is "a necessary evil to be endured." ... Neurological symptoms, blurred vision, gastrointestinal upset, vomiting, and palpitations, for example, should be reported to a physician, not posted on the Internet with a request for comments." 

I have read "herxing" (aka "Healing Crisis") applied by quacks and unscrupulous marketers, to everything from kombucha tea reactions to "organic" cosmetics "detox" = FRAUD! There is absolutely no reputable scientific evidence to support such claims but there are considerable health risks, that can result from following their UNPROVEN safety and effectiveness recommendations.

How quackery can and does kill
1. toxic ingredients, medication interactions, dangerous "manipulations" e.g. chiropractic, "torturous treatments" - various
2. delay in REAL needed medication (including vaccines)
3. murder of park rangers, and animals for unproven "remedies" See this blog post.

Quackery is not and never has been benign. Constantly in the news - helpless children suffering and dying and this is NOT new - because people have been duped by manipulative quacks. NO natural oil, or combinations thereof are substitutes for REGULATED SPF sunscreens - recommended strengths - 30+ - the lack of which is a cancer risk. 

Email Reply: Why Ancient Egypt and quackery? 

Years ago "no one could prove them wrong" but they could and did. For example, the quackery claim "cancer is a modern disease" has been disproved. Admitting that interferes with profit, and their scams unravel! 


"Let not thy food be confused with thy medicine: The Hippocratic misquotation", color and bolding added by me 
"Hippocrates medicine consists of more than 60 texts known as The Hippocratic Corpus (Corpus Hippocraticum). This important text in the history of medicine expounds on the theory of diet. ... the phrase “let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food”... is nowhere to be seen. This ... is not only a misquotation but it also leads to an essential misconception: in the Hippocratic medicine, even if food was closely linked to health and disease, the concept of food was not confused with that of medicine ... More research is warranted to ascertain the precise origin of the Hippocratic misquotation." 

Qualified medical doctors have always recognized healthy food as important, and REAL food and diet research is ongoing. Quacks have always recognized an opportunity to lie, misinform and run with it. The Hippocrates misquote is misused by quacks to turn certain foods into "superfoods" with FALSE health claims (no reputable evidence for them), to sell questionable, unnecessary, often harmful "natural" supplements, and products out of pure greed. 


"Alternative cancer diets, what does the evidence say?", bolding added by me, @EdzardErnst 
"all of them – are not supported by good evidence for efficacy as a treatment or prevention of any type of cancer. In addition, they might also cause harm."


Kombucha tea, a "health" drink w/0 PROVEN benefits but REAL risks, another good M.D. tells you why
"There are no studies to support an immune boosting effects of kombucha tea in humans ... There are definite risks to taking kombucha tea as an immune booster."


"Kombucha", Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau, color and some bolding added by me   
"TTB regulations on alcohol beverages DO APPLY to any kombucha that has less than 0.5% alcohol by volume when bottled ... alcohol content increases to 0.5% or more alcohol by volume at any point afterwards ... result of continued fermentation in the bottle."
"General Kombucha Information", some bolding added by me   
"K10. May I produce kombucha containing 0.5% or more alcohol by volume for my personal or family use without paying federal excise tax? 
Yes, if the kombucha is classified as beer. Federal law and TTB regulations allow an adult to produce, without payment of tax, a limited amount of beer for personal or family use and not for sale. The amount produced may not exceed 200 gallons per calendar year for households of two or more adults, or 100 gallons per calendar year if there is only one adult residing in the household. See Section 5053(e) of the IRC and 27 CFR 25.205 for more information about the personal exemption for beer. ... Home producers of beer or wine should also contact state and local alcohol regulatory authorities to learn about their requirements."


"Kashi and GT’s Kombucha Face Consumer Class Actions Over False Advertising Claims"
"Millennium Products GT’s Kombucha & Synergy Beverage Class Action Settlement"
"Millennium Products, the makers of the popular “GT’s Kombucha” and “GT Synergy” beverages, has reached a class action lawsuit settlement over failing to warn consumers that its “non-alcoholic” beverages actually contain as much as 2-3% alcoholequal to or greater than some brands of beer." 


"Beverage-maker cashes in on a resurgence in kombucha tea", color and bolding added by me
""People are looking for healthier beverages, they're looking at ingredients and because there's a segment of consumers that are really interested in that, kombucha just kind of becomes one of those niche products that is able to get a following." ... with that growth comes increased scrutiny by federal regulators to keep kombucha's alcohol content under the limit acceptable for nonalcoholic beverages. ... In the last few months, the industry seems to be in a similar situation as in 2010 after the TTB said it sent out warning letters to some kombucha producers about their alcohol levels. "We have found product in the marketplace that exceeds the statutory limit after which something is considered an alcoholic beverage," said Hogue of the TTB. Other beverage-makers are starting to snap up kombucha businesses to cash in on the industry's potential." 

The health benefits however the alcohol issue is resolved and it needs to be for PUBLIC HEALTH - medication interactions, and transparency - remain UNPROVEN, WITH RISKS!

e.g. regarding medication
"Can you tell me what I should eat while I am taking warfarin (Coumadin, Jantoven)? What foods should I avoid?", color and bolding added by me, @MayoClinic   
"One nutrient that can lessen warfarin's effectiveness is vitamin K. It's important to be consistent in how much vitamin K you get daily. ...Certain drinks can increase the effect of warfarin, leading to bleeding problems. Avoid or drink only small amounts of these drinks when taking warfarin: Cranberry juice  Alcohol


Not just in the U.S. and recently, kombucha Recall July 29, 2015, Australia, color and bolding added by me
"Buchi Kombucha (Roots in Nature Pty Ltd) is recalling all of its kombucha due to it containing alcohol at levels that may be potentially intoxicating. Consumption of this product may be potentially intoxicating. Consumers should not drink this product and should return the products to the place of purchase for a full refund."


"Kombucha - Scientific Review on Usage, Dosage, Side Effects", color and bolding added by me, @Examinecom 
"Improper sanitation and too long of a fermentation period can contribute to kombucha’s toxicity, which can result in death. ... health properties are not very convincing ... it comes with a risk not seen in other tea products ... it is not recommended to drink kombucha for its health benefits."
It is NO "superfood"!


"What is kombucha tea? Does it have any health benefits?", color and bolding added by me, @MayoClinic

"there isn't good evidence that kombucha tea delivers on its health claims. ... several cases of harm have been reported. ... prudent approach is to avoid kombucha tea until more definitive information is available." I agree!


"Hepatotoxic Botanicals - An Evidence-based Systematic Review", 2013 Note: Margosa oil is Neem oil, bolding added by me
Kombucha has other names e.g. "Kombusha, Manchurian mushroom tea, Manchurian fungus tea or Kargasok tea" and is in this Review with a hepatitis case report and more "A case of hepatitis due to intake of Kombusha drink was reported in a 53-year old professor ... He drank the preparation as a half cup twice a day for two weeks ... he recovered after discontinuation of the Kombusha drink." 

"Kombucha: a systematic review of the clinical evidence.", bolding added by me, Ernst E. is @EdzardErnst
"No clinical studies ... found ... efficacy of this remedy ... case reports and case series raise doubts about the safety of kombucha. They include suspected liver damage, metabolic acidosis ... One fatality is on record."

"A case of Kombucha tea toxicity." Both this study and the one above it are cited in the 2015 link above. Bolding added by me
"case reports exist of serious ... sometimes fatal, hepatic dysfunction and lactic acidosis within close proximity to ingestion."

As stated in the 2015 source, kombucha tea can be made safely. However, all claimed health benefits to date are still UNPROVEN, as research continues. Despite reputable research to the contrary, quacks still promote kombucha tea as a "miracle cure" based on anecdotes, lies, faulty research, and in far too many instances, with 0 cautions given. AVOID!