Monthly Archives: October 2016

Russian TB Quack at the University of Eastern Finland

This blog will now also take on quackery and fraud in Finland’s academic system.

 

Bizarre “innovation” for western healthcare

Photonics Finland and Kuopio Innovation held a “Photonics for Healthcare” event on 14 Sep 2016, at the Spa Hotel Kunnonpaikka near Kuopio. The University of Eastern Finland (UEF) is a member of Photonics Finland, and their Institute of Photonics provided support and speakers for the event.

Here is, what russian researchers from the UEF had to tell about their “innovative treatment for tuberculosis”.

Download PDF: Ultraviolet laser improved for human treatment
by Slava (Viatcheslav) Vanyukov and Vadim Kiyko

The researchers claimed to be affilatiated with the University of Eastern Finland (Kuopio), the company HyperMemo OY (Joensuu, Finland) and the ITMO University (St. Petersburg, Russia). Vanyukov completed his thesis at the UEF in 2015, and Kiyko is also announced as an UEF person.

 uv-laser_improved-treatment

The first tests to treat Tuberculosis with laser beams were done in the Soviet Union, and then Russia, in the early 1990s.

Like the chemist-turned quack guru Linus Pauling, the late russian nobelist A.M. Prokhorov aimed to become an alternative healer. The highly decorated founder of laser theory began to stick lasers into severely ill cancer and tuberculosis patients, with a “see what happens” approach. He was one of the founders of the “lasers for everything” movement.

prokhorov-laser

The method spread to India, and was subsequently used in thousands of “volunteers” in Russia and, mainly, rural India. Although many patients could barely read, even children were exposed to the experimental method.

The idea is to kill the TB bacteria at the spot. The laser light is given by an optic fiber inserted into the TB cavity, puncturing the skin, pleura, and other structures in its way.
Actual photo from India:

tb-laser_2-application

Typically, such a presentation would cite scientific studies which support the treatment.
– This is what the russian UEF researchers present.

exams-report

Untranslated, russian technical papers with “official stamps”. And even this is a fake: the left paper is from the long-void registration of an obsolete device. The other is a letter of recommendation with a stamp from the Blagovestshensk, far-east science center, physiology and pathology, siberian branch of the russian academy of medical sciences.

After 25 years of research, this is all they have to show. “Hey Vasya, we need some nice-looking papers for the presentation in Finland. They can’t read it anyway!”

Actually, the method has been tested in India by doctors who visited the russian centers in the early 1990s. There have been a number of trials, which do not meet basic ethical and quality standards. A 2006 Cochrane review found only one poorly reported study, whose author could not be located anymore. It concluded:

The use of low level laser therapy for treating tuberculosis is still not supported by reliable evidence. Researchers need to focus on conducting well-designed randomized controlled trials to justify the continued participation of volunteers for studies of this experimental intervention.

The recruitment into these low-standard studies alone was deemed to be unethical already 10 years ago. Nevertheless, the questionable trials went on, without any demonstration of benefit or harm. The newest was published in 2015. One earlier trial, published in 2010, used such a simplified treatment device (actual photo):

tb-laser_1appliance

The russian devices are more sophisticated, but use the same technique.

milestones-development

The advantages of the russian device (from the presentation):

Description

  • Portable semiconductor laser with diode pumping-that makes the usage convenient for the user. Since it is compact, light in weight, absolutely safe considering the electronics
  • Friendly device as a normal household devices[sic!]
  • Passed 3 official clinical examinations in hospitals in Moscow and Moscow region”

 

system-advantages

The russian device has no CE mark or other registration in the EU for medical use. We’re told, that the procedure is survivable:

1200 patients were treated, all recovered!

It is absolutely incredible, that such a “treatment” is advertised at a public, and pubicly funded event. Hopefully, the UEF did not use own ressources for this quack. Maybe it’s “only” misuse of the UEF brand – like in the case of Valkee Ltd, which misused the Oulu University brand.

welcome-cooperation

The poor people in India may not understand what happens to them, but doctors and university officials in Finland should recognize a quack as such.

Valkee Ltd to go belly-up: The 2016 balance

Traditionally, earlightswindle.com makes Valkee’s balance sheets publicly available. Here is it for the fiscal year 3/2015 – 2/2016:

Valkee balance 2016

Revenue is down to 426.000 Euro from 645.000, again -35%. That’s directly continuing the long-time downward trend (2014: -44%, 2015: -40%).

Loss is also down, to “only” 1,646 million. Now the equity ratio (omavaraisuusaste) fell sharply, own capital is now negative (-1,049 million). In other words, there’s nothing left than debt. Banks and investors will not recover what they gave.

Last year, there was still some money left from the 7,3M investment. That’s completely burned now, and an additional million evaporated. As last year, Valkee got an audit warning. Now plus a clear prognosis, that the company will run out of capital during the next 12 months – cease to exist – if no new cash is found from some easy-to-fool investor. Or the americans buy millions of HumanChargers.

Update:
The snail media has reacted to this post: Kauppalehti 1 | Kauppalehti 2 | Talouselämä

Valkee’s CEO Aki Backman made absurd comments. Interestingly, he admitted that the earlight does “practically” not sell anymore in Finland. An open secret, now confirmed.

How to handle an unwanted blogger – the Valkee solution

Imagine the following: You have a company selling some unproven wonder treatment to naïve customers. You get maximum-level political support – even from the President of the Republic and the PM. You’re getting multi-million public and private funding enabling you to produce “research” to bolster your marketing.

But the target population still doesn’t believe you. An ugly makeshift website with an unfriendly blog draws as much attention as your glossy campaign. Although it is maintained anonymously, it has higher credibility. The facts presented there are a threat to your business, you want to get rid of that. What shall you do?

Here is, what Valkee Ltd did.

 

1. Send a threatening letter

in which you demand to shut down the website.

cease-and-desist letter by Valkee's CEO Somerto

 

If unsuccessful,

2. Let your lawyers send a threatening letter.

cease-and-desist by Borenius law firm

Luckily, you have Borenius, a leading law firm, at hand – at the expense of others.

 

If unsuccessful, start some

3. Text message stalking

somerto-sms1

Send the messages preferably in the morning (before 7:30 a.m.) or at night (after 8:00 p.m.). You may achieve a good shock-and-awe effect when the target is with the family, not expecting anything bad.

somerto-sms2

 

If unsuccessful, make a

4. Denunciation to the police.

The outcome may be disappointing (detailed description of the case here), because the website/blog does nothing illegal. The presented facts are correct, as you know.

 

Anyway, if unsuccessful, try a

5. Second complaint to the police

in which you decry the activities of that blog as a vital threat to your business. Urge the police to do anything soon. At least, it will keep the blogger busy and under pressure.

lawsuit2-4[1]

 

If all those methods are unsuccessful,

6. Hire a private investigator.

This may be outsourced to some of your pals. Their growing concerns about the failing investment could make them try a whole bunch of unconventional measures. You must convince them, that all negative publicity is caused by that blogger and his friends, not by your foul claims.

valkee-amateur-spies

Security expert Dave may find out interesting things about one’s personal life (cut out from the JPG above). Keep it for later use. But next time avoid leaking the memos, because of your sheer incompetence with web techniques.

  • Guessing game: Who hired David as a private eye?
    • Hint 1 (symbolic picture):
      (symbolic picture only)
    • Hint 2: it begins with M.

 

If still unsuccessful,

7. Contact the blogger’s employer.

This is, of course, a do-not for a civilized person. Use only if despair strikes. You may try to find out more details about your target. Or simply ask random things, to make clear you’re despicable enough to actually play that card.

Be aware, that the HR department may be used already to 3C-requests (criminals, crooks, and crackpots) due to the nature of that institution. Your questions may be redirected instead and cause further damage.

update: Pekka Somerto contacted my employer via phone and from a DNA welho.com e-mail (probably he changed it now to Elisa.fi). I received a HR call at home on my day off, and had to explain. An uncomfortable situation, as you may understand./-Ed.

 

If all is unsuccessful,

8. Leave the company

after all you’ve done.

thelastoneswitchesoffthelight

Your pals/investors could help with parachuting you into a leading position elsewhere – even with comparable pay checks.

valkeelisa

Then resume where you stopped: Selling flimflam devices. Enjoy life!

***