Category Archives: earlightswindle exclusive

HumanCharger-Valkee’s balance 2019: Guess what?

Finnish Valkee Ltd, maker of the questionable HumanCharger earlight device, has just filed its 2018-2019 balance. It’s the same as every year: Overwhelming loss and now again a sharp drop in revenue.

And as every year, earlightswindle.com makes it available.

Valkee balance 2/2019 (valkee2019.pdf)

Turnover has fallen by 34%, thus eliminating last years somewhat surprising rise. It’s now 637.000€, i.e. even less than in 2016/17. The effect of the US launch seems to level out. Good news for them: Loss is down to 594.000 Euro. But this means, that still every Euro turnover results in one Euro loss – as last year.

HR costs are down from 411.000 to 268.000€, and with (only) 226.000€ paid out, the question is who’s still employed by this company – besides its CEO and some salespersons.

Valkee is struggling to survive, as it did since 2007 – and now it became clear, how the project is “scaling”. It will exist as long as its investors are willing to pay. The plug may be pulled sooner or later.

That’s an enduring embarassment also for Interbrand, which really messed up by calling HumanCharger a “breakthrough brand” in 2017. The only thing that will break here will be the investors’ patience.

Over & out, as I leave this rather boring news piece to the snail media, Kauppalehti, HelsinginSanomat or whatever, for those laties who have not cancelled subscriptions yet.

Update 13.7.2019: Kauppalehti did as expected and translated this into finnish as “news”. Always welcome on my blog.

Transdermal Magnesium, Fake Studies, and a Family Business

When I wrote in 2017 about Finland’s leading pharmacy chain intentionally selling magnesium spray snake oil to its customers, I wasn’t aware of the scale of the transdermal magnesium scam.  There are hundreds of manufacturers and sellers, and there are dozens of such products on sale in finnish pharmacies.

One company caught my eye: Nordic Health, which maintains websites for all nordic countries. It has “Magnesium Sleep lotion for mothers and babies“, “Magnesium butter“, and 17 (!) other transdermal magnesium products. The tagline: “Scientifically proven“.

 

According to Nordic Health, its magnesium is effectively absorbed through the skin. If true, that would be strikingly different from all other transdermal magnesium preparations. The company presents studies to bolster its claims (click to open).

 

  • #1 looks like an incomplete citation of a real, published scientific study.
  • #2-#6 are sponsored, unpublished statements about different products (Magnesium, vitamins) allegedly done by an university. Obviously it’s nothing about these specific Nordic Health formulations.
  • #7 and #8 are unrelated studies about inflammatory bowel disease (!) in eastern Europe.
  • #9-#12 are mainly unidentifiable, unpublished sponsored statements.
    I managed to find #11 online; it’s an uncontrolled questionnare test (“did you sleep better with this product?”)

 

To make it short: This is no scientific proof, this is not even science. And it’s accompanied with logos of universities and the NHS. I bet Nordic Health hasn’t any right to use the NHS’s mark to pump up sales.

Nordic Health Sprays tells it’s a finnish family business. …but what kind of family?

NordicHealthSprays Family Business

 

But wait, there was a real study at the beginning, right? The incorrect citation was

  • Watkins, K., Josling PD. 2010. A Pilot Study to determine the impact of Transdermal Magnesium treatment on serum levels and whole body CaMg Ratios. European Journal For Nutraceutical Research.

 

Fake Journal, Fake Study – Good Product?

This study is widely quoted and reproduced on webshops which sell transdermal magnesium. Get it, for example, from the “Magnesium Health Institute” (PDF). It is even cited in papers in (allegedly peer-reviewed) scientific journals. Although it’s not found as an original paper in any citation database.

It is not in PubMed/MedLine, and no-one seems to know the “European Journal for Nutraceutical Research“. I’ve done a lot of research into predatory journals (soon to be published), but this one baffled me. The journal is not in the NLM catalog, meaning it has not even existed at any point in time. There’s no trace whatsoever currently on the net. Nonetheless, it’s widely used and cited by shady and half-shady businesses – like extempore, the customer magazine of the finnish pharmacists’ association.

 

Finally, I identified the “journal” through the always-appreciated internet archive. The “European Journal for Nutraceutical Research” has been a sub-blog on the defunct phytomedcentral.org website. It had less than five entries and was accompanied by other fakes, like Plant Taxonomy Journal, Plant Anti Cancer Journal, Veterinary Plant Medicine Journal, and Pharmaceutical Plant Research Journal. These were all used to push questionable supplements or “herbal remedies” by junk studies disguised as scientific journal articles.

It’s in a way a copycat of Andrea Rossi‘s method to publish his cold fusion junk papers in his “Journal of Nuclear Physics“, which is in fact only his blog.

What if I’d call my gloom blog Journal of Scientific Innovation?
(All these names are already used by scammers.)

If it wouldn’t be so symptomatic, it would be funny. The source is long gone, but the misinformation lives on. I won’t go into details of the study, the strange titles of the authors and the obscure “Herbal Research Center” where it was done.

And this is the best existing evidence for transdermal magnesium?

It is, according to this review of transdermal magnesium, which was also published through a controversial publisher. Generally, at the moment only sub-standard stuff like this exists.

 

***

ps. the address, where “Nordic Health Sprays” (Pohjoismaiden Terveyssuihkeet Oy) claims to reside, is a family home on sale:

 

Dr. Klopp dies, and BEMER confirms his “institute” had been virtual

Dr. Rainer Klopp, inventor of the BEMER method, has died. On Monday, May 6th, a sudden peak in blog visitor numbers indicated something has happened, and soon there were the first obituaries on Facebook and elsewhere.

One of these can be read on IMIN-org.eu, the website of the “International Microvascular Net”. Despite its name and self-description, it has nothing to do with microcirculation or vascular research or other scientific activities. It’s a BEMER International front-end, led by outsider physicians, fake doctors, homeopaths and crackpots (more on this on request, probably it’s self-evident to readers).

The obituary has a fine detail. It tells about Klopp’s “only recently completed Institute for Microcirculation“.

That’s clear and no misunderstanding. They, if anyone, know the truth. And that I was correct with my findings about the phantom institute. Hostile comments do not change the facts.

***

ps. Dr. Klopp is gone, but his genius lives on!

– Now in BEMERwater. I can assure everyone, it is as effective as BEMER therapy.

“Institute for Microcirculation” materializes in Berlin (update)

This is a follow-up to my classic post about the fake “Institute for Microcirculation” in Berlin, which still has about 100 visitors/day (the post, not the “institute”).

As expected, the Institute now got own premises at the place spotted a year ago. BEMER International obviously used a small sum to make up a physical incarnation of the phantom institute. Here is what it looked like in December 2017:

And by the end of October 2018, the “institute” was opened to some visitors (screenshot from the imin-org.eu website).

The “extraordinarily modern and competent equipment … impressive, enabling completely new possibilities” was not yet unveiled. Some machines and staff are still needed to populate the place. There has not been any “research” published for 5 years.

The institute’s website is down already for a while, probably it will resurface in 2019.*

*update: it has resurfaced 15.1.2019.
Don’t hesitate to have a look at the intro video… poor but telling. No new equipment.
The other person is Dr.W.Niemer, Klopp’s long-time companion & old-age pensioner.

 

Space Nation comes full circle (updated)

“Space Nation konkurssi” Google suosittelee, kun etsii firmaa sieltä. Tuore tilinpäätös puhuu samaa kieltä.

As promised – here is the 5/2018 balance of “space tourism company” Space Nation Oy (formerly Cohu Experience Ltd) from Helsinki, Finland.

SpaceNation balance 2018 (PDF)

Initial sales from the Space Nation Navigator game app were negligible: Revenue was 4006€ (I predicted 4000). The overall result is a 2,9M€ loss (my prognosis 4-6M).

Of the 5,2 million given by crowdfunders and other private investors last year, 58.000 was left in May 2018. That is probably burned yet, also. The company owed 1,2M to banks and addtional 952K to suppliers. In the books are mainly immaterial rights and contracts – such as the (non-commercial) Space Act Agreement with NASA. No substance.

Now that’s clearly a serious situation, which explains the abrupt stopping of the “Astronaut Training program” in August. The app’s downloads have come to a standstill by October. It’s not far-fetched to expect the app disappear from the Google Play Store and Apple Store within 12 months, as it happened to Cohu Experience’s first app, CarbonToSoil.

In time for Slush 2018, Space Nation seems to come full circle where it started two years ago.

____________________________________________________

UPDATE 19.11.2018:

After diving to €0,80 [ask], Space Nation shares were suspended “until further notice” from Privanet’s stock bazaar. The trade register – neither the company nor Privanet – informs about the probable reason.

Space Nation has issued new shares, possibly to pay expenses, at least 15 times since December 2017. These were now registered on Nov 15. Further diluting previous investors’ shares by 205.000, it brings the overall count to 1.708.793. Thus the theoretical valuation would now be well below €1,4M, but as no deals were registered in the last 2 months, it’s surely closer to zero than a million. Last year, Space Nation had predicted it to be one billion by now.

Space Nation Oy (Ltd), formerly Cohu Experience, has now announced to file for bancruptcy. It managed to burn multi-million investments in less than 2 years.

Valkee: Turnover up 50% – 1 million loss as usual (update)

Korvavalofirman tilinpäätös 2/2018 loppuneelta tilikaudelta tuli julki. Liikevaihdon odotettu 50% kasvu toteutui, summa on lähes sama kuin 2013/2014. Henkilöstömäärä laski kuuteen. Tasesumma puolittui. Tappio on silti saman verran kuin viime vuonna, yli miljoonaa. Firman kulut olivat edelleen €1,10 jokaista liikevaihtoeuroa kohden.

Kokonaistappio on siis virallisesti ylittänyt 10M€-rajan. Viime vuosien huimat pääomalainat, jotka pitivät firmaa juuri ja juuri elossa, on tilinpäätösasiakirjoissa s.8 ja 9. Suurin ongelma lienee se, että uudet laitteet pitäisi valmistaa tuoreella rahalla. Tällä hetkellä myynti on nolla. Tilintarkastaja arvioi että Valkee tarvitsee pääomalainojen lisäksi uutta rahoitusta jatkaakseen toimintansa.

Valkee Balance 2018 (PDF)

The finnish earlight manufacturer Valkee Ltd has grown sales of its HumanCharger device again by 50%. With only 6 employees (peaked at 21 in 2014), the company made still roughly the same loss as last year, over €1 million. It survived until now on capital shot in by previous investors as convertible loans, amounting to 2-3 million in 2 years. Ernst&Young’s accountants suspect, that Valkee won’t exist through the present fiscal year, unless it gets substantial funding in addition to such loans.

Valkee has given up on Finland, where the HumanCharger is considered a national embarrassment. Sales to US “biohackers” susceptible to all kinds of such scams and supplements go well, especially since earlightswindle.com was unlawfully removed from Google’s index* and there’s no independent information available. (I’ll do nothing about that until the content on the classic site is updated.)

Still, all independent research to date has demonstrated that the fake “light therapy” through the ear canal has only a placebo effect. The company’s budget does not allow for new marketing “research”, and it seems no evidence is needed to ensure international sales.

 

*the important static site with all the key information about the Valkee case (under earlightswindle.com/index.htm and else) was removed, while the blog is still visible.  It looks like the content URLs were removed manually.

UPDATE 21.9.2018:
earlightswindle.com is back in the Google index. It wasn’t me!

“Avaruusyhtiö” Space Nation Oy kertoo olevansa vaikeuksissa [update]

Suomalainen “avaruusturismiyhtiö” Space Nation Oy kertoi eilen dramaattisessa ilmoituksessa sovelluksensa käyttäjille [>>] olevansa taloudellisissa vaikeuksissa. Tämä tuli vain päiviä viimeisen postaukseni jälkeen [>>], jossa varoitin juuri tästä kehityksestä.

Teksti muutettiin kun kirjoitin Twitterissä tästä [>>]. Ennen siinä luki we have encountered financial difficulties – nykyversio sanoo sen eri sanoissa

Eli varat ei riitä “astronauttiohjelman” jatkamiseen. Tämä on siksi erityisen vakava, koska astronauttiohjelma oli ainoa lupaava operatiivinen rahanlähde. Tässä vaiheessa kassavirta ei tule muualta kuin sovelluksesta, joka – lievästi sanottu – ei menestynyt*. Se saattaa nyt lisäksi sukeltaa, koska porkkanaa (avaruuslento) ei ole enää. Ainoa optio on nyt lisärahoitus yksityishenkilöistä.

Jo 10-14 päivää sitten jotkut sijoittajat yrittivät myydä osakkeensa Privanetin kautta pilkkahinnalla. Näyttää siltä, että sisäpiiri tiesi mikä oli tulossa.

Muutama päivä ennen Space Nation Oy:n hätäilmoitusta hinta laski jopa 3 Euroon. Tästä poliisi voisi ilman muuta aloittaa esitutkinnan.

On erikoista, että Privanet, joka on laskenut nuo osakkeet firman ohjeistuksesta liikkeelle, ei kerro mitään vielä. Pörsissä tästä olisi pakko tehdä julkinen varoitus. Tämä näyttää taas, että Privanetin asiakkaana olet heikossa asemassa jos sijoituskohteelle käy huonosti [>>]. Tietämättömästi joku voisi ostaa nyt Privanetin “jälkimarkkinnoilta” Space Nation-osakkeet ja ei olisi minkäänlaista mahdollisuutta selvittää, miten firmalle oikeasti menee.

Space Nation ei uskalla antaa uutta aikataulua, mikä on aivan ymmärrettävä, kun lähitulevaisuus on täysin epäselvä. Ja ennenkin firman aikataulut tuskin pitäneet paikkansa. Blogi informoi jatkossakin.

 

*käyttäjämäärän arvio: Google Play Store Downloads 10.000+ (20.8.2018) 4,5 kk jälkeen, eli 10.000 – 50.000 välimaastossa. Vasta Kesäkuussa ylitti 10.000. Alussa lineaarinen kasvu, viime aikana hidastunut. Tästä kertoo arvostelujen määrän kehitys, alkuryntäyksen 200 lisäksi tuli vain 20 enää kk:ssa 08-09/2018. Plus Apple-käyttäjät; 40.000 on siis ystävällisesti arvioitu.

UPDATE 26.8.2018: Kuvankaappaus.
& Joku riskisijoittaja tarjoaa nyt 1,00€ per osake. Antikurssista -93%. Liian kallis?
[EDIT muodollisuudet]

Valkee Humancharger shutdown – temporary or final?

This blog – as the previous earlightswindle.com – was once reporting exclusively about the multifaceted scamming activities of finnish company Valkee Ltd, maker of the fake “light therapy device” HumanCharger.

Now it seems they are finally phasing out of business. The company is technically bankrupt since March 2017, but now

The finnish trade register says, that in May 2018 the main shareholders LifeLine Ventures, Vera and Merieux forgave the company another 230.000€ convertible loan; i.e. was converted into worthless shares. The same happened to several other such loans during the last two years, rising the amount of burnt money to more than 10 million Euro.

The next months will now be decisive. I am looking forward and will inform as always.

Valkee jakaa tohtoriarvoja, osa 2/3: Antti Flyktman

Poikkeuksellisesti kirjoitan text-only, koska minulta kysyttiin kommentti. Tiedätte, että faktat täällä pitävät paikkansa, toisin kuin kielenkäyttö. Linkit myöhemmin, googlekaa itse tarvittaessa. Olen Tanskassa, tämä tulee puhelimesta.

La 30.6.2018 on seuraava Valkee-väitös tulossa. Tällä kertaa luonnontieteellinen, ei lääketieteen tiedekunnasta kuin viimeksi. Päivä mielestäni ei ole sattuma, viikonloppuna just kun kesäloman ydinaika alkaa. Erittäin likainen temppu yritetään, ja vaikka olen nähnyt paljon Oulun Yliopistolta, en uskonut että sellaista on mahdollista. Toisin kävi. Olin siis väärällä jalalla.

Mikä väitös:

3-artikkelin väitöskirja, josta vain yksi julkaistu tiedejournalissa. J Exp Biol, impact factor ok. Kyseenalainen asetelma valon intensiteetin ja kontrolliryhmän kannalta, mutta olkoon. Tavallista kamaa siis. Jos OY:lta saa tohtoriarvon yhdestä hiirikokeesta, ei ole minun ongelma.

Toinen artikkeli on huijauslehdessä julkaistu, J Neurol Res. OYn sännöt kieltävät predatory publication väitöskirjassa. Kansainvälisesti tällaista ei pidetä edes akateemisena toimintana. Toisaalta tällaista nähtiin jo muissa korvavalo-väitöksissä.

Kolmas juttu on manuscript-tilassa.

Väitösfarssin osapuolet:

Ohjaajana/kustoksena toimii “korvavalon isoisä” Seppo Saarela, joka vuosia auttanut Valkeeta markkinoinnissa. Muistetaan vielä tempustaan Hesarissa, jossa hän firman henkilöstöön kuuluvan Jari Karhun kanssa puolustanut korvavaloa vastauksena tiedetoimittajan kolumnille. Oulun yliopisto joutui tutkimaan, onko Saarela rikkonut intressiristiriita-sääntöjä (mikä oli hölmö, koska HS on siviililehti, eikä OY pystynyt tekemään mitään Karhun tapauksessa).

Karhu on väitöstilaisuuden vastaväittäjä. Kuulostaa uskomattomalta, mutta OY oikeasti ottaa Valkeen miehen valkeeväitöksen “vasta”(!)väittäjänä. Karhu pääsi firman palkkalistalle 2013, kun suursijoitus mahdollisti rekrytöintiä. LinkedIn-profiilinsa mukaan hän on yhä firman neuvonantajana nyt. Kun Valkee ahdingossaan myöhemmin antoi kenkää “tiede”väelle, Karhu jäi “tiedetiimin johtajana”, entisellä nettisivuilla luki.

Tiedotteessa henkilö kutsutaan “Professori Jari Karhu, Suomen Terveystalo Oy”. Tämä tuskin on akateeminen laitos. Karhu on siellä ylempi johtaja. Mies oli joskus neurofysiologian professori Kuopiossa, kunnes virka loppui. Mistä tämä titteli siis?

Karhu ei ole asian tuntija. Hän ei ole julkaistanut yhtä samansuuntaista juttua, ei vuorokausirytmistä, valosta, hiirten aivoproteiineista. Ainoa “pätevyyden näyttö” on, että on Valkeen asialla. Eli mikä pitäisi olla poissulkusyy, on Oulussa hyväksynnän peruste.

Väittelijä itse kirjoittaa “kiitokset”-osuudessa suhteestaan Valkeeseen. Lyhyesti mikä täällä tapahtuu: Valkeen tutkija saa tohtoriarvon korvavaloprofessorilta, ja vastaväittäjäkin on Valkeelta. Ei mitään voi siis mennä pieleen. Jopa selkeä tieteellinen väärinkäyttö, joka mualla johtuisi hylkämiseen, ei se mitään, hyväksytään. Varma nakki, kiitos Oulun Yliopistolle tästä!

Tämä väitös oli ym. mielessäni, kun kirjoitin Valkeen Heidi Jurvelinin väitöstilaisuuden yhteydessä, että Oulussa on pahempiakin. Tähän verrattuna Maaliskuun kohuväitös on huippulaatua.

Ettei tule väärinkäsityksiä, en ole katkera tai vihainen, päinvastoin. Viimeinen Valkee-väitös oli laajasti esillä netissä ja mediassa. Yleisö saattaa vihdoin ymmärtää, mikä skandaalin tutkijat jo pitkään tiedämme – että kyseessä on tietoinen ja tahallinen toiminta yliopiston puolelta. Ei ole akateeminen vapaus joka joskus synnyttää outoja tuloksia. Ei ollut vahinko. Akateemisen järjestelmän systemaatinen hyväksi- ja väärinkäyttö.

Only in Oulu?

 

Ps. Lukekaa readers’ comments alla.

Acetylcysteine does not prevent hangover, study shows (update)

N-Acetyl-L-Cysteine (NAC)-containing supplements are widely propagated for hangover prevention, although there’s been no scientific evidence backing this claims. First-ever results from a placebo-controlled hangover trial now became available.

The popular supplements are useless. NAC does not prevent hangover.

This blog has written extensively in finnish about a scam product by Rohtos Labs from Oulu. Called SUOJA – formerly Detoxformula -, it contains NAC as main ingredience, and was sold internationally.

 

What trial?

The world’s first-ever placebo-controlled trial of NAC in hangover prevention was conducted already in August – December 2015 in Pennsylvania, US. Run by the St. Luke’s Hospital and Health Network, it enrolled 62 people and used a crossover design.

49 participants had analysable data. They were randomized in groups of 23 and 26. 2/3 were male, race was not recorded. Alcoholism was an exclusion criterium. Outcome measure was the Hangover Symptoms Scale (HSS), which has 13 items á 4 pts max. The worst (but unimaginable) hangover thus would score 52 pts.

Participants drank beer until reaching a blood alcohol concentration of 0.1. The number of drinks was recorded, and NAC 600mg capsules were given, 1 caps for 3 drinks. The next morning, participants filled out the HSS questionnaire.

The results should make NAC sellers and users feel uncomfortable: NAC and placebo had exactly the same effect. The HSS scores were 0-35 and 0-38, respectively. That means, that hangover really occured and the alcohol dose was sufficient – as should have been the NAC dose.

Still worse, NAC had significantly more side effects than placebo. In the Acetylcysteine group, 22% of users experienced adverse effects, while in the placebo group adverse reactions were registered in only 8%.

These results became available a few days ago through the Study results-tab of the trial’s registry entry at clinicaltrials.gov. Ahead or in place of a peer-reviewed publication, they went completely unnoticed by the supplements community.

This demonstrates again, how dietary supplements are used without justification, based only on lab studies. Rarely such useless and potentially hazardous “biohacks” get so cleanly refuted as in this case.

***UPDATE 9.7.2018***

The second, bigger NAC study with 200 participants was now terminated early. Obviously it was deemed futile to try to demonstrate a non-existent effect.

NCT03104959