Category Archives: pseudoscience

Viranomaiset: Rohtos Labs-“Krapulapilleri” myydään laittomasti

Viime kuussa tämä blogi uutisoi tuoreesta “krapulapilleri”-huijauksesta. Oululaisvalmistaja Rohtos Labs (eli Rohtos Oy) myy Detoxformula-valmisteensa krapulaoireiden lieventämiseen ja “maksan suojaana”.

Lääkealan turvallisuus- ja kehittämiskeskus FIMEA:lta saadun tiedon mukaan Rohtos Labs-verkkosivuilla esitetyt väittämät ovat laittomia ravintolisälle. Tämä tuskin yllättää, firman koko konsepti on ongelmallinen: Rohtos Oy haluaa myydä ravintolisät “käytännön tarpeisiin“. Tämä on jo lähtökohtaisesti hyvin lähellä käyttöaihetta, joka saa olla vain lääkkeellä.

Tieto tapauksesta on alkuviikolla viran toimesta välitetty EVIRA:lle, joka on  toimivaltainen viranomainen elintarvikkeiden valvonnassa Suomessa.

Valvontaviranomaiset puuttuvat yksittäisen tuotteen myyntiin silloin, kun on aihetta epäillä tuotteen olevan terveydelle haitallinen tai jos tuotteesta annetut tiedot ovat puutteellisia tai virheellisiä tai muuten säännösten ja määräysten vastaisia.

Ilmoitan, jos on uusia käänteitä tässä asiassa. Kannattaa seurata firman nettisivuja ja Eviran uutisia.

[ blogiin voi ottaa yhteyttä ]

Tylsin huijaus Oulusta: Rohtos Oy Detoxformula

UPDATE 13.7.2017: Eikä olekaan tylsä tapaus, viranomaiset tutkivat sitä juuri nyt.
2.8.2017: FIMEA antoi lausunnon, jonka mukaan Eviran pitäisi puuttua myyntiin.

“Isänmaallinen” verkkolehti Uusi Suomi kertoi eilen Rohtos Oy-nimisen startup-yrityksen valmistamasta uudenlaisesta krapulapillerista. Oululainen firma perustettiin 9 kk sitten Luova Nutraceuticals Oy:nä. Sen toimiala on “Lääketeollisuus”.

Toimitusjohtaja Marko Petteri Mäkinen esintyy jutussa sopivasti valkoisessa takissa, vaikka hänellä ei ole alan kokemusta tai koulutusta. Hän on pyörinyt samassa osoitteessa muutamia pikkufirmoja, mm. LionEar Oy ja Professional Audio Company Finland Oy.

us-rohtos

Toinen perustajista on Sasu-Kimmo Aleksis Ripatti, joka on lehden mukaan “itseoppinut biohakkeroinnin eli ihmiskehon optimoinnin tuntija”. Hänet tunnetaan paremmin taiteilijanimellään Vladislav Delay. Muusiikko sai viime vuonna Pohjois-Pohjanmaan ja Kainuun taidepalkkinnon, eli 5000€ veikkausrahaa.

vladislav-delay

Kaksikko otti mukaan kollegan, joka on “koulutukseltaan biokemisti”, saadakseen heti TEKES-avustuksen. Se oli vain 6200€, koska firma pääsi kaupparekisteriin vasta Marraskuun 2016 puolivälissä. Perinteisesti TEKES maksaa Oululais”startup”-yrityksille reilumpia summia, jotta firma jäisi hetkeksi pystyyn.

luova-tekes

Värikkäästä taustasta huolimatta firman tuote on varsin tylsä. Se on tavallinen “Detox”-, eli huijauspilleri. Tutkimustuloksia ei ole, johon terveysväitteet voisivat perustua. Sitä ei tarvita saadakseen TEKES-rahaa ja maksutonta mainontaa Uudessa Suomessa. Firma ilmeisesti arvioi, että alkoholisteillekin tuotetta voi myydä ilman todisteita.

Verkkomyynnissä oleva pilleri sisältää sekoituksen “synteettisiä valmisteita että luonnon rohdoksia ja vitamiineja”. Jutussa mainitaan NAC eli N-Acetylcystein. Pörssiyhtiö BioHit Oy, joka harrastaa muutenkin kyseenalaista toimintaa, myy jo useiden vuosien ajan Acetium-kapseleitaan. Ne sisältävät L-Cysteiniä, joka on NAC:n lähisukulainen, ja niitä käytetään jo pitkään “krapulan helpottamiseen“. NAC on käytössä myös akuutisen Paracetamol-myrkytyksen hoidossa.

Uuden Suomen-artikkelissa puhuu alkoholitutkija Peter Eriksson. Tieteellisesti oikein hän sanoo, ettei ole täysin mahdotonta, että pillerillä olisi jonkinlainen myönteinen vaikutus. Olemattoman asian olemattomuus ei voi todistaa, siksi ei voi tätä sulkea pois. Lehti tekee siitä “ekspertin lausuma”, jonka mukaan tuote voisi oikeasti toimia. Erikssonin olisi pitänyt tietää, ettei toimittajiin voi luottaa, jos on kyse isänmaallisestä huijauksesta.

Kun verrataan muihin Oululaishuijauksiin, esim. ASMO-turvalaturiin tai vaikka Valkee-korvavaloon, tämä on varsin tylsä huijaus. Lehtijutulla oli jo myönteinen vaikutus valmistajalle: Tuote on tilapäisesti loppunut Rohtos Labs-kaupasta.

detoxformula

New HumanCharger study, old trick: Predatory publication

Here we go again: The finnish earlight maker Valkee Ltd has published its next study of their HumanCharger device. This time, it’s about neurotransmitters and proteins in “transcranially illuminated” mouse brain.

 

The article is published in the “open access” Journal of Neurology Research. The journal is published by Elmer Press, a canadian predatory Publisher.

jnrnew6

There are several Valkee/HumanCharger papers in questionable journals, so this is no surprise. Again, no real peer-reviewed publication wanted the finnish pseudoscience in its pages.

elmeri-funding

The scam company (here called “Valkee Inc.”) is listed as study sponsor, and most of the authors are related to Valkee. Interestingly, professor Timonen is not listed as a shareholder – that may have been “forgotten” to declare, or he really sold his stake.

The paper itself is just another junk article in a fake journal, but there are implications for the institute of professor Seppo Saarela at the University of Oulu, which oversaw this “research”. University funding is partially based on scientific publications, and a predatory article actually means a financial loss for the department.

A junk paper is counted with -90% (article worth x 0,1) according to present university law. Classification is done by the Publication Forum maintained by Finland’s learned societies. At the moment, the “Journal of Neurology Research” has not been classified officially by the institution. That’s possibly a reason why Valkee’s researchers did submit the paper to Elmer Press.

The main reason,  however, is that naive customers and investors can be fooled with another article. The paper cannot be found via standard database searches like PubMed/MedLine, so the results are unavailable and lost for the scientific community.

That may be a problem also for its main author, which got a 24.000€ grant (PDF p.37) from the Alfred Kordelin Foundation to produce a thesis on “Earlight effects on light-sensitive proteins in rodents’ brains”.

flyktman-vedatys

Huikea huijaus Yliopiston Apteekissa: Magnesium Spray

Yliopiston apteekki mainostaa tällä hetkellä New Organics Oy:n tuotteita Magnesium Spray5006-512 ja Magnesium Spray Nivelille5006-512.  –  Kansalle, joka osti korvan kautta toimivaa kaamosmasennuslamppua, voi ilmeisesti myös myydä magnesiumisuihke, joka vaikuttaa ihon läpi.

mghuijaus

Magnesiumin vaikutus “suonenvetoihin” on kansanusko. Tieteelliset tutkimukset osoittivat, että sillä on pelkästään lumevaikutus. Terveysväitteillä ei ole minkäänlaista perustetta – ja tässä on kyse suihkeesta, ei ravintolisästä. Ihmisen iho on luonnollinen este metalli-ioneille, eli myös magnesiumille.

150ml-pullo maksaa 18,20€; kampanjassa 15,80€. Kolmen Euron lisämaksulla saat version “nivelille”, joka sisältää mentolin ja arnikauutteen ohella vielä glukosamiinia. Kela ei korvaa sitä enää, koska sen “vaikutus nivelrikkopotilaan kipuun tai toimintakykyyn ei eroa lumelääkkeestä5006-512. Glukosamiini on muuten jo todistetusti tehoton, ja tässä se ei oteta suun kautta, vain suihkeena.

Kysyin farmaseutilta, onko Magnesium Sprayn vaikuttavuudesta tietoa.

Sinä | 18:36:47
Hei, valikoimassanne on Magnesium Spray ja tämän -nivel versio, valmistajana New Organics Oy. Näin tänä aamuna mainoksen kun kävin YA:ssa. Onko minkäänlaista näyttöä vaikuttavuudesta, ja mihin perustuvat väitteet että se toimii ihon läpi? Kuulostaa epäuskottavalta.

Raukka oli ilmeisesti täysin pihalla. Hän vastasi:

Farmaseutti | 18:40:45
Hei! Ihon läpi imeytyviä valmisteita on paljon markkinoilla sekä reseptilla, että ilman reseptiä. Suosittelen kokeilemaan jos kärsii nivelvaivoista ja haluaa jotain muuta kuin suun kautta olevaa tuotetta. Moni käyttäjä on kehunut tuotteita.

Ja kun sanoin, onko ehkä huijauksesta kyse, sain tämän eepisen vastauksen:

Farmaseutti | 18:50:01
Ei ole mielestäni huuhaata, myös suomessa valmistettuja.

Eli vaikka tullaan apteekissa huijatuksi, se on ainakin isänmaallinen teko. Sama kuin korvavalolla.

***

Ei edes magnesiumipituisuudesta ole tietoa. Valmistaja New Organics Oy vaikenee siitä myös omalla nettisivullaan.

Jos joku haluaa kaikesta huolimatta laittaa magnesiumi iholle, suosittelen Orion Pharma:n Magnesiamaito. Se maksaa vain murto-osan (400ml 13€) ja on myös kotimainen tuote. Saa ilman reseptia.

mgmaito

New Organics Oy on kertomansa mukaan innovaatiivinen kasvuyritys, jonka arvoihinsa kuuluisi

  • + Täydellinen rehellisyys

Olisi hyvä aloittaa sillä jo tänään, ja lopettaa huijauksen. Sama pätee tietysti Yliopiston Apteekkiin.

 

Finnish “innovation agency” leader: Evolution is a question of belief

…those are the oldest brain areas, if you believe that the brain has developed evolutionary, in a way […] depending to who you listen to

This (and other stunning announcements) is from an interview* by Timo Ahopelto, a lead strategist5006-512 at Finland’s tax-financed innovation funding agency TEKES. Many of his companies received TEKES funding5006-512 – including the ill-fated Valkee Ltd5006-512.

Ahopelto has made antivax statements5006-512 and often uses crude war- and propaganda rhetoric5006-512, especially against critics. Another incredible demonstration of what – or who – is possible in Finland, with the right connections and political support.

*at 27:55 in the SmartDrugsSmart podcast, MP3 download here 5006-512.

Suomeksi:

nuo ovat aivojen vanhimmat osat, jos uskot että aivot kehittyivät evolutionäärisesti, [se tavallaan] riippuu siitä, keneltä kysyt

Don’t use HumanCharger for Seasonal Affective Disorder: Valkee fools the FDA

As reported earlier on earlightswindle.com, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has refused the import of Valkee’s HumanCharger earlight headset into the States, when it was misbranded as a therapy device. But now Valkee Ltd actually did a rererere-launch of their hokuspokus in Canada and the US. How is this possible?

Valkee’s resellers explain on amazon.com, how Valkee circumvents FDA requirements.
Hold on to your seats!

“Doesn’t this need FDA approval?”

valkee-fuck-fda

“Only if advertised for use in Seasonal Affective Disorder. The product is advertised for Winter Blues”

It can not make any effectiveness claims, it gets no FDA approval – but it works “for winter blues”? That’s a synonym.

The USA is a known minefield for health fraud businesses like Valkee’s, because of class action suits. Power Balance, the magnetic wrist band sellers, had to return most of their shady businesses’ profits, because they made false health claims.

Valkee really doesn’t know better than to fool around with U.S. legislation. On the other hand, there is nothing to regain from Valkee, as the Company has no assets. They didn’t make even profits.

Congratulations to Merieux Developpement, TEKES and SITRA for making these shameful maneuvres possible. This is what sustainable businesses look like (in Finland)!

Russian TB Quacks 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 quackery. 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.

Surprise: Elisa Oyj sells Valkee-succeeding Oura crap

Some twists in the Valkee saga still may surprise me. That one is hard to comment:

Oura-Valkee-Somerto-Elisa

Oura-Valkee-Somerto-Elisa

[ background 1 ] [ background 2 ] [ background 3 ]

The Oura ring is another gadget linked to unfounded claims, misleading advertising, and Valkee. Elisa Oyj‘s new Business Development Director is the former CEO of Valkee, and multiple Valkee employees now appear at Oura, which original name is JouZen Oy. Valkee’s co-founder is listed among the inventors of Oura’s founding patents. Among JouZen/Oura leaders is Petteri Lahtela, from Valkee’s Japan operations.

A so-called butt-on-bucket constellation, with helping hands by good old boys.

Valkee’s chairman joining antivax conspiracists?

Valkee Ltd’s chairman Timo Ahopelto has often been reluctant to give interviews to critical, or un-bribed reporters. The finnish SEURA magazine tried to get an interview last year, but he refused for many weeks. Finally Ahopelto agreed to answer questions, which he approved beforehand. Here is what he said about the faulty scientific base for Valkee’s claims:

“In Finland, there are also doctors who want everybody to be vaccinated against influenza. Others think nobody should be vaccinated, and then there’s everything in between. In science, it takes time to find the final truth and get it accepted. Things get either rejected or accepted at a certain time. For Valkee, the talk in Finland is not very important. Here’s 5 million people, but the world has 8 billions.”

In Finnish:

”Onhan Suomessa lääkäreitäkin, joiden mielestä kaikkien pitäisi ottaa influenssarokote, toisten mielestä kenenkään ei pitäisi ottaa, ja kaikkea siltä väliltä. Tieteessä lopullisen totuuden löytäminen ja hyväksytyksi saattaminen vie aikaa; asiat joko hylätään tai hyväksytään tietyssä vaiheessa. Valkeen kannalta suomalainen keskustelu ei ole kovin merkityksellinen. Täällä on 5 miljoonaa ihmistä, ja maailmassa on 8 miljardia.”

 

Ahopelto has defended Valkee’s actions with conspiracy theories before. For finnish readers, the SEURA article is worth a read. An important piece about probably corruptive practices in TEKES. — However, stay tuned for Monday, April 4th.

New (not so) independent study: Valkee’s HumanCharger is a placebo (Update)

The finnish earlight maker Valkee Ltd is putting all-in on the american market after plunging sales in Europe. Its product, the premium-priced placebo HumanCharger, is sold with wonder claims online by Walmart and others:

Walmart as a co-scammer!

  • Keep in sync, all the time: regular exposure to light helps maintain the rhythm of our natural body clock, so with HumanCharger you always feel “in sync”
  • Better sleep, better health: HumanCharger reduces the need for excess sleep and reduces food cravings associated with jetlag, tiredness and low energy levels

At the same time, the second independent study about the device’s effects (or the lack thereof) is published. The result … is the same as in all other placebo-controlled tests.

Independent trial: Valkee is a sleep and mood placebo

It is concluded that transcranial bright light, at times where conventional light therapy has phase-advancing properties, did not influence any sleep parameters differently than placebo.

This is by no means surprising, as the first independent trial, published in November 2013, came to similar conclusions with a somewhat different methodology. Valkee’s HumanCharger has no effects on circadian rhythms. The new independent study is from the University of Bergen, Norway. With 50 participants, it was adequately powered to detect any effects consistent with Valkee claims.

The company has admitted, that their earlight doesn’t have any physiological effect comparable to standard light therapy. Their own data also show, that it does not influence Melatonin or Cortisol like real light therapy. Now we know, it doesn’t improve or at least change sleep in any way.

The HumanCharger does not influence the biological clock.
No “better sleep. better health – sync with the sun”. It’s all made up.

Ironically, Valkee Ltd is just touring the US with exactly these false claims. The company has been presenting on the Consumer Electronics Show CES2016 from Jan 6-9 in Las Vegas. It would be interesting to see the reactions of any resellers, when they realize that the HumanCharger again is scientifically demonstrated to be humbug.

 

Update 1: I got the study pdf. Cool, that was fast! Big thanks to J. – and to all the other nice readers whose support I am experiencing regularly.

Update 2: According to the small print in the full text, Valkee Ltd paid 12.000 Euros for this trial. That’s more than for the ice hockey trial a few years ago. But they did not get full control over the results and the publishing. Literally a bad investment. (16.1.2016)