Category Archives: science

Acetylcysteine does not prevent hangover, study shows

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.
(A few days after my last post the finnish version capsules became unavailable.)

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.

A BEMER representative answers

A BEMER rep from the US has answered to my investigative piece about the mysterious “Institute for Microcirculation”. Leaving a VIP.bemergroup link, she used 3 popular deception techniques: The straw man attack, a conspiracy theory, and fogging (aka Chewbacca defense).

If not self-evident, read my comments below. Markers added. There’s also some historic background related to East Germany which may be totally unknown to american readers, at least.

According to this bio I found online–Dr Klopp is currently 75 years old, which may be why he is difficult to track currently. I don’t believe there was ever a BEMER institute of Microcirculation-it is not recorded in the history of BEMER international AG, Liechtenstein-but rather Dr Klopp pioneered research in microcirulation and BEMER contacted them for evaluation of their product(s). Dr Klopp was a physician and professor at Humbolt University in Berlin (Charite) holding director and teaching positions of both undergraduates in physics and biophysics, and as a senior physician of the Institute of Cardiovascular Diagnostics and researcher in the medical school. He founded a research institute of microcirculation while at Charite in 1991 and was awarded research monies from the German government as well as other sources.

Dr. Klopp is well published in Europe.

Average of retirement in Germany is 62 to 65 years old. In 1991, the year his separate institute for microcirculation studies was formed on the campus of Charite, Dr Klopp was 48 yeas old–he is now 75 years old. Dr Klopp worked with the founder of BEMER Intl AG Peter Gleim to study and understand the original BEMER wave signal and provided validation of their product’s impact on the capillary and micro capillary system in the human body . BEMER did not own his Institute of Microcirculation which he founded at Charite University medical center. In the review of published research on pubmed.gov where he is listed as an author over the past 11 years there is no mention of the research being conducted at the Institute of Microcirculation–indicating that it is probably not an active research facility, hence you would not find it on the campus. This is not really a validating factor that it did not exist, and even here in the USA physicians, professors and clinical researchers are often referred to by the last position they held before retirement. They are often consultants that can still be involved in ongoing research.

While I appreciate your investigation of the campus attempting to locate the Institute of Microcirculation, a further investigation of an actual interview with Dr Klopp himself, review of current research on BEMER wave signal–such as the USA Dept of Defense research on wound healing presented at the IMIN conference in Florida in Sept 2016, research of the history of the formation of the institution of its original charter, financial contracts, employees, etc which are records of the state university – Humbolt University(Charite) and the government records of Germany would be much more informative of the actual work of Dr Klopp and his founding of the Institute of Microcirculation–rather than chasing addresses and drawing conclusions from that.

In the USA many foundations, non-profits etc are formed specifically to financially support the research of work of physicians, clinical researchers etc These entities have university addresses that are fluid and are often decided upon committees of the university and have no real bearing on exactly where research is conducted. As a quick perusal I just did an internet research for a well respected deceased physician researcher–former Assoc Dean of Medicine for Stanford Univ School of Medicine and Head of multiple departments at Stanford, who was recruited to Harvard University with a significantly higher research dollar budget–neither of his research centers laboratories are even named in his bio–yet they took in 100’s of millions of dollars in funding. There is no current record of their addresses that you would find if you tried to locate them in the manner of which you did your research on an institute of microcirculation associated with Dr Klopp, and a never in existence “BEMER” institute of microcirculation.

I would also recommend a search of who owns the English website of Institute of Microcirculation should be investigated(where you obtained a current address from)–the style of English content does not appear to be written by Dr Klopp himself as it does not match his other writings I have read–English translations originally written in German.

I am a skeptic, open skeptic, with a history of university and hospital administration, USA Natl Institute of Health clinical studies site coordinator, and have supported clinical research at Univ of Calif San Francisco and Stanford Univ. I also have experience as a research analyst for high tech and biotech startups and expansions being evaluated for venture capital and other sources of funding. I recently traveled to Liechtenstein to BEMER Intl AG headquarters and met much of their staff as well as members of the founding Gleim family. I also before going to visit their headquarters, I read ( having had translated for me by a native German speaker and research scientist) 10 peer reviewed studies on the BEMER wave signal, as well as video conference attended the most recent IMIN conference 2016 in Florida, and have read some of the transcripts on current research and case histories presented by physicians at a conference of approximately 400 medical doctors at a medical research conference on BEMER wave signal in Europe fall 2017.

After thorough research, and personal testing of the BEMER Pro device, I decided to become a BEMER independent distributor. I do not speak on behalf of the company, but from my own personal point of view.

I never looked for a non-existing “BEMER institute”. My text stated clearly that I searched for the “Institute for Microcirculation”, which BEMER Group links with high visibility directly from its homepage (falsely listed as “University”):

“BEMER” is the name of the method. It’s the same as calling an institute known for yoga yoga institute or an institute that developed SEMTEX the Semtex institute. Note the quotation marks. This is an classic example of a straw man fallacy: Constructing a fault which isn’t there to “disprove” it.

I found it always fascinating, how proponents of “Alternative medicine” are refusing to acknowledge obvious facts, and rather create or maintain conspiracy theories. An impressive example can be seen above: The flimsy website of the fake institute is too shameful for the glorious BEMER group propaganda, so it must be owned by some sinister force.

The WHOIS service is now heavily redacted – thanks to GDPR-, but the rest of the entry for Klopp’s “institute” still shows his name.

Searching for the “institute” on Google meanwhile brings up Klopp’s apartment as its location – just as I found out on the spot.

 

The rest of the comment contains mainly irrelevant listing of great but unrelated things, names, money, institutions and titles, meant to distract from the bizarre reality.

***

The whole comment is of a quality that demands a reframing. The following may not be easy to understand for westeners or the younger generation. However, things were as they were.

In the 1990s, I studied medicine at the Charité/Humboldt University in Berlin. I’m from East Germany, just like Dr. Klopp. We lived in the so-called German Democratic Republic (GDR) for longer than we did in unified Germany (in my case, because I’m in self-imposed exile since the 2000s). In 1992/93 I worked less than 200 metres away from were the “Institute for Microcirculation” claims to have been. My father is from the very same area in the North-East of Berlin, and I know places, people and conditions since my childhood. Hence my motivation to check this out – I found it interesting and knew it’s feasible.

In the GDR, high positions in university departments were not for the outstanding scientists. Professors’ posts were for the politically extremely reliable, hardened communist party members. Even a staff physicist as Angela Merkel had to deliver in marxist-leninist theory to gain a postdoc position. Often department leaders had close ties to the Ministry for State Security (>>Stasi) and typically were party members.

When it all fell apart in 1989-1991, as the communist regimes collapsed, professors and deans found themselves on catapult seats. Plenty got fired for “Staatsnähe” or Stasi contacts. The most prominent case in Berlin was the rector of the Humboldt University, Heinrich Fink, for being a long-time Stasi agent. Leading MDs had boosted their career with misconduct, even with criminal activities. (Suggested reading: >>”Es geht um unsere Ehre”, Der Spiegel 35/1991.)

The Institute for Cardiovascular Diagnostics at the Charité, where Klopp claims to have had a senior position (Oberarzt) as well at the then-Institute for Microcirculation were interlinked with the Zentralinstitut fuer Herz-Kreislauf-Forschung (ZIHK) in Berlin-Buch. The latter was known for strong party- and Stasi-connections. The ZIHK was famous, amongst other things, for employing the son of Stasi minister Erich Mielke, Major Frank Mielke, as a “scientist”. Klopp’s “Publications” page has numerous ZIHK monographs, indicating intense cooperation. The ZIHK was located, as it happens, at the Campus Berlin-Buch, Robert-Rössle-Str.10 – just the adress were Klopp’s “institute” now evaporated.

In 1991/1992 those leading doctors who were fired – or expected to be fired soon – often founded own companies or “institutes”. This is the background of the “Institute for Microcirculation”, which had no future at the Humboldt university. Nothing could differ more from the US picture with Stanford, millions of dollars, and scientific merits.

The scientific community in Germany, as well as now in Finland, merely has a humoristic approach to Klopp’s “research”, if any. BEMER International attempts to change this by spending big money for congresses and marketing stunts. It’s natural that some fall for it.

Landmark study from Finland: BEMER useless in Fibromyalgia (and otherwise)

A well-conducted placebo-controlled trial in Finland has demonstrated, that the controversial BEMER therapy is useless in Fibromyalgia, finnish media has just reported.[>>1] The trial results have just been published in the respected Bioelectromagnetics journal ahead of print.[>>2]

bemer-fibromyalgia-study-finland

In the study, 108 patients with fibromyalgia diagnosis according to American College of Rheumatology’s (ACR) criteria were randomized to active (N=57) and sham treatment (N=51). They used the BEMER devices as advised in manufacturer instructions for 12 weeks. Then the groups crossed over, meaning that every participant had active and sham treatment at some time.

There was exactly no difference between sham and real BEMER treatment at the end of these periods. The study was adequately powered to find even small differences between sham and active application. Thus, it strongly refutes earlier results from the much smaller trials, which seemed to hint at an effect.

Furthermore, the authors comprehensively explain why there is no effect: The magnetic field is far too weak to affect human physiology or microcirculation. Therefore, it’s unlikely that this kind of “therapy” will have anything else than a placebo effect also in other uses.

Because it is an important study, and it was financed by public funds from finnish tax payers like me, I make the full text article available here. Objections be directed at earlightswindle@gmail.com.

Full text: BEMER Magnetic Field Therapy in Fibromyalgia (PDF)

See also:
My fruitless search for the “Institute for Microcirculation”, where the BEMER method was developed.

Will a finnish startup “democratize space travel”?

After failing all previous deadlines, finnish cross-media startup Space Nation Oy (formerly Cohu Experience Oy) is set to launch its long-awaited app tomorrow, 7th April 2018. The best users are to take part in a reality-TV “astronaut boot camp” and, finally, one of them will go to space. At least, that’s the plan.

R3MP

The company promised high profits from the beginning and predicted a landslide success for their app, comparing it to Supercell’s Hay Day and Clash of Clans. But there are striking problems, which remained largely unclear to the crowdfunding investors that made the story possible.

 

The User Base

Gaming apps have different target groups and user base than Space Nation’s “astronaut training” app. Not everybody wants to go to space, and certainly it’s not even worth a try for most. Why should I take part in a contest I can’t win?

Me going to space?

Me going to space?

Space Nation promised several prizes and rewards to fix this. But is there a need for a “NASA-approved game app”?

 

No spaceflight, no TV rights

As I wrote before, there is no space flight in sight that would be available for Space Nation’s wannabe astronaut. Virgin Galactic has been “months away” from its first space tourist flight for more than a decade. SpaceX does not attempt manned flight in the near future, and BlueOrigin seems to be late still.

And what if there’d be really the possibility to send a reality-TV winner to space? That would mean, that space tourism is nothing special or interesting anymore. At a time when hundreds of fare-paying hobby astronauts did already go to space, a Space Nation candidate is just another civilian on a suborbital seat. The only difference is that he didn’t pay for the trip by himself.

 

Nothing won, nothing lost?

The probable course of events will be, that the app will generate some moderate income through in-app purchases. Micropayments will keep Space Nation Oy afloat for some time. The crowdfunders will not get their exorbitant returns, but if they are lucky, their losses may not be 100% of the investment.

The idea of financing a space trip through media rights is nothing new. The blueprint came from MarsOne, which is still existing (but failed). In the beginning, they managed to start a gigantic media hype – but they planned for something extreme, a mars mission. A several minutes suborbital flight, as promised by Space Nation, is not close to that in any way.

One thing seems clear already: Space Nation will hardly “democratize space flight“. That’s as if I’d promise to democratize wealth by means of a lottery. An illusion to keep users interested, as any lottery does by promising life-change through a jackpot win.

YLE oikaisee: Viiltäjä-Jackin henkilöllisyys ei ole paljastettu

Tämä oli nopea: YLE Uutiset on oikaissut jutunsa, jossa toistuvasti väitettiin suomalaisen Jari Louhelainen paljastaneen Jack the Ripper, eli nk. Viiltäjä-Jackin. Pari päivää sitten kirjoitin tästä ankasta, joka elää yhä Suomen mediassa, vaikka kyseessä on huijaus.

Helsingin Sanomat teki 2015 vielä laajan jutun tästä valeuutisesta.

Voivoi, Hesari.

Voivoi, Hesari.

Suomen Kuvalehden Marko Hamilo syyllistyi jopa vuosi sitten, Syyskuussa 2016, Louhelaisen perättömien väitteiden siunaamiseen.

Louhelainen on puolustautunut salaliittoteorioilla. Hän olisi astunut monien Lontoolaisten varpaiden päälle, koska Viiltäjä-Jackin arvoitus oli heille hyvä rahalähde. Sellaista epäasiallista puhetta pitäisi aina olla hälytysmerkki. Todellisuudessa Louhelainen rahasti huijauksellaan. Kritiikki oli tullut ympäri maailma, Itävallasta, Australiasta, Ruotsista, jne.

Kiitokset YLE:lle. Teit oikein.

YLE ja ankka: Suomalaistutkija ei ole paljastanut Viiltäjä-Jackin

Famously failed ripperologist Jari Louhelainen gives strange expertise in finnish court. Against scientific proof and international consensus, Finland’s media still treats him as the man who identified Jack the Ripper.

YLE Uutiset nosti vanhan ankan pöydälle: Suomalainen maailmankuuluisa DNA-tutkija olisi paljastanut Viiltäjä-Jackin (eli Jack the Ripper) ja tuli nyt Suomeen todistamaan oikeudessa koirasusi-jutussa. Mahdollisesti suuri osa maan susista olisi koirasusia.

yle-ankka-susi

Ei se nyt näin ollut.

Se on totta, että mies vieraili Suomessa todistajana. Loput väitteistä ei pidä paikkansa.

Pahamaineinen brittilehti Daily Mail (nk. tabloid1 eli roskalehti) oli Syyskuussa 2014 kertonut, että eräs harrastuskriminologi olisi suomalaisprofessorin kanssa paljastanut vihdoin ja lopullisesti Viiltäjä-Jackin henkilöllisyyden.[<1>] Satoja muita oli väittänyt saman jo ennen tätä (ja lukuisia sen jälkeen), mutta tällä kertaa kaikki olisi toisin. Kuuluisa DNA-tutkija olisi saanut yhdeltä tekopaikalta otetusta huivista DNA-näytteen, joka paljasti varmuudella 1:290.000 Aaron Kosminski murhien tekijänä. Erittäin harvinainen mutaatio olisi löytynyt Kosminskin elävältä jälkeläiseltä sekä huivista.

Tutkijan nimi on Jari Louhelainen. Hän oli mm. Helsingin yliopiston dosentti, ja työskenteli silloin Englannissa, Liverpoolin John Moores Universityn professorina. Louhelainen ei ole huippuasiantuntija. Hän on piirissään varmasti arvostettu, niin kuin jokainen professori on. Louhelaisella on yli 20 DNA-tutkimuksiin liittyvää julkaisua vertaisarvioiduissa tiedelehdissä. Siitä pelkästään yksi on oikeuslääketieteellisestä DNA-tutkimuksesta.[<2>]

Alan asiantuntijoilla on kymmeniä, joskus satoja sellaisia artikkeleita. Joukko osaajia, mukana mm. DNA-sormenjäljen keksijä Sir Alec Jeffreys kävivät Louhelaisen kertomukset läpi. Sieltä löytyivät karmeita virheitä. Pääväite, eli että näytteistä olisi löytynyt harvinainen mutaatio (314.1C) oli myötähäpeää laukaisevalla tavalla virheellinen. Louhelainen oli laskenut väärin, oikea numero 315.1C kuuluu mutaatiolle, joka on lähes jokaisella (99%).[<3>]

Vielä pahempi on huomio, että Louhelainen puhuu “1:290.000” todennäköisyydestä. Käytössä ollut tietokanta sisälsi 29.000 eri markeria, eli jos mutaatio on vain yhdellä koko tietokannasta, pienin mahdollinen todennäköisyys on 1:29.000. “Kuuluisa tutkija” oli siirtänyt desimaalin saadakseen paremman tuloksen.[<4>]

Finnish faker flees furious forensics (from file)

Finnish faker flees furious forensics (from file)

Siihen kaatui viiltäjätapauksen valheellinen ratkaisu.[<5>] Tulokset eivät ole vielä olleet missään aikakausisarjassa, vertaisarvioitu artikkeli puuttuu yhä, kolme vuotta skandaalin jälkeen. Siihen on kaksi mahdollista selitystä: 1.) Louhelainen tiesi itse, ettei kannattaa julkaista huuhaa-tutkimuslöytöjä; 2.) hän on lähettänyt artikkelin vertaisarviointiin, mutta laatu oli näin alhainen, ettei yhtään journal halusi edes julkaista tätä. Luulisin, että vaihtoehto 1 sopii. Ei tämä professori ole tyhmä.

Tieteellisesti Louhelaisen väitteet siis eivät ole edes olemassa. Alan huippunimet tyrmäsivät täysin Louhelaisen väitteet. Silti YLE pitää hänet viiltäjätapauksen ratkaisijana. Oikaisu olisi paikalla.

Tämä koskee käytännössä Suomen media kokonaisuudessaan. Asia oli ollut Iltalehdessä,[<6>] Ilta-Sanomissa, Hesarissa, Suomen Kuvalehdessä, yms.  Kansainvälisestä kritiikistä kirjoitti ainakin Ilta-Sanomat.[<7>] Suomalainen tiedesankari ei voi olla huijari, ja siksi toimituksen neropatit antoivat Louhelaiselle tilaa puolustautumaan heikoilla lausunnoilla:

”meillä on myös muuta kuin kirjassa esitettyä dna-profilointitietoa, kuten juuri haplotyyppidataa”.

Tämä tarkoittaa, että DNA antaisi yleiset piirteet tekijästä, kuten hiusväri tms. Koska nuo vihjeet eivät voi paljastaa tietyn henkilön tekijäksi, Louhelainen itse julistaa tieteellisen vararikonsa.

Tohtori lupasi lisää todisteita. Hän ei ole antanut niitä. Louhelainen lupasi, että riippumattomia asiantuntijoita saisi nähdä kaikki tietoja. Siihen se jäi. Tohtori matkustaa puhujana ympäri maailmaa. Tulevassa sensaatioelokuvassa hän halusi – ja tämä ei ole vitsi – Johnny Depp näyttelevän Jari Louhelaisen rooli. Leffa ei koskaan tehtiin, koska välillä kävi totuus ilmi.[<8>]

jaridepp

Kyseessä on puhtaasti tiedehuijaus.

Jos katsotaan koirasusijuttua, joka on vireillä Varsinais-Suomen käräjäoikeudessa, kuviot ovat samanlaisia: Asiantuntijat tyrmäävät täysin Louhelaisen väitteet, jotka tohtori tekee palkkiota vastaan.

  • Louhelainen väittää, että Suomessa käytetyt menetelmät olisivat vanhentuneita ja epäluotettavia (väärin)
  • Vertailukannassa mahdollisesti mukana olleet koirat/hybriidit tekisivät koirasuden tunnistamisen mahdottomaksi (hatusta vedetty)

Luonnonvarakeskuksen suurpetotutkija Katja Holmala ihmettelee Jari Louhelaisen lausuntoja oikeudelle. – Hän ei ole villieläinten genetiikkaan liittyen mikään huippuasiantuntija, Holmala sanoo. (…)

– Eläimen päästä tehtyjen DNA-analyysien perusteella asiasta ei ole mitään epäselvyyttä. (…)

– Kyseessä oli 6–9 kuukauden ikäinen suden pentu

Myös viiltäjätapauksessa Louhelaisella oli taloudelliset intressit. Lausunnoillaan tehty propaganda on edistänyt liikekumppaninsa kirjan myyntiä. Tutkija sai palkkionsa ja sen jälkeen luentopalkkioita sekä media huomiota, joka toi taas rahaa.

Valitettavasti toimittaja ei pystynyt tutkimaan todelliset taustat. Tässä olisi hyvän jutun aineksia ollut.
 

Confirmed: Latest HumanCharger journal is junk

As I wrote earlier this year, there was a new study for the HumanCharger device done which appears now first under “Research” on Valkee’s marketing website humancharger.com.

humancharger-fakes-2017

Yesterday I got a confirmation from the official body responsible for scientific journal classification (the Publication Forum of Finland’s learned societies):

jufo-jnr

I asked for evaluation of this obscure HumanCharger journal – Journal of Neurology Research – which wasn’t even in the classification database, although it seems to exist since 2011. The professors of the JuFo panel 13 agreed with me and assigned the journal a Zero classification, i.e. it does not meet the basic criteria for scientific publication.

Therefore the institute at the University of Oulu will get 90% less funding for this particular publication. Additionally,  the first author cannot use it for his article-based thesis, for which he got a 24.000€ grant. He will have to explain why the research was dumped into a non-publication.

flyktman-vedatysThere would have been better uses for the grant money than the HumanCharger “research”, I’m sure.

(added) Bonus:

The journal in question sails already for a long time without Editor-in-chief, i.e. the person/scientist responsible for accepting or rejecting papers. That’s the most straightforward way to announce “acceptions aren’t done on scientific grounds”.

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

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

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.