Tag Archives: Juuso Nissilä

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

Valkee Ltd collapses as predicted: All share capital lost

UPDATE: My original story has reached more than 500.000 800.000 readers.
See ILTALEHTI | KAUPPALEHTI | TEKNIIKKA&TALOUS | ILTA-SANOMAT etc.pp.

The finnish trade register has just announced, that the HumanCharger manufacturer Valkee Ltd has lost all of its share capital. That means, that all of the company’s ressources are depleted, and new capital is not in sight – not even theoretically.

valkee-bankrupt

In other countries, the firm would have to file for immediate insolvency or bankruptcy, which is regulated in the same chapter of finnish corporate law.  In Finland, however, business could go on for a while – under extreme conditions, as purchases must all be paid in advance, and credits are stroke off. All business partners are now informed officially, that Valkee cannot fulfil upcoming liabilities.

Because of the consequences, such a notification is usually done in the least possible moment. It may be driven by the fact, that management and owners can be held liable personally from now on, if they don’t declare the final state publicly.

If anyone has claims against Valkee Ltd, now is the time to demand.

Personally I think, that the company will exist on paper for a few months, until its chairman Timo Ahopelto resigns from the board of TEKES, Finland’s tax-financed innovation funding agency. TEKES has shot in more than 100.000€ last year into Valkee, despite the obviously desperate state of the company, which was strictly documented in the 2016 balance.

Probably it’s the political dimension of the case. The snail media will report more soon. The source is earlightswindle.com – just in case they “forget” it again. /-Ed.

Valkee ist pleite

Wie die finnische Registerbehörde PRH gestern mitteilte, hat der Ohrleuchtenhersteller Valkee Oy aus Oulu am vergangenen Donnerstag den Verlust des gesamten Stammkapitals gemeldet.

valkee-bankrupt

Während nach deutschem Recht die Gesellschafter zum sofortigen Insolvenzantrag verpflichtet wären, kann die Firma in Finnland unter Umständen fortgesetzt werden. Wegen der Auswirkungen auf die Geschäftstätigkeit (Einkäufe nur noch gegen Vorkasse, Kündigung von Kreditlinien, usw.) ist aber eine Insolvenz mit Gläubigerschutz und Sanierungsversuch oder ein direkter Konkurs wahrscheinlicher. [s. Abschnitt 20, §§23-25 des finnischen Kapitalgesellschaftsgesetzes: Stammkapitalverlust, Insolvenz und Konkurs]

Die Meldung über den Stammkapitalsverlust erfolgt in der Regel zum allerletzten rechtlich möglichen Zeitpunkt. Unterbleibt die Anzeige, oder erfolgt sie zu spät, können Geschäftsführung und Gesellschafter im Falle des Konkurses in Anspruch genommen werden. Hiermit zeigen demnach die Verantwortlichen bei Valkee an, dass sämtliche finanziellen Möglichkeiten ausgeschöpft sind, und sie nicht persönlich haften wollen.

Da das Schicksal von Valkee in Finnland wegen der Verwicklung der Regierung politische Bedeutung hat, könnte die Skandalfirma auf dem Papier noch fortbestehen – etwa bis zum Sommer 2017, wenn der Firmenchef Timo Ahopelto vom Leitungsgremium der Innovationsförderungsbehörde TEKES zurücktritt. TEKES hat im letzten Jahr noch über 100.000 € in Valkee nachgeschossen, obwohl die Geschäftsführung öffentlich zugegeben hat, dass die Ohrleuchtengeräte in Finnland unverkäuflich sind und der sinkende Auslandsumsatz maximal 1/4 der Kosten deckt.

Wenn Sie noch Ansprüche an die Firma Valkee haben, dann ist jetzt der Zeitpunkt, sie anzumelden. Das Zeitfenster kann sich bald schließen.

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!

***

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.

The 3rd Relaunch of the Valkee Scam: “SummerLight”!

With worldwide sales nearing zero, the finnish earlight maker Valkee Ltd undertakes the next (and probably last) “relaunch” of its 10 year-old scam. The product is now called SummerLight. The accompanying website summerlight.com is a shady copy of the previous humancharger.com fraud.

valkee-summerlight-therapy-deviceNo further comment needed.

Update: Valkee’s scam sites won’t open w/ earlightswindle.com referrers. They also block me on Twitter. OMG. OMG!!1!

April 1st – with a serious background

Many thanks to all concerned visitors who wondered about the re-direct to Valkee.com. I had prepared a stricter version with technical details, but I will leave it at that. I accidentally found a new unbelievable piece for the Valkee saga. I am checking this out at the moment and will not waste time.

So stay tuned – this is also meant for the snail media writers who regularly visit me and my twitter account for lame articles of theirs. I am serious about this one.

However, although Valkee Ltd did not seize earlightswindle.com, it still is squatting a large number of such domains, for instance earlightswindle.net and .info. Whois it?

Domain Name: EARLIGHTSWINDLE.INFO
Domain ID: D51708183-LRMS
Referral URL: http://www.joker.com
Updated Date: 2015-01-19T07:15:36Z
Creation Date: 2014-02-17T11:36:28Z
Registry Expiry Date: 2017-02-17T11:36:28Z
Sponsoring Registrar: CSL Computer Service Langenbach GmbH d/b/a joker.com
Sponsoring Registrar IANA ID: 113
Domain Status: clientTransferProhibited https://icann.org/epp#clientTransferProhibited
Registrant ID: CAFI-397749
Registrant Name: - -
Registrant Organization: Valkee Oy
Registrant Street: Elektroniikkatie 5
Registrant City: Oulu
Registrant Postal Code: 90590
Registrant Country: FI
Registrant Phone: +358.404554331
Registrant Email: 
Admin ID: CAFI-397748
Admin Name: Juuso Nissila
Admin Organization: Valkee Oy
Admin Street: Elektroniikkatie 4
Admin City: Oulu
Admin Postal Code: 90590
Admin Country: FI
Admin Phone: +358.407019897
Admin Email: 
Tech ID: CAFI-397748
Tech Name: Juuso Nissila
Tech Organization: Valkee Oy
Tech Street: Elektroniikkatie 4
Tech City: Oulu
Tech Postal Code: 90590
Tech Country: FI
Tech Phone: +358.407019897
Tech Email: 
Billing ID: CAFI-397748
Billing Name: Juuso Nissila
Billing Organization: Valkee Oy
Billing Street: Elektroniikkatie 4
Billing City: Oulu
Billing Postal Code: 90590
Billing Country: FI
Billing Phone: +358.407019897
Billing Email: 
Name Server: B.NS.JOKER.COM
Name Server: C.NS.JOKER.COM
Name Server: A.NS.JOKER.COM

So that’s where the money goes. CU soon!

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)

Two Valkee trials declared published junk (X-mas special 5)

Dozens of hilarious details about Valkee Ltd’s HumanCharger scam go untold because they don’t warrant a full blog post. As a present for Christmas Day, here’s the best of all.

The Valkee “research” group has published a number of trial results in unfavorable ways:

The only positive trial with evidence value for Valkee in a scientific journal was the one with the 22 ice hockey players supposedly pimped by earlight to better reaction, published in Frontiers in Physiology.

I say it was, because it had been until now.

It is a real pleasure for me to tell you, that this very special journal series was officially elevated to junk status, by Scholarly Open Access. That’s the No.#1 authority. The list is used by, for example, finnish universities to determine the standing of a publication.

christmas for gloom, frontiers and valkee!

With it, a second Valkee study goes down the tube, which is no longer on their website. It was in Frontiers in Systems Neuroscience.

The decision was overdue: The fake peer-review was obvious in the ice hockey article, where one of the authors was among the editors, and a dance instructor with no idea was assigned to review it by her lab boss. That’s not a fluke. It’s systematic pseudoscience done by Frontiers.

Is there anything left of Valkee’s evidence, among the ruins?

According to usually well-informed sources, there is one final blow still coming.
A nice Christmas to all and a Happy New Year!

New placebo-controlled, buried Valkee trial identified (X-mas special 3)

Dozens of hilarious details about Valkee Ltd’s HumanCharger scam go untold because they don’t warrant a full blog post. As a Christmas present, here are some of such pearls.

My deepest apologies. We misrepresented a clinical study in our YLE MOT TV program, and so did all those people after us, who reviewed Valkee’s stuff systematically. We were mislead by the company, but that’s no excuse.

The critical point with Valkee’s earlight is the obvious lack of placebo-controlled studies for the claims in Seasonal Affective Disorder. Valkee Ltd told it’s easy, and they will come up with great results. They never did.

We do know, however, that they attempted such a study 3 times: One was halted, one is completely buried, and the third showed the device to be non-inferior to placebo by a small margin. This result was falsified then, because it would have obviously stopped the whole scam at once.

Juuso Nissilä of Valkee gave an interview back in 2012.

placebo controlled data surfaced

Unlike other bright light therapies, the Valkee unit has been tested in a placebo-controlled trial. ‘You can’t tell, when it’s in your ears, […], it’s possible to have a placebo,’ Nissilä explained.

The trial, with 26 patients receiving treatment and a control group of 23, showed that depression – […] – decreased when the device was used for 12 minutes per day.

That is, to my knowledge, the halted one with 60 persons to participate. It actually had results which never officially surfaced. Valkee’s then-board member Timo Takala, at the same time “researching” his product, told the reporter it was because of low enrollment. That’s what I remember, this part was not broadcasted.

It fits: They had at least 26+23=49 patients of planned 60 when the data was unblinded to the investigators. That’s to say, the trial was dumped then. When the investigators know such interim results, it cannot be continued anymore.

Valkee initiated the notorious 3-group trial in November 2010 with 90 participants, later to be faked. But the “halted” trial was projected to run through that very same winter. Registered completion was March 2011. That means it was not halted for low enrollment. They could have continued. But they recruited patients for the other and declared the first to be failed. Entry criteria and study design were the same.

I won’t comment any longer, it would be too speculative. The real reasons for disrupting the placebo-controlled trial are unknown. Nissilä’s comment reads to me like “symptoms decreased in both groups”, i.e. placebo performed as well as earlight. The similar result as in all other placebo-controlled tests.

Once again, crucial placebo-controlled results remain buried by Valkee Ltd. WHY?
(Ok, that’s pathetic to ask.)

The Christmas Special continues tomorrow. Stay tuned!