Tag Archives: pseudoscience

UK Health Department slams magnesium sellers for trademark infringement

To my surprise, I received a call from the UK Department of Health and Social Care last week. They wished to thank me for notifying the department about the “NHS” trademark infringement by Nordic Health Sprays aka Pohjoismaiden Terveyssuihkeet Oy. I had nearly forgotten that I copied a text and, as required, my phone number into a government contact formular some weeks ago.

The NHS logo must be used in support of its “core principles and values”. The UK National Health System is a very trusted brand, which stands for (examples) “quality of care, …safety, confidentiality, professional and managerial integrity, accountability” and so on.

Selling questionable supplements and magnesium sprays does obviously conflict with these values. The finnish company received a cease-and-desist order, and acted immediately to avoid compensation claims. It has not filed balances since 2016; a 5-digit claim could pose a real threat.

Its website misused several brands. Before…

…and after.

 

The original manufacturer of the magnesium products distributed by Nordic Health Sprays, BetterYou Ltd from the UK, also had to remove the NHS logo. Visitors would get the impression, that the NHS somehow stands behind the “Backed by Science” line.

 

 

Other institutional logos are still there, to milk some confidence for the flimsy magnesium health claims. Supplements and other OTC “health products” are typically marketed with such illegal or unethical methods.

I would never try to take them on systematically, because it’s a complete waste of time. One busted lie is soon replaced by another. That was just a demonstration and the result of a 5 minutes effort.

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.

Social Media: “HumanCharger” is comedy gold

The Sunday Times (UK) just had an absolutely awful piece on “biohackers”, and it seems that readers have a clear favourite which one is the most ridiculous “biohack” of all.

HumanCharger is trending on Twitter at this moment, and it’s not quite the way the scammers dream of.

Some years ago, one of Finland’s leading newspapers asked its readers, which is the worst product failure ever in this country. The HumanCharger won that poll unanimously. The public reaction seems now to be the same whatever whenever.

But once upon a time, things were different, when I started the earlightswindle.com-website. It is fairly outdated, but gives a good picture of the situation then, when the media hyped the Valkee device – now renamed “HumanCharger – and there were few critical voices as mine. I’m sort of proud still, for having steered the mainstream here./-ed.

“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.

 

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!

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.

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”/removed 7/2019):

“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.

[Update] MTV3:lle langettava päätös Acetium-valelääkejutusta

UPDATE:
MTV3 ei ole muuttanutkaan valheellista juttuaan JSN:n päätöksestä huolimatta. Muistutus ei tehonnut, joten MTV3 määrätietoisesti haistattelee Julkisen Sanan Neuvostolle. Vastuussa tästä on asiakirjoiden mukaan entinen päätoimittaja, joka nykyään johtaa Yleisradiota. Tällä asenteella valtakausinsa ei tule jatkumaan kauan.
_______________________________________________________________

Viime Syyskuussa MTV Uutiset julkaisi kaksi migreenijuttua. Ensimmäisestä kävi jo ilmi, että kirjoittaja on vailla asiantuntemusta. Siinä väitettiin ym., että eräs lääke ”iskee tarkasti kivun välittäjäaineisiin, joten sillä ei juuri ole sivuvaikutuksia”. Todellisuudessa selektiivinen migreeni-välittäjäaine ei ole juuri olemassa. Kaikilla transmittereilla on useita tehtäviä elimistössä, siksi sivuvaikutuksista on suuria huolia. [1] [2] [3]

Toinen migreenijuttu toi MTV3:lle huomautuksen Julkisen sanan neuvostolta. MTV Uutiset kertoi, että BioHit Oyj:n kehittämä ”lääke” vaikuttaisi migreeniin. Kyseessä ei ollutkaan lääke, vain Acetium-kapseli. Tämä on ravintolisä, joka BioHit on rekisteröinyt lääkinnälliseksi laitteeksi. Kyseessä ei ole migreeni-, vain valelääke. [4]

Toimitus ei reagoinut oikaisupyyntöihin. Tämä ei ollut iso yllätys: Molemmat jutut olivat MTV:n uutispäällikön kirjoittamia. Moni muukin huomasi, että asia haisee. BioHitin toimitusjohtaja joutui myöntämään, että se ei pitänytkään paikkansa.

korpela-laite

Blogin pitkäaikaisen tukijan avulla valmisteltiin kantelu JSN:lle. Kantelua voi lukea tästä (uusi tiedosto tekijän nimensuojan takia):

Kantelu-Acetium-MTV3.pdf

BioHit on kritisoinut Turun Sanomien juttua, jossa sanottiin, että Acetium olisi “luontaistuote” – vaikka tämä itse asiassa kuvailee hyvin, mistä on kyse. [5] On odotettavissa, että reaktio tulee myös tähän. Voiko puhua huijauksesta?

Mikä on Acetium?

Acetium-kapseli sisältää tavallista aminohappoa, L-kysteiiniä. Sitä patentoitiin sillä perusteella, että kysteiini vapautuu tuotteesta hitaasti (slow-release). Food grade L-cysteine maksaa maailmanmarkkinoilla n. 20€ per kilo (2 cent/gramma). Acetium myydään 60 kpl 100mg-kapseleina hinnalla 22-30€ (4 Euro/gramma). Perusaineen ”hidastettu vapautuminen” tuo firmalle siis 200-kertaista voittoa. [6] [7]

huijausapteekki-acetium

Ei ole tutkimuksia olemassa, joiden mukaan ”hidas kysteiini” olisi tavallista parempaa. Todennäköisesti voi kaiken, mikä Acetiumista väitetään, saavuttaa myös penneillä. L-kysteiini vain ei voi patentoida. Jos joku julkaisee vertailevan tutkimuksen, koko tuotteen imago voi romahtaa hetkessä.

Acetium myydään apteekeissa kuin ravintolisä. Duodecim-lääketietokanta puhuu myös Acetiumista ravintolisänä. BioHit on itse kutsunut tuotetta aiemmin ravintolisäksi.[8] Ravintolisien valvontaviranomainen on EVIRA, ja sellaisia tuotteita ei saa mainosta lääketieteellisiin käyttöihin, kuten blogissa jo ollut esillä.

duodacetium
BioHit on siksi käyttänyt porsaanreikää. Acetium on ilmoitettu Valviralle lääkinnälliseksi laitteeksi. Tällaisena rekisteröity tuote voi sanoa lääkinnällisiin käyttöihin sopivaksi, mikä oli jo Valkeen korvavalon markkinointitemppu. Kysyin Valviralta, onko Acetium saanut jonkinlaista markkinointilupaa. Vastauksesta:

”terveydenhuollon laitteet ja tarvikkeet eivät tarvitse markkinoille tuloon markkinointilupaa, joten Valvira ei niitä myöskään myönnä (eikä mikään muukaan viranomainen)”

Tuodakseen tällaisen tuotteen laitteeksi kauppoihin valmistajan täytyy vain täyttää ilmoituksen Valviralle. [9] – That’s it.

Tämä on siis täysin eri asia kuin lääkkeillä. Lääkkeet tarvitsevat myyntiluvan, ja ne saavat sitä vain, jos on viranomaisstandardien mukaisia tutkimuksia tehty. BioHit imitoi sitä julkaisemalla omat tulokset samalla tavalla kuin oikeat lääkevalmistajat tekevät. Vaikka tutkimustuloksia ei tarvita – paitsi mainostamiseen.

Lopuksi

On arveluttava suositella kyseenalaista hoitoa yleisten sairauksien hoitoon. Vielä pahempi on suositella kyseenalaista hoitoa sanomalla sen lääkkeeksi. On täysin epäeettistä suositella yleisölle kyseenalaista hoitoa valelääkkeenä ja jättää asia korjaamatta, vaikka on tietoinen, että se ei pidä paikkansa.

Kiitos Julkisen sanan neuvostolle. En kuitenkaan usko, että MTV3:lla muutu mikään. Ylimielinen asenne ja asiantuntemuksen puute on yleinen ilmiö terveysuutisoinnissa siellä niin kuin muuallakin Suomen mediassa.

28.2.2018 klo 11:
BioHit kertoo 1,5t sitten tilipäätöstiedotteessaan, että kyseisen migreeni-tutkimuksen protokollaan tehdään suuria muutoksia, joka koskevat koko projektin. Käytännössä keskeytetään vanha tutkimus. Osallistuneille, sijoittajille ja medialle valehdeltiin myös tutkimuksen alkuvaiheesta. TJ Semi Korpela vastasi siihen, että tutkimus jatkuu.

Tracing a phantom: The BEMER “Institute for Microcirculation”

BEMER Group has shut down the institute. More in due course

The tax haven-registered BEMER international AG sells controversial magnet therapy devices globally. Not recognized by medical science, BEMER cites research by an Institute for Microcirculation in Berlin (german: Institut für Mikrozirkulation) as proof for their devices’ effects. During my last visit to Berlin, I decided to find out if that obscure facility really exists.

UPDATES/FOLLOW-UP:

________________________ original post, January 2018__________________

The institute is not in the phone book or any other address- or business directory. It’s not in the trade register, i.e. it is not a registered company. It’s not a registered trademark. The only hint we have is the institute’s website, which it maintains since 2014, first under institut-mikrozirkulation.de (defunct) and later as institute-microcirculation.com. The physical address mentioned there is the same as in their last regular paper, which dates back to 2013.

website-address

Note that the name has a spelling error (Reiner). The address is also false, there is no Erwin-Negelein-Haus in Bernau. However, there is an Erwin-Negelein-Haus at the Forschungscampus Berlin-Buch, Robert-Rössle-Str. 10. The website tells us the institute’s research lab is situated at this address, and so I started there. Armed with a BEMER business card I grabbed somewhere, I would pose as a churnalist, an idiot-level healthcare professional, or an interested reseller – just in case there’d be a real facility with real people.

bemer-card

The campus gatekeeper had never heard of such an institute, although he’s doing the job for several years now. Nobody had asked him so far for such an entity. The map and site directory list neither an Institut für Mikrozirkulation nor its director, Dr. Rainer Klopp, BEMER’s key expert.

campus-buch-plan

The Negelein Haus is building no. D79. There is no such institute. The guiding plate at the entrance let shimmer through the names of all former labs and offices at the spot, and there has been no mark for an Institut für Mikrozirkulation on earlier versions.

negerlein

I inspected the building as far as possible. The labs and other premises are rather small, there is a number of companies which have post boxes in the hall. One of them is ICP Healthcare.[defunct as of 1/2019] postboxes-negelein
The co-author of the last paper mentioned above, Prof. Schulz, was affiliated with that company. Did he lend his address to Klopp’s institute?

schulz-address-icp

The search would have ended here, but the gatekeeper found me a contact at BBB Management GmbH, which operates the whole campus. There was a nice and helpful guy, with whom I had this conversation, word-for-word:

I’m looking for an Institut fuer Mikrozirkulation, which claims to have research labs here. Have you ever heard of such an institution?

– Yes, that’s Dr. Klopp. It’s not here.

Can you tell me where the institute is?

– The address is [—]. You will find Dr. Klopp there.

The institute “is” Dr. Klopp? Not that I expected anything else, but that was remarkably direct.

The site in question is at Wiltbergstr. 50, a kilometre from the other. It’s a 19th century hospital ensemble. At the entrance I found that map, which finally was the first hint that an Institute for Microcirculation really exists, physically. On the lower right, from the bottom, the second entry.

wiltbergstr-plan

The building was a 1,5 story pavillon, and at the back door 20d, between trash containers, there’s the sign I was searching for.

haus20d-side

entrance-20d

There is nothing but that plate (the name here correct: Rainer). No doorbell, the lock destroyed. Inside a rubble. From the german writings on the wall, it’s a former surgery from East German time, not any institute. There’s hardly any research work ongoing, since even the electricity cables are torn from the walls.

institut-mikrozirkulation

The same in the basement. All windows taped, appearingly the site is completely empty. No institute here. Possibly here are premises under construction, but there’s no Institute for Microcirculation or any related research facilities at the given addresses.

In late 2017, however, a new address appeared on the “institute’s” website: the management would be at Marktplatz 3, Bernau bei Berlin. Bernau is a small town about 15km away, just beyond Berlin’s city limits. Marktplatz is the central town square. It is quite small in this case, with only a handful of buildings. No. 3 looks this way.

klopp-institut-marktplatz3

There is a barber and a photographer downstairs. A local construction firm informs at its website, that the former offices in that house were turned into apartments. There is no institute here, but the bell sign tells us who lives here. It’s Dr. Klopp, the “director” of the “institute” which should only be written in quotation marks from now on.

klopp-residence

The “Institute for Microcirculation” is a virtual entity.

There is no such research facility at any of its claimed addresses, and there’s little reason to assume that it has ever been.

The “institute’s” management resides at the apartment of its director, Dr. Rainer Klopp.

Dr. Klopp seems to be the “institute” in person.

 

 

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