A canna’ change the laws of physics

Scotty, The Naked Time, stardate 1704.3, Episode 7

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The Guardian and Dr Kase’s magic tape

Posted by apgaylard on July 3, 2011

Apparently, around 30 years ago a chiropractor called ‘Dr’ Kenzo Kase invented a ‘magic tape’ that can work all sorts of wonders on muscles and joints.  Rather than being a stiff, supportive, structure, it allegedly mimics the flexibility of skin.

Today, the science section of the guardian provided an extended advertorial for this product under the heading, “Dr Kenzo Kase: My magic tape can aid injured muscles.” (frozen page, change log)

It’s in the usually reliable science section of the Guardian, so I would hope that there is some pretty strong evidence to support the use of the word ‘magic’.

So, I thought that I would share the results of five minutes ‘googling’ and a bit of thought.  The sort of thing I’d expect from a proper professional journalist.  It’s not a happy story.

Any evidence cited?

Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged: , , , | 7 Comments »

Homeopathic hubris and bird flu

Posted by apgaylard on March 7, 2009

black_rubber_pirate_duckPeople convincing themselves to use so-called complementary or alternative treatments often use the rationalisation: “what harm can it do”.  On face value this can seem reasonable: homeopaths commonly dilute their alleged therapeutic ingredients to the point where it’s vanishingly unlikely that there is any ‘medicine’ left in the ‘medicine’.  Other examples come to mind: aromatherapy, for instance, just exposes users to nice smells and reflexology is a harmless foot rub. 

So is it possible for an essentially inert intervention to do harm?  The fusion of homeopathy, quack technology and delusional beliefs advocated by Richard Kenchington RSHom illustrate the potential for harm even in the absence of a real physical effect. 

Kenchington was, at the time he promoted the views discussed here, Managing Director of Crossgates Farm Homeopathics and Managing Director of Global Energies; as well as a recent Director of the Society of Homeopaths and a homeopathic practitioner.  His panacea is a development of a classic quack machine: the e-Lybra.  Working with Global Bioenergetics, he has apparently integrated its use with another improbable device, a so-called ‘bio-emitter‘.  Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in homeopathy, Impossibe Machines, Pseudoscience, Uncategorized | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments »

Happy people, not places

Posted by apgaylard on October 24, 2008

In August, the BBC ran a story claiming that research had determined that some places in Britain were ‘happier’ than others.  You can see the nature of the claims in the TV news report, “Britain’s happiest places mapped“.  There was a big problem with this though: the research found no significant differences between places.  The only differences were accounted for by the socio-economic status of the people

If you read through the on-line version of the story it even pointed this out, eventuallyRead the rest of this entry »

Posted in Science Journalism, Statistics, Uncategorized | Tagged: , , | 11 Comments »

Blind to the Rudolph Effect

Posted by apgaylard on May 26, 2008

A recent discussion on the bad science forum [thanks to Bryn for highlighting this topic] set me thinking about the claims made for the treatment of hay fever by red light phototherapy.

If you’ve not come across these claims before, they can be seen in the advertising material provided on-line by Lloyds Pharmacy for their “Allergy Reliever” and Health Innovations for their “Medinose Hayfever Treatment“.

These are similar devices that allow you to shove some light-emitting diodes (LED) up your nose and administer a ‘dose’ of red light to the nasal mucosa.  What is the proposed mechanism of action?  Health Innovations say, “Medinose inhibits the release of histamine, relieving or even completely eliminating allergic reactions and complaints in a natural way.”  Lloyds make a similar claim, “Allergy Reliever uses red light therapy to suppress the cells that release histamine, thereby relieving the symptoms of hay fever. ”  Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Phototherapy, Uncategorized | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments »