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The Hoax Museum Blog
Category: Health/Medicine
Dr. Geeta Shroff: legitimate practitioner or quack?
Posted by The Curator on Sat Nov 07, 2009
Indian doctor Geeta Shroff is claiming to have helped many patients, thought incurable, by injecting them with embryonic stem cells. However, she hasn't submitted any of her work to scientific review, leading to suspicions that something fishy is going on. From timesonline.co.uk: Dr Shroff has refused to publish her research and to submit it to peer review — a practise regarded widely as a cornerstone of good science. Instead, she has patented her technique, a route more familiar in business than medicine. Doctors say that without safety trials and randomised clinical studies, her treatments are unverifiable and potentially dangerous. There has been no research published, for instance, to rule out placebo effects. “If…
Categories: Health/Medicine Comments (0)
The Case of the Carbolic Smoke Ball
Posted by The Curator on Fri Nov 06, 2009
Clive Coleman tells the story for BBC Radio 4 of the Carbolic Smoke Ball Company. It was an 1892 case of fraudulent advertising. The case against them is "seen by some as the birth of modern consumer protection": The carbolic smoke ball was a peculiar device marketed as a cure for various ailments including influenza. It consisted of a rubber ball, filled with powdered carbolic acid. You squeezed the ball sending a puff of acidic smoke right up a tube inserted into your nose. The idea was that your nose would run…
Healer knows all your problems before you even mention them to him
Posted by The Curator on Tue Sep 08, 2009
The Advertising Standards Authority of South Africa has determined that Dr. Abdallah Kiwa has been "'duping' people into paying for services that cannot possibly be delivered." Specifically, Kiwa has distributed advertising pamphlets in which he has made the following claims: • ENSURES SUCCESS AS YOU GET RICH QUICKLY • BRING BACK LOST LOVER… • REMOVE BAD SPELLS FROM HOMES, BUSINESS ECT • ENSURES THAT PROMOTION YOU HAVE DESIRED FOR A LONG TIME AT WORK OR IN YOUR CAREER. • REMOVE BLACK SPOTS THAT KEEP TAKING YOUR MONEY AWAY • FIND OUT…
Acupuncture Exam
Posted by The Curator on Wed Jul 29, 2009
DC's Improbable Science has posted a pdf file of the exam given to those studying medical acupuncture at the University of Salford. Fans of acupuncture have long been lobbying for it to get more respect from the medical community, but as the DC Science blog points out, this exam appears to be nothing but gobbledygook. Here are several of the questions that exam takers must answer:
Categories: Health/Medicine Comments (14)
Man claims to be allergic to Wifi
Posted by The Curator on Tue Jul 28, 2009
DJ Steve Miller claims that he is allergic to Wifi. Being caught near a Wifi connection causes him agonizing pain. From the Daily Mail: The condition, known as electromagnetic sensitivity, affects two per cent of the population, and this is set to grow as more people opt for wireless internet signals. Steve navigates normal daily chores with the help of a ‘wi-fi detector’ which spots areas he should avoid. But the sensitivity has made moving house a real mission for Steve, who has needed to avoid homes close to a connection. He said: ‘I can’t live within 50 yards…
Categories: Health/Medicine, Technology Comments (14)
Another fake cancer victim
Posted by The Curator on Wed Jul 22, 2009
Yet another cancer hoaxer unmasked. Jonathan Jay White claimed to be a 15-year-old from Idaho suffering from Anaplastic Astrocytoma (a kind of brain cancer). He gained a lot of supporters online, including Lance Armstrong, who sent him a number of gifts. But it now appears that Jonathan Jay White never existed. Details at news.sky.com and jonthanjayisafraud.blogspot.com.
China’s Fountain of Youth
Posted by The Curator on Mon Jun 15, 2009
ABC News has a report on the village of Bama, "China's Fountain of youth." People there are said to live unusually long lives. Out of the population of 500, six people are over 100 years old. The locals attribute this longevity to pure water (which is "a striking blue because of low alkilinity"), simple home-grown food, and a special magnetic field. Bama has become a big tourist destination in China. Billboards promote its special powers. New hotels are being constructed there. And you can shop at a store that sells products labeled "The 100-year-old Man." But the key phrase in the report is that "there are no birth…
Categories: Death, Health/Medicine Comments (9)
Oprah, the Queen of Quackery
Posted by The Curator on Mon Jun 01, 2009
In the forum Captain Al linked to a recent Newsweek article that's well worth reading. It details how Oprah Winfrey has routinely promoted dubious medical/pseudoscientific nonsense on her show. It appears that the only standard of evidence important to her is whether a claim is emotionally appealing. If a claim passes that test, then it must be true! Some of the nonsense promoted on her show includes: Suzanne Somers' vitamin/hormone cure for aging. Jenny McCarthy's crusade to pin the blame for autism on vaccines. Dr. Christiane Northrup's theory that thyroid dysfunction is caused by repressing your emotions. Radio-wave skin tightening treatments. And "The Secret", that by "thinking positively" you can attract success and…
Categories: Health/Medicine Comments (29)
Disgusting Fake Doctor
Posted by The Curator on Fri Apr 17, 2009
A man has been arrested in Spain for posing as a fake doctor. He was performing breast and buttock augmentations in his home, which was reported to be filthy (full of numerous pets). Plus, he was using veterinary tools to inject liquid silicone. The reason real surgeons haven't used liquid silicone since the 1960s is because it can cause discoloration, open sores, and gangrene. [metro.co.uk]
Another Cancer Hoaxer
Posted by The Curator on Wed Apr 15, 2009
Dallas, Texas is home to the latest case of Munchausen Syndrome. Hope Ybarra managed to raise $100,000 by convincing an entire community that she was dying of cancer. She even fooled her family. Apparently the ruse went on for years. To their credit, once her family found out she wasn't really sick they put an end to the entire thing and are offering to return everyone's money. [Yahoo! Video]
Categories: Health/Medicine, Scams Comments (15)
Bottle Caps For Charity
Posted by The Curator on Mon Apr 13, 2009
The latest victims of the decades-old trash-for-charity hoax are the students of PS 46 in Staten Island. They were collecting plastic bottle caps in the belief that for every 1000 caps collected a child with cancer would get chemotherapy. Finally one of the students did an online search for "bottle caps" and "charity" and figured out it was a hoax. [silive.com]
Categories: Health/Medicine, Pranks Comments (7)
Long Hair
Posted by The Curator on Mon Apr 06, 2009
A Chinese doctor hasn't cut his hair in more than 60 years. He says doing so is responsible for the health of his patients. I'm sure there's a name for this logical fallacy, but I'm not sure what it is. [Daily Express (with pic of long-haired doc)]
Categories: Health/Medicine Comments (5)
Is it healthy to pick your nose?
Posted by The Curator on Fri Dec 05, 2008
If you do a search on the web for information about rhinotillexis (aka nose picking) you'll soon run across references to Dr. Friedrich Bischinger, described as an Austrian lung specialist, who is quoted as saying that nose-picking combined with nasal mucus eating is a healthy habit: "With the finger you can get to places you just can't reach with a handkerchief, keeping your nose far cleaner. "And eating the dry remains of what you pull out is a great way of strengthening the body's immune system. "Medically it makes great sense…
Categories: Health/Medicine Comments (7)
The Hypoallergenic Dog Myth
Posted by The Curator on Mon Nov 17, 2008
When the Obamas recently announced they were searching for a dog to have in the White House, they noted that one of the criteria was that it would need to be hypoallergenic, since Malia is allergic to dogs. The media quickly raised the possibility of a White House poodle, since poodles are supposedly a hypoallergenic breed. Skeptics have quickly pointed out that the idea of a hypoallergenic dog breed is a myth. Individuals dogs may produce less of the protein that causes the allergic reaction (and this protein can be found in the dander, urine, saliva, and fur of dogs). However, there is no dog breed as a whole that produces less of the protein. And if…
Categories: Animals, Health/Medicine Comments (9)
Fake caterpillar fungus
Posted by The Curator on Wed Sep 24, 2008
Chinese food inspectors have issued a warning to those planning to buy caterpillar fungus: Many samples of caterpillar fungus have been replaced by fakes. These fakes "not only miss their medicinal function, but could even be poisonous." According to Wikipedia, caterpillar fungus is one of the most prized ingredients in traditional Chinese and Tibetan medicine: it is used as an aphrodisiac and as a treatment for a variety of ailments from fatigue to cancer. It is regarded as having an excellent balance of yin and yang as it is apparently both animal and…
Categories: Health/Medicine Comments (1)
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