Blood’s a bad science magnet

May 27th, 2004 by Ben Goldacre in adverts, bad science, dna, magnets, mail | 2 Comments »

Ben Goldacre
Thursday May 27, 2004
The Guardian

· No bad science this week: the world has changed. Only kidding. David Pack sends me a fabulous leaflet he picked up in a Cambridge library recently on Energy Interference Patterning of DNA. “If you find yourself in situations that cause irritated or defensive reactions…” That’s me. “Research confirms that emotions, feelings and belief systems alter DNA… the EIP technique unlocks the mystery of healing quickly and easily … access cellular DNA memory and create a new regenerated and rejuvenated DNA… remove old belief systems permanently.”

· Luckily there was a voice of sanity in the wilderness: Carole Caplin in the Mail on Sunday. “Adidas shoe designer Christian DiBendetto has come up with a computerised running shoe, complete with buttons, magnet and electric motor.” For £170. Sounds right up her street. But no. “Can you imagine anything worse? The foot contains important energy meridians that a magnet and electric motor could seriously interfere with. “Gosh. How dangerous is that, Carole? “DiBendetto says that a shoe that changes shape to suit a hard or soft surface was a fantasy until now. Soon, it will be a nightmare.”

· Meanwhile reader David Bradbury sends us in The Eye Zone Massager, another classic piece of pseudoscience from those folks at the Science Museum gift shop. “At the end of a stressful day, use this special mask for a few minutes. It massages the temples and eye area, reducing stress and energising muscles. Very refreshing, it helps prevent bags and dark rings. Gentle magnets also enhance circulation. Battery included.” No. Again, no. Gentle magnets do not enhance circulation. Blood is not magnetic: and why not try these fun demonstrations at home to prove it. Bleed yourself on to a dish and wave a magnet over it: observe your blood not moving. Hold a magnet over your skin, and watch it not go red. Put yourself in an MRI scanner with a massive magnetic field, and carefully note that you are not hovering, in a dramatic living demonstration of the non-magneticness of your blood. Get a job on a scrapyard, hang out under that big electromagnet they use to pick up the cars, and notice that you do not fly up into the sky, and do not smash your skull into lots of tiny pieces. Regardless of what the Science Museum’s merchandise tells you, kids, blood is not magnetic. Unless, of course, the shop is aware of this and an interactive demonstration of the more cynical commercial applications of science.


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