Who’s holding the smoking gun on Bioresonance?

November 12th, 2005 by Ben Goldacre in alternative medicine, bad science, bbc, references, very basic science | 170 Comments »

Ben Goldacre
Saturday November 12, 2005
The Guardian

I know you’re all looking forward to my fifth consecutive week writing about the tabloid’s favourite MRSA “laboratory”, but my Deep Throat keeps teasing me, so the latest explosion will have to wait. Now. It is a well-recognised phenomenon that swearing is only really funny when very old or very posh people do it: and likewise, bad science is only truly funny when it appears in the context of someone being jolly serious.

I give you BBC News. In fact, since it has unwisely put its TV news archive online, I can actually give you the video of the story here, but for those who are nowhere near a computer, I’ll transcribe. This is a story, in all the authoritative regalia of television news, about the excellently bonkers “bioresonance” treatment to help smokers kick the habit. “The bioresonance treatment is analysing the energy wave patterns in Jean’s body,” they begin. “It finds the frequency pattern of the nicotine and reverses it. That in theory neutralises the nicotine’s energy pattern, so her body won’t crave what’s been wiped out.” Now, apart from the observation that you can find Star Trek fans in every walk of life, notice there what is presented as fact, and what is caveat.

So what would it mean, if what the BBC said was true? Reader John Agapiou, who sent this in, sums up the flaws so well it’s quite wrong that I should get paid for stealing his jokes: “You’d really need to extract the nicotine signal very carefully,” he points out. “You wouldn’t want to have any traces of ‘dopamine’ or ‘haemoglobin’ in the recording, and nullify those molecules, or you’d be in real trouble.”

I’m not sure that anyone has ever calculated how many different kinds of molecules there are in the human body, but I’d have to guess that there are at least a million. So this machine, which looks just like a piece of modern hospital equipment, records something through funny little pads attached to the skin, and it can filter out precisely the molecule it’s looking for? “Why they aren’t making a huge amount of money from this amazing signal processing equipment is beyond me.”

the BBC goes on. “That principle has been used to treat illnesses and allergies. Trying to help smokers quit is a new development. There’s still no clinical proof that this works, but the clinic says it treats hundred of smokers every week. And of all those who left their cigarettes here over just the last few days, 70% of them will never go back to smoking.”

Not only is that last figure a “fact”: it is, I think, and I know this literature pretty well, a better success rate for smoking cessation than any other intervention that has ever been studied, including Zyban, hypnosis, patches, and group interventions.

But surely there must be some balance in this BBC story? Indeed there is: enter Simon Martin from Complementary and Alternative Therapy magazine, a publication I shall now definitely be subscribing to. “If you get a really good machine, with a well-educated, good, ethical practitioner, the sky is the limit really, but there’s an awful lot of people out there I think, not very well trained, using inferior equipment, and the sort of results they’re getting really shouldn’t be trusted.” This is a news story, repeated several times, on BBC television. The world has gone mad.

· Please send your bad science to bad.science@guardian.co.uk


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170 Responses



  1. Bob O'H said,

    November 12, 2005 at 11:20 am

    “Trying to help smokers quit is a new development.”

    “…of all those who left their cigarettes here over just the last few days, 70% of them will never go back to smoking.”

    How do they know? I guess the concept of long term follow-up isn’t alternative enough.

    Bob

  2. Teek said,

    November 12, 2005 at 11:31 am

    Ben, the world has indeed gone mad…

    the problem with this kind of story, in my own opinion, is that it’s delivered with the convincing air of authority that acompanies any piece on the BBC, or for that matter any similar respected organisation. the key word here is CREDIBILITY – to the lay person, the testimonies of those “cured” of smoking in this piece are very credible indeed.

    from politics to sport, from natural disasters to current affairs, and from crime to science, the public views the BBC as one of the more trustworthy sources of information – an institution that can be looked to when we need accurate, well-sourced, spin-free news and views. If the BBC is willing to advance the cause of quackery and pseudo-scientific nonsense by giving credibility to a treatment regime that “reverses energy fields of nicotine,” then why should we expect any better from those lower down the chain, e.g. the Mail/Sun/Mirror Axis of Ignorance…?!!

    Please tell me the Beeb will be issuing some sort of retraction for this piece – otherwise they could well be responsible for people parting with their hard-earned for a dose of bioresonance, when they would be better off donating to a good cause – lung cancer charity for instance, or a home for the mentally unstable, where those responsible for this example of Bad Science can be found…

  3. Rob Sang said,

    November 12, 2005 at 11:46 am

    It’s Brass Eye isn’t it? Surely it’s Brass Eye!

    “There’s no proof for it, but it is scientific fact.”

    I’m laughing outwardly, but I’m crying inside.

  4. Ray said,

    November 12, 2005 at 1:07 pm

    Ah, here’s the place mentioned: Vita Bioresonance Ltd of Croydon. They use a Regumed Bicom Bioresonance machine (here are detailed specifications) of the type described in Quackwatch’s Quack Electrodiagnostic Devices list.

    The Sunday Telegraph piece is quite interesting: reporter talks of black stuff on hands and feet (the bits into contact with the electrodes) after treatment. “That’s the by-products of your smoking coming through your skin,” says the therapist. Sounds like the usual theatrical scam of showing toxins visually coming out of the body – I bet you the black is a corrosion product off the brass electrodes.

  5. Robert de Vries said,

    November 12, 2005 at 1:12 pm

    A friend recently told me that he had undergone this treatment to try and quit smoking. Needless to say I (after an extended bout of mockery) tried to explain why the ‘treatment’ was utter crap.
    Nevertheless he maintains that he “felt it working” but “chose to start smoking again”.
    Why is it that people continue to beleive such patent rubbish even when it hasn’t done what it claims to do? i.e. make them stop smoking

  6. Ray said,

    November 12, 2005 at 1:31 pm

    Reminds me of years back, when I went to a Scientology open day in Birmingham. One of the speakers said she’d been audited to the stage of “freedom from harmful habits and addictions”. Someone asked to her to explain the obvious nicotine stains on her fingers, She said she chose to smoke, so it wasn’t a habit or addiction.

  7. Miss Prism said,

    November 12, 2005 at 1:52 pm

    The really effective bit is charging £150. Nobody’s going to want to go back on such an expensive decision.
    Does that Telegraph journalist – who reckons “nicotine was coming out of every pore in his body” and making his bathwater black – know that nicotine is colourless?

  8. Dean Morrison said,

    November 12, 2005 at 2:16 pm

    I’ve never complained to the Beeb before – but felt moved to do so by this: for anyone else who would like to: news.bbc.co.uk/newswatch/ukfs/hi/newsid_3950000/newsid_3955200/3955223.stm

    I also pointed out that if they want to show this rubbish they shoul bring back “The Day Today”

  9. tonyhatfield said,

    November 12, 2005 at 3:09 pm

    Robert,
    You ask:
    “Why is it that people continue to believe such patent rubbish even when it hasn’t done what it claims to do? i.e. make them stop smoking”

    They have believed in this quackery since the year dot+1. Part of the human condition, I suppose. Mind you, Mad Melanie can be hoodwinked!
    t

  10. CaptainT said,

    November 12, 2005 at 3:36 pm

    Why don’t the BBC go the whole hog and start advertising time travel technology?

    www.lifetechnology.org/hyperdimensional.htm

  11. CaptainT said,

    November 12, 2005 at 3:50 pm

    Oh my god Philippa Young really is a news reporter, she even seems to do a lot of health stories.

    www.google.com/search?q=bbc+%22Philippa+Young%22

    Here she is at Sky News (she does look a bit slow…):

    www.geocities.com/phillpy2001/philippa.html

    Before she was sacked:

    www.wotsat.com/arjun8-2003.html

  12. CaptainT said,

    November 12, 2005 at 4:01 pm

    And here is the BBC’s Bioresonance correspondent Philippa Young when she used to work at Radio Tyneside.

    www.radiotyneside.freeserve.co.uk/pages/pho_watn3.htm

    (worth checking out that link just for the parade of crrrrraaazzzzyyyy smiles, I can’t wait to rock out to some of Howard Watson’s “Trax!”)

  13. Miss Prism said,

    November 12, 2005 at 4:21 pm

    Savita Bhandari, the ‘therapist’ in the programme, has a webpage (www.vitahealth.co.uk/healthclinic.htm) in which she claims “Savita Bhandari is a member of the Royal Pharmaceutical Society and was for over 20 years a dispensing pharmacist”. But on the RPS register (www.rpsgblist.org/membership.asp?mem=&sur=bhandari&for=)it seems to say she is not eligible to practise in Great Britain. I don’t know enough about pharmacy to know what this means – does someone else?

  14. Tessa K said,

    November 12, 2005 at 4:42 pm

    Miss Prism – there is what may be an interesting parallel story in The Guardian Weekend today. Doctor Nish Joshi has set himself up as an ‘alternative’ health practitioner to the rich and famous. He has a medical degree from India but is not registered with the GMC in this country, so cannot practice proper medicine here. He would need to take a couple more exams and work in a UK hospital to get qualified. Maybe it’s the same with Bhandari. Your quote doesn’t say she was a dispensing pharmacist – in this country. (How do you do italics here?)

    What’s more, the article on Joshi says (quoting the GMC): “Unless you are a registered medical practitoner (ie, with the GMC) you must not use any title that implies that you are a medical practitioner.” (Are you listening Teeth McKeith?)

    His claims about detox are what we non-medical doctors call a load of old cobblers. Even I could spot his dodgy claims about toxins.

  15. Frank said,

    November 12, 2005 at 6:29 pm

    The ghost of Dr Albert Abrams lives on!

    Or perhaps this device works on Professor Blandot’s (in)famous N-ray technology.

  16. roymondo said,

    November 12, 2005 at 6:46 pm

    I suppose the stupidity of smoking is mirrored in the acceptance of the quackery (I’m a smoker BTW).

    I don’t know what scares me more: the knowledge that I’m slowly killing myself or the feeling that if this stuff gts taken seriously (and promoted by the BBC) I might be better off out of it anyway.

    It’s probaly less damaging to the viewer than Strictly Come Dancing though.

  17. JohnD said,

    November 13, 2005 at 1:10 am

    You think you have it bad. The ABC (Australian Broadcasting Corporation), the Australian equivalent of the BBC, has a weekly program devoted to the wild and wacky world of alternative therapies:

    www.abc.net.au/tv/secondopinion/

    And not once are any of the extreme claims made questioned or challenged.
    They do have a tame GP on sometimes, but he looks very uncomfortable, and you get the impression he has been strictly warned against trying to debunk any of this weird science.

  18. Tessa K said,

    November 13, 2005 at 4:16 pm

    Roymondo:

    As someone who has tried to give up smoking, I know the psychological addiction is as hard to crack as the physical one. Even if this so-called cure worked, it would not deal with that. A lot of smokers miss the physical action of smoking, the habit of doing it, the way it punctuates the day etc etc. Does this machine re-align your thought patterns too?

    I take comfort in the thought that fatties are now costing the NHS as much as smokers. The difference between the tax on fags and the cost to the NHS is considerable – in the government’s favour. So in fact, I’m performing a public service every time I light up.

    Yes, I know.

  19. avenger said,

    November 13, 2005 at 9:59 pm

    Key quote from the review of this device at www.emreview.org.uk/equipment/regumed_bicom_2000/bicom_report.htm
    :

    ” The Bicom 2000 is a well built, large, solid, desk based, self-contained device. The main box is constructed from tough, painted, aluminium and has an appropriate professional look.”

    “How differs from other products
    This product stands out from the rest in its construction quality …”

    Notice how much time the camera spends on the device in the BBC story.

    I’ve also noticed that one of the cardinal indicators of quackery is the word “energy.”

  20. Tessa K said,

    November 13, 2005 at 10:50 pm

    Ah, if it looks good, it must work. It sounds like that device the Scientologists use where you have to grip a couple of metal handles and it tells you how ‘polluted’ you are. Lots of dials and knobs and shiny bits. A catchy name always helps, preferably with some numbers after it.

    As to ‘energy’ – was the word ‘quantum’ used at any point? It usually is.

    Part of me is so tempted to come up with some ‘device’ of my own. I know someone who could build something really swishy looking…

    Maybe we should see who can come up with the perfect Xmas Gift for the Gullible.

  21. Michael said,

    November 14, 2005 at 6:03 am

    ABC’s Second Opinion is a real worry. They present everything without any criticality, and it has a prime-time slot of 6:30pm (competing with all of the tabloid tv shows as it happens).

    A good use of our hard-earned tax dollars – free and uncritical advertising for all manner of quakery and the ducks who practice it.

    It’s a pity the ABC can’t devote a fraction of the time and money they do on the arts, religion and quackery to science – we’re left with a single 1/2 hour slot once a week for Quantum, and although sometimes it is quite good, it has obviously had its budget cut so much that half the time it just has (re)runs of imported content as ‘special reports’.

  22. Michael P said,

    November 14, 2005 at 10:15 am

    That link is pure gold, JohnD. Within 30s I had found content that had me jumping up and down shouting ‘How could they say that?!?!?!?’. Under the heading ‘What is Tomatis Listening Therapy?’ they explain that it’s not just about sitting nicely and paying attention, but much more!

    “The program is meant to re-establish a good ear in regards to listening. It can also treat developmental delay, Down Syndrome, auditory processing difficulties, learning disorders, and communication problems.”

    Wow, chromosome removal and everything!

    And as for Bioresonance, doesn’t that sound wonderful? Other illnesses and allergies too? Amazing. It reminds me of an advert I saw in, I think, a copy of the Daily Express from Nineteen Oatcake for a general purpose elixir. The tag line was “Another leg saved!!” I must say though, I’m slightly disappointed in the beeb. I’d expect it from Young, sitting in Wooly Corner, but not on the news.

    *sigh*

  23. MikeTheGoat said,

    November 14, 2005 at 10:15 am

    Another one from BBC news, this time in association with the amazing Cardiff University Press Department…..

    news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/wales/4433496.stm

    Can anyone who can access the whole paper (abstract at fampra.oxfordjournals.org/cgi/content/abstract/cmi072v1) say whether it’s as dubious as it sounds.

    This
    “The subjects who reported that they developed a cold (n = 18) reported that they suffered from significantly more colds each year (P = 0.007) compared to those subjects who did not develop a cold (n = 162).”
    doesn’t sound too promising.

  24. David said,

    November 14, 2005 at 10:17 am

    Right, Dean – I’ve gone and done it. Emailed the Beeb and suggested that they learn how to use PubMed. Also suggested that they might like to do a couple of checks on the “facts” that are presented to them BEFORE any future stories are put together.

    Do I get a badge or something? What would it say?

  25. Ben Goldacre said,

    November 14, 2005 at 11:13 am

    Sorry I’ve not been around much the last couple of weeks, I’ve been off on adventures, if you read this in the next hour, I’m on You and Yours on Radio 4 at about twelve to tease “Britain’s leading MRSA expert” Chris Malyszewicz from “Chemsol”. He’s in the studio too, so it should be fun, and it’ll be on “listen again” and transcribed as well.

    Hearing him speak really does add a little extra to the story, I think you’ll agree, if you listen.

  26. amoebic vodka said,

    November 14, 2005 at 11:38 am

    In reply to Mike the Goat…

    Maybe the full paper will clear this up, but it looks from the abstract that the people being tested were asked to report if they had a cold or not. As you can’t really do a placebo control for putting someone’s feet in cold water, the people in the study knew if they were in the control group or not. As it was self diagnosis, then the reporting of having a cold or not was done by people who knew whether they were in the contol group.

    Er…in short it wasn’t a double blind trial…

    Also the abstract doesn’t claim that the treatment actually causes colds, just cold symptoms:

    “Further studies are needed to determine the relationship of symptom generation to any respiratory infection.”

    What is odd is that the paper says 5/90 (6%) in the control group and 13/90 (14%) in the chilled group said they got colds, but the BBC says 9% and 29% respectively.

  27. CaptainT said,

    November 14, 2005 at 11:50 am

    Has anybody got the press release from the great Cardiff University media office? That might explain the exaggeration…

  28. CaptainT said,

    November 14, 2005 at 11:56 am

    Since we know from the “Implosion Researchers” story a few weeks ago that the BBC like to take things down, change them, and then say later that they were balanced and full of caveats, I thought I should post the story here so that they can’t try any funny business. Apologies if it takes up too much room.

    Last Updated: Monday, 14 November 2005, 00:07 GMT
    Mothers ‘were right’ over colds

    Scientists say they have the first proof that there really is a link between getting cold and catching one.

    Staff at the Common Cold Centre in Cardiff took 180 volunteers and asked half of them to keep their bare feet in icy water for 20 minutes.

    They found 29% developed a cold within five days, compared with only 9% in the control group not exposed to a chill.

    Mothers can now be confident in their advice to children to wrap up well in winter
    Prof Ron Eccles, Common Cold Centre

    Professor Ronald Eccles, director of the centre, said the study had shown, for the first time, a scientific link between chilling and viral infection – something previously dismissed by other studies.

    “When colds are circulating in the community, many people are mildly infected but show no symptoms,” Prof Eccles said.

    “If they become chilled, this causes a pronounced constriction of the blood vessels in the nose and shuts off the warm blood that supplies the white cells that fight infection.

    “The reduced defences in the nose allow the virus to get stronger and common cold symptoms develop.

    “Although the chilled subject believes they have ‘caught a cold’ what has, in fact, happened is that the dormant infection has taken hold.”

    The Common Cold Centre, at Cardiff University, is the world’s only centre dedicated to researching and testing new medicines for the treatment of flu and the common cold.

    The volunteers in the study were recruited during the peak common cold season – October to March.

    Cold noses

    While half sat with their feet in chilled in ice-cold water for 20 minutes the others had their feet in an empty bowl.

    The research findings published in the medical journal, Family Practice say the fact that common colds are more prevalent in the winter could be related to an increased incidence of chilling causing more clinical colds.

    But another explanation could be our noses are colder in winter.

    “A cold nose may be one of the major factors that causes common colds to be seasonal,” Prof Eccles explained.

    “When the cold weather comes, we wrap ourselves up in winter coats to keep warm, but our nose is directly exposed to the cold air.

    “Cooling of the nose slows down clearance of viruses from the nose and slows down the white cells that fight infection.

    “Mothers can now be confident in their advice to children to wrap up well in winter.”

  29. Michael P said,

    November 14, 2005 at 12:08 pm

    Sorry Vodka, it doesn’t clear it up at all!

    It says that the ‘chill’ group took off their socks and shoes and put them in a bucket of water (9-10L mind!) at 10degC for 20 mins. The ‘control’ group left their socks and shoes on and put their feet into empty buckets for the same period of time. I wish I was joking!

    No, it isn’t blind. No there wasn’t a clinical diagnosis in sight. And yes, they play with the statistics to find something they think is worth reporting. They also say that they neutralise the ‘but they would believe the folklore’ argument against the bias by telling them before the procedure that the old wives might be wrong, you know! A curious point is the allocation of the self-awarded symptom scores. You can build up a maximum of 120 symptom points over the 4/5 day duration – 0 to 8 points = no cold, while 9 to 120 points means you have a cold. Hmmm, I wonder why those categories were chosen?

    My opinion – complete crap.

  30. censored said,

    November 14, 2005 at 1:07 pm

    From the regumed site:

    “these oscillations are changed and then returned to the patient’s body in the form of healing therapy oscillations. The body is never exposed to any kind of current.”

    So how, exactly, do oscillations delivered via electrodes present themselves if not a current?

  31. Hanne said,

    November 14, 2005 at 1:17 pm

    By so-called scientific magic. Surely everyone has heard of this?!

  32. Mathew said,

    November 14, 2005 at 1:20 pm

    Reading this story and in particular the line “There’s still no clinical proof that this works” reminded of another BBC Story I read this morning about colds – “Mothers ‘were right’ over colds” on the BBC website – in which we are told “Scientists say they have the first proof that there really is a link between getting cold and catching one”

    My question is, why do reporters continually describe clinical/scientific evidence of something as ‘proof’? Maybe the scientists did say they had proof, although there is no quote to that effect. More likely, I feel, is that they said that they have the first EVIDENCE that feeling cold may be linked to the likelihood of catching a cold. And yet it becomes PROOF in the story. Stupidly so, for the research in question in no way PROVES that getting cold increases your chances of catching a cold, although it does of course provide a little evidence that this may be the case.

    This may be regarded as nit picking, but it does annoy me that the term proof is used so ambiguously when it has a clear meaning and its misuse, especially in health related stories, leads to misunderstanding and worse by those who do not realise this.

  33. Mathew said,

    November 14, 2005 at 1:21 pm

    The BBC cold story is the one CaptainT quotes above – just noticed!

  34. Tessa K said,

    November 14, 2005 at 1:27 pm

    In The Guardian coverage it says ‘All participants took off their shoes and socks’.

    I don’t understand how they can say getting chilly brings out a latent cold from this experiment. Were both groups tested beforehand to see if they had any latent sniffles lurking? Can they do that? Were they all monitored in the following days to make sure they all behaved in the same way? If not, then some of them could have gone home and wrapped up warm, while some of them could have walked around in T shirts, thus invalidating the 20 minutes the test lasted. Were they all kept in isolation after the test? What if someone got sneezed on just after the test?

    These may sound like flippant remarks, but they do show the laxity of the methodology.

    I suspect a conspiracy by nose-warmer manufacturers.

  35. Hanne said,

    November 14, 2005 at 1:31 pm

    Speaking of PROOF, did anyone catch the Alien Worlds programme on Channel 4 (Friday/Saturday night?) where they proved that this fictional, alien world would exist with the properties and life they fed into the programme? I know what you mean Mathew, the word proof, proves etc really grates when used in conjunction with science!

  36. Johnny B said,

    November 14, 2005 at 1:51 pm

    Miss Prism,

    With regards to your comments on Savita Bhandari: Chances are that she was a practicing pharmacist in the UK. The non-practicing catagory was a fairly recent introduction which allows one to pay reduced fees and avoid a commitment to continuing professional development.

    However the society’s by-laws state: “a non-practising pharmacist is a member who does not engage in pharmacy practice, is not involved in patient care and does not work in or give advice in relation to, the science of medicines or the practice of pharmacy or healthcare.”

    So feel free to register a complaint.

    J.

  37. Michael P said,

    November 14, 2005 at 1:53 pm

    No Tessa, you’re not being flippant, I think the study is shoddy from start to finish. For example, they describe their population as 180 healthy subjects from the student population of Cardiff University. Well there’s a cross section!

    To be honest, the whole thing sounds like an honours project gone too far.

  38. Ray said,

    November 14, 2005 at 1:56 pm

    My question is, why do reporters continually describe clinical/scientific evidence of something as ‘proof’?

    Though it’s hard to choose among so many, my pet hate in BBC reportage is the headline format, where they express claims as assertions subliminally qualified by single quotes: Allergies ‘helped by homeopathy’.

  39. amoebic vodka said,

    November 14, 2005 at 2:00 pm

    We notice the Guardian repeats the same figures (29% and 9%) and is almost identical to the BBC one, so we assume they come from the press release. The figures are actually a big deal, the actual P value (we’re guessing they used chi squared for this, but our stats knowledge is poor) is 0.047, using the values in the BBC piece it would instead be 0.001. As the experiment is flawed, perhaps this doesn’t matter so much…

    We can’t read the full article, but we wonder how the self diagnosis symptom scale works. After all, chopping onions causes cold symptoms (runny nose). Would that be enough to score as a cold on their scale?

  40. Ben Goldacre said,

    November 14, 2005 at 2:07 pm

    If anyone’s interested, you can hear MRSA expert Dr Chris Malyszewicz here. I’m sorry to say he doesn’t come out of it too well.

    www.bbc.co.uk/radio/aod/networks/radio4/aod.shtml?radio4/youandyours_mon

  41. MostlySunny said,

    November 14, 2005 at 2:44 pm

    is it just me or does it sound like Dr C is reading from a prepared statement in parts? Also what’s that funny clicking noise that he’s making…?

  42. Jim said,

    November 14, 2005 at 2:58 pm

    To be fair to the guy I thought he did very well. It was all ready established that he knows very little about microbiology and could not have got the results he claimed. He came across as an idiot but that has to be better than coming across as a fraudster.

  43. Squander Two said,

    November 14, 2005 at 3:10 pm

    The BBC — and the rest of the media — are a tad more conscientious about observing the distinction between proof and evidence when they report on court cases. But then, getting it wrong in such cases could land them in court themselves for libel. Maybe we need some sort of “scientific libel” legislation.

  44. Loopy said,

    November 14, 2005 at 3:14 pm

    just listened to the programme… highly amusing and I loved the way that John Waite gave Dr C a hard time

    If he was reading from a prepared statement then he should ask for his money back… it did nothing for his credibility!

    Were you not allowed to ask him any questions Ben?

  45. MostlySunny said,

    November 14, 2005 at 3:23 pm

    He’ s obviously had some help preparing for it – lawyers do it all the time – it’s called “precognising your witness” by running him/her through the possible questions that they could face under cross-examination.

    It’s quite an art – you want to get the witness to be comfortable with his story but not so comfortable that it sounds “learned” thereby losing credibility like, er, the good “doctor” this afternoon

  46. MostlySunny said,

    November 14, 2005 at 3:31 pm

    also, sounded like he was referring to notes.

  47. Alex said,

    November 14, 2005 at 3:48 pm

    I just complained to the BBC about the inaccuracy of the news story on bioresonance. It takes literally under 3 minutes, and the BBC do have clunky procedures in place to ensure that all complaints are reviewed, so it is worth it.

    Useful info to make complaining easier: the item was first broadcast on Sat 17th September.

    Courtesy of Dean Morrison, the BBC complaints link is

    news.bbc.co.uk/newswatch/ukfs/hi/newsid_3950000/newsid_3955200/3955223.stm

    You may want to provide the reference for the video item:

    news.bbc.co.uk/nolavconsole/ukfs_news/hi/bb_wm_fs.stm?checkedBandwidth=nb&checkedMedia=ram&news=1&bbwm=1&bbram=1&nol_storyid=4255416

  48. tonyhatfield said,

    November 14, 2005 at 4:19 pm

    It’s Ok having a go at Dr C, but the tabs that published these quaint results seemed to get off lightly.
    t

  49. Mathew said,

    November 14, 2005 at 4:31 pm

    Squander Two: good point!

    I’ve also noticed that politicians are always given a hard time by journalists whereas anything said by scientists (or as often as not, self-appointed, pseudoscientific ‘experts’) is reported verbatim. If only the media applied the same critical analysis to science – pseudo or otherwise – that they do to politics. Difficult, of course, given how little science many of them understand. In the end though, their business is selling newspapers/attracting viewers and not critical analysis, so they have absolutely no incentive. Which is a pity.

  50. Ben Goldacre said,

    November 14, 2005 at 4:53 pm

    I agree, the papers are the real bad guys in this story as far as I’m concerned.

  51. Nathan J said,

    November 14, 2005 at 5:07 pm

    Ahh, I note in the review linked by “avenger” that it registers “EDS Meridian Status”, among other things. “EDS” is one of those homeopathy buzzword-laden acronyms. Found the follwing URL, with lots more information on this stuff…

    www.quackwatch.org/01QuackeryRelatedTopics/electro.html

    What really tickled me was the “chip imprinter” that you could use to print a chip that you could stick to the patient to “continue treatment once they leave the clinic”. Now with embedded frequencies!

  52. Miss Prism said,

    November 14, 2005 at 5:49 pm

    Most newspapers’ health sections could probably be written by computer: (Foodstuff or activity) can (boost / impair) (physiologial process), (nationality) scientists (warn / claim) in a new study.

    I agree that the radio presenter let the tabloids off too lightly. Malyszewicz is clearly either a nutter or a con-man, and possibly both, but it’s the journalists who – probalby knowingly – slandered the NHS and got people needlessly scared.

  53. Alex B said,

    November 14, 2005 at 6:02 pm

    Well the good doctor put the case across excellently on behalf of all us good science appreciaters

    Why was the government man hesitating to call it a shed? “It’s better than my shed” erm its still a shed though isn’t it?

    i think its about time the government does something about these send off phd’s, how long will it be before someone gets one of them and uses it in really bad situation, pretending they are a doctor or dentist and then taking advantage of vulnerable people?

  54. lol said,

    November 14, 2005 at 6:25 pm

    www.badscience.net/?p=183#comment-743

  55. JohnD said,

    November 15, 2005 at 1:24 am

    Yes, the ABC’s Second Opinion is a real worry, but I understand that it has been given the chop, and after the current season will be seen no more.
    However, it’s been given the chop for the wrong reason (poor ratings) rather than the right reason (pseudo-scientific rubbish). The ABC will need to be watched closely to make sure similar junk science doesn’t reappear.

  56. Ray said,

    November 15, 2005 at 5:05 am

    Alex: I just complained to the BBC … the BBC do have clunky procedures in place to ensure that all complaints are reviewed, so it is worth it.

    I wish you luck. Whatever the claimed procedures, they’re still really crap at responding, and they tend to do nothing about issues of accuracy or bias unless it’s to do with “political or industrial controversy”.

  57. Tessa K said,

    November 15, 2005 at 12:26 pm

    You’d think that exposing a scam would be good headlines. The media likes to expose a cheating politician, so why not a dodgy health claim? The tabloids like to claim they are the ‘people’s champions’, after all.

    Is Watchdog still on TV? Maybe they could be persuaded to do a health section – they might go for it in cases where people are being ripped off. Dr Ben could be their ‘roving reporter’! Or they could do a piece on ‘How to buy a PhD’.

  58. Ben Goldacre said,

    November 15, 2005 at 12:44 pm

    As it happens we’ve just started on the Bad Science TV show for BBC3. We’d be well up for hearing if you’ve got any good ideas or want to get involved (of course, there are people far more important than me involved now)…

  59. Michael P said,

    November 15, 2005 at 1:16 pm

    Excellent!! The sky’s the limit now!

    You could investigate journalists who report on science issues badly and shame them, then compile a list of the good ones that are ‘Bad Science Accredited’. That way Joe Bloggs out there can tell who to trust and who not. Actually, that’s a good point – are there any journalists out there that you would trust like that??

  60. RJ said,

    November 15, 2005 at 1:57 pm

    Throughout most of the comments to articles journalists appear to be given a great deal of criticism for writing about a subject area (namely scientific areas) of which they have no extensive knowledge. Similar observations of knowledge can be found in many areas of most papers; consider how often films and books receive vastly different ratings dependent on the critic – is this critic a writer / film producer, or someone who has read many books / watched many films in his or her life? Similarly if you flick through the sports pages many writers are simply that; writers, the only valuable comment is from ex or current pros who have an inkling of what they are talking about.

    The point is this, journalism and writing are proffessions within themselves. I agree that all pieces should be competently researched, but are there enough hours in the day to meticulously cover every angle of a story before it is published.

    Although as a keen sports enthusiast I have been know to start crying whilst suffering some of the dribble on the sports pages.

  61. Dean Morrison said,

    November 15, 2005 at 2:07 pm

    I’ve just complained to the BBC again! this time about the ‘common cold’ reporting. I was moved to do so after an ‘old wife’ friend of mine quoted this to say it had proved her right after all.
    Someone said this was an undergraduate project gone too far. If I was marking this as an undergraduate project I would point out that the proper control would be to have the other half of the group with their feet in warm water. The present experiment could as easily be a test for whether colds are brought on by wet feet. Has anyone who has access to the original paper looked to see whether it occured to them to eliminate this possibility?

  62. MikeTheGoat said,

    November 15, 2005 at 2:13 pm

    Criticism of films/books etc is a completely subjective undertaking and so one would expect different writers to present different opinions. Assessment of scientific findings however should be objective because it’s not just about opinion but about evidence. Whether we believe the evidence is down to the quality of the experiment that produced it. Again, the quality of the research can (and should) be objectively assessed.

    When journalists are unable to do this we end up with articles that continue to claim that MMR is dangerous and that nicotine’s energy fields can be electronically removed.

    Part of the professionalism of journalism/writing should be understanding the subject that is written about – especially if one claims to be a specialist science/health correspondent.

  63. Bug said,

    November 15, 2005 at 2:21 pm

    Should Ben’s TV show have a hotseat where journalists or falsely qualified ‘scientists’ (I’m sure there are others) are grilled mercilessly and forced to eat their articles or press photos when shown to be demonstrably wrong/stupid/lying? Or is this too cruel?

  64. Michael P said,

    November 15, 2005 at 2:56 pm

    Dean –

    They said in the paper that they didn’t use warm water as a control because that could also have an effect on nasal vasculature. I would also bet that they didn’t make sure none of the (student) population went out of an evening in skimpy clothes. I don’t know about Cardiff, but up here the queue for the cash machine outside the Union can be might chilly!

  65. Loopy said,

    November 15, 2005 at 3:04 pm

    sounds like a capital idea to me Bug… if you are going to make McKeith eat her work you will have to print it on green paper though – higher oxygen content!!

    Ben – can you make sure there are plenty of video clips from this show on the beeb site when it starts. Some of us are abroad….

  66. MostlySunny said,

    November 15, 2005 at 3:10 pm

    seconded

  67. Hanne said,

    November 15, 2005 at 3:18 pm

    What do I have to do to get BBC3 to the rural backwaters where I live? Any chance of it being shown on a ‘normal’ BBC channel?

  68. Ben Goldacre said,

    November 15, 2005 at 3:35 pm

    Nice. I really like the idea of confrontations where the loser has to eat their words.

    Incidentally, www.littleatoms.com/audio.htm is a great interview-based show on the London (and webcast) radio station Resonance FM. There’s a good interview with Jon Ronson on there at the moment, and Bad Science is on in a couple of weeks, featuring my apparently girly voice.

  69. Bug said,

    November 15, 2005 at 3:42 pm

    Would Gillian McKeith have to inspect her excretia, after eating her words?

  70. Teek said,

    November 15, 2005 at 4:09 pm

    as well as having “experts” humiliated, perhaps the Beeb show could have a name-and-shame slot for journalists that don’t know their placebo from their miracle cure or their arse from their elbow… this way the Melanie Philips of this world would be outed week by week, thus steadily increasing the chances of their editors realising what lemons they employ…!!

  71. Teek said,

    November 15, 2005 at 4:13 pm

    oh yeah, and count me in if you need any contributions etc to the show – good to see Ben flying the flag for proper science!!!

  72. Hanne said,

    November 15, 2005 at 4:23 pm

    I sense that a reworking of the popular children’s song where they learn that the legbone is connected to the hipbone could be applied to include basic scientific principles/ medicines. Or maybe we need to start with the children’s song and work our way to more complex ideas..

  73. Miss Prism said,

    November 15, 2005 at 4:32 pm

    There are some splendid 1950s kids’ science songs here:
    www.acme.com/jef/science_songs/

    I vote that Melanie Philips be forced to listen to “It’s a Scientific Fact’ for nine straight hours.

  74. Ben Goldacre said,

    November 15, 2005 at 4:32 pm

    Yes, it definitely needs a musical theatre component. We’re making it in about five minutes time to broadcast straight away, but I’ll look into costumes in the next day or two.

  75. Edward Bozzard said,

    November 15, 2005 at 4:34 pm

    As it happens we’ve just started on the Bad Science TV show for BBC3. We’d be well up for hearing if you’ve got any good ideas or want to get involved (of course, there are people far more important than me involved now)…

    Is it going to be as good as Penn and Teller’s Bullshit…? Man, I love that show – If only we can show the same level of disdain for quacks on britsh TV!!

    For those of you that haven’t seen it, track down the 2 series worth of DVDs from the US – Highly entertaining – 1 or 2 episodes were a little hard to swallow, but basically it’s consistent with the Goldacres, Randis, Shermans, and Barretts of this world..

  76. John Agapiou said,

    November 15, 2005 at 7:00 pm

    I complained to the Beeb back when this first aired (17th September). The website version lacks the credulous interview with an expert on bioresonance and I didn’t notice the original “used by the Russian military statement” endorsement. So I think it’s not the full report I originally saw.

    In fairness to the editor of the program I did get this response (after a bit of to and fro):

    However, the editor has accepted some of your criticisms and agrees that the item was far from perfect. Firstly, we should have had a more questioning scientific voice in the piece as it could be argued that overall the tone was too positive. In retrospect, we feel that the report should have been put together by a science or health correspondent who had more background knowledge of the area and would have been more questioning of the science behind bioresonance.

    For which I feel the editor is to be commended. It perhaps doesn’t go as far as I would have liked but I’d like to think that at least one editor at the BBC will now be a little more rational when it comes to stories such as these.

  77. Miss Prism said,

    November 15, 2005 at 9:09 pm

    Here’s some musical theatre:

    capacioushandbag.blogspot.com/2005/11/up-garden-path.html

    Picture dancing garden gnomes in lab coats.

  78. Tessa K said,

    November 15, 2005 at 9:14 pm

    Dr Ben – as well as pointing out Bad Science, maybe your show could also have a User’s Guide – a how to avoid being conned type of thing. You could explain the difference between hypothesis and theory, evidence and proof, anecdotal and double blind placebo controlled peer-reviewed . And some classic medical cons from the past. The legal ramifications of taking on someone like Teeth McKeith could be tricky.

    I’ve been a personal finance journalist in one of my many lives. That was all about reading the small print, dodgy deals, if it sounds too good to be true it probably is, jargon busting, naming and shaming etc. It’s pretty much the same game – teaching people to think for themselves and to ask the right questions. While rip-off interest rates on loans that mean you end up paying back more than twice what you borrowed may not be life threatening, I do know a bit about the ignorance and desperation you’re up against. Good luck.

  79. David said,

    November 16, 2005 at 10:57 am

    Congrats to those of you who got a reply from the BEEB re the bioresonance “story”.
    Anyway, For the Badscience TV show – How about:

    1) Review of science coverage in the papers/TV with a panel of scientists who can vote on whether the story is good science – bad science or hopelessly confused science.

    2)One could add into this, a “Scientists – how evil are they?” question where each media outlet is graded on how many of their printed/broadcast stories are positive or negative. You might be able to knock up some kind of flashy Evilometer just so the country can know how diabolical our scientists actually are on a weekly basis.

    3) Snake Oil of the week – Pick product and go through the “science” that is used to support it

    4) Watch the Daily Show on More 4. Now nick – sorry be inspired by – the best bits. A re-enactment of the feet in cold water = more colds experiment could be brilliant.

    Let us know when it’s on.

  80. Ian said,

    November 16, 2005 at 11:00 am

    How about a simple glossary for the BadScience website – in fact, I could try and get my sixth form to produce one as part of their investigations work. Hmm… you know, this might be worth doing just for their sake, even if it never makes it online…

    (Ian wanders off scribbling in his planning folder…)

  81. Ben Goldacre said,

    November 16, 2005 at 11:17 am

    Okay, that was a passing aside, but some of these ideas have been so incredibly good that I’ve gone all paranoid and sneakily taken them down off the site. I just wouldn’t want any flaky humanities graduates who happened to be passing by try to nick them and make their own rocking science tv show.

    If you, er, have any great ideas about what you’d like to see in the Bad Science TV show then maybe send them to tips@badscience.net instead…

    And the glossary is a nice idea. I could try and install a bit of wiki software on part of the site, and it could run itself there, people could write and edit whatever they want, and maybe we could lock some after a while?

  82. Charles said,

    November 16, 2005 at 11:35 am

    Why do I get the feeling Bad Science TV is going to be something akin to Top Gear… with Dr Ben and some short guy arguing over which is the better analgesic.

    I’d watch it! :)

  83. MostlySunny said,

    November 16, 2005 at 12:10 pm

    if we are going to use the Top Gear model could we not have Ben hunting the “flaky humanities graduate” of the week with from a tank in a woodland area and thereby replicating my all time favourite Top Gear …

    *realises this is wishful thinking*

  84. BorisTheChemist said,

    November 16, 2005 at 12:13 pm

    Ben,

    Will you be presenting the TV programme? I hope so, or at least we should have a scientist presenting it not some grinning moron fresh from drama school.

    Of course I’m free to come down to Television Centre any time… :D

  85. Tessa K said,

    November 16, 2005 at 12:24 pm

    I think we need to establish some sort of fee system if Dr Ben uses our ideas. I’m thinking some sort of alcohol/cake based currency.

  86. MostlySunny said,

    November 16, 2005 at 12:33 pm

    there must DEFINITELY be a bit where we can send in our “dumb things said to us at parties” stories – my latest is that “energy healing therapy was being used before science was invented”…

  87. BorisTheChemist said,

    November 16, 2005 at 1:03 pm

    Well, everyone knows that science was invented on a wet Tuesday in 1874 by a bunch of gentlemen with nothing better to do…

  88. Ian said,

    November 16, 2005 at 1:27 pm

    I now have an activity for my students to do over the weekend – I’ll give them a half-dozen or so science words and they have to give clear definitions and (for example) specify the difference between a hypothesis and a theory. As this isn’t strictly on the syllabus, the words are up to me – any suggestions people?

    hypothesis, theory… ummm….

  89. Michael P said,

    November 16, 2005 at 1:47 pm

    …association….causation….variable….error….

  90. BorisTheChemist said,

    November 16, 2005 at 4:10 pm

    proof, evidence, data, analysis

  91. Rob Sang said,

    November 16, 2005 at 4:57 pm

    Science?

  92. Ben Goldacre said,

    November 16, 2005 at 5:11 pm

    are you after pairs? like..

    statistical significance vs practical/clinical significance
    laboratory data vs population data

  93. Tessa K said,

    November 16, 2005 at 6:13 pm

    Ask them why someone wih a third class engineering degree is flogging detox diets.

  94. Miss Prism said,

    November 16, 2005 at 6:19 pm

    Model system, correlation, post hoc, control, bias, objective vs. subjective -
    and how about “genetic” or “heritable”? They’re often misused and misunderstood.

  95. Chris said,

    November 16, 2005 at 7:09 pm

    “Ask them why someone wih a third class engineering degree is flogging detox diets”

    … and why that person is considered (by the media) to be an authority on almost any scientific or technical field, from diet and education to the Internet.

  96. Dr* T said,

    November 16, 2005 at 7:13 pm

    A very interesting area of pseudoscience that (as yet) I think has been largely under-discussed is the world of advertising. Something I would like to do is to show people various adverts and ask them to write down the scientific claim made in the advert. Then compare this with the actual claim made, stressing the point that advertisers will make as strong a claim as possible based on their ‘research’.

    Oil of Olay is the textbook example. Smoke and mirrors nonsense about 7 signs of aging – the actual claim (If I recall rightly) is:

    MAY HELP REDUCE SOME of the seven signs of ageing.

    Note: 4 (four) modifiers. People seem to remember the claim as being a lot stronger!

    Another one is the probiotic yoghurt advert at the minute with the full-of-beans parents. No claim is actually made – the only wording is along the line of ‘Have you put it to the test?’ (or similar).

  97. Alex B said,

    November 16, 2005 at 8:31 pm

    probiotics are the most unbelievable con

    perhaps the bad science program should investigate the claims. i have done some research on it before, and i wont waffle on too much, but basically the research they rely on is that lactobacilli and a couple of others are better for you than for bacteria that cause ‘food poisoning’. BUT the evidence that they are better than not having any? zero. zilch. nothing.

    then again, this is probably less of a gripe with the yogurt people and more with microbiologists talking rubbish about the “commensal” microflora

  98. Michael Harman said,

    November 16, 2005 at 10:28 pm

    Going back to Chris’s comment, I’ve always taken the word “detox” as a certain indicator of bad science (or BS). A bit like seeing someone with a baseball cap on – even if it isn’t the wrong way round, you don’t have to enquire any further. Life’s too short to investigate on the remote off-chance that they aren’t nuts after all.

    Michael Harman

  99. Tessa K said,

    November 17, 2005 at 12:18 pm

    Pay attention, here comes the science:

    I’ve never understood the point of yoghurt.

    Surely, if you’re a normal person, you have all the bacteria you need in your digestive system anyway. If you have been ill, you may need something to restore your balance, but can ‘friendly bacteria’ in yoghurt do this? How much do you need to eat?

    That advert where the woman says she is feeling bloated and her friend offers her some sort of pro-biotic yoghurt is a good example. What the friend should really do is say, ” Stop eating crap then. Eat a proper diet and you’ll be fine.”

    If we needed extra bacteria in our stomachs on a regular basis, wouldn’t we have evolved to eat flies or dirt?

    Yoghurt is not a health food, it’s a pudding.

    ‘MAY’ is my favourite advertising word.

    What the hell are the seven signs of ageing anyway? Believing bollocks must be one of them.

    And while we’re on the subject of adverts – Dr Robert Winston doing adverts for stuff to make your kids smarter? Shame on him and his silly moustache. (Yes, I know ad hominem attacks are bad).

    On the other hand, I do still believe that one day I will find a mascara that really will make my lashes five times thicker.

  100. Alex B said,

    November 17, 2005 at 12:41 pm

    the funny thing is, it may well be that even the normal gut flora is bad for you. look at the amount of inflammation in the gut, some people tell you this is good (supposedely its better to have an active immune system wasting cells and energy) whilst others will say its a waste of resources and also that inflammation has links with illnesses like crohns. compare mice raised in bacteria free conditions, to animals with just a single type of bacteria present, then compare to a mouse with all the normal flora. interesting stuff.
    well it is to me anyway

  101. John A said,

    November 17, 2005 at 1:02 pm

    Ian

    joint probability vs conditional probability

  102. John A said,

    November 17, 2005 at 1:13 pm

    On the subject of advertising I heard an interesting thing on a podcast a while ago (maybe the SETI Science one). Apparently, science publications have difficulty finding advertisers to fill the pages. They hypothesised that it is because us science geeks are so sceptical and canny that their sorcerous ways won’t work on us. I love this idea.
    Sadly the truth is that advertisers like to have a well defined group that they are pitching to and that science publications probably have too scattered a readership.
    All that said New Scientist seems to consistently have lots of German car adverts…

  103. Hanne said,

    November 17, 2005 at 1:25 pm

    Back to this cold thing, Millets have now started adding tags to their jumpers and coats proclaiming COLD CURE!
    This world has gone mad…

  104. Teek said,

    November 17, 2005 at 1:40 pm

    the best thing on TV has to be the adverts for Olay Regenerist: “contains amino-peptde complexes…” errrr, no need to boast about a product that contains some protein, so does cheddar cheese but i don’t see that reducing any of the seven signs…

    but wait – amino-peptide complex isn’t just any old protein (!), according to Bridal Deluxe’s Beauty and Science Glossary (please don’t ask how i found this…) at www.bridaldeluxe.com/gg_glossary.html

    “Amino-peptide complex – Specifically designed formula to regenerate skin by renewing its outer layer. As a result wrinkles are noticeably less visible. ”

    right, so that’s that cleared up – but there’s more…

    the murky world of stats in adverts bugs me and my colleagues like (almost) nothing else… take a bow L’oreal at al, for getting away with saying things like “73% of women noticed a visible difference in X days,” whilst in the small print at the bottom of the screen it says “number of women tested – 34.” how such a small sample size can have any meaning in the first place is beyond me, but aren’t we missing the point – these were people who were given FREE SAMPLES OF SHAMPOO/FOUNDATION/LOTION/SERUM/GUNK TO TEST, is it any wonder most of them liked it…?!!!

    and yet more…!! how about the shampoo ads that say “hair is 98% stronger is weeks,” when the small print reveals “when compared to water alone” or worse, “when compared to not washing.” well, duuuh, using shampoo’s better than not washing your hair at all – ground-breaking science!!!!!

    as for Lord Winston – Dr. Ben’s Guardian colleague puts the issues better than i ever could, so read her verdict on “clever milk” here… www.guardian.co.uk/Columnists/Column/0,,1636774,00.html

    Dr. Ben, there definitely has to be an ad-bashing section in the TV show – the series could run for months on just the sort of crap that Dr. T* and Tessa K speak of!!

  105. julia said,

    November 17, 2005 at 1:50 pm

    “probiotics are the most unbelievable con”

    According to The Sceptic column in the Guardian today they have a beneficial effect on people with recent onset of infectious diarrhoea.

  106. GWO said,

    November 17, 2005 at 1:54 pm

    What the hell are the seven signs of ageing anyway?

    i) Policemen looking younger
    ii) Inability to operate the TV remote
    iii) Incomprehension of modern pop music
    iv) Enjoying “Time Team”
    v) Enhanced tolerance for Terry Wogan
    vi) Forgetfulness
    viii) … can’t remember.

  107. Dr* T said,

    November 17, 2005 at 4:39 pm

    John A,

    Joint probability vs cocaine probability is more likely with these journo types ;)
    (allegedly, of course….)

  108. Tessa K said,

    November 17, 2005 at 5:19 pm

    GWO – I’m not sure about policemen looking younger but they certainly are shorter.

    John A- that’s interesting about science publications finding it diffcult to get advertisers. When I wrote for a personal finance website, it happened several times that the advert at the top of the page was for a product that my article below it said was a bad deal. They didn’t seem to care. I’m not sure what that says about their estimation of the readers’ intelligence.

    How do you do italics here? I can’t, nor can I cut and paste from someone else’s post in my reply. Is it a Mac/Outlook Express thing?

    It’s bloody freezing outside. I just got in and my nose is very very cold. I shall warm it up and report back as to whether this prevents me getting a cold…

  109. Ray said,

    November 17, 2005 at 5:25 pm

    How do you do italics here?

    HTML: see here for the syntax.

  110. flaky humanities grad said,

    November 17, 2005 at 5:34 pm

    Back to TV – ‘star in a reasonably priced health spa’ anyone? How many quack treatments can they be offered in a session

  111. Tessa K said,

    November 17, 2005 at 5:36 pm

    Thanks Ray

  112. Dean Morrison said,

    November 17, 2005 at 9:46 pm

    In response to my original complaint:

    {Comments:}
    I thought not only was the BBC supposed to provide balanced reporting -
    it was also barred from advertising? If so why this unashamed plug for
    these snake-oil salesmen?
    news.bbc.co.uk/nolavconsole/ukfs_news/hi/bb_wm_fs.stm?checkedBand
    width=nb&checkedMedia=ram&news=1&bbwm=1&bbram=1&nol_storyid=4255416
    or www.tinyurl.com/bfoeu
    Doubtless hthousands of desperate people will now be seeking out this
    clininic on the basis of the unsupported claims uncritically repeated on
    this item. The ‘science’ is bonkers and at very least the BBC has the
    responsiblity to point this out. The only ‘balance’ was provided by a
    proponent of the ‘treatment. I am missing the Chris Morris ‘Day to Day’
    satirical comedy programme. Unfortunately this ‘news item’ would fit
    quite comfortably in an unedited form there. I think that this requires
    a full apology from the BBC, and an item should be broadcast showing the
    flaws in the reporting of the original programme, and given equal time.
    I suggest you contact Ben Goldacre of the Guardian if you require a more
    detailed explanation. {EndofComments:}

    Got my reply from the beeb today:

    The piece presented what the clinic claimed their treatment could achieve and the correspondent pointed out that there is no clinical proof of the treatment working. We also had an independent voice in the form of the editor of CAM magazine – who sounded a note of caution on the efficacy of various machines and methods.

    I broadcast the piece in good faith – having been told by my researcher and correspondent that bioresonance has been extensively researched in Europe and Russia and is already being widely used to treat a number of conditions.

    However – I do accept that the item did have flaws. We should have had a more questioning scientific voice in the piece – which overall was too positive. And with hindsight the piece should have been put together by a science or health correspondent with more background knowledge of the area.

    Julia Barry, Assistant Editor News 24

    I’m not happy with it and am considering whether to take this higher up, although I don’t want to make Ben Mr unpopular

  113. Dean Morrison said,

    November 17, 2005 at 10:10 pm

    listened to Simon Mayo this afternoon: a debate between representatives of the Health Food Manufactures Association, Holland and Barrett; and the excellent Catherine Collins – Chief dietician of St Georges Hospital.
    the weasels were trying to say they do not promote their stuff as having ‘therapeutic benefits’ – but stil said that it could ‘help’ any number of conditions.
    Catherine repeatedly showed them up on the facts about the stuff they are peddling – at one point when asked what ‘DHA’ is – ( a constituent of fish oil) – the industry rep is obviously clueless and says its a ‘very long chemical name which unfortunately I can’t give you right now’ – which Catherine immediately rattles off.
    This in response to a caller saying she gives Omega 3 capsules to her kids because ‘Robert Winston said it was good for brain development because it helps pathways in the brain’.
    Listen again at:

    www.bbc.co.uk/radio/aod/mainframe.shtml?http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio/aod/fivelive_promo.shtml

    at least some balance from the beeb – Simon Mayo at least asked some searching questions about the health supplement manufacturers claims.
    Catherine Collins would be a good guest for your new show Ben – and Holland and Barrett and the like should be there for the taking; a combination of bad science, health scare and outrageous advertising…

  114. Dean Morrison said,

    November 17, 2005 at 10:12 pm

    Drat .. that link just takes you to the Radio 5 replay site – you need to click on “Simon Mayo” THURS

  115. Ray said,

    November 17, 2005 at 11:09 pm

    having been told by my researcher and correspondent that bioresonance has been extensively researched in Europe and Russia and is already being widely used to treat a number of conditions

    Which immediately makes you wonder who the researcher/correspondent is, to offer such information.

    Holland and Barrett, incidentally, are definitely worth following up. They’ve been investigated in regional BBC reports in the past – see here – for offering allergy testing based on Vega machines, near-as-dammit the same type of device as the Bioresonance one discussed above. I wonder if H&B have conducted the “full review” promised?

  116. Tessa K said,

    November 17, 2005 at 11:17 pm

    Aren’t Holland and Barrett owned by the same people who own Dewhurst the butcher? That’s an interesting portfolio.

  117. Ray said,

    November 17, 2005 at 11:32 pm

    Aren’t Holland and Barrett owned by the same people who own Dewhurst the butcher?

    I don’t think so. According to Google, H&B are owned by a US vitamin firm, NBTY; and Dewhursts are owned by Lloyd Maunder,a Devon butchery chain.

  118. Dean Morrison said,

    November 18, 2005 at 12:18 am

    I’d like to see trading standards have a close look at them..
    .. try a few test purchases for example.. just the sort of thing I’d like to see on BBC3 Ben..
    see what calims their ‘trained’ staff make.. or are they too well connected?

  119. Dean Morrison said,

    November 18, 2005 at 12:35 am

    sorry Ben .. I just couldn’t leave it there…

    Dear Julia,

    I am not questioning you good fait or good intentions. Thank you for accepting the flaws in your article, and from drawing some personal lessons from them.
    However if the standard of reporting in this item had been applied in a political situation you would have dragged over the coals by now.
    Journalism involves checking facts – and investigating alternative explanations. Frankly your assertion that you had an ‘ independent’ voice is laughable – you merely have one quack supporting another.
    I have no fear of libel when I say that these people are complete charlatans. The only reason they should appear on TV is as part of an expose about desperate people being ripped off by con-artists. This is not ‘news’ and the caveats by your ‘correspondent’ mean nothing when you blindly repeat an assertion that 70% of the clients leave cured of smoking.
    Science is too important, peoples health is too important, and quality journalism is too important to be treated like this.

    I thank you for your response, but since I am deeply unsatisfied with it, please pass it to the senior editor for reply.

    In particular I would like to know:

    .. What actions you will take to correct this original item?

    .. How you will improve the standards of journalism in BBC News 24 so that this type of uncritical reporting doe not happen again?

    Dean Morrison

  120. John Agapiou said,

    November 18, 2005 at 10:51 am

    Dean:
    Did you actually get an email address to have a correspondance with? I just got replies from “do not reply to this address” addresses. Don’t post it – I’m just curious.

  121. Dave B said,

    November 18, 2005 at 12:37 pm

    Go get ‘em Ben.

    I’ve done my bit with the following complaint to the BBC (submitted twice- once through the link given above and once through the actual complaints department in the hopes that it might push this issue up their rankings- why so many different ways to complain, BBC?)

    “New therapy ‘makes body reject smoking’”.

    As reported by Ben Goldacre, author of the Bad Science column in the Guardian, this apparently serious BBC News 24 report treats a completely unscientific and fraudulent alternative therapy as having value when it does not and can not.

    It is wholly (and to any intelligent person, obviously) false to claim that ‘bioresonance treatment is analysing the energy wave pattern…’ of anything. It is insufficient to claim briefly that ‘there is still no clinical proof that this works’ when that sentence is followed by ‘but..’ and a series of claims then presented as fact. Despite this phrase and the use, at one point, of ‘in theory’, the entire tone of the piece is unquestionably supportive of the commercial practice being reported, enough in fact to raise questions about financial impropriety on behalf of the journalists involved.

    Those involved in preparing and broadcasting this report have done immeasurable damage to the authority and credibility of the BBC, but also contributed to the desperately damaging rebirth of pseudoscientific quackery in British culture. I wholly support Ben Goldacre for calling the BBC to task on this matter.

    On a related note, placing part of the title of the report in quotes- a transparent attempt to evade culpability- is an extremely poor and lazy, but evidently widespread, journalistic practice and should not continue on the BBC website.

    A highly prominent retraction and refutation should be broadcast immediately. The website video of the report should be left viewable but prominently accompanied by this retraction. Blame should be accorded not only to the journalists responsible (Philippa Young and her camera/sound crew) but also, in equal if not greater measure, to the editors who can allow reports such as this to be aired. If they did so ‘in good faith’ then they should not be working at the BBC, whose editing should be driven by sense, not faith. If they are so insufficiently versed in science that they can accept such a report uncritically then they should not be working in journalism that concerns science. If they see no need for evidence, then they should not be working in journalism at all.

    It is an absolute disgrace.

    God I sound positively vicious.
    Grrr!

  122. Dave B said,

    November 18, 2005 at 12:41 pm

    Good to hear about the BBC3 show by the way. If only I could get that channel on NTL analogue cable, but they don’t have room for it (something about morphic energy fields clogging up the wires).
    As the only pitbull in the ring I wish you’d get even more attention. I’d like to see you appearing as a regular guest on the Chris Moyles breakfast show. Won’t somebody please think of the children?!

  123. Tessa K said,

    November 18, 2005 at 12:55 pm

    Ray – I’m pretty sure they were both owned by the same people not that long ago.

  124. Dean Morrison said,

    November 18, 2005 at 1:02 pm

    John -doesn’t say anything about not replying here: reply address was:
    NewsOnline [newsonline@bbc.co.uk]

  125. Dr* T said,

    November 18, 2005 at 1:10 pm

    Have a look here

    www.bbc.co.uk/complaints/

  126. Ray said,

    November 18, 2005 at 1:57 pm

    Tessa – I think this probably down to a coincidence of names. H&B is currently owned by Lloyds Chemists plc; Dewhursts is owned by the Devon butchery chain Lloyd Maunder. However, they’ve no connection: the chemist was founded by Allen J Lloyd in Warwickshire in 1973, the butchers by Mr Lloyd Maunder in Devon in 1900.

    Full background for company history geeks:

    Dewhurst Butchers, as JH Dewhurst, belonged to the Vestey family’s Union International Group until it crashed in 1995. Then it was reestablished in 1995 by a management buyout from the receivers of JH Dewhurst. Bought out by Lloyd Maunder in 2005.

    Holland & Barrett originated in Bishop’s Stortford in 1870 as partnership of Alfred Slaps Barrett and Major William Holland. Sold in 1920s to Messrs Alfred Button & Sons. Bought 1970ish by Booker plc. Bought in 1991 by Lloyds the chemists.

  127. Ray said,

    November 18, 2005 at 2:06 pm

    Oops: correction. Forgot the final step: H&B bought from Lloyds by NBTY (the current owners) in 1997.

  128. Michael P said,

    November 18, 2005 at 2:47 pm

    I just have to share this with someone. Firstly, can I ask how people find those caches of webpages? The reason I ask is that I was browsing the site of a local alternative health centre, which was ‘massage this’ and ‘aroma that’. And that’s fine. But then I found their latest therapy, which had a health benefit or two attached to it. It ws the Platinum somethingorother, but basically this… www.badscience.net/?p=134

    So I dutifully emailed them to say that they really shouldn’t be making flaky health claims, and included that link to Ben’s article. And lo and behold the whole website’s gone! Not just those pages, but the whole thing! I’m not sure if I can take credit for that, but at the moment I’m feeling smug that maybe someone might save a few quid by not being sucked in. :-D Knowing my luck it’s because they’ve neglected their web hosts or something, but it’s gone all the same.

    I’d like to see what it said though, as in my bad science excitment, I forgot to save the website! Do Google cache everything? Maybe I’ll just keep checking…

    www.healinghandsclinic.com/

  129. amoebic vodka said,

    November 18, 2005 at 3:21 pm

    The wayback machine is an archive of web pages that might contain some of the site:

    www.archive.org/

    And if you know the exact URL you are looking for, stick it into google and follow the link to google’s last cache of the site. Of course this won’t work if google doesn’t have a cache of it.

    www.google.com/search?q=cache:-Sjj6B7qbcUJ:www.healinghandsclinic.co.uk/+&hl=en

    that’s the one for their home page. Not really very helpful though.

  130. Ben Goldacre said,

    November 18, 2005 at 3:29 pm

    Yup. But remember google’s archive may change, so if you think your victim will wriggle later it’s always a good idea to take a copy with website archive:

    www.aignes.com/wsarc/index.htm

    or print it out.

    or both.

    hehehehehh.

  131. flaky humanities grad said,

    November 18, 2005 at 3:47 pm

    Michael P Put the url into google search box and search. It will show search results and offer a cache of the site as well as other things

  132. Ray said,

    November 18, 2005 at 5:37 pm

    It was the Platinum somethingorother

    That’d be PPlatinum Detox, the South Shields incarnation of the usual foot detox device. It’s one of the more aggressively promoted versions: “Our Legal representatives will have no hesitation to proceed to take action to protect the good name and reputation of our Company in response to any slanderous allegations.” If you want to vomit, read the MD’s defence of it, Is Platinum Detox a scam. I especially like the citation of questionable analytical techniques – Independent Biological Terrain, Vega and GDV (ie Kirlian photography) tests – as scientific proof it works. They also crow about winning a regional export award. “I hardly think that the Department of Trade and Industry would bestow this honour upon the producer of a scam?” says their MD. Well…

  133. Tessa K said,

    November 18, 2005 at 7:50 pm

    Ray – I stand corrected. It must have been an urban myth of some sort as I remember people talking about it. On the other hand, I could sue you for disagreeing with me.

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  137. Alex said,

    December 12, 2005 at 3:37 pm

    I got a similar email from the BBC to the ones reported by Dean Morrison and John Agapiou. The address below should be useful for a written re-iteration of the complaint, if we are not satisfied by the initial response.

    What can I do if I don’t like the reply?

    Please reply initially to the person who responded to you and outline your concern.
    If your complaint is about a specific programme, and you believe it breached the BBC’s editorial standards, you can ask the independent Editorial Complaints Unit (ECU) to investigate. The unit examines such complaints independently. We will help you contact the ECU but its address is BBC, Media Centre, Media Village, 201 Wood Lane, London W12 7TQ.
    If you dispute the ECU’s ruling you may appeal to the Governors’ Programme Complaints Committee.

    www.bbc.co.uk/complaints/complaints_process.shtml

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  141. Ben Goldacre said,

    December 22, 2005 at 12:47 pm

    From: antoni@###.com
    Reply-To: antoni@###.com
    To: bad.science@guardian.co.uk
    Date: Dec 22, 2005 12:22 PM
    Subject: Bioresonance

    WHAT DO YOU FUCKING ASSHOLES KNOW ABOUT THIS TREATMENT, FUCK ALL FROM YOUR
    COMMENTS!

    IGNORANT WANKERS LIKE YOURSELF MAKE ME PUCK.

    TOSSERS….

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    April 1, 2006 at 12:03 pm

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  148. antoni said,

    June 18, 2006 at 12:43 pm

    Bioresonance

    Reading the comments above it is clear that none the writers have an understanding about bioresonance and how it has been developed over the past 8 decades. The BBC programme reported on the effectiveness of bioresonance as a tool to stop smoking and how hundreds of people have used this technique to stop smoking successfully, this fact is without question.

    Clinical trials merely establish the effectiveness of a product or treatment, for example nicotine patches were only 22% effective in clinic trials, which is comparable to a placebo at 15% to 23%, however the relatively low success rate of nicotine patches established at clinical trials does not stop them from being sold as an effective aid to stopping smoking, how effective is never mentioned.

    Clinical trials are expensive and hence are restricted to large organisations that can afford them, however it does not mean a product subjected to a clinical trial is any better or worse than a product that hasn’t. Effectiveness is either clinically established or by ‘anecdotal evidence ’ which are satisfied customers reporting on their experience of the treatment.

    There is no doubt bioresonance has ‘intervention’ properties as it has been clinically tested for allergies and rheumatism were it was found to be 87% and 93% effective.

    With regard to its effectiveness in stopping people smoking there is certainly a lot of anecdotal evidence to support its claims and I understand the treatment is also been used to treat serious drug addictions with similar results.

    The treatment must work to stop people smoking as there is a lot of anecdotal evidence on various websites with happy comments from satisfied customers, of course some people may say these comments have been ‘made up’ however if this were the case I’m am sure the businesses would be closed immediately.

    Bioresonance has properties, which in this country are being ignored however this is not the case in other countries where the treatment is widely used and have a more open approach to new treatments. By their own admission the NHS is 10 years behind other western developed countries in adopting new treatments.

  149. Shokat said,

    August 25, 2006 at 7:56 am

    I whole heartily agree with the comments made by Anoni. There is so much ignorance about new development its untrue.

    Here is a article I did on the effectiveness of various methods of stopping smoking:

    www.lifeprinciples.com/smoking_success_rates.asp

    I reproduce an article that was published in the BMA recently:

    Quitting smoking for good is tough!

    Quitting smoking for good is tough, even with the help of a nicotine patch. A new study shows only 5% of people who participated in a study of a nicotine patch were still not smoking eight years after the study ended.

    Researchers say few studies have looked at the long-term effectiveness of nicotine replacement treatments, such as the nicotine patch, in helping people kick the smoking habit for good. The study, published in the British Medical Journal, surveyed 840 of the 1,625 men and women who participated in a randomized controlled trial of the nicotine patch in 1991-92. During the original study, the participants wore a nicotine patch or a placebo patch for 12 weeks and were then followed for 12 months. By the end of that study, 9% had quit smoking for a year. But eight years later, researchers found nearly half had smoked again, and only 5% were still non-smokers. Those that were unreachable at follow-up were assumed to be still smoking.

    Researcher Patricia Yudkin, of the University of Oxford, U.K., and colleagues say the relapse rate among those who quit smoking in the original study was similar for those who had used the nicotine patch (39%) and those who used the placebo (45%). Although the patch slightly increased the odds of quitting smoking for eight years, the increase was not statistically significant. Among those who did not quit smoking during the initial study, 8% had stopped smoking after eight years, and of those, 6% had quit for a year or more.

    Overall, researchers say the results show that eight years later, only about 11% of the study participants had successfully quit smoking for a year or more, yet only 2% of the participants had quit for less than a year, and 88% were still smoking. Researchers say the study demonstrates that “finding more effective ways to help people give up smoking remains an ongoing challenge.”

    SOURCE: British Medical Journal; July 3, 2003.

    Here is another article that was published in the Guardian:

    The most effective method

    Hypnotherapy and Hypnosis is one of the most effective ways of giving up smoking. A 2005 study of 72,000 smokers from Europe and the US, reported in the Journal of Applied Psychology, showed that hypnosis came top as the most effective therapy in helping people to give up smoking. (Source: Guardian Unlimited, 7th Jan 2006).

    Even with all of this evidence the National Institute of Clinical Excellence, the governments think tank does not endorse hypnotherapy to quit smoking yet they are quite happy to endorse nicotine patches that have a miserable success rate of 5%.

    I have done some calculations on how much it actually costs the government to get every person to quit smoking in the following webpage:

    www.lifeprinciples.com/Wellness_welcome.asp

    As you can see its costing the government £5,500 per person who successfully quits smoking cigarettes. Is that a good and effective way of spending our money?

    If my success rate was rubbish, with a money back guarantee I would have gone bankrupt a long time ago. If all the bioresonance clinics with their massive overheads had the same kind of success then they would have also gone bankrupt by now. Don’t buy into the hype and the bullshit that is perpetrated our drug based culture.

    People who do well in life never rule anything out but are like playful children. Being dogmatic with little or no understanding of the principles is called ignorance. Be like a playful child again. Look beyond the hype and use this knowledge to benefit mankind.

    Shokat

  150. Giving up smoking - Bioresonance - The Consumer Forums said,

    September 20, 2007 at 5:15 pm

    [...] Giving up smoking – Bioresonance And for balance – ‘Who’s holding the smoking gun on Bioresonance?’, from Dr. Ben Goldacre’s ‘Bad Science’ [...]

  151. Bad Science - Bioresonance and smoking - Consumer Health Forums said,

    January 24, 2008 at 8:37 pm

    [...] Science – Bioresonance and smoking Bad Science Who’s holding the smoking gun on Bioresonance? __________________ We do not give medical advice. You should always consult a qualified [...]

  152. Apathy Sketchpad » Blog Archive » A Pyramid Scheme said,

    August 26, 2008 at 3:55 am

    [...] The whole thing looks like ‘cargo-cult science’ to me, right down to the extensive list of references — of which there are fifty-four, although quite a lot of them come from the same couple of books, and at least one is a Geocities page which apparently no longer exists (presumably due to being stored in an insufficiently-pyramidal server room). This latter is cited to support the sentence “Pyramid exposure is believed to put the mind into an alpha state”. This comes hot on the tails of the even better sentence “Research has shown that the energy field within the pyramid can act as antistressor and thus protect the hippocampal neurons from stress-induced atrophy (10)”, in which the promising-sounding Reference 10 is a PhD thesis (not apparently available online) from the same university that ran this study. Probably one of the authors’ luckless students. Another few references discuss “bioresonance”, apparently as something reasonable, to ground the pyramid theory in something people will accept, which would work if bioresonance wasn’t also a load of made-up shit. [...]

  153. normalfornorfolk said,

    January 15, 2009 at 3:59 pm

    I really, really wish I’d seen this site before I forked out £1400, yes, that’s FOURTEEN HUNDRED POUNDS for bioresonance or Bio reduction treatment at New Ways clinic for an unhealthy evening wine drinking habit that they make wild claims about being able to cure. Oh how foolish am I!! They claimed I would feel ‘indifferent’ to alcohol as a result of 4 hours connected to their computer! Needless to say, it was a total con and I have a feeling there are lots of people out there who have also handed over this cash. Funnily they refuse to do refunds if it doesn’t work!!!!!!!

  154. PaulineJ said,

    February 21, 2009 at 12:11 pm

    I would disagree with normalnorfolk above I had the treatment to stop drinking and stop smoking and both work and continual to work exceptionally well. I dont remember reading anything about a ‘cure’ on the website, its an aid to help an individual achieve their goals which i did. I dont see how you can say its a con, it works and I am the proof along with many others.

  155. PaulineJ said,

    February 21, 2009 at 12:37 pm

    This whole page was created 4 years ago by Ben Goldacre saying Bioresonance couldn’t possible work and how outraged he was blah, blah, blah. Well four years later Mr Goldacre you are proven to be wrong and your’re not so smart afterall. Bioresonance continues to stop people smoking and is THE most successful stop smoking treatment available today, I know i have tried them all. 4 years later the treatment is still available and continues to stop people smoking. Shame you didn’t see it coming, but you look like an idiot now.

  156. quaid said,

    March 17, 2009 at 3:17 am

    PaulineJ do you work for the clinic?

  157. PaulineJ said,

    March 18, 2009 at 12:59 pm

    No, just a client who is more than happy with the treatment I have received.

  158. Shokat said,

    July 14, 2009 at 11:05 am

    Hi Quaid, Pauline,

    I suppose ignorance is truly blissful. If you don’t understand something then knock it – this is exactly how this thread got started. For people who operate in this mode I suggest they read the book called ‘Pho Beyond, Yes or no’ by Edward De Bono. This book teaches people about lateral or abstract thinking. It empowers people not be dismissive of everything (pho-phoning anything they don’t understand) and also not to become too dogmatic (I am right and you are wrong).

    I have been running a hypnotherapy clinic since 2002. Three years ago I noticed that laser therapy and Bioresonance therapy where taking a place alongside hypnotherapy. As an open minded individual I know that about 5-10% of my clients were difficult to hypnotise so I purchased my first laser system in 2006. About 10 people failed to quit smoking with hypnotherapy alone so I offered them their money back or a chance to stay on the programme and try the laser instead. To my surprise they all quit smoking with the laser system. Most commented that if it was not for the laser they would not have been able to quit smoking.

    In 2006 we bought our first Bioresonance system. This turned out to be a godsend for rapid healing but utterly useless for addictions. Then in 2007 we purchased our second Bioresonance system. On paper this was great for addictions but in practice it turned out to be a real disappointment. We were getting failures form clinics around the UK using this equipment and turning them around with our laser system combined with hypnotherapy. So in July of 2008 we purchased yet again our third Bioresonance system. This turned out to be a true godsend as it managed to turn around our biggest disaster into a resounding success.

    During 2008 we managed to get John to quit smoking as shown below:

    “I was a chain-smoker, averaging around 80-100 cigarettes-a-day. Though the desire to stop smoking was there, sadly the willpower was lacking. Even when I developed metastatic throat cancer, this did not deter me from continuing the habit of a lifetime. I spent years searching for someone – or something – which would stop me from smoking, without suffering withdrawal symptoms. Patches, gum, Zyban, Champix, hypnotherapy, all failed.”

    “Despite my cynicism, I stopped smoking with Shokat after just two sessions. That was 9 months ago. I haven’t touched a cigarette since, nor have I craved for one. I still can’t believe how easy it was.”

    “Since then, my daughter Angela (pictured, middle left) has quit smoking, binge-drinking and surmounted her panic attacks. And, my wife – Georgina (pictured, bottom left)) – has finally managed to overcome her addiction to chocolate with your help.”

    John Karatzas [manager], Great Barr, Birmingham

    When John told his doctor that he had finally quit smoking with my help, his doctor retorted “I don’t believe in hypnotherapy”. This got me so annoyed that for the next three months I started to write a book on addictions. A 50 page subset of this book has been published on the internet and is available to anyone free of charge. It’s called “Addictions, The Addictive Truth.” This book can be downloaded from the front page of our website at Life Principles in PDF form.

    The book is the culmination of seven years of experience dealing with everything from Unhealthy eating, to gambling, to cigarettes, to cannabis, to alcohol, to cocaine, to crack, to heroin (that is smoked) and every other addiction and emotional challenge imaginable. The book goes into great length describing both process and substance addictions, their component parts and how they come about. It goes onto describe every treatment option from dangerous drugs to safe and effective alternatives such as Allan Carr, IQS, laser, Bioresonance and Hypnotherapy.

    The book was written to give people the knowledge and resources they needed in an unbiased way so they can overcome their problems in the safest and most effective way possible. Let your criticism be based on knowledge rather than ignorance. Ignorance serves no one especially you, the most important person in this rotten game of greed.

    The clinic in question has developed incredibility safe and effective methods of dealing with Heroin and Opiate addictions. We deal with everything up to the point when someone starts to inject heroin or starts taking methadone. In a domestic environment we don’t feel safe in dealing with these kinds of addictions so they are referred to Newways with our complements. Their success rate with these entrenched addictions puts the NHS and the government to shame. Yet just like us they get no recognition or help from any of the government institutions who seem to be living in a world of their own which is totally divorced from reality.

    As for you Quaid, don’t worry my friend you have not failed at all. You have just suffered one setback. If Pauline can quit so could you. I am sure if you give Newways the benefit of doubt they would turn things around for you instead of this open warfare. If you feel you can’t go back to them then as a gesture of goodwill you can come to me free of charge and I will get you off your addiction with my compliments. Either way, you have nothing to lose and everything to gain. Call me free on 0800 071 1991 and let’s get you back on track. A happy, healthy lifestyle is only a phone call away. So call me now!

    Wishing you success,

    Shokat Ali BA (Hons), Post Grad Dip (OU).
    www.lifeprinciples.com

  159. Shokat said,

    July 21, 2009 at 8:17 am

    In this thread a lot of people claim that Bioresonance is nothing but a pseudoscience (pretence science). I like to address this with an example.

    When our Bicom 2000 was delivered we needed a client as a ‘guinea-pig’ to test the system. Steve was our first paying client who volunteered for this experiment.

    “My Name is Steve and I came to see Shokat on Fri. 18th July 2008. Shokat asked me if I would be willing to act as his ‘guinea pig’ to test his new third-generation bioresonance machine which was being delivered on that day.”

    “Most of the work was done by Martin who was there to train Shokat in the use of this machine for addictions. I was asked to drink lots of water before coming and also to bring a couple of cigarettes with me. As I was feeling apprehensive, Martin told me I could go outside, relax, and have a cigarette. I had a cigarette and I felt better straight away. When I came in, Martin explained to me how the bioresonance system works and what I was expected to do after the treatment to assist the process of quitting. Then I smoked my last cigarette and put the ash together with the stub into the beaker which was placed into the machine. An hour later, when I got up, I no longer had an urge to smoke.”

    “I came back to see Shokat on Mon 9th Aug 2008 for a check-up and I still had no desire to smoke. I am now looking forward to my next check-up in three months time. A week ago, if anyone had told me that if was that easy to quit smoking with a simple machine, I would have thought they were crazy. Now I find myself telling my friends all about this wonderful invention.”

    During the early part of 2009 Steve went on holiday and saw everyone around him smoke and he thought to himself I am sure I have now beaten the habit so one won’t hurt. Well as he discovered one will hurt and very soon Steve was back to smoking the full amount. A few months later he could hardly breathe and after many tests it turns out that almost half of his lung has stopped working. Steve rang me in utter desperation and wanted me to get him to quit smoking. I decided to use nothing but the bioresonance machine to get him to quit smoking again.

    This time I setup the Bicom machine but I forgot to put the mat behind his body. After the therapy he went home all smiles that if it has worked before it should work again. I wanted him to come back a week later for a check-up. When he came back he was still smoking. He told me that he had struggled so much after coming to see me and was angry with his family and finally lit-up and felt an instant relief. Even though he was suffering terrible medical trauma he still could not help himself but to smoke – not good. He went to on to say that quitting with the bioresonance device, this time, felt like he had quit smoking cold turkey. I said don’t worry I am going to do this properly this time and will put the mat behind your back. After that I repeated the therapy and got him back-in a week later.

    This time he told me that the first four days were as easy as pie, just like the last time. But after four days the ‘monkey’ climbed his back and said ‘go on smoke’. So he lit up, but this time he derived no satisfaction from the cigarette. When he came back he was only smoking 5 cigarettes instead of his normal 20 per day. His medical practitioner told him that he may as well continue to smoke 5 per day from now on, go enjoy his forthcoming holiday then come back and be put onto Champix. Wow here her someone who should be looking after Steve and all he is saying is that it’s okay to smoke then we are going to put you on an incredibly dangerous anti-psychotic drug which will alter your brain chemistry in order to get you to quit smoking – and by the way it’s killed thousands of people since it was launched. I told Steve that the effect of this dangerous drug was the same as he had managed to achieve with in 1 hour with our bioresonance machine. The difference this time was that he was also suffering from an underling depression about his health and that was responsible for the ‘monkey on his back’. The only way forward is to undertake deep hypnosis and not only get him to quit smoking but also to deal with his depression.

    Steve is booked in today 21/07/2009 so we will see him next week and see how well the therapy has gone / not gone. However, from the story so far you can understand that the therapy is not a placebo effect, if it was then Steve would definitely have quit because of his ‘need to quit’. No one I know has ever quit because they ‘need to quit’, they only quit when ‘they want to quit’. Steve just needs the ‘monkey’ removing from his back and he also needs his motivation to be increased. The three parts of an addiction, physical, psychological and the habit will be address with both the hypnotherapy and the bioresonance. One more session of our ‘luggage of life’ programme will also remove ‘all unresolved negative emotions’ this combination of techniques will finally get Steve to take control of his life without his ‘crutch’, or cigarettes.

    So there is a difference between ‘pretence science’, ‘real science’ and ‘self-evident truth’. Here are a few examples:

    Pretence science:

    All psychotropic drugs or anti-depressants are based on this science. Look at the website www.cchr.org at the scandalous way in which money is put before human lives. Statins (the corporate killers) and Anti-Hypertensive together with a lot of other so called modern day miracles are based purely on pretence science in order to make money from the unsuspecting public.

    Real Science:

    The wings of most modern aeroplanes have been shortened by rolling them upwards. In experiments it was found that the wing tip adds no lift but tends to drag down the plane, so it was better to change the aero-dynamics of the wing by rolling it upwards or by putting a vertical section at the tip of the wing. Because of this realisation the biggest aeroplane ever made by the European Union, the A480 Airbus could have it’s wings within the Civil Aviation Guidelines. Now, this is real science.

    Self evident truth:

    “My name is Pete. I am 39 years old. I am director of my own business…a very busy and hectic business. I have been suffering from depression for the last two years. I tried to commit suicide two years ago…and been on very strong anti-depressants for the last two years. Before I called Shokat I was trying to come off my tables for six to seven months. Tried every angle I could; dropping the dosage; different dosages; taking it down but I would hit a real low so I couldn’t do it. I was recommended to come and see Shokat by a friend (Sofia). I came to see him and he assured me that I wouldn’t need to take my anti-depressants tablets again after one session which I didn’t believe. And sure enough after one session I stopped my anti-depressants, I never took another tablet and for two to three weeks afterwards I had the most massive high, feeling exhilarated and excited every day. I had this weird feeling that I had my whole life in front of me…I levelled off and It felt very normal now for the last three months. I had no problems at all, not even thinking I wanted to go back to my anti-depressants. I can’t thank you enough; I think you have done such an amazing job.” Peter, Birmingham.

    Now, this is self-evident truth. Here is a guy who was put onto psychotropic drugs unnecessarily when his problem was not a physical one but an emotional one. For emotional problems you do not put people on anti-depressants because it just stifles the healing process. What you do instead is to help the individual through his/her problems by accelerating the healing process. This exactly what we did with hypnotherapy in the above example. This is not an isolated example as most people can have their lives back in one or two sessions of deep hypnosis. Yet the GPs and the governments turn a blind eye to all this self evident truth.

    So when you have someone who has failed with the NHS over and over again and he quits smoking as easy as pie with bioresonance or hypnotherapy or laser then that is called self-evident truth. Do you know what his ignorant doctor said to him when he told him that he has finally thrown away his ‘pills’ with our help? “I don’t believe in hypnotherapy.” Which is kind of strange because:

    Since the British Medical Association approved the use of clinical hypnosis and hypnotherapy as a legitimate therapeutic agent in the 1950s, and the American Medical Society in 1958, thousands of people have found hypnosis and hypnotherapy to be an effective way to improve the quality of their lives.

    Yet you have an ignorant doctor saying that he does not believe in hypnotherapy. He is willing to buy into a lot of pretence science but ignores self-evident truth. If you want to read about this stupid behaviour and the unfair playing field created by the drug industry then read my free online book ‘Addictions, the Addictive Truth’. Some of the information contained in this book may even save your life or the life of a loved one:

    www.lifeprinciples.com/downloads/AddictionsDemystified.pdf

    Wishing you success,

    Shokat

  160. Roark said,

    October 29, 2009 at 8:58 pm

    Hey

    Stumbled across all this after an expensive and wasteful visit to New Ways Clinc in Manchester.

    There’s been a few other people trying to complain on the Net but usually it seems that a person ends up posting under an alias and ranting and making abusive comments. Most of these comments have the same tone – calling people names and suggesting that they are ignorant and being bullied on the internet and via email in to keeping quiet.

    I’m not clever enough to argue against the science – or claims made but just finding a bit more about the men who run the clinic should be enough for people. If I’d known more about them I wouldn’t have shelled out hard cash.

    The people who run the clinic call themselves Andy Wilk and Tony Wilk. Googling these names won’t throw up much. But looking under Andrei and Antoni Wilk is more useful. It showed me that in 2006 the Wilk brothers were disqualified from being Directors of Companies after their company, Drivertime Recruitment Ltd was wound up by a court order. www.berr.gov.uk/files/file34501.pdf

    The Autumn 2004 edition of Corporate Recovery And Insolvency Bulletin reported on the Court Case which led to the winding up of the company. It highlighted the measures that the Wilks went to conceal their interest in the business, and said “They presented prospective franchisees with false marketing material which claimed that they had regional networks and established blue chip
    clients both of which proved not to be true. They provided none of the promised support or advertising to
    franchisees and the sample sales and gross profit figures were fabricated by the brothers for the
    sole reason of selling these franchises.”
    nt4992.vs.netbenefit.com/resources/pdf/CorporateRecoveryInsolvencyBulletin.pdf

    After the closure of the Drivertime business, the Wilks appear to have bought a bioresonance machine and set up their website. I will leave it for others, better qualified than me, to debunk the science behind their equipment. I hope that a better understanding of the men who operate the machine will save some people making the same mistake I did.

    Roark.

  161. Shokat said,

    November 4, 2009 at 4:59 am

    The science of bioresonance is pretty sound. I have inadvertently undertaken quit a few experiments on our Bicom 2000 machine and know how well it works if you put the mat behind the person and how badly it works if you don’t. Every time I have forgotten to put this mat behind the person I had to get the client back-in for a free backup session. Only when I undertook the procedure correctly did the cravings for the cigarettes disappear. However, every form of therapy generates failures. This is a section I have cut and pasted from our website:

    ——————————————————–
    Here are just some of our clients sharing their experiences of failing to quit smoking with the NHS (NRT, Zyban & Champix), Allan Carr, Laser and Bioresonance only clinics – note that they have not put on weight with our combined system:

    www.youtube.com/watch?v=mWXG7gGm8DY
    www.youtube.com/watch?v=gvH-NfuNctE
    www.youtube.com/watch?v=p8Ci9FLjZmw
    www.youtube.com/watch?v=nY1LZXZf3iI

    We succeed where others fail because we do not abandon our clients at the first sign of trouble and we always find a method of turning things around for them. We normally don’t give up on our clients unless they give up on themselves first. And if our clients stay committed then we can always find a way to help them succeed. Also, our ethical business model prevents us cheating people – in the extremely rare cases where we have not been able to help our clients, we have offered a full or a partial refund – hanging on to a clients money when they have not benefited from the treatment would only add insult to injury! Most people come to us as a last resort – they are very vulnerable and the last thing we want to do is to cause even more misery by holding on to all of their money if they have not received any redeeming value in return.
    ———————————————————

    So the problem is not the science but business ethics. Normally as a general rule of thumb there are no guarantees of success with any kind of therapy. Most associations are pretty annoyed if you advertise guaranteed success. However, we must keep things in perspective.

    When you go to see your GP 99% of the time he/she fails to help you with pharmaceutical drugs. In fact most of the time these drugs such as anti-depressants (which have no science behind them) make matters worse.

    www.lifeprinciples.com/depression-anxiety-treatment-help-forum-test-uk.html
    www.lifeprinciples.com/depression-anxiety-treatment-help-forum-test-uk2.html

    However, your GP earns on average £105 per hour but you don’t see people going over and banging on their GPs door demanding their money back. The reason they don’t do that is because the service is perceived to be free. The Priory charges people from about £6,000 to £20,000 for alcohol rehab yet enjoys an abysmal success rate – do you see people queuing up on the street demanding their money back? So why is it that we are willing to overlook the excesses committed by the NHS, the governments and the big Pharma or the really large rehab centres but are willing to jump on the ‘little’ people who are in the business of helping people? If Newways were ‘crap’ I am sure they would have gone bankrupt a long time ago. The fact is most people do benefit from their therapy but the few who get their hands burnt are more vocal in their comments.

    As for skeletons in closets I am sure most of us have some of these. As Jesus said to the people ‘let the person without sin cast the first stone’ – this simple intervention saved a person’s life. So my question is this – would you let the NHS and the big Pharma put you on a dangerous and ineffective drugs like Champix with a pathetic success rate of 20% on paper (actual success rates are closer to 10% if that), costs some £300 per 12-week course and kills people (lots of people have killed themselves after taking this drug) or would you go to a laser, bioresonance or hypnotherapy clinic, pay £300 for your bad habits and enjoy well over a 50% success rate without the dangerous side effects associated with drugs like NRT, Zyban and Champix? By the way, Pfizer made a billion dollars from the sale of this drug in the first year of it’s release. It is estimated that about 64,000 lost their lives in the first year alone after taking this drug. The FAA has banned it’s pilots taking this drug – do they know something the GPs are keeping from us? I personally would pay for my own treatment and take a chance on a safe and effective method then the dangerous and ineffective method offered by the NHS any day of the week.

    Whatever method works for you has to be the best method. Just don’t give up trying to get your life back without the self-destructive habits and behaviours whatever they happen to be.

    Wishing you success,

    Shokat @ www.LifePrinciples.com

  162. New Ways Clinic said,

    November 4, 2009 at 5:25 pm

    Reply in response to malicious comments posted by Roark which have been referred to the police.

    Firstly I doubt Roark is even a client of ours or even been to our clinic however we are unable to clarify this due to posting these comments anonymously.

    As with all malicious comments they are incorrect. The business referred to was a franchise business which in 2004 suffered a franchisee revolt to stop paying their franchise royalties. Some businesses were trading up to £1million turnover per annum and paying royalties of £80,000 per annum. When a group of franchisees band together and have a vested interest to trade independently it is very difficult to stop them leaving, as one ex-franchise says on their website: –

    ‘Our business was originally formed as part of a network franchise…In 2003 we parted company with the Network Franchise and continued trading with the new name. Our loyal customer base were fully supportive of this move and have remained loyal ever since’.

    The sole aim of the franchisee revolt was to trade independently and stop paying their franchise fees once their businesses were established.

    We tried to stop franchisees leaving and hence took court action however after representing ourselves in court and in the face of mounting accusations from franchisees who wanted to trade independently we lost the case and subsequently the business was wound up by the courts.

    However this has no bearing on the business New Ways Clinic which is not related to franchising in any whatsoever and has traded successfully for the last 5 years.

    The comments posted by Roark as malicious and anonymous and are a smear campaign designed to damage a business which is totally unrelated. It is an offence to post malicious comments on a website designed to attack a person or business and we will be seeking legal advice to address this situation. We have also referred this matter to the police.

    Past and future clients continue their support for this treatment and we would ask potential clients to base their decision on seeking treatment based upon the results obtained by the treatment process and our client testimonials and not on ‘malicious anonymous postings’ on the internet.

  163. rossam80 said,

    November 5, 2009 at 10:47 pm

    Victoria White from Superdetox or superdetox.co.uk came to see me to stop smoking, what a complete waste of time, this woman talk’s utter rubbish.

    She tried to sell me £50 worth of supplements on top of the £250 she charged to come to my house. I couldn’t get rid of her she’s like a dodgy double glazzing rep, going on about balancing my chakras, yeah right.

    Any way after 2.5 hours of her so called treatment ‘bioresonance’ and listening to her bang on about how great she is, she left with £250 of my hard earned cash, what a fool I am, within 30 minutes I was gasping for a cigarette, and smoked straight away however she promised me I would be cured!

    Phoned her right back but she said she couldn’t come back right away as she was busy doing up her house, she said she would put me on a remote session and treatment me through the airwaves, she is obviously crazy and making it up as she goes along she did me for £250.00.

    I have called her a few times and either she cuts me off or say’s she will call me back but never does.

    Did some checking all 8 people she claims to have trained in Sweden and Scotland have all gone bust as her treatment is a scam.

    Don’t fall for her flannel she talks for Britain but don’t be duped by her, go to somewhere else I wish I did!

  164. Shokat said,

    November 6, 2009 at 7:01 am

    I suppose we have gone through our own learning curve when dealing with people.

    Even with two of the best bioresonance machines (Bicom 2000 and e-Lybra 9) and a laser system I know full well that some people just do not respond well to the ‘information medicine’ in the form of a laser and bioresonance system and if we cannot get the hypnotherapy to work then we have to give people most of their money back. Only yesterday I refunded £300 I charged someone for a combined ‘Luggage of Life Programme’ and the smoking cessation programme. She lives in Leeds and did not want to stay on the one year long programme after she failed to quit smoking during her first two sessions. If she was local I would not have let her off the hook and would have persevered until she quit but because of the distance I decided to let her go. Even though I spend half of Saturday and Sunday with this lady I did not let money become more important then this persons mental well being. When people come to you in utter desperation then they are very vulnerable and the last thing you want to do is to make matters worse by hanging on to their money when they have not received any redeeming value in return.

    The email below says it all:

    ———————————————————
    Thank you Shokat for your kind understanding. I wish you all the best.
    take care bev.

    —– Original Message —–
    From: Shokat Ali
    To: ‘b brealey’
    Sent: Thursday, November 05, 2009 10:28 PM
    Subject: Credit

    Hi Bev,

    I got all the paperwork etc from your partner (a very nice man). And as promised I have put £300 back into your account.

    I suggest you get some hypnotherapist near you to deal with your anxiety. Once you have done this then seek help to deal with your smoking cessation. With hindsight I think I should have just concentrated last weekend with the anxiety programme and then got you back in some time in the future and dealt with the addiction part. The problem the hypnotherapist will have is that he/she will find it very hard to get you to relax to a state where he/she can make the changes. If you were local to me I would not have let you off the hook and would have persevered until you got your life back.

    You take care,

    Shokat
    ———————————————————

    Shokat Ali at www.LifePrinciples.com

  165. Roark said,

    November 6, 2009 at 7:45 pm

    It’s so strange:
    I posted my comments about how Antoni and Andrei Wilk of New Ways Clinic (Andy and Antoni Wilk) had ripped me off and had a history of ripping people off and they launch a venomous attack on another vendor of similar treatments. The comment from Rossam80 is from the Wilks posting under a fake name; they have posted a fake question on Yahoo Answers under the name Mandy doing the same thing. They seem to think that these comments are from a competitor not a real customer. I wonder how they can be so certain that I am not a real customer UNLESS they have had no customers recently!

    This behaviour is not really a big shock. Despite the reasonable tone of Tony Wilk’s message above where he says “look at the ‘men’ we have become…” they are really still the same. They threaten people who complain with police, courts or worse. They post comments making offensive comments about people who question them. They’re like something off Shameless.

    When their case went to court, the court reports said
    “The individuals in charge of the companies, Antoni and Andrei Wilk (“the Wilks”), were neither registered as directors or employees of either company. They described themselves as “consultants” and went to great lengths to conceal their control over the companies by having as shareholders and/or directors of both companies, their other and one of their wives (using their maiden names).

    All of the franchisees who gave evidence had serious criticisms of the Wilks and their methods. Some had invested and lost their life savings and many have disputes with the companies and were seeking damages for
    misrepresentation. The franchisees were led to believe that they were buying into a very successful franchise business, which was not the case. Whilst they were under
    investigation the Wilks lied to the investigator in the hope that the very high failure rate of its franchisees
    would not be discovered.”
    nt4992.vs.netbenefit.com/resources/pdf/CorporateRecoveryInsolvencyBulletin.pdf

    Only difference now seems to be that they are taking money from drug users to pay for their lifestyles, rather than franchisees.

  166. quaid80 said,

    November 7, 2009 at 4:04 am

    Well I read the above stories, does look a little dodgy how this women gets treated, then starts her own treatments.

    I’ve been on both sites, and read most the text and I am satisfied that this treatment must do something after reading all them testimonials on this new ways clinic site. Plug me in please!!!

  167. johngalt said,

    November 7, 2009 at 11:02 am

    Hi

    So let’s see how this plays. Roark writes a piece which highlights that Andrei and Antoni Wilk of New Ways Clinic (aka Andy and Antoni Wilk) had their previous franchise business closed down by the courts, and were held by the court to have been dishonest.

    Tony Wilk writes a heartfelt piece which says “all we ask is that you look at the ‘men’ we have become and judge us on what we are doing now…”

    They go on to suggest a competitor – perhaps a Victoria White – posted the comments about New Ways Clinic.

    And then – by weird coincidence, a rash of messages slating Victoria White/Superdetox appear. So on this site at 10.47pm, Rossam posts a story about Victoria White/Superdetox. The same day a Mandy T opens a new account on Yahoo Answers and posts a question which is mostly suggesting that Victoria White is operating a scam service.

    It’s probably useful to understand how New Ways Clinic promotes their ‘clinic.’ In order to increase Google ratings and to get as many hits as possible, the Wilks routinely post questions to forums, and post reviews. And whenever Bioresonance is negatively discussed, one of the Wilk brothers posts under a pseuodonym (or sometimes as themselves) to challenge, correct or abuse the poster.

    So for example when Normal Norfolk made her submission, on this forum and then shortly afterwards “Pauline J” writes in claiming the treatment worked for her and then starts to get a bit tetchy with Ben Goldacre.

    Someone called Quaid then wrote in to prolong the debate, and Pauline claims she is just a happy customer. It doesn’t take a genius to spot the hand of one of the Wilks posting both as Quaid and Pauline J. And to reinforce this, on November 7 2009 at 4.04am Quaid80 (presumably no relation to Quaid who posted 17/3/2009 to support New Ways at 3.17am) posts a message supporting New Ways and dismissing the competitors.

    Looking back to when the Wilks’ company went to court to be wound up. Tony Wilk offers a sad story where as a successful businessman he was undermined by unscrupulous franchisees. The courts view seems to be different and was reported as follows:

    “The individuals in charge of the companies, Antoni and Andrei Wilk (“the Wilks”), were neither registered as directors or employees of either company. They described themselves as “consultants” and went to great lengths to conceal their control over the companies by having as
    shareholders and/or directors of both companies, their mother and one of their wives (using their maiden names).”

    The reporting goes on to note:
    “All of the franchisees who gave evidence had serious criticisms of the Wilks and their methods. Some had invested and lost their life savings and many have disputes with the companies and were seeking damages for
    misrepresentation. The franchisees were led to believe that they were buying into a very successful franchise business, which was not the case. Whilst they were under
    investigation the Wilks lied to the investigator in the hope that the very high failure rate of its franchisees would not be discovered.”

    nt4992.vs.netbenefit.com/resources/pdf/CorporateRecoveryInsolvencyBulletin.pdf

    Despite the protestations of Tony Wilk, his modus operandi still seems to be to make false claims for the product that he promotes, to use made up user comments and testimonials and to post comments about themselves and competitors under assumed names to try and promote their products. The “men they have become” and the men they were then seem rather similar. The only thing that has changed seems to be when another person using the same sort of machine to provide the same sort of quack treatment appears, her treatment is considered a ‘scam’ by the Wilks, and theirs is kosher. They’re both scams and the scrapping between them suggests the old adage about their being no honour amongst a certain group of people.

    John Galt

  168. Ben Goldacre said,

    November 7, 2009 at 11:28 am

    i have also received lengthy threats of involving the police, accusations that i am torturing him, etc from wilks.

    having said that i’m not sure i find their business practises very interesting, i’m only really interested in the (frankly, ridiculous) device, so it’d be good if you cld take this squabble elsewhere, feel free to post a link to it. cheers, ben

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