Tag Archives: Advertising

Wheelbarrow of Stupid

Or How Wandering Teacake Wasted His Time Trying To Understand WDDTY’s Sales Figures

Reblogged with permission from Wandering Teacacke, please follow the comments there.

It’s been a while since I’ve written about What Doctors Don’t Tell You, the journal of record for those looking for an alternative to real medical advice. But here I am, pretty much back where I started my blogging career all those 12 long months ago.

Here’s why. Over the past 18 months or so, various individuals, myself included, have contacted various supermarkets and newsagents that stock WDDTY, expressing our concern at the content of this – how can I put it? – festering purulent pile of discarded, discredited and dangerous treatments. Over the years, some stockists have dropped the title, some have dropped it and then reportedly started again, some have just ignored us. But through it all, the editors of WDDTY have screamed about free speech and how the nasty Big Pharma shills want this magazine banned. Continue reading Wheelbarrow of Stupid

WDDTY, Guy Hudson and Electrosmog: Editorial or misleading advertorial?

Editorial or Advertising?

Reblogged with permission from Slipp Digby 

Apparently Guy Hudson's customers spend so much on his crank products that entire families to share one bed.
Apparently Guy Hudson’s customers spend so much on his crank products that entire families have to share one bed.

The latest edition of What Doctors Don’t Tell You (December 2013) contains an article from self-styled ‘Electrosmog Doctor’ (and dowser) Guy Hudson. I say article, but perhaps that is open to question, since amongst the general (and free to implement) recommendations, he suggests some very specific and potentially costly measures that readers should take, and which he is rather familiar with.

Top of the 10 point plan for reducing electrosmog in the bedroom is this

1. Sleep earthed and reduce dirty electricity.  To start with, when I’m surveying I give absolute priority to creating a beneficial environment for each persons sleeping environment

and how does Guy suggest doing this? Continue reading WDDTY, Guy Hudson and Electrosmog: Editorial or misleading advertorial?

Legal, decent, honest and truthful

asaIn the UK, advertisements must be legal, decent, honest and truthful. WDDTY’s advertisements have a bit of a problem here.

Fortunately, the Advertising Standards Authority have produced a series of handy guides for advertisers of SCAM, while Jo Brodie has helpfully posted the following useful information:

It [is] the Committee of Advertising Practice who set the guidelines that the Advertising Standards Authority uses in determining if marketing and advertising material are OK, or not. Since a large number of complaints are made about misleading websites promoting alternative or complementary health treatments the section on ‘Therapies’ is now quite extensive, reproduced below.

I like to think of this as a handy list of itemised nonsense. It is not illegal to sell any of these treatments, as far as I’m aware, but it is not fair to make claims for them that cannot be defended.

In each there are two aspects to consider (1) health-condition-specific concerns and (2) treatment-specific evidence.

(1) Health-condition-specific concerns
If an advertiser is making claims about treating really serious health conditions (asthma, cancer, diabetes, depression, high blood pressure etc) but isn’t medically trained themselves or doesn’t have access to a doctor in their clinic then the ASA is more immediately concerned about the customer not having appropriate medical care. The evidence for the actual therapy becomes a secondary concern in this situation. The ASA has also expressed concern if it thinks that customers may be discouraged from seeking appropriate medical care.

(2) Treatment-specific evidence
This covers all the claims that are made for the treatment and the ASA appear to want ‘robust evidence’ – generally the sort of thing that’s published in peer-reviewed journals, ideally a meta-analysis of smaller trials. Evidence from individual small trials is more of a compass bearing than an agreement that you’re in a particular place and not generally seen as robust, it depends on the study of course. Testimonials don’t count.

Full alphabetic index: AdviceOnline index
Searchable index: AdviceOnline database

The relevant T section including all therapies currently listed, I added Testimonials as a bonus.

Thanks, Jo! So now WDDTY’s advertisers will have a quick reference to check what they may and may not claim. And of course this is doubly important now that Trading Standards have become ASA’s legal backstop, making it dramatically easier for ASA to take enforcement action against non-compliant advertisers.

And Now A Word From Our Sponsors…

And Now A Word From Our Sponsors…
In 1989, Lynne McTaggart promised The Times that WDDTY would take no advertising in order to remain “pure”. A quote from the Times piece is still used today as an endorsement on WDDTY’s home page.

Whether or not WDDTY originally set out to be a factual journal describing alternative treatments, the fact is that its current content makes it part of the SCAM industry’s PR machine, the network of blogs, websites and junk journals that makes the claims the industry cannot legally make, allowing SCAMmers to maintain the fiction of advertising on an “availability only” basis.

Wandering Teacake takes a look at advertising income and specifically analyses how that correlates with advocacy for a particular form of woo. The results show that – like any other magazine in the segment – content may be driven by the availability of advertising revenue as much as by the agenda of the editors. The analysis further undermines WDDTY’s specious claims to independence from vested interests.

Continue reading And Now A Word From Our Sponsors…

Sick as a dog – another worthless advert in WDDTY

Reblogged with permission from westernsloth.wordpress.com, thanks to Dr. Matthew Lam (@DrMatthewL).

2013-11-apocapsSo I was just casually scanning over the most recent (November) issue of WDDTY – yes that issue with the atrocious homeopathy and cancer article – when my eyes glanced over an advert for:

‘Apocaps –The world’s first all-natural apoptogen formula’

Now I have to admit, when I see the prefix ‘apop’, I automatically think of apoptosis, the process of programmed cell death that plays such a vital role in many aspects of an organism’s development.  On closer inspection it’s clear that the product in question is selling something about apoptosis – something that got my interest having previously spent time in the lab researching that very mechanism.  So let’s see what kind of bullshit the team at ‘Functional Nutriments’ have concocted for this ‘world’s first’.

The product itself appears to be a pill made up of ‘natural’ chemicals for kick-starting apoptosis in dogs.  Now I don’t know about dogs, but as a human I would not be convinced by someone wanting to kick off apoptosis in my cells by feeding me a pill.  Sounds like a quick way to end up in the hospital.

The special ‘apoptosis formula’ (I have to keep putting these things in quotations because I just don’t understand what they mean) is a powerful nutraceutical supplement designed by Dr Demian Dressler.  A quick Google search on Dressler reveals that he once thought of himself as a conventional veterinarian but know considers himself a full spectrum veterinarian, combining the best of conventional medicine with nutraceuticals, supplements, diet and body-mind medicine.  He is co-founder of Functional Nutriments and the inventor of Apopcaps.

But what are Apopcaps? The advert doesn’t really give you any information as to what the product is or does – a common theme amongst adverts of quackery.  I had to log on to their wonderful website to find out more information.  I always find the ‘About’ section of these websites the best for finding bullshit.  Here’s what they have to say about Apopcaps:

‘Apocaps was created as dog lovers began asking for a simpler, easier way to give apoptogens to their dogs.’

Really?! What the fuck are apoptogens? I’ve never used the word before and a quick Google search reveals that apoptogen is only ever used in conjunction with Apocaps.  So without knowing what they are how does one know that they need a simpler and easier way to give them to their dogs?

‘The challenge was to find a combination of the most important – luteolin, apigenin, silymarin and curcumin and other key ingredients – in a formula that is absorbed by the body.’

Ahh..so here are four alleged apoptogens.  Two flavonoids (luteolin and apigenin), milk thistle extract (silymarin) and a curcuminoid (curcumin).  I know from experience that luteolin and apigenin have been shown to induce apoptosis in the lab.  But so have many other things.  So how much evidence is there that these chemicals could induce apoptosis in dogs?  I’ll answer that in due course, for now let’s continue with the spiel.

‘Because luteolin, apigenin, curcumin and silymarin are all natural substances, the body’s digestive and elimination systems could potentially use up or eliminate these apoptogens before they reach the bloodstream. We didn’t want that to happen.’

This statement hints at a complete misunderstanding of mammalian physiology.  I eat a lot of natural substances every day, if I spent all that energy digesting food only to shit and piss the best bits out, I’d be very unhappy.  Nutrient absorption in the gut is very effective.  It’s evolved that way over thousands of years so we can spend energy doing other things like riding bikes or blogging about stupid pseudoscience.

‘The patent-pending proprietary “Trojan Horse” formula used to create Apocaps “tricks” the body into circulating the apoptogens throughout the bloodstream.’

This sounds exciting but my sceptic radar detects bullshit.  I couldn’t find a shred of evidence for their ‘Trojan Horse’ formula or how it would work.

After looking at the entire website for Apocaps, I still could not find one statement that actually said what the product was for or for what conditions it should be given.  I mean: do you go into Dr Dressler’s clinic with your dog and he says:

“Yes, it looks like your dog has low levels of natural apoptosis; let’s boost this back up with Apocaps.  Don’t worry the active ingredients easily get into your dog’s circulation where they can have an effect on the whole body”.

Even if Apocaps worked, how would increasing apoptosis across your dog’s body help with anything?! It sounds like the least targeted form of chemotherapy ever made.  So back to my earlier question – is there any evidence that the four key ingredients have any effect on apoptosis in dogs?

The answer is no:

  • PubMed search for ‘Luteolin’ AND ‘dog’ – 8 papers, none on apoptosis
  • PubMed search for ‘Apigenin’ AND ‘dog’ – 11 papers, none on apoptosis
  • PubMed search for ‘silymarin’ AND ‘dog’ – 39 papers, none on apoptosis
  • PubMed search for ‘curcumin’ and ‘dog’ – 23 papers, none on apoptosis
What Doctors Don't Tell You
Why don’t doctors tell you that luteolin, apigenin, silymarin and curcumin restore apoptosis and stop cancer?

Because there’s no evidence it’s true

Number crunching: Adverts

A picture speaks a thousand words. Especially this one:

WDDTY - adverts in numbers

We’re indebted to Alan Henness of the Nightingale Collaboration for this eloquent testimony to Lynne McTaggart’s claimed screening of advertisements.

For more on misleading advertisements, watch the Misleading Advertisements category.