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Celebrity endorsements that are science fiction trashed in annual list - Comments

Dr. monster's Avatar Comment 1 by Dr. monster

damn. from the description i thought he was drinking it!

Wed, 29 Dec 2010 13:54:13 UTC | #570111

Stevehill's Avatar Comment 2 by Stevehill

Not so much a comment on the above as a plaudit to the Independent, who in similar vein wrote a piece today about the dubiousness of some celebrity diets etc being touted. Also featuring Sarah Harding's charcoal.

Is there an emerging strand of mainstream rational journalism - or is that too much to hope for?

Wed, 29 Dec 2010 13:55:47 UTC | #570112

Carl Sai Baba's Avatar Comment 3 by Carl Sai Baba

The hologram bands are a riot. They contain a "frequency" (of no specified event) "embedded in the hologram" (whatever the hell that could possibly mean).

Wed, 29 Dec 2010 13:57:35 UTC | #570115

Rachel Holmes's Avatar Comment 4 by Rachel Holmes

Writer and chemist John Emsley pointed out that, although charcoal was known to absorb toxic molecules when used in gas masks and in sewage treatment, it was unnecessary when it comes to diet because the body is already quite capable of removing any "bad, damaging stuff" it encounters in ordinary consumption. "It might help prevent any smelly farts, though."

Given my brussel sprout intake in the last week, I'm off to buy charcoal.

Wed, 29 Dec 2010 14:22:19 UTC | #570124

bethe123's Avatar Comment 5 by bethe123

A low quality article.

Olivia Newton-John, for example, told a newspaper in the summer that she took extra digestive enzymes and "plant tonics" to boost her immune system.

Here is the actual interview.

And here is the important part that was not quoted that reveals what ONJ was thinking:

I used homeopathy, acupuncture, yoga and meditation in conjunction with my chemotherapy to help me get stronger again after the cancer.

I also chanted with Buddhist friends and prayed with Christian friends. I covered all my bases.

It is clear she used chemo (i.e., conventional medicine), and that was also her main approach. The other approaches she used just to "cover her bases".

Now, with regard to the quote in the article about using plant tonics to boost your immune system. I did not see the actual plant tonic mentioned in the "Sense About Science" article, and which ingredients in particular it contained. So I checked out the original. And here is the research. So this is an interesting question, is there research indicating that some plant extracts can boost the immune system? In general, I found many such studies in just 2 clicks on Google scholar. So don't attack ONJ, attack the studies. Of course, you actually have to know something to do that. Not quite as easy.

Wed, 29 Dec 2010 15:05:21 UTC | #570144

Starcrash's Avatar Comment 6 by Starcrash

I remember reading earlier this year about mouthguards that supposedly improved not just your athleticism but everything you do. I wonder if that was hokey science, too. It was based on a lot of celebrity endorsements...

Wed, 29 Dec 2010 15:09:40 UTC | #570149

Logicel's Avatar Comment 7 by Logicel

Intercourse even if the male does not ejaculate, because of pre-ejaculate (some contain a little semen), unprotected sex can result in pregnancy (and disease also). Fine, don't ejaculate, your control may be impressive, but your ignorance otherwise is not so put on a rubber please while 'nourishing' yourself during a routine body function.

Wed, 29 Dec 2010 15:20:24 UTC | #570153

DocWebster's Avatar Comment 8 by DocWebster

I barely buy anything I see on TV anymore. Of course, I don't watch much TV either so advertisers are SOL. The only one that really catches my interest anymore is when a new "Mayhem" commercial comes out for Allstate but that's because I go gaga for slapstick. I wouldn't do business with Allstate with a gun to my head. My one brush with a celebrity endorsed scam was the laundry ball. Do any of you remember it? It was a ball that you threw into the washing machine instead of anything that would actually clean your clothes. Supposedly it generated negative ions in the washing action to counter the positive ions in the soil that made your clothes dirty. the repellent force of these ions was supposedly enough to knock all of the dirt out of your clothes without polluting the environment with more surfactants. I got railroaded into going to a demo with a local radio celebrity by my ex because a good friend of hers was going. From the get-go I could see it was a patent medicine show but the ex's friend had stars in her eyes. She signed up for their "Associate" program to run parties and make a cut off sales. When the whole scam got uncovered even the state AG was involved and everyone who was in on it got blasted. The ex's friend had to pay back several thousand dollars she had collected from customers and the radio celebrity along with the station he worked for had to declare bankruptcy to get out from under the debts. I still have one that I show to friends who tell me about the latest greatest get rich scheme endorsed by some B-lister with an honest face.

Wed, 29 Dec 2010 15:40:48 UTC | #570160

Corylus's Avatar Comment 9 by Corylus

The link to the main article seems to be missing.

Click here.

Wed, 29 Dec 2010 16:24:30 UTC | #570182

Moderator's Avatar Comment 10 by Moderator

Many thanks, Corylus. We've corrected that now.

Wed, 29 Dec 2010 16:33:28 UTC | #570185

Mark Jones's Avatar Comment 11 by Mark Jones

Nice rebuff by Rachel, from Friends.

Wed, 29 Dec 2010 16:43:39 UTC | #570191

Alan4discussion's Avatar Comment 12 by Alan4discussion

Given my brussel sprout intake in the last week, I'm off to buy charcoal.

Don't you just eat it along with the rest of the toast!

Oh look! They're paying celebrities to advertise it to the gullible. -- There's a product to AVOID!

Wed, 29 Dec 2010 16:49:29 UTC | #570197

Agrajag's Avatar Comment 13 by Agrajag

Comment 6 by Starcrash

I remember reading earlier this year about mouthguards that supposedly improved not just your athleticism but everything you do. I wonder if that was hokey science, too. It was based on a lot of celebrity endorsements...

At the dental school where I teach, the prevailing perspective on performance enhancement by mouthguards is that this does not happen. Still, there is a lot of confusion if you search the internet. The skeptical sites, such as DENTALWATCH , support this perspective. Charles Greene, cited in the Dental Watch article, is a colleague of mine; he continues to regard this use of mouthguards as ineffective. I found an article from TUFTS University which suggests otherwise; however, the study described has yet to be submitted for publication (read "peer review"), so it may not contribute much to the debate.

From my perspective as an endodontist, I can attest that properly-fitted mouthguards are effective in preventing traumatic injuries to the teeth. It is possible that knowing (believing) dental injury is less likely may encourage an athlete to be less cautious, resulting in apparent higher performance.
Steve

Wed, 29 Dec 2010 17:05:06 UTC | #570212

Stafford Gordon's Avatar Comment 14 by Stafford Gordon

There's money in them thar endorsements.

Wed, 29 Dec 2010 17:23:27 UTC | #570227

PaulJ's Avatar Comment 15 by PaulJ

It's good to see the woo being highlighted in the national press. Unfortunately the people who lap up celebrity gossip are probably not the ones reading the Guardian science pages.

Wed, 29 Dec 2010 17:39:58 UTC | #570241

SomersetJohn's Avatar Comment 16 by SomersetJohn

Comment 7 by Logicel :

Intercourse even if the male does not ejaculate, because of pre-ejaculate (some contain a little semen), unprotected sex can result in pregnancy (and disease also). Fine, don't ejaculate, your control may be impressive, but your ignorance otherwise is not so put on a rubber please while 'nourishing' yourself during a routine body function.

Oh come on! The guy has been going out with Jordan. Surely you are not expecting any kind of intelligent behaviour from him are you!

Wed, 29 Dec 2010 19:26:46 UTC | #570313

JuJu's Avatar Comment 17 by JuJu

I'm surprised nobody has mentioned Oprah yet. Shes like the Queen bee of pseudoscience propaganda.

The Huffington Post spews a lot quackery also.

Wed, 29 Dec 2010 20:06:39 UTC | #570339

Rachel Holmes's Avatar Comment 18 by Rachel Holmes

Don't you just eat it along with the rest of the toast!

Good call! I'll just turn the toaster up to 'nuke'.

Wed, 29 Dec 2010 22:17:53 UTC | #570423

wisnoskij's Avatar Comment 19 by wisnoskij

Is it just me or does this article read quite unscientific?

"All the digestive enzymes you need are produced in a beautifully co-ordinated way by different structures in your gut" Their is not such a think as a perfect system and their is always room for improvement, and lots of people get degestive problems so regardless of the effectiveness of this product this statement seems obviously false to me.

"unnecessary when it comes to diet because the body is already quite capable of removing any "bad, damaging stuff" it encounters in ordinary consumption" This also sounds completely wrong for the same reasons. The body has tons of toxins in it and many health treatments focus around removing some of them. It is a scientifically proven fact, as far as I know, that their are many harmful toxins in the average human that the liver cannot or simply has not has the time to remove. I have no idea if ingesting charcoal would help with this at all but that does not make this statement any more right or wrong.

Thu, 30 Dec 2010 04:22:13 UTC | #570568

bethe123's Avatar Comment 20 by bethe123

Comment 19 by wisnoskij

Is it just me or does this article read quite unscientific?

Well, yes, I agree.

I however was content to restrict my remarks to merely defending Olivia Newton-John, since her grandfather was the great Max Born.

Thu, 30 Dec 2010 04:29:36 UTC | #570572

Emmeline's Avatar Comment 21 by Emmeline

Comment 15 by PaulJ :

It's good to see the woo being highlighted in the national press. Unfortunately the people who lap up celebrity gossip are probably not the ones reading the Guardian science pages.

It's covered in the "Femail" section of the Daily Mail but I suspect that most readers have more interest in celebrity endorsements than in science.

Thu, 30 Dec 2010 09:57:28 UTC | #570645

Starcrash's Avatar Comment 22 by Starcrash

At the dental school where I teach, the prevailing perspective on performance enhancement by mouthguards is that this does not happen....

Thank you for the links (and the attention to my comment). They were quite helpful. I originally read about this in an article in either Newsweek or Time (I can't remember, nor can I find the article again) and I'm pretty sure the author also came to the conclusion that it was silly.

Thu, 30 Dec 2010 17:16:16 UTC | #570916

njwong's Avatar Comment 23 by njwong

Not sure about the UK, but in Singapore and Malaysia, "charcoal tablets" is often prescribed by the hospitals and clinics for diarrhea and food poisoning (link). I have used it myself whenever I am struck by diarrhea, and I personally find it to be very effective (much more effective than other diarrhea medication). Perhaps they don't prescribe charcoal tablets in the UK anymore.

According to Wikipedia,

Charcoal biscuits were sold in England starting in the early 19th century, originally as an antidote to flatulence and stomach trouble.

Tablets or capsules of activated charcoal are used in many countries as an over-the-counter drug to treat diarrhea, indigestion, and flatulence. There is some evidence of its effectiveness as a treatment for irritable bowel syndrome (IBS),[13] and to prevent diarrhea in cancer patients who have received irinotecan.


However, I do find it strange why people would want to add charcoal powder over their food. I just classify it under my "Weird News" section, together with those people who sprinkle gold powder or pearl powder to their food (very common in Chinese medicine - though their efficacy is questionable). The one that takes the cake is drinking your own urine as a health supplement. Yucks!

Fri, 31 Dec 2010 08:12:37 UTC | #571343

Alan4discussion's Avatar Comment 24 by Alan4discussion

Charcoal biscuits were sold in England starting in the early 19th century, originally as an antidote to flatulence and stomach trouble.

Charcloal is used to benfit plants in potting composts where it seems to lock up harmful substances.

Activated charcoal is also used in kitchens to filter organic chemicals from the air.

Sat, 01 Jan 2011 13:40:39 UTC | #571872

JumpinJackFlash's Avatar Comment 25 by JumpinJackFlash

Sense About Science. SAS. They should bring out a book called 'Bollocks Two Zen'.

Sat, 15 Jan 2011 16:53:26 UTC | #578876