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Bonsai Kittens, 2000
Stotham, Massachusetts: the town that didn't exist, 1920
war of the worlds
The night Martians invaded New Jersey, 1938
The Great Wall of China Hoax, 1899
Sober Sue, the woman who never smiled, 1907
Iceberg floats into Sydney Harbor, 1978
Boy floats away in balloon, 2009
The Hoaxing Hitchhiker, 1941
Pierre Brassau, Monkey Artist, 1964
Dead Body of Loch Ness Monster Found, 1972
Magnehance
Dakota Therapeutics has issued a press release announcing their exciting new product: the Magnehance. It's "a new magnetic device for erectile enhancement." The mind boggles. I don't quite understand how this thing is supposed to be worn, and (perhaps thankfully) they don't offer any illustrations on their website. But the amount of pseudo-scientific jargon they deploy is quite remarkable:

the Magnehance™ is constructed of a super-flexible form of the high-energy, rare earth magnet known as neodymium iron boron, which is used extensively in magnetic therapy.

Wow. The only thing that would top that is if it were made of 'patented IonXR nanoceramics technology' (but no, that's a different product). Get your orders for the Magnehance in quick, because the first few customers will also receive a 'Free Mini Keychain Digital Camera'. (via Gullibility Isn't in the Dictionary)
Update: Now I can't stop wondering, if someone actually went out in public wearing one of these things, would it start to attract random metal objects (keys, paperclips, etc.)?
Categories: Body Manipulation, Health/Medicine
Posted by The Curator on Thu Feb 17, 2005
Comments (40)
Maybe it involves a powerful electromagnetic behind your headboard, and a Prince Albert (penis piercing)?

Think about it....
Posted by Barghest  on  Thu Feb 17, 2005  at  04:07 AM
I know something it WON'T attract: intelligent, skeptical consumers.
Posted by Cranky Media Guy  on  Thu Feb 17, 2005  at  04:24 AM
What about the actual research that they cite at this site? Doesn't that lend credibility?
Posted by JD  in  Poughkeepsie, NY  on  Thu Feb 17, 2005  at  08:11 AM
Hmm...there's iron in the blood right? I suppose that if they're thinking these 'special' magnets will pull that blood...you know...then it might make things...well, you still know. That's just my theory on why they think this will work. I personally don't think this would work. Also, if you were wearing the device in public...would if affect other guys?!?
Posted by Maegan  in  Tampa, FL - USA  on  Thu Feb 17, 2005  at  08:41 AM
RE: Iron in the blood: You can try this at home. Cut yourself and bleed sufficiently into a saucer. Take one magnet, wave it over your blood and marvel as nothing happens.
Posted by Peter  in  London  on  Thu Feb 17, 2005  at  10:24 AM
Oh, and the "...actual research that they cite". I quote directly from the second link - "Conclusion: ...It is uncertain whether this response is due to specific or non-specific (placebo) effects."
Posted by Peter  on  Thu Feb 17, 2005  at  10:28 AM
Peter,I can't stop the bleeding. Getting diz z y................
Posted by ACE  on  Thu Feb 17, 2005  at  12:07 PM
Well, there's a whole world of magnetic devices, and Mr. Nikken has made his mark, based on the "need." There is evidence--not just placebo evidence--that magnetic therapy does work, at least to reduce pain. I guess this device might affect other guys, if you were to hug them, tightly. To each his own.
Posted by JD  on  Thu Feb 17, 2005  at  12:29 PM
JD said;

"There is evidence--not just placebo evidence--that magnetic therapy does work..."

This is news to me. I hope you're not counting anecdotal evidence or testimonials from the people who've used magnets. As far as I can tell, there's not a single reputable scientific study to show ANY positive effect of magnets on pain. Of course, I could be wrong, and I would be happy if you could point one out for me.
Posted by JoeSixpack  on  Thu Feb 17, 2005  at  01:04 PM
Here's an article that seems to put a negative light on the magnet phenomenon.

http://www.quackwatch.org/04ConsumerEducation/QA/magnet.html

Granted, it's from quackwatch, so it'll obviously be slanted, but there are at least references.
Posted by Silentz  in  general  on  Thu Feb 17, 2005  at  01:25 PM
JoeSixpack commented:

> I would be happy if you could point one out

I found this site, via the magnehance.com site (on the Links page). It's got some info and references, suggesting that there is evidence for the effectiveness of magnetic products:

http://www.therionresearch.com/learning_center_scientific_studies_static.html

Personally, I don't own any magnetic, therapy devices, so I try to be objective.
Posted by JD  in  Poughkeepsie, NY  on  Thu Feb 17, 2005  at  01:50 PM
"suggesting that there is evidence". So that's not evidence then is it? It's not a hoax it is a scam.
Posted by sid  on  Thu Feb 17, 2005  at  02:52 PM
the Therion link you gave is just people trying to sell you magnets. its not a peer-review scientific paper just trying to sell you stuff. of course they say it works they are trying to sell you their magnets. did i mention they are just trying to sell you stuff?
Posted by daveuk  on  Thu Feb 17, 2005  at  02:57 PM
Well, you can't use my choice of words ("suggesting that there is evidence") to dismiss the research. Regarding the "scientific paper," why doesn't
J Altern Complement Med 2001 Feb;7(1):53-64, or
Altern Ther Health Med 2002 Jul-Aug;8(4):50-5
count as such? In fact, they are. They may not be peer-reviewed--I don't know the journals--but they do point to significant results (p < .05).

If it makes people feel good/better, than it might be worthwhile. Besides, people actually bought pet rocks--one of the biggest jokes I'd ever seen.
Posted by JD  on  Thu Feb 17, 2005  at  03:08 PM
JD sez:
"Regarding the "scientific paper," why doesn't
J Altern Complement Med 2001 Feb;7(1):53-64, or
Altern Ther Health Med 2002 Jul-Aug;8(4):50-5
count as such? ... They may not be peer-reviewed--"
JD, you've just answered your own question.
Posted by Big Gary C  in  Dallas, Texas  on  Thu Feb 17, 2005  at  04:22 PM
JD said:

"If it makes people feel good/better, than it might be worthwhile."

Can you say "placebo effect?" More to the point, using your logic, no one should ever go to a doctor so long as there are faith healers in business. So what if they don't actually HEAL anything? They DO convince some people that they're bettter, right?

"Besides, people actually bought pet rocks--one of the biggest jokes I'd ever seen."

A pet rock is a novelty item. No one who bought a pet rock thought it could cure their erectile dysfunction. Big difference. It was SUPPOSED to be a joke.
Posted by crankymediaguy  on  Thu Feb 17, 2005  at  08:31 PM
JD's comment about the papers being published in the two journals and "may not be peer-reviewed" suggested to me he meant may or may not be peer reviewed. At least I'm not the only one who goofs in messages. And if I remember my biology from high school (the one that taught me there are no pain receptors inside the body) then the reason for the "lift" isn't blood flow to the specific place, it's that blood is prevented from leaving by special valves the slow blood flow down, magnatism has no chance to affect the valves unless it somehow triggers their closure.
Posted by Christopher Cole  in  Tucson, AZ  on  Thu Feb 17, 2005  at  08:46 PM
"Granted, it's from quackwatch, so it'll obviously be slanted, but there are at least references."

Slanted? Towards what? Reality? Science? Facts? I don't see any slant to that site, just the truth.
Posted by Racer-X  on  Thu Feb 17, 2005  at  09:24 PM
Generally, a Journal is a publication that prints peer-reviewed articles in a given field. A Journal that prints non-peer-reviewed articles isn't really much of a Journal in the modern, accepted definition of the term.

>>>More to the point, using your logic, no one should ever go to a doctor so long as there are faith healers in business. So what if they don't actually HEAL anything? They DO convince some people that they're bettter, right? <<<

No, using his logic, people should go to doctors AND always at least try a placebo just on the off chance that it might help. Also, faith healers may be placebos, but not all placebos are faith healers. (Sugar pills are the most often mentioned placebo.)

Not necessary to leap to ridiculous extremes just to make your opponent in an argument look bad. Save the really aggressive debate guerrilla tactics for Republicans and others who deserve it. smile
Posted by Barghest  on  Thu Feb 17, 2005  at  09:31 PM
So I went to their site. I only clicked on the "Products" link. The first thing I noticed was they have a "Products for Males" section. This implies they might have somehting in the works for females. The mind boggles.

So I check out the product itself. It's a cotton bag, a chunk of flexible magnet, and 20 feet of double adhesive tape. I can only assume that this tape is to hold the bag in place while you let the magnet do its thing. (I'm staying out of the magnets for medicine debate.) What bothers me is the thought of taping anything down there. I mean, what if the tape slips and frabs a bit of hair down there? Ack!
Posted by Reinstag  in  Austin, Tx.  on  Thu Feb 17, 2005  at  11:58 PM
Barghest said:

"No, using his logic, people should go to doctors AND always at least try a placebo just on the off chance that it might help. Also, faith healers may be placebos, but not all placebos are faith healers. (Sugar pills are the most often mentioned placebo.)"

It seemed to me as if he was saying that if something makes you feel better, then go for it. I didn't see anything that said that you should ALSO see a doctor, but it's always possible that I misunderstood.

"Not necessary to leap to ridiculous extremes just to make your opponent in an argument look bad. Save the really aggressive debate guerrilla tactics for Republicans and others who deserve it."

I didn't think I was jumping to extremes but I concede that I may have misunderstood his point.

As for Republicans, while some of my best friends belong to the GOP (no, that isn't sarcasm), I agree with you that a lot of them (not all) deserve a real good dressing-down.
Posted by Cranky Media Guy  on  Fri Feb 18, 2005  at  03:54 AM
Actually, what he said was, if it makes people feel better, it might be worthwhile.

Which, to my ears, meant that if some silly placebo effect actually helps people and doesn't hurt them, it might be worth it to try it. Go to the doctor too, of course (he never said we didn't need doctors anymore), but if you really think wearing a magnet hat or saying a rosary makes you feel better, then do that too.

I don't care how stupid something is, if it actually helps people in a real and meaningful way, I'm for it. (Which is why I support people's religious leanings. As long as it does good and no harm, I don't care how goofy your story about Angels and Lost Tribes and Gold Spectacles and Thetans is, you go for it.)

The Republican comment, of course, was made with tongue-near-cheek. Heh.
Posted by Barghest  on  Fri Feb 18, 2005  at  05:00 AM
Suppose something made you FEEL better, but you WEREN'T actually better? Would THAT be a good thing? Yeah, it's hypothetical, but still...

That's kind of what happens a lot of the time with the people brought up on stage by "faith healers." With the surge of adrenaline and the excitement of being on stage, standing next to a Close Friend of God's, some people FEEL better for a while (depending, of course, on exactly what ailment they have).

When there have been follow-ups done on these people, the results weren't encouraging. They probably would have been better off to have seen a regular doctor.
Posted by Cranky Media Guy  on  Fri Feb 18, 2005  at  06:30 AM
I just wanted to add that, if there really is a Hell, I'd like to think that the hottest part is reserved for "faith healers" and people who sell useless crap like erectile dysfunction magnets. Preying on the sick and infirm is one of the worst forms of evil.
Posted by Cranky Media Guy  on  Fri Feb 18, 2005  at  06:32 AM
I have to interject something here about the testability of magnetic therapy. I think it would be impossible to do a truly double-blind test because it is so simple to determine whether a magnet is real or not.

Also, I notice that there seems to be NO WAY to put a magnet near a person that DOESN'T "help" them.
Posted by JoeSixpack  on  Fri Feb 18, 2005  at  09:03 AM
Unless they have a pacemaker....
Posted by Silentz  in  general  on  Fri Feb 18, 2005  at  10:58 AM
Personally,
I'm gonna get one. If it doesn't work for me, I'll use the pouch for my loose change (keeps it out of sight and just might impress the girlfriend).
Posted by Mark Wayne  in  Florida  on  Fri Feb 18, 2005  at  09:00 PM
>>>Suppose something made you FEEL better, but you WEREN'T actually better? Would THAT be a good thing? Yeah, it's hypothetical, but still...<<<

Which is why no one should ever rely on hoodoo alone, and only use it as a supplement IN ADDITION TO legitimate medical care.

Also, feeling better IS being actually better. Human suffering apart from physiological problems is also something that should be treated and relieved. If it weren't, doctors wouldn't use anasthaetic, or prescribe painkillers.

Suppose my grandma is in pain from inoperable, terminal cancer. There's nothing medical that can be done for her. Would you want her to stay home from the tent revival just to suit your own ideological predilections? Doesn't seem very defensible.

Of course, hopefully such infirm souls also have people to look after them, to make sure they're not spending thousands of dollars on psychic surgery or that crystal thing from the Andy Kaufman movie....
Posted by Barghest  on  Fri Feb 18, 2005  at  09:28 PM
I'm just amused the idea of two guys wearing these ridiculous things, walking too close together, and finding themselves magnetically linked at the crotch.
Posted by Carl Fink  on  Fri Feb 18, 2005  at  11:39 PM
Barghest said:

"Of course, hopefully such infirm souls also have people to look after them, to make sure they're not spending thousands of dollars on psychic surgery or that crystal thing from the Andy Kaufman movie...."

Andy was a friend of mine. I've always thought that was one of the saddest parts of his passing. Oddly, for all his challenging of preconceptions, he WAS a believer.
Posted by Cranky Media Guy  on  Sat Feb 19, 2005  at  02:45 AM
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