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 Microcurrent Stimulators?
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dimossi
Skeptic Friend

USA
141 Posts

Posted - 07/11/2002 :  12:09:14  Show Profile  Visit dimossi's Homepage  Send dimossi an AOL message Send dimossi a Private Message
This guy at my work has one of these "microcurrent stimulator" units, called Alpha-Stim, that cost $600:

http://www.biof.com/alpha.html

I am skeptical of the claims made about this product:

quote:
Absolutely nothing relieves pain, headaches, anxiety, depression, and/or insomnia like the Alpha-Stim 100. Inspired by recent advances in our understanding of biophysics, the Alpha-Stim 100's therapeutic abilities have been acclaimed by health care professionals and patients world wide. Results gained from the Alpha-Stim 100 have been repeatedly verified through more clinical studies than with any other device in its class.


Has anyone heard what the scoop on these, and similar units, is? Does anyone have real unbiased scientific proof that this unit can actually do what it claims to do and it not be attributed to the placebo effect? Or does anyone have information debunking "microcurrent stimulators"?

Thanks

"Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn't go away." [Philip K. Dick, science-fiction author]

Gorgo
SFN Die Hard

USA
5309 Posts

Posted - 07/11/2002 :  14:09:50   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send Gorgo a Private Message
Sounds like one of Hulda Clark's "Zappers" or Synchrometers.

http://www.uoguelph.ca/~kkolas/#syncrometer

http://www.uoguelph.ca/~kkolas/

http://www.quackwatch.com/01QuackeryRelatedTopics/Cancer/clark.html

"Not one human life should be expended in this reckless violence called a war against terrorism." - Howard Zinn
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Tokyodreamer
SFN Regular

USA
1447 Posts

Posted - 07/11/2002 :  17:49:50   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send Tokyodreamer a Private Message
Damn! The hot woman with a tight shirt and no bra at the web site makes me want to order one right now!

mmmm, nipples...


[hmm, I hope my making fun of a blatant sex-in-marketing attempt was obvious ]
------------

You can tell she's hydrolic...
Her silver scream is supersonic
You can see the mercury smear in her eye...

Edited by - tokyodreamer on 07/12/2002 05:42:04
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Trish
SFN Addict

USA
2102 Posts

Posted - 07/11/2002 :  23:21:32   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send Trish a Private Message
Check the FDA website and see if they've issued any warning letters for this product. Usually they will issue for unsupported claims.

Here's what the FDA says:

http://www.fda.gov/ohrms/dockets/dailys/092199/cp00001.pdf

It's in PDF so you need acrobat reader.


---
...no one has ever found a 4.5 billion year old stone artifact (at the right geological stratum) with the words "Made by God."
No Sense of Obligation by Matt Young

Edited by - Trish on 07/12/2002 02:38:21
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dimossi
Skeptic Friend

USA
141 Posts

Posted - 07/12/2002 :  07:21:17   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Visit dimossi's Homepage  Send dimossi an AOL message Send dimossi a Private Message
Here is a link to a supposed survey that was conducted by the FDA on this product. However, I can't seem to find this survey on the FDA website. Also this doesn't seem like a controlled scientific type study that would eliminate the placebo element.

http://www.epii.com/Information/Technology/Research/Index/Kirsch_99/kirsch_99.html

Any comments?

"Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn't go away." [Philip K. Dick, science-fiction author]
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Lars_H
SFN Regular

Germany
630 Posts

Posted - 07/12/2002 :  10:48:28   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send Lars_H a Private Message
another link to:
http://alpha-stim.com/Information/Technology/Research/Index/Voris_95/voris_95.html

This is a 'study' including the placebo effect in a double blind test. They say that they were visited by the FDA and that they could find no faults with the research.

But I am still not convinced. Various websites have different explanations about how the stuff is supposed to work with some admitting that it is not known. It is also said to have almost none negative side-effects. It is rather rare that something can only have postive effects. Then there is the list of stuff that it is supposed to help against. Even if you allow for the idea that some quacks have jumped on the bandwagon of a legitimate product and created the more outregous claims, that still leaves a very wide field of possible uses for the wonder product. From reducing pain, to curing depression, to somehow 'helping' pedophiles as in the link above.

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dimossi
Skeptic Friend

USA
141 Posts

Posted - 07/12/2002 :  13:08:31   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Visit dimossi's Homepage  Send dimossi an AOL message Send dimossi a Private Message
This statement itself sounds awful suspicious:
quote:

Note: The FDA visited this researcher 4 times but could find no problems with this research.



"Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn't go away." [Philip K. Dick, science-fiction author]
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Trish
SFN Addict

USA
2102 Posts

Posted - 07/12/2002 :  22:33:48   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send Trish a Private Message
This looks remarkably like somethig that is used by physical therapists to stimulate muscles to contract. Usually, therapists use this in conjunction with exercise to strengthen muscles or help a patient learn to use an atrophied muscle. The primary difference between the units used by physical therapy and that is that the phys therapy units use pads that stick to your skin and there are four pads and to use them effectively you really need to know where the muscles are and where they start and end. IOW, the average person without training can't use them effectively.

---
...no one has ever found a 4.5 billion year old stone artifact (at the right geological stratum) with the words "Made by God."
No Sense of Obligation by Matt Young
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Dr Shari
Skeptic Friend

135 Posts

Posted - 07/23/2002 :  03:57:42   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send Dr Shari a Private Message
There are stimulators that are inserted by pain specialists that over-ride the pain signals being sent to the spine or brain. They must be prescribed and set bt MD's to the proper setting. There is nothing you can buy on your own that works. Again when it comes to treating yourself with something other then FDA approved products or medical help is dangerous to your health and very dangerous to your wallet. I know as an MD that many people, my own patients included think we biased against such products and OTC herbal products but they can be very harmful to you and if something goes wrong you are left with no recourse. We doctors can be sued for malpractice as can medically approved manufacturers of medical equipment. If all natural products (and I do believe some do work) and other products sold to help people with medical problems we would buy stock in them ourselves (joke) and prescribe them. Does anyone think for a moment we for the most part want our people to suffer needlessly if there was a $600 product out there that worked. As for the all natural products such as vitamins and herbal cures were on the up and up they wouldn't put those little disclaimers on the bottle that tell you they are only "supplements". When they don't work try sueing them the way you sue Drs and medical companies. The term Buyer Beware applies to these products. They best you can hope for is them to return your purchase price after spending a ton of money on postal charges returning the unused portion and only if you can find the reciept with in 90 days of purchase.

Death: The High Cost of Living
It is easier to get forgiveness then to get permission!
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Snake
SFN Addict

USA
2511 Posts

Posted - 09/01/2002 :  14:37:49   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Visit Snake's Homepage  Send Snake an ICQ Message  Send Snake a Yahoo! Message Send Snake a Private Message
quote:

This guy at my work has one of these "microcurrent stimulator" units, called Alpha-Stim, that cost $600:

Didn't want to start a new folder and since this is similar I want to ask:
Isn't this illegal???:
Last night while turning around the channels on the TV, came across an Informercial for a 'medical' product that you wear around your wrist. Damn, I forget the name of it, as I'm on drugs right now. But it's supposed to stimulate away pain by using some sort of electrial force from your body.
It's nothing more than a bauble, looks to be worth $1 or even less. Just a bracelet, not connected to anything, no wires, you just wear it like jewelry. They are asking three payments of $49.95 but generously, IF you order RIGHT NOW, will deduct one of the payments.
While watching for the few minutes that I could take it, I thought it was a joke. I don't know how they can make those claims. Or even worse how they can make money selling such nonsense. AND even worse than that, are there really people who believe that?
Guess the generation that had the copper bracelet is past and they think the new generation doesn't know about or remember it.

----------------
*Carabao forever

*SAN FERNANDO VALLEY SECESSION - YES

*All lives are movie settings, it's what channel you're on that counts. Zatikia

*Just because I don't care, doesn't mean I don't understand.
Homer Jaye S.
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Trish
SFN Addict

USA
2102 Posts

Posted - 09/01/2002 :  18:08:16   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send Trish a Private Message
The magnetic bracelet, Snake? That's about what that sounds like. Yeah, they make all kinds of weird claims with those things.

---
I would rather be exposed to the inconveniences attending too much liberty than to those attending too small a degree of it.
Thomas Jefferson, letter to Archibald Stuart (1791)
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Snake
SFN Addict

USA
2511 Posts

Posted - 09/01/2002 :  19:54:27   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Visit Snake's Homepage  Send Snake an ICQ Message  Send Snake a Yahoo! Message Send Snake a Private Message
quote:

The magnetic bracelet, Snake? That's about what that sounds like. Yeah, they make all kinds of weird claims with those things.


I was 1/2 asleep but didn't recall them saying anything about magnets. Maybe they did.
It's supposed to be made out of some fantastic material that engergizes off your own body.
People were of course giving testimonials but the 'Doctor' also seemed to be making medical claims. That's the part I didn't think was legal. I really am wondering how they get away with that.
I also know that when people are desperate they will try anything. Hell! I almost gave it a thought for about a 1/2 a second, lol, with the pain I'm in. But it was so over the top to be believable I also can't imagine how stupid someone would have to be to order it. The point is, they must be making some money off it because they have to pay for the air time. WHO in the Hell is buying it. I have to know!

----------------
*Carabao forever

*SAN FERNANDO VALLEY SECESSION - YES

*All lives are movie settings, it's what channel you're on that counts. Zatikia

*Just because I don't care, doesn't mean I don't understand.
Homer Jaye S.
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Trish
SFN Addict

USA
2102 Posts

Posted - 09/01/2002 :  23:09:40   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send Trish a Private Message
I wouldn't be surprised to find the 'Doctor' is a PhD and not an MD. This ufortunately seems to be the case when they trot out their doctors. Seems the general public isn't aware that there is a difference between a PhD Doctor and an MD Doctor. They've been in school for years so they must be right, right?

What your describing is the new tack for selling magnets. Unless of course they've found some 'new' metal...

Yeah, unfortunately, they're making money off those who desparately want something when they don't like many of the side effects of medications.

---
I would rather be exposed to the inconveniences attending too much liberty than to those attending too small a degree of it.
Thomas Jefferson, letter to Archibald Stuart (1791)
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Snake
SFN Addict

USA
2511 Posts

Posted - 09/02/2002 :  20:16:53   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Visit Snake's Homepage  Send Snake an ICQ Message  Send Snake a Yahoo! Message Send Snake a Private Message
quote:

I wouldn't be surprised to find the 'Doctor' is a PhD and not an MD.

The 1st time I saw the commerical it flashed by so fast all I could see was the letters, F.A.S.C. I think! Or something like that. And some other set of letters too. But I saw it again last night and sure enough there it was Ph.D. on the same line along with the other letters under his name.
It's called the Q- (damn, I forgot again)something or other. Ok, guess I'll have to see it again tonight for more info. LOL, I could use the laugh.

----------------
*Carabao forever

*SAN FERNANDO VALLEY SECESSION - YES

*All lives are movie settings, it's what channel you're on that counts. Zatikia

*Just because I don't care, doesn't mean I don't understand.
Homer Jaye S.
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The SollyLama
Skeptic Friend

USA
234 Posts

Posted - 09/04/2002 :  09:48:55   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send The SollyLama a Private Message
quote:
I was 1/2 asleep but didn't recall them saying anything about magnets

--That'd be the Q-ray bracelet, which I posted about before. I saw that one too. Didn't even bother to stick magnets on it, it just simply WORKS....... Even the sham artists have gotten lazy.
The Q-ray infomercial shows a mass of particles being released from the bracelet. Whether these are the mysterious 'Q-rays' the product is named for, or whether it represents 'pain leaving the body' is never made clear. In fact no mention of any energetic particle designate 'Q' was ever mentioned. The thing is supposed to work, although no one, not even the manufacturer claims to know how. Of course they knew it would work in bracelet form, on the wrist, to relieve all pain.
Specific forms of pain like arthritis need not apply. The testimonials came from people with 'pain' but nothing specific.
I know all about the electrodes doctors hook to atrophied muscles. That current doesn't even extend past the limb it's in contact with.
I loved the Skeptical Inquirer TV bit (Discovery Science Channel) that showed that the magnets in the bracelets won't even penetrate a few sheets of paper, let alone skin. I made the exact same demonstration to my mother, who bought the dumb bracelets. She tossed them.
SCORE ONE FOR THE SKEPTICS!

No remorse, No repent. We don't care what it meant. Another day another death. Another sorrow another breath.
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Lisa
SFN Regular

USA
1223 Posts

Posted - 09/04/2002 :  13:51:21   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send Lisa a Private Message
A bracelet? Is that all I have to do? Gosh, and here this doc at the base wants to slice my leg open. Stitches and all sort o' yucky stuff. Wait til I tell him about the Q-Ray bracelet! Won't he feel silly?
[/smarmy sarcasm]
What's really sad is that people in fact do fall for this crap. True, I'm in a bit of pain right now, and the thoughts of leg + scalpel don't exactly have me doing backflips of joy. However, I know my chances of relief are better with the licensed doc than with some quack trying to sell a hunk of metal.

We have enough youth. We need a fountain of smart.
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