Stuff that occurs to me

All of my 'how to' posts are tagged here. The most popular posts are about blocking and private accounts on Twitter, also the science communication jobs list. None of the science or medical information I might post to this blog should be taken as medical advice (I'm not medically trained).

Think of this blog as a sort of nursery for my half-baked ideas hence 'stuff that occurs to me'.

Contact: @JoBrodie Email: jo DOT brodie AT gmail DOT com

Science in London: The 2018/19 scientific society talks in London blog post

Sunday, 2 January 2011

Do Slimweight patches work? How?

I Last week someone tweeted a link to the Daily Mail article: "Why putting on just half a stone will cause your husband's eyes to start wandering" aka "Why eating too much Christmas turkey might not be good for your relationship".

This advertised a product called Slimweight patch, and had a quote from Dr Tim Thurlings who is associated / affiliated with Roduve Healthcare solutions who market the product. He is also 'Dr Tea' behind Tava Tea but I don't know if that's from Roduve as well and I think PR is by The London PR Agency.

As to whether or not it actually works though - I've no idea. I really can't see how it could. The main website (you'll find it easily with Google) has a page on clinical studies, however none of them seem to be relevant.

The studies report on individual ingredients and didn't look at the actual formulation with all ingredients present. Although some studies were in humans, some were on animals (less relevant) and not one of them actually tested the patch delivery system (instead capsules were used) and so it's a bit difficult to draw any conclusions from these studies about how well it might work.

The ingredients list mention some plant names but not which component of the plant is used, either at the level of particular chemicals or even which part (roots? aerial parts?) of the plant that's used. I don't think it's very easy to get individual chemicals, or mixtures, or bits of plant, to be absorbed across the skin (nicotine's a notable exception but despite coming from tobacco plants it's just one chemical) particularly as the skin has evolved to be quite a good barrier.

The website's 'How it works' page also makes the claim that the transdermal technology used means that the nutrients are absorbed straight into the bloodstream which 'cuts out inefficient digestion'. This would be true if the ingredients, as formulated, could actually get across the skin but as no evidence is given about that it's not a claim I can really get behind yet.

If you search for 'Slimweight patch' on Google you'll find umpteen pages that all somehow ultimately lead to a place where you can buy the patches. There are review articles on websites that seemingly exist solely to provide these referral links. There are even a couple of articles on how to do this, thanks to the members of the MoreNiche forum (an eye opening read).

This one offers some suggestions for example 'keyword rich domain names' and a 12 point plan which involves writing a product review on a blog then sending 50 links back to it, submitting articles to these review sites and comment on other people's blogs.

If anyone ever wants to know how to create a buzz for a product it would seem these are the people to ask. Even if you search for 'Slimweight patch scam' you won't find pages wondering if the patch is too good to be true, but affiliated pages designed to highlight its positive effects and to help people buy the product if they want it. Clever ;)

It reminds me of those vortex coin collectors into which I used to drop pennies as a child - everything spinning inwards towards a central point, and then the money drops through.

EDIT: 26 January 2011 - presumably sites like this are going to find themselves in difficulties come 1 March as the ASA will begin looking at claims on websites and not just broadcast or print adverts.

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Comment policy: I enthusiastically welcome corrections and I entertain polite disagreement ;) Because of the nature of this blog it attracts a LOT - 5 a day at the moment - of spam comments (I write about spam practices,misleading marketing and unevidenced quackery) and so I'm more likely to post a pasted version of your comment, removing any hyperlinks.

Comments written in ALL CAPS LOCK will be deleted and I won't publish any pro-homeopathy comments, that ship has sailed I'm afraid (it's nonsense).