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

Saturday, 10 November 2012

Not the only live blood analyst I've complained about actually

Update 20 April 2018: Today the subject of this post was fined £2,200, ordered to pay costs of £15,000 and given a Criminal Behaviour Order (which, if breached, puts him in contempt of court). The Advertising Standards Authority referred his protracted case(s) to Camden Trading Standards who brought proceedings, resulting in a trial at Blackfriars Crown Court which concluded in March 2018 with sentencing today. The ASA has said that it welcomes the outcome. See also info from Court News.

Update 12 October 2014: On Friday the subject of this post was fined £4,500 and lost his appeal at Southwark Crown Court. I don't know if the £4.5k is an adjusted figure or an addition to the previous fines. 

Update 20 March 2014: Today the subject of this post was fined £9,000 for nine counts of the Cancer Act of 1939 at Westminster Magistrates Court and handed a total bill (including costs) of over £19,000. He did not attend this final court hearing and did not represent himself. 

Edit 14 January 2013 - since writing this post Mr Denton, or one of his supporters, has undertaken something of a smear campaign against me and another blogger, Josephine Jones. I've recently Storified some tweets from a Twitter account (@FightRacism2) which appears to have been set up specifically to promote a link to Mr Denton's petition against us - that petition that has been shut down by several hosts and miraculously re-opened. It now has 1030 signatures, although around 930 of them were paid 5c to sign it.

So far the Storify has had over 8,800 views. Amusingly, a fake petition has also been set up in return ;)

Recently, in one of his blog posts, Errol Denton complained that he was being singled out from other live blood analysts (also known as live blood testing or nutritional microscopy) for particular attention and criticism by bloggers.

He has attributed this particular attention to racism on the part of the bloggers. As I'm one of the bloggers he's tagged in his posts (a sort of oblique reference) I'm a bit bemused by this because the simple reason he's experiencing attention is that he failed to respond to the Advertising Standards Authority's requests to remove misleading claims from his websites, and consequently found himself on their 'non-compliant online advertisers' page. It has nothing to do with the colour of anyone's skin.
  I thought it might cheer him up to know that back in May I also put in a complaint about a live blood microscopist who turns out to be white (and no, I didn't single her out because of her skin colour either) - Katrin Hempel []. I've reproduced the complaint in full below.

Normally I prefer not to publish these complaints before there's been an ASA adjudication (which I'd be notified about, I don't remember this one being adjudicated on and I checked a couple of pages and some of the claims are still there). However since Errol is so convinced that I and another blogger, Josephine Jones, are racially motivated I'm quite keen to address that as best I can.

What I need to do next is chase up exactly what happened with this one** - I have a feeling it may have been deprioritised because of the massive workload the Advertising Standards Authority is under, which only increased when they started investigating claims made on websites in addition to television and radio broadcasts, and magazine adverts and leaflet inserts etc.

This complaint was put together with Simon Perry's Fishbarrel tool that saves you having to copy and paste each claim into a separate email.

I would also add that it is surprising to me that Errol has tagged his posts with our names and rac15t accusations alongside tags relating to his own company keywords - this seems an odd business strategy. 

**14 January 2013 - the complaint was not adjudicated on (because the ASA has already seen sufficient evidence that live blood analysis is nonsense) and instead was passed to compliance. When that failed Katrin Hempel's London Natural Therapies site was added to the ASA's list of non-compliant advertisers.

Complaint to ASA sent 4 May 2012

Dear ASA

I am concerned about some of the claims made by Katrin Hempel trading as London Natural Therapies and don't believe there is evidence to suppor them. I first became aware of her treatment clinic through a news item in the Evening Standard which highlighted her live blood analysis treatment.

#1. Claim found at

"Live blood analysis can be beneficial for the following conditions:
Arthritis, weakened immune system (recurrent cold - and flu's), gastro-intestinal tract disorders like irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) or inflammatory conditions like Chron's disease or ulcerative colitis, leaky gut, as well as allergies, hormonal imbalances, nutritional deficiencies, anemia and many more!"

Live blood analysis is not a real diagnostic technique and does not give as much information about someone's health as is claimed here. The list of conditions includes some really quite serious conditions that are better managed with the help of a proper doctor.

I understand that some nutritional deficiences CAN be spotted (eg anaemia from vitamin B) by looking at blood under a light microscope - but this would still need to be confirmed with a test of serum levels of the relevant B vitamin - however previous experience of live blood analysis suggests to me that this is used as a way to sell expensive and unnecessary vitamins or dietary supplements.

#2. Claim found at

"Live Blood testing can be especially useful in chronic, on-going conditions, that have not responded well to other treatments, as with darkfield microscopy many underlying factors that could be fuelling the condition can be detected, which aren't always evident with other means."

I doubt that live blood testing offers any information that can't be found from a much cheaper (free to the patient) blood test that a proper doctor would order. Again from previously looking into this quite often people are given information that all is not well with their blood based on artefacts that arise during the creation of the slide. Analysts also give incorrect information which is both misleading and worrying to the customer.

#3. Claim found at

"It is an excellent preventative and prophylactic measure as usually changes in the blood can be seen long before the symptoms manifest or progress, so disease may be prevented from developing."

While some changes in the blood may well be apparent before symptoms appear live blood analysis is of no use in determining them. To give an example, a standard blood test for 'glycated haemoglobin' (HbA1c) or fasting blood glucose levels can pick up Type 2 diabetes in someone who otherwise does not have very noticeable (or easily ignorable) symptoms but this is not something that's seen under a microscope.

#4. Claim found at

"Live Blood analysis is also a fantastic tool to use as a general health check-up. A regular examination of your blood every 6 months ensures you stay healthy and nutritional deficiencies can be found out about and corrected early on before problems arise."

I think it's a very poor tool and this just sounds like a way to keep customers coming back to spend more money.

#5. Claim found at

"The iris of your eyes is totally individual and can give important insight into overall health status, constitutional tendencies and metabolic status."

Very limited information about a person's overall health can be gleaned from just looking at the eye or iris. The phrase 'constitutional tendencies' doesn't really mean anything and it's not possible to tell much about someone's metabolic status either. There are a couple of conditions where metals, eg copper in the case of Wilson's disease, are taken up by various tissues of the body, including the iris - and this is quite visible - but generally looking at eyes doesn't tell you much.

#6. Claim found at

"Every organ and tissue of the body is connected to the iris by a vast number of nerve fibres."

This is incorrect.

#7. Claim found at

"with iridology through reflex association signs and marks relating to certain organs in the body are displayed in the iris."

This is nonsense.

#8. Claim found at

"Thus it is ideal to use as preventative tool and can be very valuable to assess treatment plans"

Iridology cannot help here.


#9. Claim found at

"I am using an all natural treatment for sickle cell disease, which has been successfully applied for many years in Germany."

I'm troubled that someone would make claims to be able to help with this serious condition and this statement implies that good evidence for the claims should by now be available.


#10. Claim found at

"This remarkable therapy produces phenomenal results with 50% of patients showing a complete stop of painful episodes (crisis) and 30% of patients showing a marked improvement overall. The treatment strategy will be exclusive to me and will not be used by any other practitioner in the UK."

Two things concern me about this - the boldness of the claims and the fact that only one practitioner will be offering such a treatment. This is fairly unusual and doesn't offer patients much of a choice, it also prevents information about the use of the treatment from being shared among other practitioners and this is something that benefits patients.


I confirm that I have no commercial interest in the outcome of this complaint.

Kind regards,
Jo Brodie

Also known as London Natural Therapies, non-compliant online advertiser 

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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).