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

Thursday, 4 April 2013

Medical device spam, and claims of curing everything

"It cures completely automatically, and can be used by people who know nothing about medicine."

In my line of work I keep an eye on stuff to do with medical devices and having moved the work blog to Wordpress I've discovered the 'aerial view' that Wordpress provides, showing other blogs publishing posts tagged with the phrase 'medical devices', to be rather helpful.

Anyone who's read any of my posts on this blog might have picked up that I'm also quite fascinated by spam, more about the techniques (such as article spinning) used to exploit, or subvert 'SEO' by writing and arranging content that pays as much attention to Google's 'eyeballs' as to human ones.

According to the list of blogs tagged with 'medical devices' (and note that link will bring up different stuff depending on when you click on it) there's a new device in town. Well it's been around since 2012 but they seem to be gearing up to promote it.

In the last week and one day a video introducing Medicomat products has been posted 37 times on two blogs belonging to "hair61form" and "tray35libra" - and seemingly no other Wordpress blogs (or at least not tagged with medical devices).

Drilling into those two blogs, it seems from their archives that the 'hair61form' blog has posted 54 posts since 13 March 2013, all promoting the same company's devices.

The tray35libra blog has published 76 posts about Medicomat's devices and the video features on many of them.

The most recent of their posts is basically a screed of text that isn't particularly relevant to the product but which presumably increases its chance of faring better on Google etc by being natural-looking text which contains lots of searched-for terms.

The title is "Treatment of diabetes - the best equipments" but I think you'd agree that the first paragraph doesn't bear much relation to that.
"Home Treatment For Sinus and Medicomat Treatment Of Diabetes – Amazing Benefits of Medicomat. Wrist Laser Therapeutic Instrument Therapeutic principle: Our semiconductor laser therapeutic instrument has been developed base on modern laser medicine and clinical practise.It adopts low-level laser with the wavelength of 650nm,through specific parts of irradiation and using light radiation of laser and wavelength relation to change the biological characteristics and peel off the fat layer and cholesterol wrapped in the red blood cells,to improve the activity and oxygen carrying capacity as well as the deformability of cells,reduce the concentration of middle molecules in the blood,improve hem rheological properties and lower triglycerides and cholesterol,in order to effectively treat and prevent heart and brain diseases."
It then goes on to talk about endometriosis, sinus infections, ozone generation and a bit about acupuncture - all bases covered.

The company has on its website an expandable picture showing their stamp of 'approval' from the United States Patent and Trademark Office, which just lists all of the trademarks the company has on its various products - there are quite a lot.

I've no idea if this product works or if there's any good evidence that it works but I have been struck recently at the lack of trials for medical devices in general.

At the "Medical devices: is the new legislation sufficient to protect patients?" event in Brussels on 14 November 2012 (the video is on the page linked above) one of the delegates (at around 41 mins) quotes from a 2011 BMJ article* highlighting the difference between effectiveness / efficacy:

"... “If a manufacturer wishes to market a laser to incise heart tissue to treat arrhythmia (abnormal heart rhythm) in the EU, the manufacturer must show that the laser incises heart tissue only. In the US, however, the manufacturers must show that the laser incises heart tissue and also treats the arrhythmia.”"

I also thought this quote, from the same paper, was interesting "Earlier this year, Rita Redberg, editor of Archives of Internal Medicine and a cardiologist, told Congress: “I can’t help but wonder why clinical trials are widely accepted by the pharmaceutical industry as essential to ensure patient safety, but not by the device industry."

Me too.

Anyway here are a few screenshots from the Medicomat video (click to enlarge). They surprised me quite a bit. I wonder if it's going to be promoted over here in the UK, or if it already is.

No, it doesn't

Europeans are left to their own devices
BMJ 2011; 342 doi: (Published 15 May 2011)
Cite this as: BMJ 2011;342:d2748

The founder of the company has certainly been busy (see also, which is relevant to article spinning linked above).

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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).