Monday, May 5, 2014

Institute of Neurological Recovery. B-level scam.

Anyone looking online for a magic bullet to help reverse stroke will end up with the same group of scams. There's the neuroaid scam. The wheatgrass scam. The Neuro-IFRAH scam. The SNE Seabuckthorn scam.

There's two kinds of "stroke recovery" scams:

A-level scams: I sell you a "treatment." Does it work? Who cares!? I'm Selling! A-level scams tend to not last very long. If it doesn't work and it's harmless, the public will soon lose interest. And if the "treatment" hurts people the scammer will be sued into oblivion.

B-level scams: I sell you a "treatment." I really really really really believe it works. But I have no legit whatchamacallit... science... science behind the "treatment." How do I prove it works? A video! And a lot of stories from a lot of people that really like it a lot! 

What's so fun about all the B-level scams is that they're so easy to investigate. Really, this inter-web thing is great!
(I Think B-level scammers think we don't have access to the interweb!)
oInstitute of Neurological Recovery 

Up until now my favorite scam has been neuroaid. And not just because my blog entry on neuroaid is the most read blog entry in SAS-blog evah! No, neuroaid was my fav because their conflict of interest was so obvious (the people on their scientific advisory board were also doing the research).

But my new fav is the Institute of Neurological Recovery. Although I feel a bit lame here because so many before me have pointed this scam out. Here as well. Hilarious radio commercial here.

Basically the scam is, you come in-- even years past your stroke-- they give you a shot (1st shot ~ $6,800- info from a recent patient) and you're better (video here) (another here). And they have research. Check out their "research" page. See the first 3 links? They all point to articles whose lead author is one Dr. Tobinick.

Dr. Tobinick owns the Institute of Neurological Recovery. Done!

Where's the challenge in that? They're not even trying! They even suck at obfuscation! Does the injection work? I don't know! But neither do they!

BTW, their "big" study involved looking at charts of patients and, based on no standardized tests said, "Yeah, all these people got better."

In some ways, B-level scams are worse. B-level scammers are often clinicians, and clinicians should treat using things that have scientific evidence specific to that treatment. Occasionally there are treatments that are missed by science, but shortly there reaches this critical mass of interest in the treatment. Once that critical mass is met, researchers get very interested, and they investigate. So, a good indication that a scam is a scam is that only the folks involved in the scam have investigated. So the scam is never investigated with anything close to science because, they're scammers, not scientists.

B-level scammers posture as scientists. But they're not scientist. The first thing a scientist would do when they say "my thing works" is to recuse themselves from the testing. It's called blinding. It's science 101. You want to make sure whoever is doing the testing is unaware which group (control/expiremental/different dosages, etc etc) the participants are in. Otherwise there's a clear conflict of interest. Otherwise, they'll say "My thing works great! I just tested my thing! And my thing works great!"

P.S. The Institute of Neurological Recovery has tried this before, with Alzheimers. Here is an article on it. My fav line? "Edward Tobinick ... has been active in laser hair removal prior to developing an interest in the use of etanercept for CNS indications. The hair removal clinic at which Tobinick is medical director, the Institute of Laser Medicine, is in the same building as the Institute for Neurological Research..."


John John said...

My stroke was no fun. Blogging helps:

Kadima said...

While Neuro-IFRAH didn't really do much for my wife, I don't think its in the same scam class as Institute of Neurological Recovery. While there is no research supporting IFRAH, OTs in at least 2 local hospitals follow some of the NDT based techniques. Is NDT a scam?

Peter G Levine said...

Thanks for your comment Kadima. NDT is a B-level scam using my very official SRS or "scam rating system." Why? The clinicians who sell (teach it for money) do not reveal the extencive clinical science that says it does not work, and because NDT is sold within a pyramid system. I've written extensively about NDT (search "NDT" in the "search blog on --> side). NDT. Scam.

Kadima said...

Excellent! These clinicians don't act like scam artists, more like true believers. We certainly wasted a lot of time and money since my wife's stroke 3 years ago between paid OT/PTs, intensive speech programs, ortho devices and even a stem cell trial. No one ever promises you anything but there is always the implied hope.

Gizaw Gizaw said...

Is there any way to follow up with those people who claim to have improved. I don't buy the claims of instant cure or improvement

Some of them speak very convincingly.

I am confused to the point of crying

Blog Archive