SCENAR Data

[BPSDB]This site has regularly been visited by one Philip Porter who likes to trumpet the virtues of the SCENAR bioresonance device. Each time he does so I request evedence that the things actually work. Most recently, he came up with this. Unfortunately it does not really prove anything.

The first point that springs to my notice is that it is just a summary of results, saying how many treated were completely cured, how many showed significant improvement etc. Nothing about methodology, patient selection etc.

The second point is that the respiritory diseases such as common cold, influenza, bronchitis etc. are all either self-limiting ailments (they get better without treatment) or episodic (the severity is cyclic). I am not a doctor but even I can see that this criticism can be made about many of the ailments given in subsequent tables as well. This means that treatment could be given when a patient is feeling particularly rough then claiming credit for subsequent improvement (which would have happened anyway). Properly run clinical trials have a control group which receives a placebo treatment. The difference in improvement between those receiving the genuine treatment and those in the control group is the measure of the effectiveness of the treatment.

Which leads to the third point: no control group is mentioned. Consequently the seemingly wonderful recovery rates are totally meaningless as we do not know how many would have recovered without treatment.

Fourthly, we are not told the treatment period. A sufferer of the common cold, for example, typically recovers completely in a week. We are not told over what period the 608 cold sufferers are treated, for example. In a week we would expect 608 complete recoveries (in fact there are only 601 so on the basis of the information given I could just as well say that SCENAR is less effective than doing absolutely nothing.)

SCENAR research, like so much “alternative” medicine has the appearance of science but totally lacks the substance.

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27 Responses to “SCENAR Data”

  1. Tony Says:

    You mustn’t be too hard on the Russians who are promoting this rubbish: they are providing a great deal of harmless fun with such information as (from their website):
    “At one time, in distant of old time, gaining expensive instrument SCENAR, packed in simple leader slip cover, buyer, on all 100% nearly, could be certain that it is got really original product from OCB Rhythm.”

  2. apgaylard Says:

    No randomisation, no control group, self limiting conditions and no reference to where this wonderful work was published: I’m convinced!

    Interestingly there is no reference in PubMed to Yuri Gorfinkel (the only Gorfinkel, Y is Yelena). But there are two papers (in Russian) cited that appear to be about this device.

    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16924799

    Hard to tell as the summary is very uninformative, but doesn’t look like a control group was used.

    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/8779182

    Even less information in the summary. I’m not sure that it’s even a trial.

    Lots of claims, no real evidence.

  3. Tim Husband Says:

    Blimy I’m pleased to read about this in a different context.

    I had this chap http://www.zephiloyd.com/ place a rather strange non-sequitur of a comment to a post on my evidence-based Tinnitus blog.

    This chap has gone further than using this device for simply its claimed use. He has modified it with a frighteningly crass Heath-Robinson attachment to stick in (and behind on the mastoid process) the human ear canal as a treatment for Tinnitus.

    His website and claims would simply be tragic and amusing were it not for the unfortunate placement of Arnold’s Nerve in the ear canal. Stimulating this can lead to potentially fatal vaso-vagal response.

    I have reported him to the UK Trading Standards authority who are currently investigating his claims.

    It’s a crazy old world…

  4. Michael K Gray Says:

    Did you spot these BULLSHIT figures at the bottom?

    “Acute myocardial infarction: #Patients:31, Complete Cure:22
    Sudden cardiac arrest #Patients:16, Complete Cure:12
    Acute heart failure #Patients:48, Complete Cure:47″

    It can cure MOST heart attacks????!?!?!
    Someone please tell me that this lunatic has a weak heart.

  5. Philip Porter Says:

    Are these articles satisfactory to indicate that there is something of value here, or is it still definitely bullshit?

    http://www.interxclinic.com/interx-articles.php

  6. Tim Husband Says:

    Very much the latter I’m afraid. Miniscule sample sizes and anecdotal evidence to not build a compelling case.

    I would guess that any reported successes are mainly from placebo.

  7. Michael K Gray Says:

    @Philip:
    They might wish that their bogus therapy can cure bullet-wounds in feet.
    For they have ‘shot themselves in the foot’ if this list is the best that they have.
    It consists of either vapid sales brochures, or utterly unrelated papers.
    It is now confirmed that their alternative to therapy is as useful as the Scientologists’ “e-meter”…

    The BCA must have employed SCENAR’s publicity agent.

  8. Philip Porter Says:

    But I know you are wrong. I’ve just returned from visiting cousins in Canada, they were blown away by the device, the children were always injurying themselves their pain was healed immediately every time after a 2 minute treatment, and it heals any of my shaving cuts in 10 seconds. Just because people cant afford the extensive trials you require, does not mean you should dismiss it. You should not be closed minded and obstinate, if everyone did that there would be no advancement in science. The least you should do is try it before forming an opinion. You cannot expect instant proof to be available, remember they have only been available in the west for 10 years, that is no time at all in the grand scheme of things. If any of you regulars lives near me in Newcastle, I will gladly demonstrate its amazing ability free of charge, then you can report back here. Can I be any more fair than that?

  9. Michael K Gray Says:

    Anecdote is not evidence.
    I tell you what though.
    If you claim that it can heal shaving cuts in 10 seconds, then you can win US$1million in 20 seconds by applying for the JREF $1m challenge.
    What are you waiting for?

    http://www.randi.org/site/index.php/1m-challenge/challenge-faq.html

    (Waits for the usual excuses to start rolling in…)

  10. Philip Porter Says:

    Thats a good idea, I could use the cash to organise trials, I will apply.

  11. Michael K Gray Says:

    Will you be applying under the name “Philip Porter”?
    I need to know in order to be able to track the progress of your application.

  12. Philip Porter Says:

    Yes

    I am not sure it will be accepted as it is neither psychic, supernatural or paranormal, the special waveform simply tells the body to speed up the natural healing process on the referred area to where the electrodes are in contact. I shall apply anyway.

  13. Michael K Gray Says:

    I assure you that if it is able to heal shaving cuts in 10 seconds, in a double blind repeated statistically significant test, it would certainly qualify for the prize.
    The protocol *might* go as follows:
    You make two shaving cuts, as identical as you are able, on both sides of your face.
    You apply the device to one side only, and see if the wounds heal differentially.
    But here is the rub: Neither you, nor the experimenter knows if the device has been randomly deactivated or not, in a 50/50 chance, over a trial of (say) 10 experiments.

    Normally I would expect a shaving cut to heal no quicker than in say 1 or 2 days.
    Your claimed 10 second healing time would be startlingly obvious in such a setup, with the placebo effect accounted for.

    I warmly and enthusiastically encourage you to “go for it”!
    It would be a clear ‘win’ for the world, should this device prove to perform as you claim. This alone would be worth US$1m in itself!
    And should the JREF have some qualms about accepting the claim as ‘paranormal’, I shall exercise every strenuous influence to have them do so.

    Good Luck, sir!
    I shall follow the progress of your application with considerable interest.
    I expect that you will be applying as soon as possible?
    Why delay? If what you say is true, then US$1m (~StgĀ£626,000).
    Another AU$110,000.00 awaits you from the Australian Skeptics, as well.
    Why not take their money as well?

  14. apgaylard Says:

    @Philip Porter said, “Just because people cant afford the extensive trials you require, does not mean you should dismiss it.”

    And I don’t think anyone here is. The ‘evidence’ this post links to contains a summary of trails involving significant numbers of patients and very high cure rates, that are claimed to have been reported in published papers. At least some of these trials are big enough to provide evidence to start to support some of the claims made if they have been done properly (double blind, randomised, well concealed placebo, meaningful end-points etc.)

    It would have cost the experimenters no more money to have done it properly. Unfortunately it doesn’t look like they have; and the papers don’t seem to have been published anywhere reputable – always a worry.

    So, it’s not as though the people behind this device are too poor to do the work – they just seem to have, at the very least, reported their work so badly that they lack any credibility.

    Finally, I do think that people selling products for which they make claims, particularly health claims, should have done the work before bringing it to market. If they are too poor to develop the product properly they should either seek additional investment or make more reasonable claims. I’d suggest: we’ve made this, don’t know if it works, but we think it might …

  15. JH Says:

    apgaylard, I think you are behind the times. Articles have already been published in reputable peer reviewed journals like this one in JBJS:

    http://www.jbjs.org.uk/cgi/content/abstract/89-B/11/1488

  16. Michael K Gray Says:

    JH:
    What does that paper have to do with SCENAR?

  17. JH Says:

    You mentioned there is no credibile journals backing the claims of this technology… Well this paper has everything to do with the way it works.

    SCENAR is an Interactive Neurostimulation device, I was treated with a similar device called the Interx and I got very inquisitive as to how this thing could possibly work, so she emailed me details of numerous case studies that have been performed and this was just the first of the peer reviewed papers and apparantly there is more to come!

  18. Michael K Gray Says:

    @JH:
    You make random claims left, right and centre, yet provide zero references to back them up.
    How on earth does that paper even remotely support SCENAR in particular, apart from you telling me that it is similar to another device that you claim is similar to SCENAR?
    I ask again: What does that paper have to do with SCENAR?
    And I expect a more scholarly response than “because I say so”.
    Where does that paper even mention SCENAR?
    (Free clue: nowhere)

    Now, please support your claim that “…Articles have already been published in reputable peer reviewed journals like this one in JBJS…”, in a logical and coherent manner.

  19. JH Says:

    Forgive me if I have offended you Michael, unfortunately I’m not a scholar or scientist so I cannot interpret these findings in the way you desire, I was a patient with an acute injury and a curious sceptic. Here’s the facts that back up my so called random claim. (note not plural)

    I asked my Interx therapist what the difference was between the Interx and the SCENAR; The Interx uses SCENAR technology, but is aimed at the medical market so have distanced themselves from all the huge claims from SCENAR therapists and can only claim what they have scientifically proven.

    Not just “because I say so”, the Interx/SCENAR device is an Interactive Neurostimulator.

    The web page reference I presented does describe the benefits in a professionally taken case study that proves this technology has a beneficial effect. I have seen the full article, but this has been copyrighted by JBJS.

    Michael sounds like my old Physics teacher ;)

  20. John Keller Says:

    I am interested in any info I can get on David Finsterle n/k/a Dr. David Gawain

  21. A Second Year of Steam « Letting Off Steam Says:

    […] fallacy I’d not previously encountered. I looked at some of his “evidence” here and concluded that it was […]

  22. Nancy Vinal Says:

    I have a DiaDENS (scenar device) made by the DENAS company in Russia.
    I have had the device for more than 3 years. I was purchased for my husband who had advanced Parkinson’s disease accompanied by a lot of pain and inability to move body parts.
    I have used the device to aleviate his pain and to stimulate his neurological response so that he could control body movement. It works.
    I have used the device for various physical aliments, everything from deep bruising to old knee injuries and have had noticeable lessening of the pain and healing of tissue.
    I have not yet had a total failure. The relief scale runs from a 9 out of 10 to as low as a 2 out of 10 (rarely).. and I am thinking of purchasing another unit.
    Therefore, scorn as you please, but for me.. “Anything is only as valuable as it is workable”… and the scenar unit works.

  23. Jon Aruos Says:

    Hi guys, look i can understand a lot of skepticism, I was on Norspan 20 patches, they would last 4-5 days only in Cairns Australia, reduced side effects to pills but still very low sex drive. Both my wife and I suffered back pain for 8 and 10 yrs, tried so many Dr’s, specialists, physio,chiro acupuncture, deep tissue massage, and annoyed at Dr’s just prescribing more pain killers not helping to get to the root of the problem.
    This $500 Scenar device allows us to drop the usage of daily painkillers (Tramadol 200mg 4 me/ and 150mg for the wife down to zero.)
    Much prefer the daily Scenar scan to the side effects associated with pills hey. I’m not a scenar rep just another IT idiot with a bad back. Yo to all you IT people, get out of your chairs and sort out your back now before it gets worse hey, trust me, i wish someone told me to sort this out 10 years ago but at least i have something that seems to work, it’s a wierd feeling but i’m not gunna question it, placebo or not i dont care it’s $500 and no more weekly Dr visits

  24. Kezss Says:

    Don’t knock it till you have tried it yourself. So, step up & put your opinions to the test.

  25. Lee Says:

    I have a family member who wants to invest a great deal of money (albeit the Government’s or maybe even mine, although she hasn’t asked for it from me yet directly) in the form of a grant or MAYBE a student loan.
    I have seen no real scientific proof, as you say, all cases of recovery seem anecdotal. And I would be thrilled if this thing worked as well as claimed!
    However, there are vast numbers of chronic pain patients who would surely know of the device by now and be loudly promoting its use. I am afraid my family member is traveling the yellow brick road. Should I be packing her bag?

  26. Wreckage McWreckanoid Says:

    I can find very little sceptical/scientific/factual information on this SCENAR device on the interwebs. Surely someone has torn this thing down and looked inside to see what it does? I’ll hone my search skills and keep going…. ;-).

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