Monday, June 26, 2017

These are the first signs of sonic attack
You will notice small objects such as ornaments oscillating
You will notice vibrations in your diaphragm
There will be bleeding from orifices
There will be an ache in the pelvic region
You may be subject to fits of hysterical shouting or even laughter

The last time the Riddled Journal Club looked at Drs Klinghardt and Ruggiero's article-shaped claim-stake, carving out their territory within the Chronic Lyme Disease goldfield, it was Shooting-Fish-inna-Barrel night at the Old Entomologist.
Company logo: synchronised-swimming sperm
So the pointing & laughing was focused on the scammy, spammy nature of the "Science Publications" who extrude the 'American Journal of Immunology' [editors include M. Ruggiero] from their base in the United Arab Emirates.¹ Some secondary hilarity ensued from Klinghardt's method for diagnosing otherwise-undetectable occult Lyme Disease, i.e. by dowsing. I AM NOT MAKING THIS UP... dowsing was rebranded as Applied Kinesiology in the 1960s, before Klinghardt -- who never saw a grift he didn't want to copy -- appropriated it as "Autonomic Response Testing".

Fish-inna-Barrel Tuesdays are not actually as much fun as they sound, because sometimes the fish shoot back if the vile Throgmorton happened to have stocked the barrels with archerfish. Of course similar problems arise on Picking-the-Low-Fruit Wednesdays when the fruit trees fail to cooperate.

Anyways... it was inevitable that hand-held ultrasound scanners would find a place as a theatrical prop in the advertisement for the RK Protocol, for they are a recurring feature in Ruggiero's artistic practice theragnostic cosplay. We have previously seen his discoveries that the humble scanner can diagnose autism (recording brain abnormalities that remain unnoticed by autism researchers, those purblind fools), and can facilitate snake-oil treatment of brain cancer, by relaxing epithelial-cell junctions to make brain capillaries leaky and let the snake-oil through. After hours his students and assistants brandish the scanners while they chase one another around the laboratory making Pew-pew-pew noises.

So this is the new breakthrough. It is a tenet of faith in alt-med circles that the wriggly little Borrelia burgdorferi spirochaetes of Lyme Disease like to sequester themselves within the cells of your tissues in Double Secret Probation -- inert, unnoticed by the immune system, therefore undetectable by the usual tests of antibodies or even DNA. But an internal ultrasonic caress will rark the little buggers up in the manner of earthworm grunting, driving them out from the cells to renew their rampage and undergo detection.

It is not entirely clear how the ultrasounds -- with a millimeter wavelength -- can interact with structure at the subcellular scale of microns, with such dramatic and preferential effect. And given the scanner's biological impact, one wonders at its blithe and cavalier use as a harmless diagnostic tool; it is almost as if Ruggiero is not in fact stupid enough to believe in its brain-melting, spirochaete-rousing pluripotency. But we recently saw a 1970s documentary in which ultrasound irradiation of the soil, meant for pesticidal purposes, had the unexpected side-effect of transforming the previously-peaceful occupants of Manchester Morgue into reanimated shamblers with an antisocial hunger. Perhaps a similar phenomenon is at work.
Below: Effects of scanner over-use

The RK Protocol continues with PCR testing of each customer's urine sample, to confirm the post-ultrasonification appearance of DNA from the previously-dowsed spirochaete. This task of bringing reality into conformity with the results of Klinghardt's ART-woo is outsourced to “DNA Connexions”, a Colorado Springs centre of proprietory state-of-the-aunt DNA-detection procedures. Owned by Dr. Blanche Grube, with a Dr. Christopher Shade as Lab Director. Grube also trades as Biocomp Laboratories at the same strip-mall address, where she purveys a
“blood serum procedure […] Biocompatibility test, a comprehensive report that simply states whether the dental materials are Highly Reactive, Moderately Reactive, or Least Reactive.”
She is further said to operate a dental clinic -- catering for clients who cannot tell the difference between a dental bridge and the one in Brooklyn -- where they can have their fillings replaced in the unlikely event that they are dangerously Reactive. Meanwhile Shade’s primary income stream is “Quicksilver Scientific”, part of the ecosystem of Mercury Detection clinics... there he sells mercury testing (plus the usual scammocopoeia of supplements, plus Hemp Oil), and commends clients to Grube’s dentistry if their amalgams prove to be leaching the naughty element into their bloodstreams. Sounds legit!

It may be that Klinghardt is merely hewing to the code of Professional Courtesy when he shares access to the suckers' wallets as widely as possible. He and DNA Connexions regularly appear as a double-act at Chronic Lyme scam-fests trade-fairs, but this does not establish that they have a mutually-beneficial business arrangement.

The paper says little about how to cure Chronic Lyme disease once it is diagnosed. The authors note, however, that Ruggiero's current nostrum "Rerum" showed therapeutic promise when used as a "positive control". As tested by dowsing. I am not making this up.
1. According to Ruggiero's erstwhile business partner David Noakes, writing anonymously at one of several hating books vanity websites devoted to score-settling,
There is nothing predatory about The American Journal of Immunology, and the journal would be insulted to read that.
I'll take that risk.
Of course Noakes would say that.

With Chronic Lyme Disease it is difficult to know where to stop with the Updatage and the Out-takage. That is the trouble with esprit d'escalier... a single glass is never enough. I don't know whose idea it was to ferment and distill an Escalier, but if the consequent hangover is any guide, the idea was not a good one.

Anyway, this is as good a time as any to remember “Nordic Laboratories”, who pimp spurious blood tests for UK numpties who already know what they want to have and will pay good money for validation. Despite the Scandiwegian stylings of austere efficiency and rectitude, “Nordic Labs” are in fact one of several grifts run by an alt-health supplements-&-vitamins pill-mill in Sussex, while their Copenhagen address turns out to be a mail-forwarding service [upstairs from the amber shop and the Shanghai Chinese Restaurant].

The boss of the outfit gloated about the determination of his customer base of desperate griefers, how they go on shopping for tests until they find someone who will validate their self-diagnosis:
Chris Moore, Managing Director of Nordic Laboratories, ascertained very quickly that of the 100 or so patients in the room, only around one-fifth had actually received a positive laboratory test. Yet these patients are living in the tatters of lives torn apart by the symptoms of Borrelia infection and all of them had to seek (and fund) their own treatment because nothing is available on the NHS. He made the point that times have changed. Patients are now very informed and know a lot about their own health and are looking to their doctors for support, not dismissal.
Nor should we forget the egregious Sin Hang Lee, who was pimping a magical PCR DNA test for Chronic Lyme before he branched into “detecting DNA in Gardasil” as a secondary income stream. So a few years ago a totally grass-roots organisation sprang into being, the Coalition Against Lyme and Related Borrelioses (CALRB), for the purpose of
hosting a symposium on September 16, 2014 at the State Capitol building in Hartford, Conn., to discuss new scientific approaches to Lyme disease testing and diagnosis.
A more accurate formulation might be that CALRB existed to bombard the Massachusetts legislature with press releases, themed around the need for more recognition of and funding for Lyme disease... and the need for more widespread use of PCR techniques to detect the elusive spirochaetes... specifically, Sin Hang Lee’s test.

Its job complete, CALRB vanished back into the quantum fluctuations from whence it came. Great was the surprise, then, when the President and executive director of CALRB (one Kevin Moore) also turned out to fill the role of “Media Relations Director for Milford Molecular Diagnostics Laboratory”… which is to say. he’s Lee’s press agent. While the domain for the now-vanished CALRB website had been registered by Jessica Vigliotti, Lee’s lab employee, and co-author on his mockademic publications.

There is something simultaneously impressive and depressing about the shamelessness of these people, and the lack of effort they put into hiding their trail of slime.

Saturday, June 24, 2017

Pooparazzi n.

An individual (or the class of individuals) who gains clandestine access to the toilets of the rich or famous or successful, in order to acquire stool samples to sell in the market for Celebrity Fecal Transplants.

See also "stool pigeon"; "latrine sloth"; "Going through the motions".

Sunday, June 18, 2017

The Case of the Midwife Toad

Worst Sherlock Holmes pastiche EVAH
Characters continue to escape from unwritten Carl Hiassen novels into the narrative of what we laughingly call "reality". Some might blame Hiassen for failing to maintain a proper Fictive Containment Protocol, but in all fairness the fault devolves upon the Reality Studio, for blurring the boundaries of fiction by stealing Hiassen's plot-lines. So here's Florida Woman Kristin Comella -- guest of America's Favourite Alt-Med Grifter, Chief Scientific Officer of Bioheart Ltd, and YMCA aerobics instructor:
All that is from a lawsuit last year -- since settled for unspecified damages -- after Bioheart blinded a series of customers with an untested, unapproved macular-degeneration 'cure', costing $5000 though masquerading as a "clinical trial", and consisting of body-fat-into-eyeball injections. The company subsequently changed its name to "US Stem Cell", for added patriotism and to avoid confusion with the plethora of other corporate names of the form "Bio***". Most of which will be mentioned below. "Plethora" has the shape of a plural noun but I cannot be arsed looking up what the singular form might be.

Kristen is not the real subject of this post, but she provides a convenient entry-point. Be patient, we will get to the toads soon enough. For Bioheart interrupted their busy schedule of blinding clients, for long enough to put out a cheerful press release about other clinical trials of the magic fat-slurry injections, this time to regenerate damaged hearts. These even led to The Most Influential Paper of 2016 (published in a pay-to-print BMC vanity press), in which it emerged that the "trial" aspect consisted of charging $$$ then asking the suckers customers if they felt any better.

Some data were collected in a TOTALLY LEGIT stem-cell clinic / car-lube workshop in Tijuana, though none of the customers there were formally enrolled in a clinical trial, judging from the absence of updates to the entry in the Trial Registry. It is almost as if people set up 'Clinical trials' merely to cover their alt-med modality with a semblance of official approval. Other data are credited to Dr Himanshu Bansal, who runs "Anupam Hospital" -- a penis-enlargement clinic in a small town in rural India (shown below) -- though he did not even get around to registering a clinical trial with the Indian registry. We read, however, that the non-existent trial
was approved [...] by the ethics committee of Anupam Hosptial [sic] called the Institutional Committee for Stem Cell Research and Therapy (AAH 002/12-13)
which cannot be distinguished from the contents of Bansal's sock drawer.
Note ATM on ground floor

I am not sure whose novel Himanshu Bansal escaped from. He is a man of boundless aspiration and creativity, whose imagination soars beyond the surly bonds of reality. As evinced in the impressive list of totally fraudulent qualifications and academic honours he has heaped upon himself. In India he is regarded as a buffoonish but dangerous con-man, and his continued medical career as an indictment of the corruption and toothlessness of the regulatory authorities. His own bone-marrow-sourced stem-cell extracts cure autism, blindness and spinal-cord severence, because of course they do.

But Bansal has a sharp eye for collaborative outlets for his exercises in fabrication, and has collaborated with Bioheart in yet further advertisements for fat-slurry injection, to cure arthritis ["No Study Results Posted"]. No toads were injured during the performance of that study either.

The last time we met Bansal was when his company Revita Life Sciences teamed up with Sergei Paylian, and the latter's start-up Bioquark, to chase ambulances, wave shrouds and recruit brain-dead bodies to farm them for organ transplants regenerate their obliterated cranial contents. Using an innovative combination of stem cells, frog-spawn squeezings, and dead-chicken-waving charlatanage. This was some serious mad-sciencing (with the same Ethics Approval from an International Committee of Bansal's sock-drawer).

One wonders how riddled with grifters a scheme has to be before the churnalists decide not to waste their valuable pixels. One asks rhetorical questions. One's sock-drawer echoes the questions.

Alas, science journamalists generally reported the venture as a long-shot but plausibly click-baity example of cutting-edge research. So the "Science Editor" at the Daily Torygraph dutifully pukefunneled Bansal's claim to have his first carcase, as of May 2016. In contrast, another account from November shows the trial going tits-up before it could even start, when Indian authorities noticed the absence of the permissions required for a drug trial, and expunged the entry from the Indian trial registry. But the people at Bioquark have not abandoned the dream, and they certified (of last week) that the study was "still recruiting participants"... though not beginning until July 2017.
What could go wrong?
MOVING RIGHT ALONG... readers will recall that in the Bansal / Bioquark 'ReAnima' collaboration, one central element was a procedure for re-programming human tissue cells into totipotent stem cells, patented by Sergei Paylian (Chief Scientific Officer at Bioquark). By cultivating them in close propinquity to frog eggs and running 6 million volts through both ('electroporation'), to allow the undifferentiated, endless-possibility nature of the latter to ooze out through the leaky cell membranes, and seep into the former. "Non-differentiation" being reified, like Phlogiston and Caloric, as a magical mixture of peptides. Paylian has coined the name "Bioquantine" for this transformative blend, keeping up the tradition of biology / particle-physics mash-up nomenclature. It was to be named after himself, but "Payline" conjures up less desirable mental images of the staff dashing to the bank and queuing up to cash their wage cheques.

Another component of the brain-regrowth project is an oral or injectible form of the magic peptide mixture, obtained from the frog eggs with a kitchen blender. I AM NOT MAKING THIS UP.

That was not a passage I expected to be reading today, but at least it provides an excuse to use the coveted "Iron Chefmaster" tag.

Puzzlingly, the spawn still needs the electroporation prior to extraction. Indeed, in new additions to the protocol, Bioquantine production also requires EHF radio stimulation, and ELF irradiation, and the dulcet tones of the Greg Allman band. Does anyone else begin to suspect that the Bioquark crew are just making shit up as they go along?

Evidently, when orally consumed, the Bioquantine spreads its stem-cellulising goodness throughout the recipient's body, encouraging tissues to de-specialise and proliferate. Thereby curing cancer. And all other disease.

In this particular Bansal / Paylian collaboration there were nine patients, with six conditions, who had fallen into the hands of clinics spread around India, Russia, Georgia, Ukraine and Czechia. The relationships between the authors and these clinics are not specified, but we are assured that all frog-squeezin' consumption was approved by "an Institutional Review Board of each principal investigators clinical facility". Despite the title affected by this particular journal-shaped jizz-mop, no formal "clinical trials" took place. The punctuation is erratic and I can only surmise that BioAccent (the publisher) is suffering from a shortage of apostrophes and spaces, forcing authors to pay extra if they want their work released with a normal quota of word-breaks.

BioAccent, ah yes, those lovable scamps. They are widely admired in parasitical-publishing industry, for having "Title most reminiscent of a brand of washing powder", and for "Logo most reminiscent of 1950s book-cover space-station design". Also for the egregious quality of their spamming for contributions, which frequently attains a kind of pity-fuck pathos. There are many asses in their stable, many jizz-mops in their broom-closet, and Paylian is determined to publish in all of them, drawn perhaps by the appeal of a name conformant to the 'Bio***' template.
Himanshu Bansal is not credited with co-authorship for this one (he has his own outlets for publication). This time the spawn squeezin's -- Is there anything they can't do? -- they cure murine models of melanoma, and brain injury, and skin wrinkling... Bioquark are evidently targeting a broad spectrum of commercial activities, a range of "Threapeutic Applications".
What could go wrong?
But wait -- Kate Sheridan at Stat reports that Bioquark's CEO is touting plans to reanimate and regenerate the whole panoply of dead-chicken-waving, this time outsourcing the procurement of disposable carcasses to South American clinics yet to be determined [where Life is CHEAP!]. The Stat piece was mirrored in Sci.Am., and then was sucked into the maelstrom of click-bait, to be regurged in gently edited form across a plethora pleroma of churnalistic news-sites. The absence of details about this new aspirational venture reached such a rarefied state of vagueness that to call it "vaporware" conveys too great a sense of solidity, so dibs on my new coinage "plasmaware".

The original ReAnima package involved a "lasers-to-the-head" component, and a "median-nerve stimulation" part, shoe-horned into the protocol because a panoply of lasers and chiropractic electro-acupuncture were already part of Bansal's scammocopoeic practice. There is no reason why South American clinics should include this medley of random theatrical stylings. The CEO clung to them anyway, and defended their inclusion by pointing out the sheer absurdity of expecting any one cargo-cultic treatment to regrow a brain on its own (it may be that he had not thought through the South American intentions in such detail until providing Stat with the interview):
It’s our contention that there’s no single magic bullet for this, so to start with a single magic bullet makes no sense. Hence why we have to take a different approach,” said Ira Pastor, CEO of Bioquark.
In other news, it would be absurd to plant magic beans and expect to reach the moon by climbing the beanstalk, hence why we also have to eat some of the beans, and propel ourselves with magic farts.

Further perplexity arises from Bioquark's revival of the Bansal collaboration: recruitment at Anupam had been tagged as 'suspended' (after Indian authorities brought the hammer down ), but as of June 15 it switched back to 'active'.

One can only be sure that Paylian and Pastor are very, very keen to attract some fresh venture capital.
UPDATE: Just look at this fund-raising slideshow from 2012. It contains leveraging! At the time they offered "Major investor value inflection in 3 years", and proposed to start slowly -- regenerating a human kidney in situ -- before moving on to other organs. Perhaps their investor value has not yet inflected and there is a growing sense of desperation.
Bioquark, Inc., ( a biopharmaceutical company engaged in the development of proprietary biological drugs that can be simultaneously leveraged for both the regeneration and repair of human organs and tissues, CEO, Ira S. Pastor, presenting the Company’s overview at the Rodman and Renshaw Annual Global Investment Conference’s (14th Annual Healthcare Conference) on Thursday, September 11, 2012, at 10:00 a.m. Eastern time at the Waldorf Astoria Hotel in New York City
It also displays the murine melanoma and brain-damage results which Paylian would later squeeze out through BioAccent in 2016. Except those later versions of the diagrams are poorly-reproduced, with higher contrast. They also have different dates: "10 days" rather than "14 days".

[Above: 2012 version; below: 2016 version]
"7 days", "14 days", "21 days" morph into "10 days", "20 days", "30 days". It is the metric system gone mad!

[Above: 2012 version; below: 2016 version]

Just saying, dudes, that when you can't keep your story straight about which panels show cyclooxygenase expression (or down-regulation) and which ones show inducible nitric oxide synthase, it does not inspire confidence. Nor is it a good look when the same panel illustrates "control cells" in 2012 and "40 days" treatment in 2016.

Science blogger 'Abe' had his own doubts about the quality of the melanoma data.