Saturday, March 30, 2013

Dr Mehmet Oz and the Holy Grail

Well, it appears that a hacker is making the rounds and even managed to compromise my email account. I managed to change my password before too much damage was done. At least, I hope so.

Anyway, this asswipe compromises accounts for the purpose of mass-mailing people in an attempt to get them to visit a website. SInce they went through the trouble to get my attention, I decided to spend a few minutes looking them over.

The initial link that is sent out is
http://www.alivenews.com/blah/krllw.html
which redirects to this website
http://com-challenge.net/diet/GarciniaCambogiaDiet/index.html

The site alivenews.com is  registered in the United States to
Brendan Reville

800 5th Ave, ste 101-396
Seattle, WA 98104
Telephone: (206) 228-2307
Email:  postmaster@alivenews.com

The site where the actual advertisement is posted com-challenge.net is also registered in The USA to
Edward Johnson
top ave 19-06
los angeles, 12345
UNITED STATES
Telephone: (738) 357-4736
Email:  edwardjohnson1908734@ymail.com

Edward Johnson also owns numerous other websites, most of which seem to be related to weight loss products.

So, what is so earth-shaterring that they wanted to hack my email account in order to advertise it to everyone in my address books?

The product is called Garcinia Cambogia, a plant native to southeastern Asia and is closely related to the purple mangosteen, which is another plant being marketed for its alleged weight loss properties. The fruit is used in preparations of curries and is also used in traditional medicine as a purgative (i.e. it makes you defecate) so it isn't an uncommonly-used plant in its native habitat.

As far as its use as a weight loss supplement, it has been tested and the results were not encouraging. The chief evangelist of this latest bullshit product is Dr Mehmet Oz, who has been taken to task for his use of flimsy evidence or no evidence in his never-ending quest to separate people from their money.

In one meta-analysis, the extract did no better than a placebo. So, save your money. You'll also be saving your liver, since liver toxicity from garcinia products has been reported. Quoting from the abstract
There is a growing number of case reports of hepatoxicity from the widely marketed weight-loss supplement Hydroxycut, which contains the botanical ingredient Garcinia cambogia. These case reports may substantially undercount the true magnitude of harm. Based on the past experience with harmful dietary supplements, US regulators should assume the more precautionary approach favored by Canada and Europe. Lacking effective adverse event surveillance for supplements, or the requirements to prove safety prior to coming to the market, case reports such as those summarized here assume added importance.
Dr Mehmet Oz makes his living by shilling for various products that claim to help people lose weight. However, despite actually being a physician, his specialty is cardiothoracic surgery,  the medical field  involving surgical treatment of diseases affecting organs inside the thorax (i.e. your chest) such as treatment of conditions of the heart and lungs.Despite his lack of specialty-specific qualifications, Dr Oz gives advice relating to diet and weight loss. People interested in weight loss should be consulting a dietician, not a thoracic surgeon.

Sadly, he also gets other medical doctors in on the game, having them as guests on his infomercials. Personally, I'd rather not have anything to do with any physician who appears on one of Mehmet Oz's programs, because I'd be wondering if they would be trying to sell me something I didn't need, rather than trying to really help me get better.

In my opinion, Dr Oz takes advantage of some people's desire to lose weight without watching what they eat or exercising. Essentially, marketing products to the lazy and uninformed.

Duane Browning
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