MS Products & Proof
The scientific method is taught in every public school – who doesn’t remember the dreaded science fair project or experienced the torture of helping your own child complete their project? The scientific method is important to learn because it is the foundation of disease and wellness treatments. We should know that whatever we do to our bodies has undergone some form of proof that it works.
The need for the scientific method is an important process to remember and how this applies to our adult lives and looking for ways to treat our multiple sclerosis and its symptoms. Here’s a quick refresher of the scientific method:
- First, ask a question
- Then do some research about the question
- Create a hypothesis
- Develop an experiment that will test the hypothesis
- Look critically at the results and come to a conclusion
Before a product is promoted as a cure or aid to help our MS, it should be put through some form of trials that prove it actually works. The type of proof we had to do for our science fair projects is the elementary type of proof that drugs and other treatments must undergo to prove they are effective.
Recently, the maker of one of the many products that claimed to help people with MS (and fibromyalgia, arthritis and other chronic diseases) has been penalized for making false claims about what they sell – that item is Tommie Copper compression clothing. Perhaps you have seen the infomercial where celebrities Montel Williams and Olympic swimmer Dara Torres talked about how the compression clothing, infused with copper, helped their pain. The hype was so well done that the Dr. Oz show hosted Montel, where he talked about this product and how it improved his MS associated pain. Montel is known to endorse a number of products and lifestyle changes that he says has improved his life with MS.
The cost of these items, compression sleeves for arms and legs as well as capris and a shirt, range in cost from $30-70, so they were in the price range where a large number of people could afford to buy them if they believed the promotions. The company also sent samples of these items to various bloggers to try, obviously hoping to gather traction in the disease communities directly. I was not one of these bloggers, but in researching I have found at least one who tried the product, compliments of the manufacturer, and wrote a positive review.
The US Government’s Federal Trade Commisssion (FTC) has levied a hefty fine against the maker of this clothing line and ordered them to immediately stop false advertising claims. The courts have ordered Tommie Copper owners to pay a fine of $86.8 million for false claims that their clothing would help with pain, because they have no proof it works. In other words, the scientific method was ignored and the promoters made claims that are not proven to be true. Maybe they do work, but they have not been proven, and that is a requirement before claims that something works can be made.
In reality, the company will only pay $1.35 million in fines because they claim they don’t have that much money; if that claim is found to be false, the company will be responsible for the entire amount.
There are many questionable lifestyle items out there promoted to help our MS, but I’m still not aware of any that are provided to us for free to try. Even popular diets purported to cure or halt MS involve paying money to get the secrets of the diet or at minimum, buying a book. All of these require an investment of our money from small to large amounts. I get so frustrated that people who are desperate to find something to help their life with MS to improve, are willing to spend their money on things that have no proof behind their claims.
More than frustrated, I am angry there are people running companies that continue to think it is fine to prey upon people who are sick and often desperate for help and taking their money based on unproven claims. I have no doubt there will be other companies come forward and make their own unproven claims for their products and hope to capture a part of the MS market and our money. Hopefully the message delivered to Tommie Copper will stop at least a few manufacturers from making false claims that do little except lighten our bank accounts.
Using the scientific method to prove their products works is an FTC requirement and as consumers, we should also keep it in mind and make sure there is good, clear and conclusive science behind claims of products improving our MS, before parting with our money.
Wishing you well,