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Just the other day I got an offer that some body is bring some sort of machine from UC (that's University of California) to do some sort of health scan for free. I was already skeptical.
So the machine arrived... It's about the size of two large shoes stacked on top of each other. It's labelled Pharmanex S2. There's a "blue-laser" on one end. I was supposed to wash my hands and have it scan me for my antioxidant levels.
I scored terrible, as I guesed I would. And I expected, the lady operating the machine started promoting some vitamins called Lifepak Nano. I thanked her and left, and pulled out my Moto Droid to look up the company.
There's plenty of information, but they all just copy each other. The gist is simple: Pharmanex is owned by NuSkin, the cosmetics MLM. (I am somewhat familiar with Nu Skin as my aunt was a distributor once upon a time) Pharmanex "BioPhotonic" scanner is real.
What does it do? It supposedly scans your skin for presense of skin keratonids, an anti-oxidant. It supposedly is an accurate measure for your overall body antioxidant level, supposedly higher is better. And of course, their Lifepak Nano will help boost you antioxidant level, so suppose you take our supplements for a month, come back and get another scan, we guarantee your score will be better!
There's an itch in my brain that this starts to sound very scammy, as there is no third-party research in any sort of major review that supports the conclusions. Nothing on WebMD, Mayo Clinic, or such. Any such reviews are cited either from PharmanexUSA.com or the few places that have one of these machines.
The science is real... up to a point. Raman Spectroscopy is a way to scan tissue for presence of certain stuff. The original method was developed to scan for Lutein, that thing good for your eyes, without poking a needle into your eyeball and suck out some fluids.
The only test that supposedly proves this machine is useful is a study funded by Pharmanex itself in a clinical trial in China (2006?) on about 100 people. Supposedly 100 people get blood drawn AND skin tested by this scanner and there's a correlation between the levels of skin antioxidant and the blood antioxidant. However, this test had not been duplicated at all.
Furthermore there is no proof that high levels of antioxidant in your body is better for you.
Thus, this machine is basically a self-justifying proposition. This machine "proves" you need more vitamins.
You can probably get better score by just drinking a cup of carrot juice very day for 3 weeks.
So it's not a scam per se... The only thing they guarantee, that you'll score better on their machine, is absolutely true. Whether it will actually help your overall health, well, they did not make any promise about that at all. That would be illegal under FDA guidelines.