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Queen Margaret University and Prostituted Academia

Posted in The Quackometer by Skepdude on February 19, 2009

A few weeks ago, newspapers were carrying remarkable stories about a Scottish mineral water, Deeside Water, that could halt aging, reduce wrinkles and have amazing anti-oxidant effects – a remarkable fountain of youth. Newspapers gushed with reports of this amazing scientific discovery. Even the BBC had previously reported that Deeside Water could “treat rheumatism, skin conditions and stomach complaints” .

Deeside water were celebrating a press release from Queen Margaret University (QMU) in Edinburgh that said that “A bottle a day keeps the wrinkles away”

For the first time, scientists can prove that Deeside Mineral Water actually slows the signs of ageing and does so 50% more effectively than other tested waters on the market.

In the first of two new research studies, Deeside Mineral Water was rigorously tested against other major international market leading brands of bottled water. The study was undertaken by scientists at Queen Margaret University in Edinburgh and confirmed that Deeside Mineral Water is 50% more effective than other waters tested in suppressing free radicals.

Dr Mary Warnock, lecturer in Dietectics, Nutrition and Biological Sciences at Queen Margaret University explained “Free radicals are harmful to the body’s cells and contribute to the ageing process. Reducing free radicals helps protect cells from damage. Deeside Mineral Water has some very unusual properties and we know that people have been drinking it for its curative benefits for centuries. The results from these tests are very exciting. They show that something as simple as Deeside Mineral Water, a Scottish product, could be effective at protecting the body and skin from the harmful effects of free radical damage.”

The study, carried out on women aged between 18 and 52, also showed a reduction in the average number of wrinkles when a litre of Deeside Mineral Water was drunk daily over a period of 12 weeks. Again this is due to skin hydration, one of the single biggest factors in the ageing process. The test results showed that by drinking Deeside Water, the skin was plumped up, leading to fewer wrinkles.

Now, this rang many alarm bells. Firstly, extrapolating from test tube data to ‘health benefits’ of products is one of the cardinal sins of quack nutritionists. Just because a product “suppresses free radicals” in a test tube does not mean that the same product will “slow the signs of ageing” when eaten or drunk. Not least, any antioxidant effects of a mineral water must be utterly insignificant when looked at in conjunction with other components of a diet, i.e. food. The idea that choosing one brand of water over another will have any meaningful effect in ‘slowing aging’ is just preposterous. The research at QMU, if it existed, surely could not support the claims in the press release or the newspapers.

My alarms rang even louder when I read the Deeside Water web site. The site starts of with quite a claim that it “is one of the purest, healthiest waters in the world”. The site gets remarkably worse when it describes Deeside Water as ‘enhancing complementary treatments’. It claims the water has a ‘living energy’ and ‘higher vibration’ than other waters, and advises its customers to “Ask your pendulum which water is the best for well-being!”, Genius quackery. To cap it all, we find out that the water is supplied to Prince Charles, the quacktitioner royal, to bottle as Duchy Original water.


One Response

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  1. watcat said, on March 16, 2009 at 9:12 PM

    Hi this blog is great I will be recommending it to friends.

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