A Stanford-educated doctor is at risk of having his medical license revoked after selling MP3 files as cures for diseases online. He claims the sound files can treat a wide range of ailments, from headaches and anxiety to malaria and Ebola, potentially endangering lives.
Dr Bill Gray sells his so-called “eRemedies” at $5 a pop on his website MD in Your Hand. He brands his creations as homeopathy, although we’re pretty sure they’re not. Homeopathy involves using very low doses of natural substances – from cuttlefish ink to deadly nightshade – to treat illnesses and is famed for being pseudoscientific nonsense. According to a House of Commons report, “homeopathic remedies perform no better than placebos” and are “scientifically implausible”.
But that didn’t stop Dr Gray from trying to create his very own audio version.
“How could it work if there is no chemical?” he ponders on his website. “Well, there is a well-documented scientific answer.” There isn’t, but this is what he writes anyway:
“When something is in solution, water molecules form shells around the individual ions and molecules of the original substance. This is how it is kept in solution. Vigorous pounding breaks these water molecule shells into small nanometer-sized clusters. When they are diluted (by serial dilutions), their size increases. The more the solution is pounded and diluted, the more these clusters are created. Most importantly, these clusters carry the same energy as the original substance, because that is how the clusters formed in the first place!”
You’re probably thinking er, what? Don’t worry, so are we.
Dr Gray then apparently converts these nanoclusters into sound waves. "The important principle is that these nanoclusters are radiating energy," he explains. "This is detectable in a coil, then amplified, and finally digitized into MP3 files – the same format as music."
While a dose of actual medication that works might take the form of a 50-milligram pill that you swallow with water, a dose of eRemedy involves listening to a “hissing sound” for 13 seconds. Then ta-da! “the eRemedy should bring rapid relief for the acute condition.”
While you don’t need to be a scientist to work out that this is all just rubbish that makes quite an amusing read, when it’s branded as a cure for all sorts of serious diseases it’s really not funny.
In fact, Gray told The Mercury News that “a bunch of people in Sierra Leone… have been using it recently for a big malaria outbreak.” That’s really, really not funny. Malaria is a dangerous life-threatening disease that needs to be treated properly. Conning vulnerable people into believing a 13-second hissing sound will save them is, as put by the California Medical Board, an act of gross negligence.
The list of ailments that Gray claims to treat includes head injuries, fever, menstrual pain, diarrhea, grief, infant colic, and teething. Apparently, it can also help your four-legged friends too by treating pet abscesses and pet bladder infections. However, the worst thing Gray does is suggest that hissing sounds can cure Ebola, malaria, SARS, typhoid, cholera, and swine flu – all life-threatening conditions that require urgent medical attention.
If you are unwell, please make sure you visit a doctor rather than downloading weird sounds from the Internet. For now, let’s hope the California Medical Board succeeds and brings an end to Gray's deceptive business.