This is my fourth post on ‘quantum resonance spectrometry’ (QRS), a strange medical technology that seems to be becoming increasingly popular in China. Proponents claim that QRS can quickly and painlessly diagnose almost any disease. However, as I discussed last time, the technology has a dubious history.
But we shouldn’t focus on the past. The important question is: how well do today’s QRS devices work? In this post I’ll look at some examples of the technology in action.
First some terminology. I believe that QRS is essentially the same product as “Quantum Resonance Magnetic Analysis” (QRMA) and “Quantum Resonance Analysis” (QRA). As far as I can tell, these are all variants of Ronald Weinstock’s original invention, “Magnetic Resonance Analysis” (MRA). For more details, see the previous post. Note that none of these technologies is related to Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI).
Searching for some evidence on how QRS works, I discovered this TV segment broadcast on CCTV-1, the Chinese state TV channel. According to the show, QRS measures the magnetic field surrounding a sample of the patient’s hair. The hair’s field is, we’re told, a copy of the body’s own magnetic field. This field supposedly contains information about the health of all of the organs in the body. Water molecules which “remember” magnetic states are mentioned, which sounds like a reference to the strange “water memory” theories of Japanese author Masaru Emoto, which I discussed last time.
CCTV-1 shows a QRS machine in action. We’re told it can diagnose diseases such as cancer. The operation seems to be as easy as placing the hair sample (in a plastic bag) on top of a grey desktop box as shown below.
I was surprised to see that the ‘magnetic detector’ is shown on a desk in someone’s office, surrounded by a computer, a monitor, electric lights, etc. All of these electrical devices emit electromagnetic “noise”. I’m not a physicist but I’m pretty sure that a big old CRT monitor would overwhelm any magnetic field associated with a small clump of hair, given that hair is not a magnetic material.
I’m also not sure how a magnetic field could reveal the presence of cancer, given that cancer cells aren’t magnetic. Yet, somehow, the device does output “diagnoses”. Where do these outputs come from?
The answer may lie in another very interesting video, from Danish YouTuber Jørgen A. Jacobsen. Jacobsen tested out a QRMA device based on a sensor. Rather than requiring a hair sample, this device is sold as a way to diagnose diseases just from holding the probe in the hand:
I imported two different QRMA late 2012 from the most renown QRMA selling companies I could find in China… They have many notes on their site warning about fake analyzers, and claim they are the manufactures, and they display certifications, so maybe they know what they are doing.I took the analyzers through some systematic testing. I quickly found that I could use a wet paper cloth or a resistor instead of a human hand.
As he demonstrates in the video, when Jacobsen wrapped a damp cloth around the sensor, it seemingly fooled the device into thinking that someone was holding the probe. The machine started happily generating a “health report”. According to the QRMA machine, the cloth had various minor ailments, including “moderately abnormal” cardiovascular health.
So it appears that the ‘sensor’ acts merely as a switch, that detects the presence of a hand – or any other electrical conductor. Where do the health reports come from, then? In an email to me, Jacobsen speculates that the diagnoses are actually randomly generated by the software that comes with the device. He suggests that software generates health conditions that will seem plausible given the background information about the patient that the user provided:
The results must simply come from the data we put in; age, gender, height, weight. From that the software can make many things seem like a hit to believers. That animation running when there is contact, may look fancy, may look impressing, but I am quite sure that it is just the same animation over and over.
The sensor which is supposed to detect the very feeble “electromagnetic waves” is nothing more than two plates separated by a non-conductive plastic, and when held by hand, this completes the circuit due to the skin resistance… I totally removed the sensor and replaced it with a resistor that simulates the skin resistance. I found out that my resistor is suffering from blood sugar imbalance (it’s diabetic) and it has problems in its “kidneys”. Do resistors, too, emit weak magnetic energies the same as those produced by a human cell?
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In summary, it appears that at least some of the products sold as “quantum resonance” medical devices on the market today, may not be providing any useful medical information. Until this technology has been properly validated, I would not trust any QRS device with the job of assessing my health. I certainly would not rely on to answer life or death questions such as whether or not I had cancer.
Neuroskeptic is a British neuroscientist who takes a skeptical look at his own field, and beyond. His blog offers a look at the latest developments in neuroscience, psychiatry and psychology through a critical lens.
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