Friday, April 25, 2014

#1012: Que Te "Andrew" Park

Que Te “Andre” Park is the head and founder of the enormously successful company QT, Inc. The success is based on the sale of the Q-Ray bracelets, perhaps the most famous piece of placebo jewelry on the market, which are marketed as “the world’s only ionized bracelet of its kind for balancing your body’s yin-yang (positive & negative ions).” According to Park and the QT folks, yin and yang are ions. Unfortunately there is no such thing as an “ionized bracelet,” because solid objects are not ionized, and there is no such thing as an ionic imbalance of the body. The product is discussed here. Indeed, during the Chicago court trial in 2006 (Park was ordered to turn over $22.5 million in net profits and provide up to $64.5 million more in refunds to consumers), Park admitted that he could not define the term “ionization” but picked it because it was simple and easy to remember.

According to the product description, Park is confident that the bracelets will “energize your whole body and relieve pains the natural way by boosting chi ...,” but unfortunately does not mention how they measure chi or how they know the Q-Ray increases it. Perhaps most importantly, wearing the bracelet has, as a double-blinded, randomized trial at the Mayo clinic showed, no effect (more here). Its apparent efficacy is rather explained here. During the 2006 trial, Park’s lawyers criticized the Mayo trial for not lining up with testimonials from Q-Ray customers.

The fact that the bracelets don’t work does not seem to impinge much on their commercial success, however.

Diagnosis: It is, of course, not entirely clear whether Park is actually a loon or more in the vicinity of the exact opposite. What is not in doubt, is that he has an overall negative impact on civilization.

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