A cure for no diseases, Canadian style
To ask whether a machine can think is like
asking whether submarines can swim.
Can the public trust the government?
Health Canada said in January 2002 that the importation of four electrodermal devices made by Vegatest in Germany would be blocked.
Unfortunately, they did nothing to stop the use of these devices or similar devices that are already in Canada, or that in the future were brought into Canada to defraud the public.
- Are Vegatest and other devices still legal in Canada
- Is the advertising of allergy testing services a medical claim or not?
- Who is responsible in Ontario for the enforcement of the law that is supposed to protect consumers from health fraud?
- What are the consequences for consumers if they are injured, or
deceived by the devices, practices or bogus health professionals who profit from all of this?
Letter to Ontario health regulators:
The CBC Disclosure show on January 29, 2002 revealed that Health Canada issued a
recall of four Vegatest devices. So, why after more than three years, are Vegatest devices like this still on the market in Canada? Why do the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario, the College of Chiropractors of Ontario, and the Board of Drugless Practitioners - Naturopathy ignore the fact that their members are allowed to use and promote these quack devices to diagnose and treat patients?
There are hundreds of naturopaths, chiropractors and medical doctors who may be using electrodermal machines. If some
licensed health practitioners refuse to comply with the Health Canada order. what are the professional implications. Obviously there are none, and that's a shame.
Thanks very much.
Terry Polevoy, MD
Vega, MSA, Interro, B.E.S.T., EAV, and other quack devices
Original Vegatest II instrument
Vegatest Expert 2004
The world of quacks used to be ruled by wizards, witches, and warlocks. Now it achieves its goals by convincing people that their body is wracked with all sorts of parasites, "there's candida" in your bloodstream, or if we just "adjust" your force-field by tweeking the EAV metre, we can solve all of your problems.
Some of the Queens and Kings of quacks are doctors, yes doctors. Medical, chiropractic, naturopathic, and the occassional fake one thrown in play with your lives when they utilize devices like the Vegatest machine. It's really hard to tell them apart. They prey on people who are either too stupid to know the difference or who are at the end of their ropes with the regular medical model. This web site is dedicated to the public, who have the right to know what they are dealing with when they see an advertisement for any of these devices in their local newspaper, or phone book.
Registered Nutritional Consultants Use Vegatest
In 2002, Health Canada suspended the licenses for the Vegasom (License
No.13264), Vega Audiocolor (License No. 13267), Vegaselect (License
No.13270) and Vegatest Expert (License No. 14736), which prohibits the sale
or importation of these devices .
So why in the world is Kirsten B. Skafte using Vegatest 2004? Is this device
not in the same category of the previous devices which were supposed to be
banned from importation into Canada?
Vegatest 2004 Advertisement
Source: The Record - Kitchener-Waterloo, Ontario
Date: March 10, 2005
Kirsten B. Skafte
Registered Nutrition Consultant, Inc.
Kirsten B. Skafte, Ph.D., Homeopath, R.N.C.P.
Over 22 years experience in our community.
Homeopathy & Vitamin/Mineral Therapy
Nutritional Counselling - Pre - Postnatal Care
Nutritional Care for Infants to the Elderly
Computerized VEGATEST 2004
Expert Allergy Testing
Bio Impedence Analysis
Weight Management & Sprots Nutrition
HOURS: Monday through Friday 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
205-445 Beechwood Place, Waterloo
Tel: (519)886-1861 Fax: (519) 886-1862
OBJECTION TO ADVERTISEMENT
Over the years Kirsten B. Skafte has advertised hundreds of times in this
newspaper along with others in the Kitchener-Waterloo area. She has maintained an office in
a medical/dental professional building in Waterloo. Her "testing" consists
of hooking people up to her Vegatest machine and charges for those services.Since there are no regulations that prohibit anyone from using an electrodermal device in Canada, like the Vegatest machine, she can do anything she wants, without fear of recrimination from any Provincial or Federal body. Skafte says that she provides "nutritional care for Infants and the Elderly" which
is frightening, because she is NOT a dietician. Of course there is no regulation in Ontario, or in any other Province in Canada that prohibits this. But consider this, her PhD is not from a
recognized institution of higher learning such as a college or university.
How does Skafte perform her "Expert Allergy Testing"? That is a question that every client that walks into her office needs to ask before they shell out their hard earned money for themselves or their infants and children. Why would any person want to place their health in the hands of anyone without knowing even a little bit about their practices?
I can find absolutely no information about the "Computerized VEGATEST
2004" anywhere on the internet. Is this just an update to software on her
original VEGATEST machine that she had for years?
Skafte is often seen in public arenas giving talks about her methods and treatments. She will be in our own Kitchener City Hall giving a talk at meeting that appeared on the web site of the Crohns and Colitis Foundation of Canada:
She even does presentations at our City Hall. This one is from the Crohn's and Colitis Foundation of Canada's own web site:
OPEN HOUSE / EDUCATION MEETING
FRIDAY APRIL 29TH, 2005 AT 7:30 PM
CONESTOGA ROOM, KITCHENER CITY HALL
KIRSTEN B. SKAFTE, REGISTERED NUTRITIONAL CONSULTANT, PH.D. HOMEOPATH
There will be a question period after the presentation.
MSA Allergy Testing used to sell Homeopathy
Sue Wenzel's adv. in The Record
MSA Allergy testing March 11, 2005
Detailed Food & Environmental Testing
In Approximately 45 minutes
with a Full Print-Out of yoru Results!
Sue Wenzel, msa analyst
Ph. #(519) 635-5599
K-W and surrounding area
In fact the telephone number is not in the phonebook, nor is it
listed on 411.ca. It is an unlisted number according to Bell information. Now
why would anyone who has something to sell not have a listed phone
- What exactly is Ms. Wenzel testing here?
- What is MSA?
- What does she use this device for?
- Does she sell the customers vitamin or mineral supplements?
MSA is in fact Meridan Stress Analysis and is another of these bogus
devices or techniques used around the world. One of the main purveyors of
Biomeridian' s MSAS Pro
|Their strategic partners include HEEL. That company was just cited by the FDA for making illegal claims for homeopathic products.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has ordered Heel, Inc., of Albuquerque, New Mexico, to stop claiming that five of its products are effective in preventing or treating influenza.
Many of the bogus uses for the MSA devices are to sell homeopathic
to the unwitting consumer.
Even though homeopathic products are sold in major drug stores in
there is absolutely no proven medical or scientific proof that they
Tens of millions of dollars of these products are sold every year in
or promoted on web sites and sold around the world from Canada
without one iota of scrutiny by Health Canada or the Advertising Standards Council.
Will the Advertising Standards Council and Health Canada have any effective role to play in the future?
THE FACTS ABOUT ALLERGY TESTING DONE BY VEGATEST OR OTHER ELECTRODERMAL
Allergy testing done with a Vegatest machine or other machines like it is totally and completely bogus. Those who accept the "diagnosis" face potentially fatal consequences, and I wonder whether or not those who sell this baloney even bother to disclose this to their clients.
A few licensed doctors have had to disclose these facts to their clients, and yet they still have the tests done. Those doctors can be sued if they screw up, and by rights, they should have malpractice insurance.
Allergy testing is a medical procedure, thus Ms. Skafte in fact is offering a "medical
opinion" without being properly registered as a healthcare provider in the Province of Ontario. In my opinion, charges could and should be made against her even though she does not claim to be a medical doctor. To render a diagnosis, which allergies clearly are, it requires the individual to have either the proper Provincial certification or registration with an appropriately recognized body.
Skafte clearly has no such registration. Registered Nutritional Consultants or RNCs are a dime a dozen. There courses and diplomas are not approved in Ontario by any government ageny. The fact that she claims to have a Ph.D. is laughable. Thus she now claims the initials R.N.C.P. that hangs on her wall. And, yes, she says that she is a "homeopath". Isn't that just another way of saying that what she does in her own office is not based on science evidence.
Now is her VEGATEST 2004 a new device, or is it her old machine with new software hooked up to her computer? I can't find any information about this particular device anywhere on the internet.
Whatever model this Vegatest device really is, it's just another prime example of what is wrong with Health Canada today. Over the years, Stephen Barrett of Quackwatch and I have done our best to discredit electrodermal devices and their promoters. Unfortunately, Health Canada and
the FDA have done little or nothing to remove these devices from the market,
or to prevent their importation.
In fact Health Canada said that they would block imports on a specific class
of Vegatest machines a few years ago after these devices were exposed on a
major CBC TV program.
- Outlandish Claims
- CBC Disclosure - January 29, 2002
People depend on health care professionals to give them critical advice and to treat them ethically. So what happens when one of those professionals provides questionable diagnoses and charges thousands of dollars for treatment? Disclosure catches a Laval, Quebec, practitioner engaging in some questionable behaviour. What kinds of claims does the manufacturer make about the Vegatest Expert machine? The machine is manufactured by a German company and was sold in this country as a medical device licensed by Health Canada. Brochures from the company claim the Vega can test for everything from allergies to pre-cancerous conditions. See for yourself. Disclosure obtained these brochures from Vega Grieshaber KG, in Germany:
Vegatest's own web site in Germany
It is abundantly clear that the claims made on their web site are unsupported
by any scientific research. In addition, there is not a single mention on their web page about the Health Canada ban on some of their devices, nor of the problems that these devices have had around the world..
VEGATEST 2004 is not mentioned on their web site anywhere, but the Vegatest Expert is
I have never seen so much misinformation anywhere before on any manufacturer's
web site. In fact, had a Martian flying saucer landed near their factory in Germany, and abducted the head of a company that claims that they have 1,400 employees around the world back to their planet, they might get the wrong impression about how medical conditions are diagnosed and treated on Earth.
DETECTING THE CAUSES OF DISEASE
In VEGA Medizin's diagnostic plans, examination and treatment methods are
made use of that are primarily directed at the detection of functional
disorders, and their treatment with the appropriate therapies.
These methods yield detailed information about disorders that many times can
not at all be registered by conventional investigative methods such as
X-rays, ultrasound, CAT scans and laboratory analyses.
VEGACHECK can perform overview measurements that, for example, give
information regarding chronic diseases, allergies, inflammations, organ and
environmental stresses. The causes of the symptoms can then be specifically
investigated with VEGATEST.
Integrated Functional Medicine and other Vegatest sites
- IFM Home Page - The IFM site is in Australia and teaches people how to use the machines, and I
assume that they also can buy them there as well.
The Sanoviv clinic - Mexico
This is a prime example of the use of the Vegatest in this "clinic" in
Vega Test - The test revealed A/B acid imbalance, vitamin and hormone
deficiency , environmental chemicals and heavy metals - mercury (BI 17),
also leaded petrol and ammonia. Most stressed organs: heart, colon,
prostate, mesenchyme and nervous system
Rulings and findings against Vegatest type devices
- VEGAtest: Diagnostic Champion or Quack Device - University of Toronto Medical Journal, March 2,
2004, Volume 81, Number 2
Unfortunately for the two students who did excellent review of Vegatest devices,
they made the following incorrect and rather badly worded statements in
"VEGA is a technological technique of diagnosis with little scientific basis
and such technology has been banned in both the United States and Canada.
Nonetheless, it proposes to be useful in assessing a large range of
conditions from allergies to cancer. Patients with ill-defined symptoms
should approach such diagnostic methods with caution since there is strong
chance that the testing could lead to spurious diagnoses and/or
inappropriate or delayed treatment."
Let me make a few comments about this statement. What I believe the students
describe is the use of Vegatest devices by medical doctors or other
regulated health professional who have the legislated power in Ontario to
render a clinical diagnosis.
I believe that the reality is that over 90% of these devices are used by people who are NOT empowered to render a diagnosis in Ontario.
In fact medical doctors who use this type of device in their practices have
been subject to severe penalties in the last few years, i.e. Jozef Krop. The
CBC Dislosure show exposed the horrible acts performed by a regulated
chiropractor in Quebec who was brought up on charges for scamming his
The problem in Ontario is that there are hundreds of these devices still in
use around the Province. Unfortunately, the are still widely available all
over Canada. Why is this possible today?
- British Medical Journal - January 20, 2001.
Is electrodermal testing as effective as skin prick tests for diagnosing allergies? A double blind, randomised block design study.
Results: All the non-atopic participants completed all 3 testing sessions (810 individual tests); 774 (95.5%) of the individual tests conducted on the atopic participants complied with the testing protocol. The results of the electrodermal tests did not correlate with those of the skin prick tests. Electrodermal testing could not distinguish between atopic and non-atopic participants. No operator of the Vegatest device was better than any other, and no single participant's atopic status was consistently correctly diagnosed.
Conclusion: Electrodermal testing cannot be used to diagnose environmental allergies.
- Vega testing in the diagnosis of allergic conditions - Medical Journal of Australia
Vega testing is an unorthodox method of diagnosing allergic and other diseases. It has no
established scientific basis and there are no controlled trials to support its usefulness. Vega testing may lead to
inappropriate treatment and expense to the patient and community.
- Advertising Standards Authority rulings on electrodermal testing
Medical doctors trust'em
- Divisional Court uphelds CPSO decision on Vegatest doctorJozef Krop argued the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario investigation into his use of a Vegatest machine was improper and the case against him involved a bias on the part of college members and an abuse of process. However, Ontario Divisional Court in Toronto dismissed his claims and found no fault with either the investigation carried out by the CPSO or the decision of the disciplinary committee.
- Jozef Krop - Toronto, Ontario - CPSO tells it like this.
Regarding his use of the "Vega Machine", the Committee found "....that there is no scientifically-valid evidence to justify the use of the Vega electro
diagnostic apparatus, or any other similar machine, as either a screening or a diagnostic tool. All the experts called by the College agreed on this;
none of the experts called by the defence maintained that such evidence existed." (It was claimed by Dr. Krop that the Vega machine - one
electrode of which was held by a patient while the other electrode was applied to the patient's toe - assisted him in arriving at diagnoses).
- CMAJ articles on Vega machines and Dr. Krop
Isn't it interesting that they said this in 1999, after Krop had published a short study that had many negative reviews, including the one in the BMJ below.
- Electrodermal testing for allergies is unreliable
Electrodermal testing measures electric impedance on an acupuncture point and is a common form of unconventional testing for allergies. In a double blind,
randomised block design study, Lewith et al (p 131) evaluated how it compared with conventional skin prick testing in 30 volunteers. Half of them had
reacted positively to a previous skin prick test for allergy to cat dander or house dust mite. The results of more than 1500 separate allergy tests showed that
electrodermal testing does not correlate with skin prick testing and so should not be used to diagnose these allergies.
- Studies of electrodermal testing
Several studies have considered electrodermal testing as a means of evaluating "allergy" but these have been
scientifically inadequate. Tsuei et al compared the use of the Dermatron with RAST and
provocative intradermal skin testing for food intolerance and reported that electrodermal testing showed the best
correlation with blind diagnostic food challenge. Fuller Royal et al and Fox stated that this method is rapid,
"accurate," and as "effective" as any other for defining food intolerance, but again these conclusions are based on
unblinded and descriptive studies. A double blind study comparing the results of IgE antibody levels for a
variety of pollens and moulds with electrodermal testing for the same allergens in 20 patients demonstrated a 73%
correlation between the two methods of testing. Krop et al compared provocative intradermal testing with the Vegatest in order to identify sensitivities to
foods, chemicals, and inhalants and found a significant correlation between the two; however, comparing two unconventional techniques for diagnosing
allergy is fraught with difficulties.
A further study by Krop et al evaluated electrodermal testing in two groups of patients using double blind methodology designed to test whether electrodermal
testing could differentiate between histamine and house dust mite and water and saline in patients who had a positive result to a skin prick test for house dust
mite. Initially, 41 patients were electrodermally tested; and "blind" testers using identical, coded test ampoules were able to discriminate between allergen
and non-allergen in 82% of the cases. A subsequent study of 24 patients, using the same double blind, randomised methodology, showed that blind testers
could discriminate 96% of the time between allergic and non-allergic substances. Katelaris has published a critical report on the use of the Vegatest for
diagnosing food intolerance and concludes that the Vegatest is a pseudoscientific clinical tool that is of no diagnostic value. In the case of IgE dependent
allergic responses, there is a clearly understood mechanism whereby mast cells and basophils release proinflammatory mediators in response to allergen
exposure. It is difficult to connect this known pathophysiological mechanism with any theory that embraces a change in whole body electrical conductivity.
- Tsuei J and Madill P. A food allergy study using the EAV acupuncture technique. Am J Acupunct 1984;12:105-16.
- Fuller Royal F, Fuller Royal D. Scientific support for electrodiagnosis. Br Homoeopathic J 1991;18:166-78.
- Fox A. Determination of neutralisation point for allergic hypersensitivity. Br Homoeopathic J 1987;76:230-4.
- Ali M. Correlation of IgE antibodies with specificity for pollen and mould allergy changes in electrodermal skin responses following exposure to
allergens. Am J Clin Pathol 1989;91:357-9.
- Krop J, Swiesczek J, Wood A. Comparison of ecological testing with the Vegatest method in identifying sensitivities to chemicals, foods and
inhalants. Am J Acupunct 1985;13:253-9.
- Krop J, Lewith, G, Gziut W, Radulescu C. A double-blind, randomised, controlled investigation of electrodermal testing in the diagnosis of allergies.
- J Altern Complement Med 1997;3:241-8.
Katelaris CH. Vegatesting the diagnosis of allergic conditions. Med J Aust 1991;155:113-4.
- Holgate ST, Robinson C, Church MK. Mediators of immediate hypersensitivity. In: Middleton E, Reed CE, Ellis EF, eds. Allergy, principles and
practice. Vol 1. St Louis: Mosby, 1993: 267-301.
Just check the recent plethora of books either written by chiropractors, or about chiropractors who use these bogus devices to defraud the public and insurance companies
In May 2000, a licensed chiropractor decided to strut her alternative stuff at the Constellation Hotel near the airport in Toronto. Her topic was how she could diagnose your food allergies by using a device known generically as a Vega machine. It's really just a basic galvanolmeter with flashing lights and a meter or two.
If you are surprised that a licensed health care professional uses such a device, we weren't.
Dr. Stephen Barrett has a lot to say about the claims made for the Vega machine, and so do I.
Good luck trying to get anyone in the regulatory, or consumer fraud arenas to do anything about these devices. In our small area of Southwestern Ontario there are no limits as to who can use these bogus devices. You don't have to be a health care professional. In fact anyone can use them.
No such device can be legally marketed in the United States for diagnostic or treatment purposes. The FDA has
warned or prosecuted a few marketers and banned the importation of such devices into the United States. In 1985, for
example, it notified a distributor that Vegatest devices could not be marketed as a medical devices without FDA approval
(which they do not have)
THE TEXT OF THE FLYER BELOW INCLUDES ALL SPELLING MISTAKES. THERE ARE NO DISCLAIMERS ANYWHERE IN THE PAMPHLET THAT WE RECEIVED. THE VEGA MACHINE IS ILLEGAL IN THE UNITED STATES FOR DIAGNOSTIC OR THERAPEUTIC TREATMENT OF ANY DISEASE, YET HEALTH CANADA ALLOWS THIS DEVICE, AND OTHERS LIKE IT INTO THIS COUNTRY TO DEFRAUD THE PUBLIC. WE'D LIKE TO SEE THAT CHANGE.
THE VEGA TEST
How Can It Help You?
YOU ARE WHAT YOU EAT
AND WHAT YOU ABSORB
The VEGA TEST is an
electromagnetic test which
analyses and identifies your
body's intollerated foods which
in turn create biochemical
This is not an allergy test and
does not require blood analysis
HOW DOES IT WORK?
Personalized identification of
foods to which you are
Elimination of the identified
foods for a period of 3-4 weeks
Nutritional counselling and
Reintegration of intollerated
foods using a rotational
VEGA TESTING AND
Loose excess weight
Maximize your fitness potential
Listen to your body
Improve your vitality
Improve your mental and emotional well-being
Improve your digestion and absorption of foods
Add to the treatment of muscular, skeletal and nervous dysfunction
COUNSELLING CAN HELP
IMPROVE YOUR QUALITY
Vendors hawk them
We've got questions
- Who trained Gagliardi in the art of Vega testing?
- Does the College of Chiropractors approve of its use? It makes no sense, except to chiropractors.
- Does the Vega machine contravene section 14 of clause 51.1 (c) of the Health
Professionals Procedural Code where it states:
- Providing a diagnostic or therapeutic service that is not necessary.
- Does Gagliardi stretch the advertising code in her brochures and presentations?:
- The chiropractor shall be responsible for the accuracy, content and use of advertising materials
- Any advertising with respect to a member's practice must not contain:
1. Anything false or misleading
It is only right that an advertisement contain nothing false or misleading as this would
undermine public trust in the profession and could also result in a complaint being lodged
by a colleague or member of the public against the advertiser. This is a serious matter.
2. Anything that, because of its nature, cannot be verified
Information contained in an advertisement must be supportable by legitimate or
- Are the claims made for the Vega machine grounds for professional misconduct?
...if a member of the public or a colleague considers
information in an advertisement misleading or fraudulent.
People experiencing health problems are particularly vulnerable to exaggerated claims;
gimmickry enhances neither the practitioner nor the profession. There is no asset
comparable to an honourable reputation.
- Does she belong to the International Academy of Bionetic Practitioners?
- Could someone die because they believed the results given to them by a practitioner who uses electrodermal devices?
- Does Gagliardi realize that the use of a Vega machine could be grounds for professional misconduct and could potentially injure children and mislead parents?
- What in the world does she actually tell her patients about the Vega machine?
- Has she read this web site about food allergies?
- Does she refer any of her patients who suffer from MS, (multiple sclerosis), to a dentist to remove their amalgams?
- At the presentation, Gagliardi said that those with chronic conditions did not seem to be convinced by the Vega test. It seemed they REALLY liked the readout from a BLOOD test that finally confirmed that they WERE sick and told them what was wrong, things their doctor couldn't find (she stressed the words).
- Perhaps Gagliardi may know of another Canadian Memorial Chiropractic College graduate named Katrina Kulhay who also hawks the York laboratory allergy stuff and just loves to talk about it at her information sessions and on the radio.
- What happens when you ask questions? - Paul Hilling describes his visit to an office where Vegatesting had become computerized with Omega Acubase 6.0 software.
If you have a story to tell about a quack doctor or therapist in your area, please let us know. When you see a "natural" product that guarantees that it will make you "healthy", or perhaps cure cancer, let us know. If your health care provider offers you a contract for a set number of visits, or tells you that the only way to find out what's wrong with you is to take a test using an electrodermal device, such as a Vega or B.E.S.T. meter, report this immediately.
Fax your news clippings to 519-725-4953
Report Vegatest Services
If any health professional in Canada uses a Vegatest device to diagnose or treat patients, they may be in violation of Health Canada regulations.