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Question Pharmanex Biophotonic Scanner ( bit-tech.net Forums General )
Updated: 2008-02-23 23:54:35 (26)
Pharmanex Biophotonic Scanner

Me and my fiancee was introduced to this "technology" yesterday. And whilst my GF (being easily impressionable) want to believe in the technique and the technology, I am significantly more sceptical. At first glance it looks quite impressive; machine in gleaming white plastic (with illuminated bits lighting up the pharmanex S2 logo), a loud cooling fan at the back, some flashing blue LEDs inside and the "scanning" bits up front. The whole thing connects to a computer via USB cable. All in all it looks quite professional. I kept thinking I wanted to tear the thing apart and have a rummage through its innards - poking it with increasingly bigger sticks. However, thinking this would be a rude thing to suggest I kept it to myself and instead resorted to doing the research online, and asking other tech' savvy people.

So here is what this thing is supposed to do:
- Give an indication to the level of free radicals in your body - predominantly in the skin as this is where age shows its mark first.
- Give a baseline

Now, after doing some research I found that Pharmanex is a daughter company of Nu Skin Enterprises which seems to serve as a kind of umbrella corporation for an army of smaller companies. Also, the fact that this whole scheme is based on what seems to be an MLM scam does not exactly help. Also the fact that both me and my GF got very low results on our "scan" (low results = high amount of free radicals and low amounts of antioxidants) further disproves the techniques. We both eat lots of fruit and veg, try to limit our intake of heavy meats, stay well clear of milk (except as cheeses, in cooking and such), eat fish ... stuff like that. The result, had the scan been valid, should be better by account of logic - at least that's my supposition.

So my question is this; does anyone have any direct experience with these "scanners" and have any of you actually popped it open to find out what it does and how it works? Because to me, at first glance, the scanning bit just seemed like a hole with a blue LED behind it.

Answers: Pharmanex Biophotonic Scanner ( bit-tech.net Forums General )
Pharmanex Biophotonic Scanner

I smell bullshit and snake oil personally, but then women will buy anything which claims to make them look younger using some quasi scientific method.

steveo_mcg

Pharmanex Biophotonic Scanner

Quote:
Originally Posted by steveo_mcg
I smell bullshit and snake oil personally, but then women will buy anything which claims to make them look younger using some quasi scientific method.
Yes, that was my thought as well.

I forgot to add the fact that this company also sells supplemental nutrition pills (of course) in a kind of subscription deal running over three month. After this period you're recommended to do another "scan".

Journeyer

Pharmanex Biophotonic Scanner

Take it apart you know you want to, if they ask for it back claim it was the free radicals what done it.

steveo_mcg

Pharmanex Biophotonic Scanner

Quote:
Originally Posted by steveo_mcg
Take it apart you know you want to, if they ask for it back claim it was the free radicals what done it.
Yeah, it would already have been laid out across my workbench in all its separate components by now if it was in our house. Unfortunately it isn't; a friend of my GF has it (don't know if it is on lease or what) and she uses it to ... well ... I would say recruit people into this MLM scam. But yes, I really want to take it apart.

Maybe I could blame the free radicals anyway? They sure do seem to cause a lot of mayhem...

Journeyer

Pharmanex Biophotonic Scanner

I don't see how you'd be able to measure the levels of free radicals just by looking at your skin.
It's bound to be a bogus machine, but I'd have thought that this kind of thing would be illegal - surely some kind of fraud?

Can't you leave it in the garage and "accidentally" run over it?

Flibblebot

Pharmanex Biophotonic Scanner

Quote:
Originally Posted by Flibblebot
I don't see how you'd be able to measure the levels of free radicals just by looking at your skin.
It's bound to be a bogus machine, but I'd have thought that this kind of thing would be illegal - surely some kind of fraud?

Can't you leave it in the garage and "accidentally" run over it?
Yes, I too found it to fit nicely into the too-good-to-be-true category.
I tend to disbelieve anything that promises miracle-cures without having a basis in factual science, and this has proven to be a handy disposition to have. I did find out that Nu Skin Enterprises had to pay a fine after loosing a trial.

"On the legal front, in 1997 the company agreed to pay a $1.5 million civil
penalty to settle Federal Trade Commission charges over fat-loss,
muscle-maintenance and other unsubstantiated claims it made for supplements
containing chromium picolinate and L-carnitine."


I would "accidentally" run over it if it were in our house, but it isn't so I can't. Of course, had it been in our house I would have taken it apart just about immediately...

Journeyer

Pharmanex Biophotonic Scanner

How do you feel about a little breaking and entering?

Or you could ask if you can do a day's trial at your house.

badders

Pharmanex Biophotonic Scanner

Quote:
Originally Posted by badders
How do you feel about a little breaking and entering?

Or you could ask if you can do a day's trial at your house.
*Dons catsuit and goes off for a little B&E*

Well, I suppose I could ask to do a days trial. Not so sure how this works, but I think you have to enroll in the supplements farce before you're even concidered for a machine. But, I guess I could just get my GF to ask her friend if we could borrow the machine for a day or two - saying we're not going to use it, just examine it?

I really want to have a peek inside it though. Hmm... *checking eBay*

Journeyer

Pharmanex Biophotonic Scanner

The following is pasted from Nu Skin Enterprises website;

Qualify for an S2 Scanner
We began the first round of distribution of the Pharmanex S2 Scanners to the first round of qualifiers. We also provided two very appreciative conference attendees with free S2 Scanners for life. Congratulations to Vladimir Kolbas and Richard Herkert on the opportunity to possess some of the first S2 Scanners in the world at no cost whatsoever.

For those of you who would like to qualify for an S2 Scanner, please review the following requirements:

• Must have an S1 Scanner for at least three months with at least five ADR subscriptions per month;
• Additionally, you must meet one of the following two requirements to qualify to receive an S2 Scanner in April:

• Achieve 20% increase in Q1 (January-March) G1-G6 pay line volume over G1-G6 pay line volume in Q4 2005 (October-December). For details on this, please contact your account manager; OR
Special March-only opportunity for S1 Scanner operators:
• Personally enroll and qualify five new LOIs (Letters of Intent) in the month of March.

For all monthly S2 Scanner deliveries in May and beyond, until further notice the qualifications to receive an S2 are the following:

• Must have a S1 Scanner for at least three months with at least five ADR subscriptions per month.
• Must participate in the Bonus Pool in the month prior to the S2 delivery. For example: An Executive with a productive S1 Scanner in February-April participates in the Executive Bonus pool in April. He/she will qualify to be added to the S2 delivery pool for May.

If you have any questions regarding how you can qualify for an S2 Scanner, please call your Account Manager. We intend to distribute approximately 100-150 S2 Scanners each month.


Another "interesting" article on the subject: http://muybueno.net/bizbridge/consum...icscanner.html

Journeyer

Pharmanex Biophotonic Scanner

Jeez, it's starting to sound like Scientology.

badders

Pharmanex Biophotonic Scanner

Well, the more I look around the more junk pops up.

1. You have to qualify to be given the option of leasing a scanner.
2. You start out at the bottom, with an S1 scanner. This is apparently the older version - big, slow and somewhat cumbersome.
3. Then you can apply to lease an S2 version, which is smaller, lighter and faster.
4. After this you may apply to lease the new and improved everest version which was developed, and I quote; "This edition was named after making a breakthrough while modifying a Scanner for a climb up Mount Everest to test antioxidant levels in Sherpas at very high altitudes."

Now, all this goodness doesn't come free you know, so here are the leasing prices ... and UPGRADE prices.

1. Master monthly lease of S1 scanner: AU$185
2. Upgrade to S2 fee: AU$310
3. Monthly lease of S2 scanner: AU$330
4. Upgrade to S2 "everest" edition fee: AU$310
5. Monthly lease of S2 everest scanner: AU$275

Everest S2 Scanner Monthly Maintenance Criteria
1. Maintain Qualifying Executive and then Executive status
2. Perform 20 scans per month
3. Pay monthly lease fee of AU$275.00 / NZ$325.00
Please note that a Scanner may be disabled and the lease terminated should the monthly maintenance requirements not be met for any two consecutive months.

NEW USERS

Qualification Criteria for an Everest S2 Scanner
New criteria is effective as of 15 November 2007.

New Distributors and Non Executives
Complete your 1st month of Executive Qualification. Your Account Manager will contact you to discuss leasing a BioPhotonic Scanner. No Expression of Interest (EOI) Form is required.




Oh, and apparently you may now have an option of going straight at the S2 everest.

Sweet Jolly Roger!

Note to self: must stop rambling about crazy MLM scheme designed to trick people out of their hard earned money!

Journeyer

Pharmanex Biophotonic Scanner

Strong smell of bullshit here. Free radical measurement by looking at your skin? That is the stupidest thing I've heard today.
If your partner buys this, leave her.

Ramble

Pharmanex Biophotonic Scanner

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ramble
Strong smell of bullshit here. Free radical measurement by looking at your skin? That is the stupidest thing I've heard today.
If your partner buys this, leave her.
Yeah I know. Luckily she does listen to reason. Besides, she's not stupid or anything like that - just easily impressionable. She even knows how to identify a blue LED now.

Journeyer

Pharmanex Biophotonic Scanner

You both got scanned, and you both got bad results. The parent company just happens to sell nutritional supplements to help you get better results. I think that says it all, really.

-monkey

supermonkey

Pharmanex Biophotonic Scanner

What about pointing Dan in their general direction. He likes this sort of thing.

Herbicide

Pharmanex Biophotonic Scanner

Yes, it's BS, but there are a lot of medical devices that read through the skin. Mostly these are for blood gasses, but i read recently one for reading blood sugar is coming out soon. We use optical pulse oximiters all the time to read the oxygen saturation and pulse of the patient. I've seen ads for ones that also read carbon monoxide levels.

I think one clue that it's BS is the blue LED. Every legit device I've seen uses red because tred light passes through tissue whereas blue is blocked. From what i can find with a quick Google it looks like all legitimate tests for free radical levels involve actually drawing blood.

Cthippo

Pharmanex Biophotonic Scanner

Yes.
I think I concluded it was all steaming BS as soon as I saw it in "operation". Also I have not been able to find any articles from independent sources saying anything positive about this.

However, the one thing that I wondered about have not been answered. I want to see what's inside it.

Oh, and according to the "scientific litterature" on these scanners on Nu Skin Enterprises' website states that the blue LED is in fact a low power blue laser which does the scanning.

Journeyer

Pharmanex Biophotonic Scanner

I think probably what you'd find inside is a PIC and probably not much else.

Flibblebot

Pharmanex Biophotonic Scanner

the BS meter is hitting the galactic level.....

DXR_13KE

Pharmanex Biophotonic Scanner

Quote:
Originally Posted by Journeyer
Yes, I've seen those documents (except the utah one) and I still remain sceptical.
The baseline results just doesn't make any sense when considering our dietary and lifestyle habits. But it does make sense for a company to generate artificially low scores in order to promote sales of their supplementary nutritions. Also, added to this is the fact that this company has set it up as an MLM scam. And as with all MLM projects people have to be recruited into the "business" in order to promote yourself within said business. I am however willing to buy that it would be possible to scale down the instruments to the sizes I've seen demonstrated, however the blue LEDs (some of which were internal and flashing) and the seemingly superficial cooling fan... well.

However, I still want to get my clammy hands on one and take it apart. I am curious. Hell, I'd love for this to be real and functional - who wouldn't? But it still seems too much like an elixir of life sold out of the boot of an old Ford Mondeo.

I can say one thing though; until I am proven wrong, and this scheme is proven to work I will not take part in any kind of "life improving" scheme set forth by this company and its affiliates.

Journeyer,

I know the feeling of wanting to rip something apart to see how it works. I doubt however youíll ever be able to open one of these scanners.

Luckily, I have had the opportunity while a physic research assitstant to rip apart the first generation S1 scanner as well as the current S2. Leaving Nu Skin as an MLM aside letís talk about the scanner.

The first generation scanner was developed by the University of Utah professor Werner Gellerman who was studying macular degeneration in the eye using laser based Raman spectroscopy. This technology was then further developed by Pharmanex to be used to measure carotenoids in the human skin. (Carotenoids are color giving molecules like beta-carotene [orange] and lycopene [red] which also act as antioxidants contributing to the role of vitamins C and E.) The basic method of the S1 was to shine blue laser light on the tissue of the palm and read a Raman signature on a spectrometer and using the peak height give a ?score.?

The S2 was developed because of the sensitive nature of lasers (i.e. temperature stability). Pharmanex asked two Brigham Young University Physics professors (S. Bergeson and J. Peatross) to work on a more rugged scanner. Using LEDs and photomultiplier tubes they were able to develop a scanner that could be operated at a higher ranger of temperatures (including base camp at Mount Everest) and was easier to calibrate. This was done by exciting a Raman signal at two alternating wavelengths (i.e. the blinking blue lights). Calculations are then done on the readings to calculate another ?score? or indication of carotenoid concentration.

I have listed a paper below that goes over the S2 scanner that was published in the Journal of Biomedical Optics. It is closest thing I can give you that show the authenticity of the technology.

As to your diet and having a low baseline, neither the scanner nor the software is designed to ?generate artificially low scores in order to promote sales of their supplementary nutrition.? Many people who have healthy diets will score in the lower scale (red and orange). Again, because the scanner only measures carotenoids you may or may not have a diet high in this class of anti-oxidants among other things such as genetic factors. What Pharmanex does guarantee is that if you take their supplement your scanner score will increase a certain amount regardless of the baseline (they do give refunds if it doesnít). A more scientific way of testing the validity of the scanner is to go get your baseline on a scanner and then change your diet to an ultra high intake of carotenoid containing foods i.e. carrots, spinach, tomatoes, etc. Then, after six weeks of this diet, get scanned again.

I hope this helps you with your understanding of the scanner technology. I also completely understand your skepticism. They had an opened scanner at Nu Skins 2007 Convention, I might be able to find you pictures of the inside of a scanner.

?Resonance Raman measurements of carotenoids using light-emitting diodes.?
Journal of Biomedical Optics 13(04), 044026
Date: 1 July 2008

Paper Abstract
We report on the development of a compact commercial instrument for measuring carotenoids in skin tissue. The instrument uses two light-emitting diodes (LEDs) for dual-wavelength excitation and four photomultiplier tubes for multichannel detection. Bandpass filters are used to select the excitation detection wavelengths. The f/1.3 optical system has high optical throughput and single photon sensitivity, both of which are crucial in LED-based Raman measurements. We employ a signal processing technique that compensates for detector drift and error. The sensitivity and reproducibility of the LED Raman instrument compares favorably to laser-based Raman spectrometers. This compact, portable instrument is used for noninvasive measurement of carotenoid molecules in human skin with repeatability better than 10%.

DOI: 10.1117/12.810191

PhysicsGuru

Pharmanex Biophotonic Scanner

Sounds like BS to me, but with a bit of 'background' bolted on to make it seem more reasonable. The sort of stuff you can find in two minutes on Wikipedia, really:
Quote:
Originally Posted by Wikipedia
A biophoton (from the Greek βιο meaning "life" and φωτο meaning "light") is a photon of light emitted in some fashion from a biological system. Biophotons and their study should not be confused with bioluminescence,
Quote:
However, after the end of World War II some Western scientists such as Colli (Italy), Quickenden (Australia), Inaba (Japan) returned to the subject of "mitogenetic radiation", but referred to the phenomenon as "dark luminescence", "low level luminescence", "ultraweak bioluminescence", or "ultraweak chemiluminescence". Their common basic hypothesis was that the phenomenon was induced from rare oxidation processes and radical reactions.
It also makes a point that any such 'biophotons' (this is cells in your body spontaneously giving off 'light' in the IR, visible and ultraviolet spectra for some reasons) would be drowned out by even as faint a source as star light.
So basically, you'd have to be in a totally dark room for the incredibly sensitive photometry equipment that would have to be in the machine to stand up to scrutiny.
And hmm... blue LEDs are kind of near UV and definitely count as 'visible'... which might explain the bad results, especially if it was a blue illuminated "put finger here" area or something.

Cinnander

Pharmanex Biophotonic Scanner

instead of just speculating, i decided to do a little googling. this is what i found.

what looks the original product website with history:
http://www.aoxlaser.com/scannerstory.html

some info on the research at utah university:
http://www.physics.utah.edu/research/medical.html (3rd paragraph from the end)
edit: it says it is in development, but the page is 2 and a half years old so it still fits

also:
http://www.worldwidemarketingteams.c...cowarticle.pdf

admittedly, I've only glanced at those documents but it seems the scanner is real, i still feel cynical about the company though and their intentions (like what the measurement/baseline proves), but there really is a scanner that can measure (very specific) antioxidant levels in your skin.

TheoGeo

Pharmanex Biophotonic Scanner

Yep, the bullshit-o-meter has just gone off the chart tbh.

Single-photon sensitivity? With an optical wavelength? In daylight? Pfft.

All these people are doing is trying to baffle with a few long and slightly technical words. Boil it down to the meat and veg, and it's nothing more than a load of crap.

Krikkit

Pharmanex Biophotonic Scanner

Not entirely --the best lie (and advertising) is based in truth. Carotenoids from a normal, unsupplemented diet accumulate in the skin and confer a measurable photoprotective benefit (at least in lightly pigmented Caucasian skin), that is directly linked to their concentration in the tissue (ref). Another study, in the Journal of Nutrition, found that tomato paste, which is high in the carotenoid lycopene, also seems to offer some protection from sunlight's damage. After ten weeks, people who ate the equivalent of half a small can of tomato paste each day reduced their usual reddening from ultraviolet light by 35 percent (also replicated here). A study in the Journal of the American College of Nutrition showed that skin wrinkling on sun-exposed body parts in elderly people was lowest among those who ate the most vegetables, beans and olive oil. Prunes, apples and tea (also high in antioxidant phytochemicals) were also related to reduced wrinkling. Carotenoid concentration in the skin correlate with the presence or absence of skin cancer and precancerous lesions (ref). However these relationships are not straightforward nor universally reported in all studies.

Measuring dermal carotenoid levels through spectroscopy is not new either (ref and ref). Calibration is an issue however, and darker skin appears harder to scan.

The relevant questions are:
  • Does spectroscopy give a reliable measure of carotenoid levels in the skin?
  • Does this say anything useful about the skin's health: e.g. resistance to UV radiation and its ageing effects?
But more importantly:
  • Does the Pharmanex scanner give a reliable and meaningful measure?
  • Does Pharmanex offer an effective remedy?

just because we can say "yes" to the first two questions does not automatically mean we can say "yes" to the latter two. Don't get blinded by science --even if it works. It is a big leap from the research lab to the beauty products counter at your local department store.

Nexxo

Pharmanex Biophotonic Scanner

from what i can tell, it is possible to measure the quantities of certain antioxidants in the body with this scanner, what i'm skeptical about is the baseline that this device gives. The technology developed by the university of utah seems legitimate but it was then bought out and developed (with many iterations) by a pharmaceutical company.

but tbh, even if it is real i wouldn't trust it, it only measures one of many many antioxidants and some antioxidants have been found to be more harmful than beneficiary. There is still a lot of research to be done into antioxidants and until there is more proof of the benefits, I'll remain skeptical of the befits shouted out by all these large companies desperate to hijack the most recent buzz words.

TheoGeo

Pharmanex Biophotonic Scanner

Yes, I've seen those documents (except the utah one) and I still remain sceptical.
The baseline results just doesn't make any sense when considering our dietary and lifestyle habits. But it does make sense for a company to generate artificially low scores in order to promote sales of their supplementary nutritions. Also, added to this is the fact that this company has set it up as an MLM scam. And as with all MLM projects people have to be recruited into the "business" in order to promote yourself within said business. I am however willing to buy that it would be possible to scale down the instruments to the sizes I've seen demonstrated, however the blue LEDs (some of which were internal and flashing) and the seemingly superficial cooling fan... well.

However, I still want to get my clammy hands on one and take it apart. I am curious. Hell, I'd love for this to be real and functional - who wouldn't? But it still seems too much like an elixir of life sold out of the boot of an old Ford Mondeo.

I can say one thing though; until I am proven wrong, and this scheme is proven to work I will not take part in any kind of "life improving" scheme set forth by this company and its affiliates.

Journeyer

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