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Health tip: Don’t be duped. Be wary of health-related quacks

Recorder Staff
Published: 7/25/2016 12:51:57 PM

Snake oil salesmen no longer need to deliver fiery speeches in a public square to sell their merchandise.

Advertisements for snake oil, a term for any substance lacking medicinal value sold as a remedy, can be seen through most media outlets, including the internet and television. That makes the public as big a feeding ground as ever for quacks, or people who sell unproven remedies.

But there are ways to be mindful of them.

The National Institute on Aging reports most victims of health care fraud are 65 or older and explains how to protect oneself.

It recommends consulting with a physician and finding out more about a product before buying it. Don’t let a sales person pressure you into making a quick decision.

The NIH says that modern-day charlatans often use the same tactics as the snake oil salesmen of yesteryear.

Be wary of promotional material that promises a quick or painless cure, claims a special or ancient formula, claims to be effective for a variety of problems or offers an additional “free” gift or “special promotion.”

More information is available by calling the National Institute on Aging Information Center at 800-222-4225 or by visiting: or

There is also Quackwatch Inc., a nonprofit corporation that makes information available to challenge health-related frauds, myths, fads and fallacies. That website is:

You can reach Domenic Poli at: or 413-772-0261, ext. 258. On Twitter: @DomenicPoli

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