I received an email from reader JS asking me about the QLink – a magic pendant you wear around your next to protect against Electromagnetic Fields (EMF) and other things. Its makers claim it tunes your being for optimal living:
The Q-Link’s fundamental technology can be understood by imagining a tuning fork that vibrates at a certain pitch. Similarly, the Q-Link’s Sympathetic Resonant Technology™ (SRT™) is tuned to optimize the human energy system through resonance. As it interacts with your biofield, it leads to a rebalancing and restoration according to your individual needs.
Scientists have long puzzled over force field phenomena that do not fit the four known forces: electromagnetic, gravity, weak and strong forces. These force field (sic) that do not fall into the classical four are sometimes labeled "subtle energies." They are called "subtle" because they cannot be observed or measured by any known instrumentation.
Hum, if they cannot be observed or measured by any known instrument, what reason do we have to suppose they even exist?
Funnily enough, I have actually tried one of these devices. About five years ago, someone bought me one of these things and insisted I wear it. It was supposed to make me feel less tired when sitting in front of a computer screen. I can honestly say I noticed no difference. In fact, I couldn’t tell if I had it on or if I had forgotten to wear it that day. Of course, an anecdote, with just one subject, means nothing. What you need is studies, right? Well QLink have ten impressive-looking studies posted to their website. Impressive-looking, until you look at them a little closer.
The QLink Studies
Two of the “studies” (# 3 and # 7) are just brief descriptions with no link to any actual study, and so cannot be evaluated at all. #7 is stated to be an ongoing study with no results listed. Study 1 is not even a study of the QLink necklace, but is a pilot study of another device from the same manufacturer. (This device is different from the QLink in that it has a 9 volt power supply.) Two of the studies are stated to be single-blind, three appear to have no blinding at all and in one the blinding is unknown. Considering the lack of scientific plausibility for this product, and the subjectivity of some of the metrics, I would suggest that only double-blind experiments would have any validity.
Of the four claimed double-blind studies, Study 6 only consists of four paragraphs. These do not give enough information to evaluate the study at all. As far as I can tell this “paper” has not been peer reviewed, published or replicated.
Study 2 purports to be double-blind study on live and dried blood microscopy, showing “significant improvements in blood morphology”. (There were 16 samples.) This experiment was carried out by Dr Robert Young, who is also author of Sick and Tired?: Reclaim Your Inner Terrain: a book that claims much modern disease is caused simply by eating foods that make our bodies too acidic – a claim not widely supported by scientists. The study does not show any improvements in any metric experienced by anyone.
Study 8 claims to be a double-blind study on 184 subjects, analyzing the effects of the QLink on anxiety. This was carried out by David Eichler, who has a PhD in “Energy Medicine” at the Holos University: a “Seminary… that amplifies the research dealing with spiritually based holistic healing”. The data are not published in enough detail to evaluate the study.
That these three studies are by testers who are known to use or support pseudoscientific procedures, does not, in and of itself, invalidate the tests. It does mean that peer review and independent replication are especially important in these cases. As far as I can tell none of these three papers have been peer reviewed, published or replicated, and until they are I suggest they are of little value in evaluating if the QLink works or not. In fact it appears that none of the ten studies have been published or replicated (except that un-blinded Study 5 replicates un-blinded Study 4 – pretty useless.)
So does the thing do anything? Well, Randi has offered the manufacturers his million dollars if they were to win his challenge. Randi notes “for some reason they haven’t responded”. Of course, if the QLink really did something it would be a snip for the manufacturers to distinguish a real QLink from a dummy. Clearly, the burden of proof is upon the makers of the QLink to show, through independent replicated studies, that it works. Until such time as there are such studies, I would suggest there is no more reason to think the QLink works than there is to believe titanium necklaces improve your sporting abilities. That is to say, no reason at all.