Mark Hanna

Mark Hanna is a consumer advocate, intersectional feminist, amateur astronomer, and science lover living in New Zealand. He writes primarily about consumer protection with a focus on the alternative health industry, but also about other topics that he finds interesting or frustrating.

Misleading claims common among chiropractors - Honest Universe

Apr 01, 2016

Most New Zealand chiropractors make misleading claims. Through my role as the chair of the Society for Science Based Healthcare, I see a lot of misleading health claims in advertisements. Many of them are pretty clearly bogus; I’ve seen claims that drinking “harmonized water” is as good as sunscreen and that bacteria make your cells each lose a positive electron. But not all misleading claims are obvious. Many might sound plausible, especially if you don’t know much about the therapy or if they come from someone in a position of authority. This, I think, is where they can be the most dangerous. Luckily we have rules in place to prevent this, but the complaint-based systems we rely on require cooperation from advertisers. When the rules are widely ignored, we simply aren’t protected. In 2015 … Read More

Misleading claims common among chiropractors - Honest Universe

Apr 01, 2016

Most New Zealand chiropractors make misleading claims. Through my role as the chair of the Society for Science Based Healthcare, I see a lot of misleading health claims in advertisements. Many of them are pretty clearly bogus; I’ve seen claims that drinking “harmonized water” is as good as sunscreen and that bacteria make your cells each lose a positive electron. But not all misleading claims are obvious. Many might sound plausible, especially if you don’t know much about the therapy or if they come from someone in a position of authority. This, I think, is where they can be the most dangerous. Luckily we have rules in place to prevent this, but the complaint-based systems we rely on require cooperation from advertisers. When the rules are widely ignored, we simply aren’t protected. In 2015 … Read More

Are You an Organ Donor? - Honest Universe

Mar 08, 2016

Organ donation is important. When a person dies in a way that leaves them brain dead but their other organs still viable, such as an intracranial haemorrhage in an intensive care unit, their organs can be transplanted to save others’ lives in a way nothing else can. Only a few organs, kidneys for example, can be donated by live donors. But others, like lungs and hearts, can only be given posthumously. This is something most of us will already know, but it’s something else entirely for it to have saved the life of someone you know. I want to start this article by telling you a story. Poppy McKay is a family friend. She’s 24 years old, and she is probably alive today because of an organ donor who is sadly not. She was diagnosed at birth with cystic fibrosis, … Read More

Are You an Organ Donor? - Honest Universe

Mar 08, 2016

Organ donation is important. When a person dies in a way that leaves them brain dead but their other organs still viable, such as an intracranial haemorrhage in an intensive care unit, their organs can be transplanted to save others’ lives in a way nothing else can. Only a few organs, kidneys for example, can be donated by live donors. But others, like lungs and hearts, can only be given posthumously. This is something most of us will already know, but it’s something else entirely for it to have saved the life of someone you know. I want to start this article by telling you a story. Poppy McKay is a family friend. She’s 24 years old, and she is probably alive today because of an organ donor who is sadly not. She was diagnosed at birth with cystic fibrosis, … Read More

Fun with Light - Honest Universe

Jan 25, 2016

There are lots of cool science activities you can do at home with light. Like I’ve done almost every year of my life, I spent my summer break at my family bach at Oakura. Last summer I wrote a post about a trip to the rocks and what could be found living there. This summer, on the relatively few sunny days we had, I had fun playing with light. Here are three easy, fun, and cheap activities you can try yourself. Make a Telescope See Shadows Jump Wave at the International Space Station Make a Telescope The previous year, I made a simple telescope out of a $2 set of two magnifying glasses. Playing with trial and error and a piece of soft wood, I ended up with something that had a zoom of about … Read More

Fun with Light - Honest Universe

Jan 25, 2016

There are lots of cool science activities you can do at home with light. Like I’ve done almost every year of my life, I spent my summer break at my family bach at Oakura. Last summer I wrote a post about a trip to the rocks and what could be found living there. This summer, on the relatively few sunny days we had, I had fun playing with light. Here are three easy, fun, and cheap activities you can try yourself. Make a Telescope See Shadows Jump Wave at the International Space Station Make a Telescope The previous year, I made a simple telescope out of a $2 set of two magnifying glasses. Playing with trial and error and a piece of soft wood, I ended up with something that had a zoom of about … Read More

Nurofen: Does It Really Target Pain? - Honest Universe

Dec 14, 2015

Nurofen provides targeted relief from pain. Or does it? For a long time now, the pharmaceutical company Reckitt Benckiser has sold a range of their ibuprofen product Nurofen, which are marketed for four specific types of pain: Back pain Migraine pain Period pain Tension headache Since at least 2008, Nurofen has marketed these specific pain relief products saying they “provide targeted relief“. From watching their TV ads, you could be forgiven for believing that Nurofen will “act at the site of the pain” or “target headaches at the source of pain“. Their logo, a bullseye target, is often shown alongside the tagline “Targeted relief from pain”. Their New Zealand website describes their range as being “made up of a number of different products to target specific conditions, from back pain to cold and flu … Read More

Nurofen: Does It Really Target Pain? - Honest Universe

Dec 14, 2015

Nurofen provides targeted relief from pain. Or does it? For a long time now, the pharmaceutical company Reckitt Benckiser has sold a range of their ibuprofen product Nurofen, which are marketed for four specific types of pain: Back pain Migraine pain Period pain Tension headache Since at least 2008, Nurofen has marketed these specific pain relief products saying they “provide targeted relief“. From watching their TV ads, you could be forgiven for believing that Nurofen will “act at the site of the pain” or “target headaches at the source of pain“. Their logo, a bullseye target, is often shown alongside the tagline “Targeted relief from pain”. Their New Zealand website describes their range as being “made up of a number of different products to target specific conditions, from back pain to cold and flu … Read More

It’s Detox Season - Honest Universe

Dec 11, 2015

Summer is detox season, but beware misleading health advice. Every summer, we are bombarded with advertisements, editorials, and advertorials chastising us for all the toxins we have poisoned ourself with by indulging in fruit mince pies and Christmas ham. But it’s okay, we are told, for there is a solution to this toxic overload. And that solution is… The detox Sound advice and playing to our holiday guilt gets a foot in the door. Eat your greens, shed those Christmas kilos, make a New Year’s resolution to avoid toxins. They may even appeal to the rationalist in us: your kidneys and liver are your detox organs, but they need support to do their job optimally. Next comes the sale. They just so happen to know the perfect thing you can do to detox. Their dietary supplement, their green juice, their … Read More

It’s Detox Season - Honest Universe

Dec 11, 2015

Summer is detox season, but beware misleading health advice. Every summer, we are bombarded with advertisements, editorials, and advertorials chastising us for all the toxins we have poisoned ourself with by indulging in fruit mince pies and Christmas ham. But it’s okay, we are told, for there is a solution to this toxic overload. And that solution is… The detox Sound advice and playing to our holiday guilt gets a foot in the door. Eat your greens, shed those Christmas kilos, make a New Year’s resolution to avoid toxins. They may even appeal to the rationalist in us: your kidneys and liver are your detox organs, but they need support to do their job optimally. Next comes the sale. They just so happen to know the perfect thing you can do to detox. Their dietary … Read More