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Oasis Wellness Network Agrees
to Stop Dubious Claims

Stephen Barrett, M.D.

MaxCell BioScience, Inc., also doing business as Oasis Wellness Network, and its president, Stephen A. Cherniske, have signed a consent agreement under which they must stop making false and unsubstantiated health claims for "Longevity Signal Formula" ("LSF") -- a product containing the hormone DHEA; and their at-home urine test called the "Anabolic/Catabolic Index™ Test ("ACI Test"). The improper claims were made in cassette and audio and video tapes, as well as on the Oasis Wellness Network Web site [1].

The company, which markets through a multilevel network, is headquartered in Broomfield, Colorado. For several years, it has claimed that its ACI Test provides a clinical gauge of an individual's overall health and youthfulness. In a 1999 magazine interview, Cherniske stated:

The basic underlying premise of this test -- which was developed by researchers at the University of Hokkaido in Japan in 1998 but used only for research purposes -- is that physical, emotional and biochemical stress causes the body to age prematurely. The test measures the ratio of recovery (anabolic activity) taking place in the body compared to the wear and tear (catabolic activity) to which the body has been subjected. Using a different methodology from the Japanese research, we developed the test for determining this ratio and a program that is guaranteed to reduce these aging affects [2].

However, the FTC has concluded that the test only measures inactive male hormone (androgen) breakdown products, which do not provide a reliable measure of "biological age." [3]

The company has also claimed that LSF can reverse the aging process and prevent, treat, or cure atherosclerosis, arthritis, high blood pressure, elevated cholesterol levels, weight gain, poor liver function, and many other age-related health problems. It claimed, for example, that LSF "will reset the biological clock" and was "guaranteed to make you biologically younger in thirty days or less." [3] In 2000, the FDA warned that it would be improper to claim that a dietary supplement products "helps maintain healthy cholesterol" or "reduces plaque." [4]

The proposed settlement:

Cherniske represents himself as a "renowned health educator" and nutrition consultant. A recent magazine article states that he has a background in biochemistry and is a trained nutritionist and a member of the National Academy of Research Biochemists (NARB) [6]. However, two of his credentials are as questionable as the claims challenged by the FTC. His"master's degree in nutrition" was obtained in 1982 from Columbia Pacific University, a nonaccredited correspondence school whose California operation was shut down by court order in 2001 [7]. NARB's membership certificate describes it as "An academy devoted to preserving and dispensing valuable, established and reasonable biochemical research certified that . . . . is an elected member dedicated to untiring research for the truth in behalf of those served in the field of health." However, the only requirement when I picked up a membership in 1992 was payment of a $72 fee [8].

References

  1. "Operation Cure.All" wages new battle in ongoing war against Internet health fraud. FTC news release, June 14, 2001.
  2. "You're only as old as you feel'" may not hold true anymore. Test developed for measuring body's age. Nutraceuticals World, Sept/Oct 1999.
  3. Federal Trade Commission. In the matter of MaxCell Bioscience, Inc., a corporation, and Stephen Cherniske, individually and as an officer of the corporation..Complaint
  4. Foret JB. Letter to David Litt, Sept 26, 2000.
  5. Federal Trade Commission. In the matter of MaxCell Bioscience, Inc., a corporation, and Stephen Cherniske, individually and as an officer of the corporation. Agreement containing consent order.
  6. Oasis pushing the genomics envelope: Oasis raises the bar of genetic research. Network Marketing Lifestyles 3(2):36-37, 2001.
  7. Barrett S. Court orders Columbia Pacific University to cease operating illegally in California. Quackwatch Web site, June 19, 2001
  8. Barrett S. The National Academy of Research Biochemists. Quackwatch Web site, June 19, 2001.

For Additional Information

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This article was revised on July 1, 2001.

 

 

 

 

He cofounded the Oasis Wellness Network, a multilevel company that sells "The Ultimate Anti-Aging System" and other supplement products.