Made-up Medicine: The Quack Doctors Quiz


By: Staff

4 Min Quiz

Image: refer to hsw

About This Quiz

Illness can bring out the gullible side of a person, allowing swindlers and fraudsters to take advantage. Take our quiz to test your knowledge of quack doctors past and present!

What does Dr. Stanislaw Burzynski promise to cure using antineoplastons?

Burzynski promises that antineoplastons — chemicals found in urine and blood — can help cure even the toughest cancer cases.


How many randomized scientific trials support the use of antineoplastons to cure cancer?

As of 2016, there have been zero scientific studies published in peer-reviewed journals to support the use of antineoplastons in the fight against cancer.


How many times did Kevin Trudeau run infomercials advertising his weight loss books after the FDA told him not to?

After a 2004 court order barring him from advertising his weight loss book, Trudeau ran his infomercials more than 32,000 times, earning him a 10-year prison sentence.


What makes the sky blue, according to Dr. Wilhelm Reich?

A mysterious energy called orgone not only makes the sky and oceans blue, but can also be used to cure everything from burns to cancer, according to Reich.


What does the FDA say about orgone?

The FDA won a court injunction against Reich, stating bluntly that orgone simply doesn't exist and thus cannot help to cure any condition at all.


What did "Dr." John Brinkley insert into scrotums to increase virility?

Brinkley, who had no actual medical training, became known as the goat gland doctor after he surgically inserted goat glands into human scrotums.


What body part did Dr. Bernard Jensen study to diagnosis illness?

Jensen was the founder of iridology, the practice of spotting irregularities in the pigmentation in the iris to diagnose disease.


True or false: A comprehensive scientific literature review in 2000 found no proven benefit to iridology.

An exhaustive literature review published in the Journal of the American Medical Association in 2000 found no proven benefit to iridology.


What was the main ingredient in the magic elixir "Hamlin's Wizard Oil"?

The patent medicine, which was sold from 1859 to 1920, consisted of 65 percent alcohol with some herbs mixed in. The FDA fined the manufacturer a whopping $200 for its baseless claim that the product could cure cancer.


What product got Dr. Oz scolded by a Senate subcommittee in 2011?

At a Senate subcommittee meeting in 2011, the famous TV doctor Mehmet Oz was repeatedly criticized for referring to weight loss pills as "miraculous."


What did South African dietician Johanna Brandt promise could cure cancer?

Brandt claimed that grapes cured her stomach cancer during the 1920s, and her "Grape Cure" still has plenty of fans to this day.


What does the American Cancer Society have to say about the Grape Cure?

The American Cancer Society states that the Grape Cure has no therapeutic value, and that some limited studies of the chemical resveratrol — found in grape skins and seeds — suggest grapes may actually promote cancer, not cure it.


What did Dinshah P. Ghadiali use to cure disease during the 1920s?

Ghadiali invented the Spectro-Chrome, which used colored light to "cure" a range of diseases.


What was a Revigator designed to do?

The Revigator was a radioactive pot designed to add radon to water. Believed to provide a health boost during the 1920s, radon water quickly fell out of favor as patients started to drop dead.


What killed George Washington?

Washington died in 1799 after his doctors drained 9 pints of blood from his body in less than 24 hours. It took another century for doctors to realize that bloodletting was making patients worse, not better.


What was physician Franz Joseph Gall known for at the start of the 19th century?

Dr. Franz Joseph Gall, who lived from 1758 to 1828, was the founder of a branch of science known as phrenology.


What do phrenologists study?

Dr. Gall and other phrenologists claimed that one could diagnose a patient and learn about an individual's personality simply by studying the bumps on the head.


What device did Dr. Albert Abrams invent at the start of the 20th century?

Abrams' Dynamizer was designed to diagnose a patient simply by scanning a drop of their blood. If a blood sample was unavailable, a handwriting sample would work just as well.


What was the main ingredient in the miracle cancer paste invented by Harry Hoxsey in 1936?

Hoxsey opened a cancer clinic in Texas in 1936 where he used his own paste to cure patients. An analysis by the American Medical Association found that the treatment was mostly arsenic.


What did Dr. Andrew Wakefield claim was linked to autism?

Wakefield lost his medical license for a fraudulent, later retracted study that linked autism to vaccines.


True or false: Wakefield's fraudulent study had little effect on vaccination rates.

The autism/vaccine study came out in 1998. By 2004, vaccination rates in Wakefield's homeland of Great Britain had dipped as low as 80 percent.


True or false: India has more fake doctors than real ones.

India has a serious problem with faux doctors offering medical services. Nationwide, the country has just 60 doctors per 100,000 people, compared to 257 per 100,000 in the United States.


What was the first medical patent in the United States granted for?

The very first medical patent in the U.S. went to Dr. Elisha Perkins for his metal tractors in 1795. The dubious device consisted of a pair of metal sticks that would draw disease out of the body — somehow.


Why was Dr. Malachi Love-Robinson arrested in Florida in 2016?

The 18-year-old Love-Robinson was arrested for practicing medicine without a license. He aimed big, however, with his own practice and a birth clinic with a staff of three.


What device earned the controversial Dr. Joseph Mercola an FDA warning in 2011?

Mercola earned a warning letter from the FDA in 2011 for his telethermographic camera, which promised to diagnose disease — a claim the FDA said had no scientific merit.


How many hits does Mercola's website get each month?

Mercola's website gets 1.9 million unique hits, with visitors returning an average of 10 times per month. Those stats are equal to another well-known medical website — those of the National Institutes of Health.


What is Gerson therapy designed to treat?

Dr. Max Gerson created his Gerson therapy to treat cancer patients in the 1920s. It's still in use today and consists of a vegetarian diet and plenty of enemas.


True or false: Gerson therapy can actually be dangerous, according to the American Cancer Society.

The American Cancer Society states on its website that Gerson therapy has no scientific backing or FDA approval as a cancer cure, and the enemas used during the treatment can actually be fatal.


True or false: Dr. John Harvey Kellogg invented corn flakes to reduce sexual urges.

Kellogg, who ran a sanitarium, invented cornflakes to reduce patients' sexual urges, which he felt were harmful to the health.


Where did Kellogg believe that most health problems originated?

Kellogg believed that health issues originated in the bowels and advocated yogurt enemas to treat sick patients. When that didn't work, he just removed sections of intestine, performing as many as 20 of these surgeries per day.


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