Michael, Scott, Duncan, Jacob, Nick, Thomas, Phil, Gunnar, and John all sent this in via Skepchick and SGU contact forms within a few hours, meaning our Australian audience is so on top of this stuff it’s scary – but not as scary as the actual story.
A father force-fed his daughter (sick with an infected heart) Mannatech dietary supplements instead of taking her for real medical treatment, resulting in brain damage among other horrific disabilities. For permanently disabling this innocent little girl, he will serve six months in prison.
Making the case that much sadder is the fact that the father in question suffers from brain damage himself from a previous injury.
Mannatech is a latter-day pyramid scheme (now known as a multi-level marketing scheme) in which all kinds of promises are made, none of which are delivered upon. The pills have been pushed as cures for series diseases like cancer and Down’s Syndrome, with no studies backing them up. Despite the fact that this little girl was nearly killed by these supplements in 2006, and despite the $11.25 million class-action lawsuit the company lost earlier this year, the Mannatech web site is still alive and kicking, making no claims aside from squishy, safe references to helping your “total wellness,” and “promoting health” for adults and children. Their “Ambrotose® complex” is made from “plant sources” and helps your body’s cells “communicate” with one another. The complex contains “glyconutrients,” a made-up term for simple sugars that have not been proven through any properly controlled studies to help any disease.
There’s not much else to say except that I hope this is the most depressing thing I read today.