The Dubious Device That Won't Go Away

Nancy Crotti

May 2, 2016

1 Min Read
The Dubious Device That Won't Go Away

Some medtech hoaxes just won't go away. Take the Toftness Device, marketed by a Wisconsin school of chiropractic to purportedly assist in the diagnosis and treatment of injuries.

"There is a reason it looks like PVC piping and is pvc piping and couplings!" says the website of the Museum of Quackery, whose collection now resides at the Science Museum of Minnesota.

"Add six inexpensive plastic lenses and scan the patient's spine while rubbing the back of the device," the quackery site continues. "The healers (sic) fingers will stick or squeak when it is passed over the area of neurological disturbance (nerve stress) which the inventor claims will emit a greater amount of radiation--which will cause the 'squeak.'"

The Toftness device was patented in 1971 and outlawed by FDA in 1984, only to resurface in 2005 and 2006. The federal government in 2013 charged the nephew of the inventor with shipping unapproved medical devices in interstate commerce. He and the school he took over from his uncle, pleaded guilty in May 2013.

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Image courtesy of Museum of Quackery

About the Author(s)

Nancy Crotti

Nancy Crotti is a frequent contributor to MD+DI. Reach her at [email protected].

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