people regard scientific evidence in support of any treatment's
is a convincing indicator of its effectiveness. Unscientific promoters
may claim they have scientific evidence that their hair loss treatment
is effective when in fact they do not. Their writings may list dozens
or even hundreds of publications that supposedly support what they
say. But the references they cite may be untraceable, misinterpreted,
outdated, irrelevant, nonexistent, and/or based on poorly designed
research. It is not the number of references that is important but
the quality of the research.
Some snake oil sellers may do their own studies. Of course the
risk with this is that the product seller will bias the results
of the study to show their product in the best light. They may even
falsify results to their advantage.
One or two of the more professional scam artists may actually pay
a legitimate dermatologist to do a research study on their product.
Unfortunately, being a dermatologist does not necessarily make a
doctor a good research scientist and the studies may be poorly designed.
One classic indicator of a poorly designed study is when there is
no placebo control group with which to compare results from the
Academic scientists may also be willing to take on such dubious
research studies simply because they are short of money. Scientists
have to pay their bills just like everyone else.