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Friday, May 17, 2013
Society ...

I was perusing some news articles on the web the other day, when I saw a link for a health article entitled “Four Things You’ll Feel Right Before A Heart Attack”. OK, I’m now 60, so I have to take stuff like this seriously, especially since my father died of heart disease (I’ve outlived him by 10 years so far, knock on wood). Thus, I clicked on the link.

This takes you to a short article on the Newsmax site that talks a bit about the dangers of heart disease, and then sings the praises of a cardiologist named Dr. Chauncey Crandall. But nothing about those 4 things. You have to click a video link box to learn about that. The box has a time slider indicating this to be a 3 minute and 15 second film. OK, sounds reasonable – 3 minutes to learn about 4 signs of a heart attack. But once you click the link, there’s a bit of a switch – the first of many. The page changes to a different video, this one 34 minutes in length.

The longer video starts to play, with a worded narration by Dr. Crandall himself. Five minutes pass, then 8 and 10, and the four things remain a mystery. You learn that having heart disease is a real bitch, but that there are things you can do to avoid or mitigate it, even if you already have a heart problem. Then Dr. Crandall talks about himself – about what an accomplished doctor he is, as well as how he is a devout Christian with a God-given mission in life is to help people avoid heart disease, or help them fight it once it begins. He tells you to stay put because he’s just about to get to the important stuff, i.e. an overview of what heart disease is and maybe even something about those 4 signs.

Dr. Crandall next starts talking about a patient of his who had an unexpected heart attack, despite leading a healthy and active life. Finally then, some signs of a sign! This fellow didn’t have the classic “Hollywood heart attack”, as Dr. Crandall calls it. No clutching at the chest – this guy just thought he was having some muscle aches in his arms and shoulders. Ohhhh, scary stuff!!

Then there’s talk about a book and a newsletter that Dr. Crandall puts out that will help you to avoid all of this, and how you can get it for FREE. OK, now it is becoming clearer – this is a big sales pitch. Sometimes his stuff is FREE, but at other times it involves “pennies a day”. Well, pennies a day aren’t FREE. And we still don’t know what those 4 signs are.

But OK, about half way through, the good doctor finally starts talking about heart disease. He shows some diagrams of what happens inside the arteries, and talks a lot about diet and how it affects these processes. Everything he says seems in line with what I’ve read about heart disease – but nothing new, really. He talks about how smoking, exercise (or lack thereof) and inflammation play key roles in the disease process. Fine, that’s been around for a while now. And he tells you that sugary and fatty foods are your worst enemy (and also simple carbs, e.g. potatoes and white bread, the “high g.i./g.l.” foods, given that the body partly converts them to sugar). This all makes sense, and it clearly points to lifestyle changes that can be made to ameliorate the heart disease process. But I didn’t hear much mention from Dr. Crandall about stress and genetic factors, two other huge inputs to cardiopathology. Perhaps because those things aren’t all that controllable – and run against the “you can fix it” theme that Crandall seems to be using to get you to buy his newsletter . . .

Finally, after 25 minutes of sales pitch and heart disease 101, we then get to the 4 things! Drum roll . . . OK, the first is chest and body pain. An important point is that not all heart attack pain will be in the chest; it could also be in the neck, arms, back, shoulder, maybe even the jaw. Then, thing 2: sweating and nausea. All of the first two things can happen in a variety of ways – all at once, or coming and going over a couple of hours (then finally coming on with a vengeance), or slowly building and receding over several days. And sometimes, hardly at all. The point is that not all heart attacks are the same. They can and often do seem like something else at first. And yes, that is an important point to remember.

OK, as to things 3 and 4 . . . so sorry; if the first two things were complex, these last two things are really complex, involving breathing and the stomach (indigestion). Thus, the good doctor says that he isn’t going to go into them on the video; you need to read the details in his book and newsletters. Just press the orange button below, and get them FREE!!!!

I didn’t press the orange button. But I did research his offer, and found out what the details are behind Dr. Crandall’s Christian generosity. In a nutshell: you get out a credit card and they charge you $4.95. You get a report about the 4 Things and a 3 month subscription to the doctor’s monthly Heart Health Report. Thirty days before the end of this period, you get an e-mail saying unless you cancel, your subscription automatically renews for $54 a year, now and forever, amen. If you want to cancel, you need to call an 800 number or complete an online Customer Service form. And forget it if you are a former or present Heart Health Report subscriber.

So, lots of fine print for a FREE offer! And the infamous “auto-renew” to your credit card; you’re on the hook for $54 a year (pennies a day – 14.75 pennies per day, or 450 pennies per issue, to be exact) ad infinitum. After an hour or so, I hardly knew anything more about the nature and signs of heart attacks than I did before. But I did find Dr. Crandall’s video and his “FREE” offer to be a bit nauseating in and of itself (hopefully that’s not one of those four signs!).

Chauncey Crandall appears to be a legitimate cardiologist; a doctor rating web site indicates that his patients rate him highly. He also claims to be a dedicated Christian who often prays with and for his patients. I’m totally good with that. Crandall also writes some relatively informative articles on health and heart disease on the Newsmax site. But now he’s gotten together with Newsmax to help sell his monthly newsletter. Nothing wrong with that either in a capitalistic, free-market economy.

But his advertising technique is really offensive. He and Newsmax get you interested by offering an internet health article allegedly about how to recognize if you are having a heart attack. Then it puts you thru a series of steps to get to that information. Along the way, you are exposed to fear about your heart (“you think you just have a sore arm from lifting a box”), and then offered hope, perhaps false hope (“this can all be avoided, if you will follow what I say”).

Even worse, in his sales pitch, Chauncey Crandall cites the authority of two institutions that were once venerable (and still necessary) pillars of society, but now are being questioned and increasingly distrusted by the public: spiritual religion and scientific medicine. As though these two things didn’t need to be further exploited for a cheap buck.

Well, I decided to do a bit more research on Dr. Crandall and his “FREE” solution to the 4 Things / Heart Attack dilemma. Looks as if I’m not the only one who is not impressed by what Dr. Crandall is up to here. Various people who took up his offer and later tried to cancel the annual credit card charge found it very difficult or impossible to stop it. One guy said “my heart is more stressed just to go through the presentation of Dr. Crandall. More hearts can be saved if you stop the scam!!!”

Another fellow thought that the video re-booted his computer system and installed some malware (this didn’t happen to me . . . I don’t think . . . ). But on one discussion site, there was a bit of levity – and why not? They say that laughter is good for the heart. Someone said that the four things before a heart attack would probably be: 1.) drive an hour on crowded highways to a chicken fast food restaurant 2.) order the family meal 3.) get into a fight with the counter guy because the chicken is over-cooked and greasy; and 4.) drive home and eat it anyway. Yes, Dr. Crandall himself said that greasy food is bad! Someone else added “surprise, fear, and almost fanatical devotion to the Pope” (only three, but then again, Dr. Crandall only gave away two of his four signs!). And then, another joker offered this list: 1.) you get laid off; 2.) your girlfriend tells you she’s pregnant; 3.) you lose your home in a foreclosure fraud; and finally, wait for it -– 4.) the baby is of a different race.

To end on a more serious note: in the same discussion session, someone summarized what Dr. Crandall eventually says about the four things that (often, but don’t always) happen before a heart attack. In a nutshell:

1) Chest pain or discomfort, pain or discomfort in one or both arms, the back, neck, jaw or stomach

2) Nausea & sweating

3) Shortness of breath (with or without #1), maybe also lightheadedness / dizziness

4) Indigestion (he says “digestive issues” which may be “tricky”, so order his kit… hmpf…)

Being aware of these things is important. I wish that Dr. Crandall had thought them important enough to present to the public BEFORE offering to sell his information services about how to interpret these potentially confusing and contradictory signals in the context of every day life. Sorry doc, maybe you intended better; perhaps you really believe that your newsletter can help a lot more people than you can treat directly (I don’t imagine you will get any richer on your newsletter than you must already be from having a successful cardiology practice in the capitol of old-agedom, i.e. Florida).

Nonetheless, your “FREE” video offer is not a good way to serve humanity; it adds up to a bad mix of both God and mammon. It rips all the more at the already-tattered shreds of public trust in important institutions; it further erodes the pillars on which the house of civilization rests. The body public can also have a heart attack! This kind of exploitative advertising is just another serving of sugary, fatty fast food for our society.

◊   posted by Jim G @ 10:51 pm      

  1. If you sift the wheat from the chaff there are quite a few people who don’t feel scammed. I actually listened to the end, fully realising from the start that it’s a sell. Now down here in Australia, we well know that you get what you pay for. So what’s the problem? Why shouldn’t he make money out of expertise? I thought it was pretty up-front really, just a bit clunky with the pitch.

    Comment by Marg trombetta — April 19, 2014 @ 12:35 pm

  2. “I sense it was a sales pitch or a scam right away. He supposedly ‘performed 40,000 (forty thousand) heart procedures…’. So simple maths suggests that 40,000 / 365 = 109+ years at one operation a day.”

    The doctor made it clear that a “procedure” is not an “operation”. Regardless, I wouldn’t buy anything that is advertised on Newsmax.

    Comment by expatinasia — April 27, 2014 @ 10:13 pm

  3. I think every person who have seen and read this blog made a Google search on Dr. Crandall’s video and his FREE gifts that cost “pennies a day”, probably to check if it’s legit as it claimed to be. I was honestly very inclined to watch and learn from that video because my dad, too, died due to a heart attack and mom has heart disease and probably most of my relatives have some sort of heart problems. So it’s really frustrating to learn nothing when you’ve hoped you’d learn something new from a “world famous” cardiologist. Well, so much for hoping because I think I just wasted my time watching a video about things I already know as a Biology major student. Yes, I am one of those who watched the video to the end. Anyway, this blog was helpful. Otherwise, I would have been victimized by a scam!

    Comment by Rebecca — May 6, 2014 @ 2:19 pm

  4. He knows God too!

    I would not say healthy diet and life are not helping, but money destroys everything.

    Comment by Cera — May 29, 2014 @ 8:48 am

  5. This Dr.Crandall’s advertisement technique is awful. He is violating the ethics code of doctors and spreading needless fear anxiety. Only god save his clients.What is the American heart association doing regarding this advertising doctor?

    Comment by papajirao — June 11, 2014 @ 12:19 am

  6. I am retired, just reached the critical 60+ year birthday and wanted to be heart “aware”, so Googled and promptly got sucked into the “but wait…here are the 4 signs…to be divulged to you…just around the corner” and then Googled some more and found your thoughtful review. However, to be completely objective, the good doctor seems to have good intentions, and I hope his lengthy monologue registers with us–I liked the bit about not eating sugar and fat (!) , emphasis on whole grains, veggies, and fruit, holding out plan B and C and the possibility of statin-free heart management provided (!) one takes all the steps to lower stress (includes prayer, meditation and just plain old family fun here!) , bp, glucose, etc. So quite a holistic approach that is not “one size fits all.” The most important nugget was this bit about the PLAC test–i had googled for hours on heart disease and statins before I stumbled upon this video, and there is no mention of the PLAC test anywhere. Is is really “an accurate predictor” of a heart attack or stoke? (What about the heart “scan” that measures calcium levels?)
    Great blog!

    [60, eh? Join the club, I just hit 61! Thanx for checking out my thoughts, live long and prosper! Jim G]

    Comment by varvar — June 18, 2014 @ 12:08 pm

  7. The good Christian Doc would do well to consider what his Bible says about the “Love of Money.” (1 Timothy 6:10).

    Comment by James — August 11, 2014 @ 4:51 pm

  8. Dr. Crandalls scam is all over the internet…..I googled in frustration after 1 min to see if someone like you posted the 4 things….Thank you….So annoying. It reminds me of the facebook articles that you have to click through to read the list…..I am soo appreciative of those that write everything in the comment area so I don’t have to waste my time. Lately I am reading comments before the articles. =)

    Comment by Junie — September 10, 2014 @ 8:16 am

  9. Three words for the long-winded video: bait and switch. If you have concerns and you live close to Dr. Crandal, fine. Make an appointment; otherwise, his information is available everywhere … online, at the bookstore, or at your public library, for nothing. What I hope is that such a frustrating and outrageous scam is not the good doctor’s idea. Unfortunately, it’s hard to tell. Some people are never rich enough. Never. And too frequently, the letters “MD” follow their name.

    Comment by Kimble Barrie — September 15, 2014 @ 12:41 pm

  10. As P.T. Barnum says, “A sucker is born every minute.” Dr. Barnum, er, Crandall continues to prove that theory.
    From reading several sites, Dr. Crandall’s four signs of an impending heart attack are nothing more than four of the most common signs of unstable angina/myocardial infarction, ie, the symptoms one may commonly feel prior to or during a heart attack. This is nothing new under the sun, this is information taught to a medical student or any patient who is seen for counseling for heart disease.
    This is a total ripoff. You can get much more and detailed information from a visit with your primary care doctor. And if you need to see a cardiologist, you can get this info and much more detail.
    By the way, the 40,000 procedures doesn’t mean diddly. Any cardiologist who has spent any time in a teaching facility could easily “monitor” 5-10 procedures daily. Do the math: over just a 20 year teaching career, you’re talking 25-50,000 procedures. and that does not mean you actually scrub in on the procedure, you’re just there while someone else does the procedure. The chief of cardiology where I trained likely ‘monitored” 150,000 procedures. That doesn’t make him good (though he was). But why be nebulous unless you are being deceitful? Finally, being a Christian doesn’t mean someone is 100% trustworthy.
    Before you send your hard earned money to this guy, google “Kevin Trudeau”. Again, a sucker is born every minute (or less). Don’t be the next sucker.

    Comment by Jay D — September 16, 2014 @ 12:22 am

  11. Most of you are saying his video is a sham etc. Funny thing is that there are thousands of such scams maybe like nutri- system that you precribe to. Dont cry over a few bucks and a poorly done video. You may be better than him at that but would I even think of you to give me care for my heart or a transplant? Surely not. What a sad life you must be living to have such priorities. What has acadamia done for you?

    Comment by tom chuchran — October 7, 2014 @ 7:48 am

  12. I blame Newsmax. While its reporters do a half decent job in bringing headlines that compete with Catholic World News or OneNewsNow, its marketeering board is something else ! Dr. Crandall got involved with Newsmax because it has a largely christian or conservative audience; but he likely did not realize how snake-oily is this web presence when it comes to advertising. I suppose they make money by sucking in many well-intentioned special columnists and promoters of decent things, not excluding a share of charlatans, who pay Newsmax to produce some such drivel as this promo on the four last things (mim). Dr. Crandall is an administrating director at the Good Samaritan Medical Center on north Flagler drive, west Palm Beach as well as the Cardiovascular Clinic in Jupiter, North Palm Beach. His V.I.P. newsletter is free for the email signup on his web site ( Give him a chance.

    Comment by Gary — January 5, 2015 @ 5:27 pm

  13. Fantasic review. Thanks Jim. I watched the Dr.s email/video/commerciel/ et al and thought the same as you.
    The Dr. might mean well but his web page/ sales pitch sucks and is confusing. Aaarrrgh. I didnt buy into it BECAUSE of confusion: refund, no refund, refund after 60 days, blah blah blah.

    Comment by christine — November 27, 2015 @ 4:07 pm

  14. I agree with the comment that this was 35 minutes wasted which I cannot get back. I knew early on he was going to try to sell me something, but kept hoping he’d also share something without the sale. Shame on me for continuing to listen…

    Comment by Morgan — February 25, 2016 @ 2:13 pm

  15. I almost got a heart attack listening to the video and waiting for the info about the 4 things. Dr Chauncey claims to be a christian but I think he is a money grubber. I had to stop the video because my blood pressure was rising listening to this fraud masquerading as a person . He may be a good cardiologist but I think that he is a very flawed human being… Toronto,Canada

    Comment by Czefrah — June 9, 2016 @ 8:53 am

  16. Had to laugh reading Czefrah’s remarks – well said. I too kept hoping for something useful prior to having to commit the credit card (which I did not do). Had not heard of 2 types of LDL so if that’s accurate it will have been worth the listen.

    Comment by Sean — June 21, 2016 @ 12:28 am

  17. I was having significant trouble lowering my blood pressure when I came across Dr. Crandall’s “pitch.” So I tried the free trial bottle of [SORRY, NO COMMERCIAL REFERENCES] It lowered my pressure by 10 points within 2 days. I’m skeptical also so I Googled the contents. Look up L-Arginine HCL. I had never heard of it but I should have. It has a long track recording for opening blood vessels with no side effects. I’m wary to subscriptions like this too, so I cancelled my subscription to [COMMERCIAL SUPPLEMENT]. No problem. After trying L-Arginine by itself at a much lower cost, I decided to give [COMMERCIAL SUPPLEMENT] another try. They allowed me a 3-mo. shipment at a good price with no subscription. As for the 2 types of LDL, I have never heard of that either so I Googled it. (My pressure was really high before so I was on a quest.) The danger of LDL is not the number but the type, large or small. We all know about HDL but who knew this? Long short: I’m a fan so far.

    [OK . . . some say that celery seed extract and grape seed extract also do some good for blood pressure, there are some preliminary studies on this]

    Comment by Glenda — July 10, 2016 @ 12:59 am

  18. Good blog; excellent comments. very useful. wish I had read this first, instead of watching the whole damn hype

    Comment by Joe Cavato — July 23, 2016 @ 10:37 am

  19. Anything coming from NewsMax or its various other names are nothing more that sales pitches. I’ve tried to unsubscribe, they refuse to honor the request. Buyer be warned.

    Comment by Otto — October 1, 2016 @ 8:44 am

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