Fact Check: Ben Carson Did NOT Promote Cure For Dementia That Works Within Days

Fact Check

  • by: Uliana Malashenko
Fact Check: Ben Carson Did NOT Promote Cure For Dementia That Works Within Days No Endorsement

Did Dr. Ben Carson, retired neurosurgeon and former Department of Housing and Urban Development secretary, endorse a cure for dementia that can make this condition go away in "7 days"? No, that's not true: Lead Stories found no credible reports about this, and Carson's spokesperson described the claim as "completely fake." There is currently no cure for dementia -- existing treatments can only manage symptoms and slow down the disease's progression.

The claim appeared in a post (archived here) on Facebook on January 12, 2024. It opened:

Thank you Dr Carson for curing my dementia. I was happy to have my picture taken with him and will always remember this great doctor.Dr. Ben Carson stands as a prominent figure in the field of dementia and academia within the United States.Renowned for his pioneering approach to treating dementia without relying on pharmaceuticals, he has become a sought-after consultant for individuals worldwide, has been dedicated to finding a healthy and safe treatment for the majority of Alzheimer's disease patients until recently...In 7 days, your memory will be as good as it was when you were 21!

The lower banner in the attached image showing Carson with an unnamed woman continued:



Write down the recipe>>>

This is what the post looked like on Facebook at the time of writing:

Screen Shot 2024-01-22 at 11.13.58 AM.png

(Source: Facebook screenshot taken on Mon Jan 22 16:13:58 2024 UTC)

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (archived here) gives the following definition of dementia:

Dementia is not a specific disease but is rather a general term for the impaired ability to remember, think, or make decisions that interferes with doing everyday activities. Alzheimer's disease is the most common type of dementia. Though dementia mostly affects older adults, it is not a part of normal aging.

The website of the U.K.-based Alzheimer's Society (archived here) reads:

There is currently no cure for dementia. However, there are treatments for dementia, including medication, that can help with a person's symptoms.

The website of the U.S.-based Alzheimer's Association (archived here):

Treatment of dementia depends on its cause. In the case of most progressive dementias, including Alzheimer's disease, there is no cure, but two treatments -- aducanumab (Aduhelm®) and lecanemab (Leqembi®) -- demonstrate that removing beta-amyloid, one of the hallmarks of Alzheimer's disease, from the brain reduces cognitive and functional decline in people living with early Alzheimer's. Others can temporarily slow the worsening of dementia symptoms and improve quality of life for those living with Alzheimer's and their caregivers.

It adds:

There are many other conditions that can cause symptoms of cognitive impairment but that aren't dementia, including some that are reversible, such as thyroid problems and vitamin deficiencies.

In October 2023, Carson discussed (archived here) new drugs that are currently being developed for Alzheimer's and said that they "show promise" because, according to him, those drugs appear to try targeting the cause of the disease, not only symptoms. However, he did not talk about anything that allegedly can reverse dementia in a week.

Carson's spokesperson Brad Bishop told Lead Stories via email on January 22, 2024:

Dr. Carson has not endorsed or ever heard of this. That is completely fake.

The post that is the focus of this fact check was not shared by a personal account -- it described itself as "the official fan page of Zabit Samedov."

Samedov is a kickboxer of Azerbaijani descent, not a formally trained medical professional. In 2016, the Kremlin-backed Russian news agency Sputnik reported that he became the head of the Akhmat kickboxing club in Russia's Chechnya (archived here.)

As of this writing, the page ran roughly three dozen ads about supplements allegedly endorsed by celebrities and was managed by an unusually high number of people located in 29 countries, predominantly in the Americas:

Screen Shot 2024-01-22 at 6.24.33 PM.png

(Source: Facebook screenshot taken on Mon Jan 22 23:24:33 2024 UTC)

The "Learn more" button attached to the post on Facebook making the claim led to a Minnesota-based autograph-selling website (archived here), not a trustworthy medical website.

Other variations of the claim containing the same wording included images in which Carson appeared with Bruce Willis (archived here) and Dolly Parton (archived here.) In those posts, the "Learn more" button led to an article speculating that the retired neurosurgeon promoted CBC gummies:

Screen Shot 2024-01-22 at 3.23.42 PM.png

(Sources: Valladares screenshot taken on Mon Jan 22 19:27:39 2024 UTC; Valladares screenshot taken on Mon Jan 22 19:28:23 UTC; composite image by Lead Stories)

Within half a day, "Rebirth CBD gummies" in this article turned into "Medallion Greens CBD Gummies":

Screen Shot 2024-01-22 at 5.24.10 PM.png

(Source: Valladares screenshot taken on Mon Jan 22 22:24:10 2024 UTC)

When Lead Stories tried to save the Valladares article, one internet archiving website produced an error and two others changed the content of the page to a baking recipe.

That was a sign of ad cloaking, a technique used by malicious actors to conceal the content they intend to promote via ads. As GeoEdge (archived here) explains, the real content is revealed to certain users only after a page passes the screening and an ad campaign gets approved.

A search for the terms "Ben Carson," "CBD gummies" and "dementia" on Google News (archived here) didn't produce any relevant results.

At this point, the Food and Drug Administration has approved (archived here) a single prescription drug that includes CBD. The agency's website reads:

... unapproved CBD products, which could include cosmetics, foods, products marketed as dietary supplements, and any other product (other than Epidiolex) making therapeutic claims, have not been subject to FDA evaluation regarding whether they are effective to treat a particular disease or have other effects that may be claimed. In addition, they have not been evaluated by the FDA to determine what the proper dosage is, how they could interact with other drugs or foods, or whether they have dangerous side effects or other safety concerns.

Lead Stories previously debunked a similar claim mentioning Carson's name in connection to "blood vessel-cleaning gummies."

Other Lead Stories fact checks about health can be found here.

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  Uliana Malashenko

Uliana Malashenko is a New York-based freelance writer and fact checker.

Read more about or contact Uliana Malashenko

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