Scam warning: Ryan Ballow/Cortex Labs

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TalkingAnt
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Scam warning: Ryan Ballow/Cortex Labs

Unread post by TalkingAnt »

It has come to my attention that user "rmichaelbarrow" aka Ryan Ballow of Cortex Labs exhibits the behavior of a scammer preying on vulnerable PSSD victims desperate for a cure. This person claims to have cured at least 50 men of PSSD, and will happily charge thousands of dollars for consultations around a secret protocol. Yet none of these former clients have posted any recovery stories on any PSSD community, and no previously well known members of the community can vouch for him.

When pressed for evidence of his cured patients, Ballow claims he instructed them to maintain secrecy, going as far as to have them sign a contract forbidding them to discuss their recovery protocol. He provides various lame excuses for this secrecy, such as their inability to tolerate criticism or drama that occasionally pops up on these forums (which us mods diligently try to contain 8-) ) despite that their information could literally save lives, or their inability to not post personally identifying information in an anonymous case report.

I was on the fence about Ballow until some recent DMs. I try to give every user the benefit of the doubt, but his behavior has displayed aggression towards skeptics and tactical evasion of providing evidence, exactly what a scam artist would do. I am not saying for 100% certainty that Ballow is a scammer. It is certainly possible he is trying his best to run a business that he sincerely believes helps people and that he let his anger get the better of him. But that is now a vanishingly small probability in light of his recent behavior. And even if he was not a scammer, he has not demonstrated any innovative expertise on PSSD that would inspire confidence in his ability to treat a complex condition. At best, he's an overconfident amateur health coach with an anger problem. At worst, he's a vile scam artist preying on an extremely vulnerable population.

See the following DMs between myself and Ballow, in which I urge him to provide evidence of his successes, but he resorts to hostility and personal attacks to avoid answering basic questions about his scheme.
rmichaelballow wrote: Wed Sep 21, 2022 2:04 pm Thanks for stepping in. However - the thread shouldn't be locked. This person wanted to take the tone this way, so.. so be it. I honestly think full transparency and differing opinions are a good thing. This argument needed to happen, too. I've sat back and let people like this slander my name and reputation without recourse for too long.

As far as the men I've worked with, as I said, they are not coming to the forum to discuss any of the protocols we've worked together on. Most, if not all of them dislike the forum for its general tone (which I agree is a loud, vocal minority - but that ends up spoiling things for everyone else), and as I wrote in my post, my instruction is for them NOT to go discussing how they got better.

In my line of work, I've seen PSSD be many things. As demonstrated in the video, an identical syndrome can come about from a functional, prolactin secreting pituitary adenoma. I've seen it merely be a matter of optimizing sex hormones and neurosteroids. I've seen it be all of the above, and a dysfunctional dopaminergic system.

But every person has their own unique biomarkers that once optimized, helped THEM to get better, all the way down to B12, Vitamin D, LH/FSH, and thyroid hormones. Not every case is the same.

At any rate - wow. What was initially an attempt to shed light on the dopaminergic side of the condition, as well as the notion that many things can be at the root of PSSD, turned into this. It may be useful for you as moderators to prevent people like this from tainting people's experiences on this forum. Folks like the person I responded to, are literally contributing to what is, consensus, the idea that this place is a toxic cesspool of sullen, down trodden, angry individuals.

Again - I see them as a vocal minority, but the men that come to me do not. It just sours people's experiences, and it's all very unfortunate.

Best.
TalkingAnt wrote: Wed Sep 21, 2022 4:01 pm As a moderator policy we try to minimize drama and keep things civil, and unfortunately that thread stands to continue being a source of it, so I am shutting down the discussion for now.

Regarding your patients, your excuses for why they don't post their recovery stories here are so bad that it increases my own skepticism of your legitimacy. If they are worried about being identified, they can leave out personal details and use a throw-away email (which is hidden from users anyway). If they are worried about drama, they can simply post their case and then never come back. Furthermore the mods will handle disrespectful members. And if they are so afraid of hurt feelings from forum drama that they would give up the opportunity to potentially save lives, I would implore them to look deep into their hearts for compassion for fellow PSSD sufferers.

Lastly, the appearance of you instructing them to remain secretive about their recovery comes off as sketchy as well. It's like you either value making a few grand over countless ruined lives or these patients don't actually exist.

If you are legitimate and honest, I also implore you to look into your own heart and find compassion, as you stand to help many hundreds of PSSD sufferers if you really have working protocols. Your recovered patients could be sources of inspiration for others who are presently on the verge of suicide due to hopelessness. Your protocols could be the basis for open community research, that may even influence scientists who have been known to browse this forum and mention this community in their papers.

If mere profit is your motive, I would argue that having your recovered patients post their stories would increase your credibility and drive more sufferers to seek your individualized advice. Giving away your "secret sauce" would pale in comparison to the increase in interest for your detailed personal guidance/coaching.

Overall I feel you are making a grave miscalculation in how you present yourself to the community, and until things change, you should expect skepticism.
rmichaelballow wrote: Wed Sep 21, 2022 6:23 pm "Ant"

Well - not everyone I've worked with has recovered. I haven't contended I have a 100% success rate. Frankly, the echo chamber of this community, and now interestingly, people like you, get into people's heads, and give them doubt, which leads to compliance issues, which leads to people not getting better.

Profit isn't my motive, exclusively. Yes - I run a business. There is nothing wrong with that. But I offer services to people based on my expertise, NOT based on market opportunities. Did you not see the sentence that read: I reject 95% of potential clients? I'm unsure how that just blew past you and you aren't considering it. This being the case, profit couldn't possibly be the over-arching intention.

Grave miscalculation? Have a look at the people you moderate. If the mods are like this, this community is doomed to sit here endlessly theorizing about the 1A receptor, and other incorrect theories.

Thanks for thinking you understand my business model, and future endeavors. Again - this is the fallacy of the shortsightedness that takes place in these contexts. I am working on a much larger, cheaper solution for this condition. It won't "cure" everyone, because as I said, people's root causes can be different, but it should be able to help a considerable amount of people get better. THAT is the ultimate goal.

Not to be consulting people, because frankly, this vocal minority is entirely too skeptical and beaten down, that they end up acting like the guy I was debating with, and in some sense, you.

Apple doesn't fall far from the tree.

To be honest - though I want to help the people that want help, this angered, snarky, over skeptical, highly critical element of the forum steers SOLUTIONS away, let alone people like me.

I expect skepticism. But there's a difference between skepticism, and downright accusations, or near accusations of a scam, the latter of which is cruel and unnecessary.

Imagine being one of the people that prevents your community from getting help.

THAT'S LITERALLY YOU.

Don't message me again. I wish continued chasing of your tail, to get better. You literally had an open channel with the 1 person that's actually been able to get people better, and this is how you treat it.

Some of you folks really are diseased. Mentally. Seek help.

PS: I'm sorry you were naive enough to take an SSRI.
TalkingAnt wrote: Wed Sep 21, 2022 6:41 pm You did not address any of my concerns regarding your secrecy around former patients posting their stories here. Instead you went on a personal attack against me and the community at large. I will give you one last chance to provide a good, rational argument why you are unable to provide any recovery stories from former clients, otherwise I will publish this chat and let the community know how evasive you are about this topic.

BTW, I am recovered from PSSD, my story is posted on this forum, and I regularly espouse hope and positivity to other PSSD sufferers, as I truly believe recovery is possible. So don't tell me I am dragging this community down.

Your behavior just digs yourself into a deeper hole. If you were hoping to improve this community's opinion of you, you have done the opposite. Surely you must understand that when a non expert shows up to a community filled with vulnerable desperate people and asks for thousands of dollars for a secret cure, it is met with extreme skepticism. When you provide lame excuses for why you cannot provide former client recovery stories and go on the offensive towards skeptics, it makes you look even less trustworthy.

I sincerely hope you are just misguided rather than malicious, but it is increasingly looking like the latter.
rmichaelballow wrote: Wed Sep 21, 2022 7:21 pm I can't help a community that is influenced to have an undertone of extreme skepticism, and learned helplessness, driven largely by people like you.

PLEASE post it. It does not matter to me, because again, I am not here to market. lol. This is the hilarity of yours and the misguided others' perspective on me. That you believe I'm here posting, to stand to gain from anyone here.

As I said - the clients that come to me have their mental faculties together, know how to take instruction, and don't get in the way of their own recovery. Professional, productive members of society, that see the toxicity that comes from this forum, and wants nothing to do with it - but do want to get better.

Am I making myself clear? I. Do. Not. Want. Clients. From. This. Community. Exactly BECAUSE this toxic, negative, THREATENING attitude and demeanor turns people into parroting little minions for the angered crazies here.

I was here to help. You're welcome for the 45 minute long video and TONS of research and work I did for JUST THAT ONE CLIENT, only so I can be called a scammer, and be treated like absolute shit.

POST IT.
Suffice to say, this user has been banned. My apologies to the community for not doing it sooner.
frhfu398hhf9hf3hf8
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Re: Scam warning: Ryan Ballow/Cortex Labs

Unread post by frhfu398hhf9hf3hf8 »

I was coming here to criticize you for lack of action, but I see you changed your mind. In addition to everything you wrote above, Ryan Ballow has extensively insulted the pssd community in now-deleted posts. I have web archive snapshot which I have sent to you, and I would like you to post it here (or give me permission to do it). I don’t include it myself in this post because I suspect you may not want that on this forum, but my opinion is that the fact that he insulted people left and right should be put public - if not on this forum, then somewhere else. We must ensure all of his potential clients are going to witness his behavior. In addition to all that he wrote the following 2 years ago on rxisk:
Ryan Michael Ballow wrote: See – this is the issue with listening to a guy that wrote a hit piece without talking to me. No. Nootropics are not the answer exclusively to PSSD. Never did I say that. Healy did (another strange assumption I guess). I worked with a handful of men for FREE, for about 12 months (something Healy didn’t include here, because he didn’t have the foresight, humanity, or diligence to understand my work before he wrote about it) experimenting with various research chemicals to resolve the issue. In that timeframe, I was able to get people into full on windows of anhedonia and sexual function recovery. For some, the windows stayed open after rigorous work.

But one has to do, and NOT DO certain things. As examples: many things are 5HT agonists. Specifically the 1A receptor. That means during a recovery protocol, people cannot be consuming:

1. Alcohol
2. Ginger
3. 5HTP
4. Turmeric, Circumin, or any analogs
5. Tryptophan heavy foods (tuna, turkey, bananas)
6. CBD (another mistake that keeps people in the hole).
7. Supplemental Zinc (another 5HT1A partial agonist)
8. Potato starch (found in a variety of foods – will build extra 5HT)

And hosts of other things. If a person has any degree of intestinal flora imbalance or permeability issues, that also has to be cleared up. The gut’s response to irritation is… you guessed it, Serotonin production.

I see Healy making broad brush, mere bandaid suggestions with assertions that DA agonists are part of the solution. They are not. That’s about as unscientific as you can get with PSSD, and Dopamine is but a mere smidgeon of the issue.

Most people with PSSD do not synthesize dopamine correctly, both because of Tyrosine Hydroxylase malfunctions, and improper functioning of DAT (the Dopamine Transporter).

D1, and the D like family receptors also appear to be desensitized.

On the Serotonin side, the 5ht1a heteroreceptor is highly upregulated, while the autoreceptor remains comparable to a manufactured knockout (actually part of the mechanistic underpinnings of SSRI). One will make next to no progress with desensitized autoreceptor function at the 1A site.

Additionally: through 5HT4 receptor malfunction, likely through some sort of GPCR uncoupling and phenotypic changes, the hypothalamus does not adequately pump out Oxytocin at the right times, contributing to the anorgasmia element of PSSD.

5HT2C, and 5HT2B receptor function also play, although somewhat minor, a role in persistent PSSD.

There are various chemicals out there that solve this problem. Essentially, they behave as a sort of “anti-SSRI,” antagonizing the 1A heteroreceptor, while others act to upregulate current 1A autoreceptors, thus controlling 5HT flow.

But even all the discussion and prominence the 1A receptors get, that still isn’t the majority of the issue. There’s also SERT. SSRIS influence SERT in a seemingly permanent way (that is, until you recover proper SERT functioning). 5HT builds up at the synapse, and keeps the autoreceptors desensitized. There are a few ways that I know of to regain control of the SERT, allowing it to degrade extra quantities of 5HT for recycling and proper re-uptake.

What people don’t know is that Serotonin IS CRITICAL in the sexual response to stimulus. But when it ends up in the wrong place, or doing the wrong thing, it only contributes to the problem. If the brain knew what to do with the 5HT (like properly shuttling it into cells instead of letting it accumulate in the synapse), you’d have a partial alleviation of PSSD symptoms.

That was a long winded way of saying: you don’t achieve resolution to PSSD with Nootropics, and I’d challenge YOU DAVID, or anyone else, to prove that I’ve EVER said you do. Because I haven’t.

On a stagnant community: the mechanisms that underlie PSSD are extremely complex, and it takes someone with a highly functional working memory, to sit down and analyze the (at least) 500 pieces of literature to put the puzzle together. Said person has to have at least themselves to experiment on, but preferably many other people.

To do that, one has to have a pretty remarkable understanding of neuro-chemistry. One that defies their training, or set of qualifications (me for example, having been studying neuroscience for 12 years, but without academic credentials).

I do not see that sort of orientation in the community of PSSD sufferers, for the most part. And why should I? People shouldn’t have to be citizen neuroscientists. Their doctors NEVER should have prescribed them SSRIS to begin with. Nonetheless, this is the reason for the stagnation within the community. People only get so far in the puzzle… one of the most complex puzzles to crack of modern times, and one can only fail so many times before they give up.

I think the learned helplessness (again, rightfully) in the PSSD community gives way to the proliferation of the idea that this condition is permanent. People have the syndrome, go on a crusade of reading, only to formulate the (albeit, incorrect) opinion that it can’t be solved. It can be. And I have seen it in my consulting practice.

People like David Healy (I’m a bit apprehensive to actually call him a doctor) perpetuate the idea that it cannot be solved. But without a concerted effort, in the trenches, working with people (as I am, daily, for the last 3 years), his and others’ perspectives will remain the same.

Also I’d like to, in summation, say to people: if you’re relying on the medical establishment (of which Healy is a part) to solve this issue, you’ll become old and grey in the meantime.

If you’re waiting for someone with “the right credentials” to solve the issue, you’ll be equally old and grey. Problems like this get solved by bright minds, willing to look outside of typical constructs, and sometimes with bold experimentation, that are not bound by a meaningless set of marks by their names, but instead empowered by the indisputable fact that ANYONE with the mental wherewithal, can do the research.

Chris I think it was? I’ve done what you are proposing. It is partially how I’ve cracked the puzzle. I’m taking this all the way up big pharmas ass, and to do that, requires me to be heavily funded. Once I patent the solution, which admittedly can be a lot more efficient (this endeavor constitutes the majority of my resources these days), I will be extremely public with my findings, both holding pharma accountable, and forcing them to buy the solution. That dynamic, which ultimately goes to serve the entire PSSD community (my main goal, despite nefarious attempts to delegitimize me as some quack out for people’s money), makes it hard for me to give the current solution out for free.

What I’m doing (which will be proven in time, and though I’m attacked left and right lately, I remain strong and peaceful, confident and charging forward) is far bigger, and will lead to an efficient, readily available solution for far cheaper than my current 3-6 month consults. And if Pharma won’t publish the findings and make the solution available to the masses, I will do it myself through different routes (as I am now, in a downscaled capacity).

To the community: I WILL GET THIS SOLVED FOR YOU. I have a dog in the game, and it isn’t money. Cash is being used as a mere vehicle to provide a far more efficient, far cheaper, widespread solution to the issue. This is my passion. I’ve found what my purpose is, and what my 12 years of neuroscience research has prepared me for.

And that is: putting the nail in the coffin of PSSD, forever.
So he was supposed to patent some “solution” for pssd and then make it public but in the end he did nothing. He also promoted serotonin receptor theory but now says that this theory is bs.
TalkingAnt
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Re: Scam warning: Ryan Ballow/Cortex Labs

Unread post by TalkingAnt »

The posts you reference are still on the forum, and as Ballow is banned he cannot edit them, so feel free to link to them. Keep in mind, let's not turn this thread into purely throwing cold water.
frhfu398hhf9hf3hf8
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Re: Scam warning: Ryan Ballow/Cortex Labs

Unread post by frhfu398hhf9hf3hf8 »

I said his insulting post is now-deleted? My bad then, it is actually not deleted. I took snapshot before he got banned, and there is still possibility that his insulting post will be deleted/edited by admins/mods so snapshot was not that useless. So I am posting links here:
His post: https://archive.ph/LSSDI
My comment about his post: https://archive.ph/GLWmV (this one was actually deleted)
Since I am here, I will also post some images I just found. So he harasses, threatens, and insults people for posting negative reviews about him, then proudly declares “if I was a scammer there would be negative reviews about me”.
https://i.imgur.com/LPpnmQ3.png
https://i.imgur.com/upSfGVY.png
HzeTmy
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Re: Scam warning: Ryan Ballow/Cortex Labs

Unread post by HzeTmy »

😄 This is so funny how you are all againts this YouTube guy ... My opinion is who get's scammed get's scammed that's life i didn't even plan this condition and BOOM out of nowhere i'm a PSSD sufferer ...

BTW you don't have to buy his consultations or supplements just enjoy and learn from the free stuff ... I'm happy for every PSSD material out there honestly.
DeepRacer
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Re: Scam warning: Ryan Ballow/Cortex Labs

Unread post by DeepRacer »

Why is it that everyone with PSSD gets extremely emotional and defensive when someone disagrees with their theory or challenges an idea. Like seriously, you can have a negative of him but Ryan Ballow isn’t a scammer. I’ve talked to people on the discord who’ve worked with him and he’ll put you on regimens that have helped other people before and give you lifestyle advice. It’s not curing PSSD but theres a good chance it will help you. Hes probably exaggerating a lot but you have people like Meso that charge a lot of money too and gives a lot of conflicting advice but he’s paraded around here like the messiah. This is the reason the PFS community has actually advanced with funding research and building a foundation.
HzeTmy
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Re: Scam warning: Ryan Ballow/Cortex Labs

Unread post by HzeTmy »

DeepRacer wrote: Thu Sep 22, 2022 8:30 pm Why is it that everyone with PSSD gets extremely emotional and defensive when someone disagrees with their theory or challenges an idea. Like seriously, you can have a negative of him but Ryan Ballow isn’t a scammer. I’ve talked to people on the discord who’ve worked with him and he’ll put you on regimens that have helped other people before and give you lifestyle advice. It’s not curing PSSD but theres a good chance it will help you. Hes probably exaggerating a lot but you have people like Meso that charge a lot of money too and gives a lot of conflicting advice but he’s paraded around here like the messiah. This is the reason the PFS community has actually advanced with funding research and building a foundation.
Messiah - Haha made my day 😄 I agree with you.
ElaineBenes5
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Re: Scam warning: Ryan Ballow/Cortex Labs

Unread post by ElaineBenes5 »

Just adding this for what it's worth. Spoke to RB on the phone out of curiosity and interest before all this blew up on the forum. He did not pressure any payment and was pleasant to speak with. He said he has not worked with women on PSSD so didn't claim to be able to cure anything. He freely discussed his theories as he did in the video in he shared about the role of dopamine and hormones like testosterone and estrogen. He recommended trialing something in particular and was open to bouncing ideas around to keep track of changes/progress.

I mean for whatever it's worth, he was very pleasant to talk to and seemed genuinely interested in PSSD. Not sure he's the scammer people are making him out to be. It's nice to know someone is taking an interest in PSSD. Not sure we would want to discourage that. I also don't see how someone making money off of trialing things with people is really any more dangerous than people blindly trialing any number of experiments posted on this forum that could be harmful. If someone wants to spend money, that's less dangerous than someone actually taking something to address PSSD that could be harmful to them. The money seems to be the offending factor here for a lot of people and I am just not in agreement with that. It would be the potential for health issues or worsening of symptoms/new problems that any trial raises.
fellow1
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Re: Scam warning: Ryan Ballow/Cortex Labs

Unread post by fellow1 »

DeepRacer wrote: Thu Sep 22, 2022 8:30 pm Why is it that everyone with PSSD gets extremely emotional and defensive when someone disagrees with their theory or challenges an idea. Like seriously, you can have a negative of him but Ryan Ballow isn’t a scammer. I’ve talked to people on the discord who’ve worked with him and he’ll put you on regimens that have helped other people before and give you lifestyle advice. It’s not curing PSSD but theres a good chance it will help you. Hes probably exaggerating a lot but you have people like Meso that charge a lot of money too and gives a lot of conflicting advice but he’s paraded around here like the messiah. This is the reason the PFS community has actually advanced with funding research and building a foundation.
Who told you that meso is not a scammer ? Both are, Ryan Ballow and Meso.
TalkingAnt
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Re: Scam warning: Ryan Ballow/Cortex Labs

Unread post by TalkingAnt »

Imagine you are considering a doctor for long COVID. This doctor claims they cured dozens of long COVID cases. You ask for detailed testimonials, but the doctor states they demand their former patients maintain secrecy about what was prescribed. The doctor also states some of his patients with "long COVID" never got infected (Ballow has used "PSSD" to describe clients who never took an SSRI). When you explain to the doctor how this appears sketchy, the doctor erupts in anger and insults you.

Now imagine that this doctor has no medical license or training but is a self-described "expert." Would you risk $2400 and 6 months of your time? Would you feel comfortable with this doctor advertising himself to desperate and vulnerable people?

That is essentially the situation here.
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