Monthly Archives: August 2007

Skeptic’s Circle carnival at aardvarchaeology

The carnival’s online now, and it’s a good one.  Read about everything from Alcoholics Anonymous, to sleeping late.  With another early morning ahead of me tomorrow, I like the sleeping late idea…

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Patrick Holford, Professor Andre Tylee and the Endorsements That Can Not Die

Three identical cute kittens with caption, Kittens of the Corn

Endorsing Patrick Holford seems to be like taking on ownership of the Monkey’s Paw. Those of you who are familiar with this horror story should cut ahead as should those of a nervous disposition.

There are stories that, once heard, you can not erase them and they bob up to give you the horrors for the rest of your life. For my mother, she was particularly susceptible to the Monkey’s Paw in which people made a wish and then had it come true in ways that they could not have envisaged in their most wretched dreams. E.g., a poor family wished for a substantial sum of money which they then obtain when the son dies in a horrid accident. The mother then wishes that the son were alive again and his body rises from the grave and shuffles up to the house… You get the picture. Continue reading


Filed under endorsement, Holford, patrick holford, Tylee, University of Teesside

Prof. Patrick Holford’s CV

David Colquhoun has blogged about one rather unusual aspect of the CV that Holford submitted in his application for a visiting professorship at Teesside. On his CV, Holford quotes Dr John Marks as praising his work. However, when Colquhoun approached him, Marks stated that:

Way back in, I would guess, the late 1970s or early 1980s I was doing some writing on the vitamins…At that stage Patrick Holford wrote an article or a book on “optimal nutrition” quoting me, inter alia. I did write at his request some comments which were broadly favourable about it, though the text that you quote does not look like mine…Thereafter he has hounded me with pre-publication copies of books etc, each of which has been more exaggerated and less scientific. I was also involved with him at the start of his work on nutritional standards in ordinary members of the public, but it soon became obvious that the whole study was unsupportable and I withdrew completely from it. I also challenged one of his books but got nowhere, even though I suggested that it be not published until he had confirmed some of his ‘observations’…Shortly after that I wrote to him to say that I was not prepared any longer to support his work or views in any way and to please stop using my name as a supporter of his work, and stop writing to me.

Now, the way Holford has used Marks’ alleged quote is unfortunate enough in itself – read the gory details about Patrick Holford and Teesside on Colquhoun’s blog. However, I’ve noticed some other aspects of Holford’s CV which, at best, suggest a certain carelessness or over-confidence. Continue reading


Filed under patrick holford, University of Teesside

Chineham Park School FOIA Response

I’ve had a response from Chineham primary school, following a FOIA request.  I will add more detail when time allows, but it’s worth quickly noting a couple of points from their response Continue reading

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Filed under Food for the brain, patrick holford

What Would Richard Dawkins think? Channel 4 continue to embarass themselves with their dodgy autism statistics

Apologies for the slight lull in your usual Patrick Holford coverage – we’re waiting to see what emerges from Teesside’s unfortunate decision to offer him a Visiting Professor post – but I thought an update on Channel 4’s apparent use of the Observer’s dodgy autism figures would be worthwhile. Channel 4 have used the incorrect 1 in 58 figure for autism prevalence on their website and in their programming (this information is still on their website, uncorrected). I contacted them on 14/8/07 to correct this, and called today to check what was happening about correcting their error: Channel 4’s response can pretty much be paraphrased as ‘computer says no’. Continue reading


Filed under autism, Channel 4

The University of Teesside’s Case for naming Patrick Holford as a Visiting Professor: a critical analysis

Prof David Colquhoun used a Freedom of Information Act request to get a copy of Teeside University’s Case for Patrick Holford as a Visiting Professor [PDF link]. I’ll take a critical look at this here – Teesside managed to cram a lot of problematic statements into a 1 page document. I will analyse some of their claims here:

  • “Patrick Holford has an international reputation in terms of nutrition and mental health.” Absolutely, he does have an international reputation. However, as Colquhoun puts it “I guess he has an international reputation. But to find what sort of reputation, just check” the bad science blog. Colquhoun’s nice enough to mention this blog, too, and readers might also like to check out the coverage on Breath Spa, or Colquhoun’s work on Holford’s contribution to endarkenment. It’s also worth remembering that Holford’s ‘international reputation’ includes his reputation for spreading dubious health claims – including claims re. the benefits of vitamin C over AZT for AIDS treatment – to South Africa: Treatment Action Campaign discuss this aspect of Holford’s international fame. I am sure that a prestigious award from the scientology-funded anti-psychiatry group the Citizens Commission for Human Rights really to helped to augment Holford’s international reputation, too. Continue reading


Filed under patrick holford, University of Teesside

Professor David Colquhoun on Holford’s new Visiting Professor post at Teeside

As David Colquhoun puts it, “Patrick Holford had been made a visiting professor at the University of Teesside. What on earth can be the university’s criteria be for awarding the title of professor?” Colquhoun looks into this issue on his blog, and has got some interesting Freedom of Information Act Information on Holford’s new appointment.

As Colquhoun points out, one of Teeside’s criteria for professorial appointments is

“the application of knowledge in a systematic and original manner, designed to enhance wealth creation and/or the quality of life”…Well [Holford] has certainly created a lot of wealth for himself. The “application of knowledge” bit is just a little worrisome though.

Worrisome, indeed.

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Filed under David Colquhoun, patrick holford, University of Teesside