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.
Firstly, Holford’s CV [PDF link] quotes ‘Guardian’ praise for his work. However, the quote is actually from an article by Lucy Mayhew, which is listed in The Guardian’s prestigious Health, Mind and Body section. The hook for the article is a book launch (the book in question is not by Holford). So, while Holford quoted the review accurately, it seems rather poor form to cite it as a Guardian viewpoint (it would have been more appropriate to quote, for example, ‘Lucy Mayhew writing in The Guardian’).
Secondly, Holford’s CV refers to his US ‘wellness advisor’, which I noticed was offline in early May. Now, one can’t always predict how business ventures will go; however, the CV was e-mailed to the Vice Chancellor in late May, so this is something that one would have expected to have been corrected prior to sending the CV off.
I would still argue that the quality – or otherwise – of Holford’s work is a significant part of the reason why he should not have been made visiting professor at Teesside. The fact that certain aspects of his CV appear to be problematic only makes the award of Holford’s professorship seem even more disappointing.