Dore research paper shows that Dore is not useful for a substantial proportion of (potential) clients

Well, it would do if the paper was any good, anyway… So, here’s a short break from our usual Patrick Holford coverage to note that Dore have put out a new research paper (PDF) by David Reynolds, Roy Rutherford and Wenjuan Zhang. The Jackson Wells PR company are presenting this as having found that Dore “greatly improves motor and cognitive functions in people presenting with dyslexia”. However, Table 1 in the paper (p. 7) actually shows that Dore did not bring a statistically significant improvement in Dyslexia Screening Test (DST) scores for clients presenting with a mild/borderline risk of dyslexia. This means that a lot of potential Dore clients risk spending a lot of money – and a lot of time doing Dore exercises – despite the fact that Dore’s own research does not show their treatment significant improvement in DST test scores, let alone a ‘cure’.

Now, as suggested above, I don’t think this research paper was any good. The new brainduck blog has done an excellent job of taking apart the Dore paper: among a number of serious flaws, there was no control group, the paper denies that the attention given during Dore treatment constitutes ‘special attention’ for children, and the paper does not give an adequate review of the academic literature on dyslexia. However, if you live by crap research, you die by crap research: if Dore believe that the research paper is credible, why don’t they act on what it finds and tell clients with a mild/borderline DST score that Dore is unsuitable for them?

Dore shouldn’t be able to have it both ways. If you promote poor quality research when it appears to show benefits from your treatment, you shouldn’t just ignore the research when it shows no benefit for some potential clients.

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4 Comments

Filed under Dore, dyslexia, dyspraxia

4 responses to “Dore research paper shows that Dore is not useful for a substantial proportion of (potential) clients

  1. The really big problem with the paper, apart from the lack of controls, is that it does not look at real-world outcomes anywhere. This is a bit trickier than using your own lab-based tests, but essential if you want to prove that your approach is worth taking.

    They haven’t looked at anything like how the children are doing in school, and they haven’t followed them up after the end of treatment to see if any gains are maintained.

    It’s a bit like me telling you that I have an amazing magic potion to make your vegetable patch grow twice as fast. To believe me, you would want to wait a few months & see how big the vegetables were, not just agree when I said ‘look, the soil is much darker, they will grow better now’.

    Even if the rest of the study had been well carried out with an appropriate control group, this would still not provide a definitive answer. As it is then they’ve designed a study of nearly 1000 children so badly that it can’t actually show anything useful. That takes a special kind of genius.

    If DORE works, they are stopping useful treatment getting to children by wasting time on shoddy research. If it doesn’t work, then hiding poor results behind shoddy study design is cynical at best. Either way, this is one to get angry about. They’ve got a duty to their participants, the research community, and the public, to do better than this.

  2. Pingback: “Mind, Body, Wallet” Festival « Podblack Blog

  3. Pingback: More Dore: “The dyslexic brain is like a colander…We are training the cerebellum to become a bucket” « Holford Watch: Patrick Holford, nutritionism and bad science

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