Monthly Archives: July 2008

Skeptics’ Circle 92

Caterpillar rubs forelegs and says Excellent
The Hungry and Sceptical Caterpillar’s Opinion
Skeptics’ Circle 92 is hosted by Martin at The Lay Scientist.

You can learn about the premature scare-mongering about mobile phones; reiki for rats; why are woos so angry and many other topics.

We particularly recommend Skeptico’s discussion of provenance and how it enables readers to distinguish woo from genuine research.

Provenance is also useful in determining the validity of scientific claims. If the claim is based on earlier sound science – backed by quality evidence – it is more likely to be true. Not certain to be true, of course. But it will at least have scientific plausibility. But if the claim is based on something that was just made up, then it seems much less likely it would be true.

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Filed under patrick holford, skeptic's circle

FOIA reply: it’s a good job that Teesside University didn’t offer Holford a visiting professorship for financial reasons…

…because, if they did, they would be feeling pretty silly now.

We have recently received a response to a FOIA request to Teesside University, which included some interesting information about Visiting Professor Patrick Holford’s time at the University. Teesside’s Case for Patrick Holford as a Visiting Professor [PDF] referred to Food for the Brain funding a £12,500/year PhD bursary – something that would have cost a good £37,500. However, when Teesside were asked about any Holford-related income, they responded that:

No income has been received by the University from Mr Holford, Biocare, the Brain Bio Centre or Food for the Brain. Expenses have been paid by Food for the Brain for attendance by University staff in connection with a Schools project.

The total amount of money coming into Teesside from all these sources was therefore…wait for it… Continue reading


Filed under Food for the brain, patrick holford, University of Teesside

Is the Aluminium Content of Gardasil a Potential Peril? Unlikely

Medscape has published HPV Vaccine Adverse Events Worrisome Says Key Investigator (free registration: we’ve had to change the link, see update Aug 6). Allison Gandey’s article is interesting but in some parts it is an annoyingly slight, inaccurate and inadequate exploration of some of the issues discussed in Professor Abby Lippman’s recently published editorial: Human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccination and the development of public policies.[1] However, our reaction was unduly influenced by the introduction of topics that were not the subject of Lippman’s editorial. Continue reading


Filed under vaccination, vaccines

Patrick Holford and Other GMTV Pundits Should Be Glad That They Don’t Work for German TV

Former Visiting Professor Patrick Holford is still Head of Science and Education at Biocare so presumably they must believe that he enhances their reputation and scientific credibility, particularly with his ready access to the GMTV couch and the producers of Tonight with Sir Trevor McDonald.

I’m realistic enough to know that my weakness for Sachertorte and good bread are two very good reasons that I should never take up residence in Germany. However, in the light of the recent sacking of a nutritionist by a TV station for the appearance of a conflict of interest I might re-consider. Continue reading


Filed under Holford, patrick holford, supplements

Patrick Holford and Aluminium in Vaccines

Former Visiting Professor Patrick Holford is still Head of Science and Education at Biocare so presumably they must believe that he enhances their reputation and scientific credibility. We are taking a multi-part look at Holford’s advice in “Vaccinations: what every parent needs to know” in 100%health Newsletter, No. 46, July 2008, pp. 5-8. We focus on Holford’s description of toxins in vaccines. Continue reading


Filed under children, Holford, immunization, patrick holford, thiomersal, vaccination, vaccines

Professor Stanley, MMR, Measles and C4 Dispatches Publicity

Jane Moore has been publicising the C4 Dispatches programme about the UK human papilloma virus (HPV) vaccination programme and illustrating the issue with the story of her own decision for her (then) 14-year-old daughter: Gardasil: a cancer jab I don’t regret. Moore also provides an overview of the contents of the programme that is scheduled for broadcast 20:00 this evening. She reports that Cervarix (GSK’s HPV vaccine) has been selected as cheaper and better value for money by the UK Government, in preference to Merck’s Gardasil. Moore reveals that Cervarix been trialled in Manchester for a year but parental consent issues mean that only seven out of 10 girls were vaccinated. Continue reading


Filed under vaccination, vaccines

Paul Flynn MP and Welsh Assembly Report on dyslexia and Dore

Zombie Fish

Paul Flynn MP has just blogged about a pretty depressing draft final report [PDF] for the Welsh Assembly, on Support for People with Dyslexia in Wales. As Flynn argues, while there is a lot that’s positive in the Report, the Assembly “is headed down a couple of blind alleys on Dyslexia.” In particular, Flynn notes that:

The Assembly report says, “”All the different types of support that
demonstrated to them had clearly identifiable benefits.” This has not been shown to be the case: for example, Dore and Brain Gym both lack a plausible mechanism of action and any good research to show effects beyond placebo.

Continue reading


Filed under Dore, dyslexia

A Paediatrician’s Series on Vaccinations

Orac has issued a real challenge for science communication that is asking for ideas from framers on how to address the public health issue of anti-vaccination propaganda. Commenter DLC has suggested that bloggers should go through the vaccination schedule and discuss the rationale for each one in plain language. Continue reading


Filed under children, vaccination, vaccines

You & Yours on Barbara Nash and the risks of nutritional therapy Updated (again)

Radio 4’s You & Yours today discussed the issues arising from the alleged injury of a client of nutritional therapist Barbara Nash, when Nash put the client onto a ‘detox diet’.

The programme (here and you can listen again here, while it’s still available) includes an interview with registered dietitian Catherine Collins, and the BANT Chair Emma Stiles: extraordinarily, Stiles apparently acknowledges that nutritional therapists do not practise evidence-based medicine. However, the segment began with Mr Page telling the sad story of how this diet – including lots of water and low sodium – progressed. Dawn Page consulted a nutritional therapist because she wanted to lose some weight, but she ended up in intensive care and still suffers from cognitive problems (this case was settled out of court for £810,000; Nash continues to deny responsibility for the injuries to Mrs Page, and due to the settlement there has not been a court finding on this case). Continue reading


Filed under BANT, nutrition, nutritionists

Patrick Holford Claims There Is No Need to Vaccinate for Whooping Cough

Former Visiting Professor Patrick Holford is still Head of Science and Education at Biocare. We look at Holford’s advice in “Vaccinations: what every parent needs to know” in 100%health Newsletter, No. 46, July 2008, pp. 5-8.[a] We focus on his recommendation for whooping cough vaccination. Continue reading


Filed under children, Holford, patrick holford, vaccination, vaccines