CAM Magazine reports on Holford’s resignation from Teesside and on “hard-core science bloggers”

CAM Magazine has – to their credit – run a news item covering Patrick Holford’s resignation of his visiting professorship at Teesside University. In the July edition, CAM Magazine reports that “Holford’s appointment outraged hard-core science bloggers who stirred up an ongoing Internet ‘inquiry’ into both his qualifications and Teesside’s motives.”

Holford is quoted to

confirm that I have resigned my post as Visiting Professor at the School of Social Sciences and Law at the University of Teesside. I have made this decision because the main areas for which my involvement and input was requested, including setting up a Northern Brain Bio Centre working with the Cactus Clinic, which the University has now closed, are now not going ahead so I felt it was appropriate to resign the post. Food for the Brain is in discussion with other Universities to progress various research projects.

Teesside’s spokesman echoes Holford’s statement.

A couple of points to note about this article. Firstly, it sounds like Holford and Food for the Brain will be seeking to associate themselves with other Universities. We hope that anyone considering such a partnership will bear in mind events at Teesside when evaluating the pros and cons of such an arrangement.

Secondly, it is great to get a mention in CAM magazine – ‘hard-core’, indeed… – and all credit to them for running the article. However, we are not sure what is ‘hard-core’ about demanding things such as accurate CVs and reasonable quality research from Britain’s professors. If the CAM industry and research establishment relies on ‘hard-core’ outsiders in order to hold researchers in the field to such basic standards, this raises significant concerns about the industry.

Finally, now that CAM Magazine have started to look at Holford’s research, we would like to extend an offer to write a more detailed assessment of his work for the magazine. As a goodwill gesture, we will even donate any contributor’s fees to an appropriate charity…




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

16 responses to “CAM Magazine reports on Holford’s resignation from Teesside and on “hard-core science bloggers”

  1. Tony Wellcome

    hard-core science bloggers

    Do you live up to that billing? If strong men were to encounter you in dark alleys while you were blogging from linux-running laptops, PDAs or whatever it is that you hard-core types use, should they be nervous and ‘afeared?

  2. Wulfstan

    I’d take it as a compliment although it probably wasn’t to the CAM authors.

    Do you own dogs with spiked collars called Torquemada?

    More importantly – do you wear pocket protectors with your shirts?

  3. Hard-core science bloggers. Hahaha – class. That’s nearly as funny as the accusation of sedition.

  4. I feel that it would be politic to maintain that each one of us is 6 foot 6, built like a rugby player and has black-belts in esoteric fighting systems.

    I don’t own pocket protectors. I do have ink marks over my clothes and useless bottles of Stain Devils.

    In the near future, oddly enough, I may be yielding to repeated importuning for a dog. I can’t comment as to the breed/neckware as it will depend on which dogs are in the Shelter if I crack.

  5. Sad to say, I own neither dogs nor dog collars…

  6. superburger

    perhaps if Patrick Holford wasn’t such a ‘hard-core’ purveyor of dodgy science, poor advice, misleading CVs etc there wouldn’t be such a ‘hard-core’ group of bloggers pointing out his ,often very basic, errors…….

  7. I wonder why Teeside ditched the Cactus Clinic, then? It was apparently in full swing last Summer, as judged from this glowing feature on page 10 of Teeside’s house magazine (warning: PDF).

    And it was still going as recently as late March 2008, as judged by this tribute following the death of Tansy Baldwin, mother of Cactus founder Steve Baldwin who tragically died in the 2001 Selby train crash.

    I wonder whether Cactus’ shutdown will be laid at the door of (sh*t-stirring) “hard core science bloggers” too?

    An alternative explanation, in the current University financial climate, would be that they had lost their funding … which might explain why they were chummy-ing up to Patrick. Though the sums of money involved were so small, as I remember it, that one wouldn’t have thought it would have made a vast amount of difference.

    I suspect the real explanation will be a combination of all the above. One would like to think Teeside was duly embarrassed by the coverage of Patrick’s involvement, but my experience is that Universities will put up with a fair bit of embarrassment / adverse commentary as long as the cash is rolling in.

    But if you are becoming an embarrassment AND aren’t generating the funding… it’s Goodnight Vienna.

    In one sense it is a shame, in that I have nothing against investigations into dietary influences on behaviour… I just wish the people who do them would DO THE BLOODY EXPERIMENTS PROPERLY.

    Of course, all that one sees of “the hand of Holford” suggests that Patrick’s involvement pretty much guarantees precisely the opposite.

  8. clare

    You lot are funny, always trying to out do each other with your clever and witty replies.

  9. Woobegone

    Such is the internet.

  10. superburger

    i’ll tell you what’s not clever or witty, clare.

    the fact that university of teeside, which employs many intelligent and hard working scientists saw fit to offer an appointment to Patrick Holford.

  11. clare

    yes you are right and i am sorry about my previous comment

  12. Claire

    “In the near future, oddly enough, I may be yielding to repeated importuning for a dog…”

    Might I suggest that (somewhat officiously!) that the repeated importuner(s) be required to sign a contract committing themselves to their fair share of walkies, feeding, cleaning up the inevitable etc? I have a friend who is having to give up a lovely but demanding spaniel, bought last year for her children who begged for a puppy but all too soon lost interest & she doesn’t have time to do full-time looking after, exercising etc . She is one most upset by what is going on, though realises it’s in the animal’s best interest.

  13. Amanda

    Y sm mr ntrstd n PHs prsnl nd prfssnl lf, nd cmngs nd gngs thn rgng bt th scnc (nb. ds sllng hs whl cmpn fr , rll cmpr t $- blln PR drg , nw shwn nt t hlp mst ppl nd csng svr sd-ffcts?). hv trd t xpln prblms n ntrprttn nd smpl mstks n th scnc bt ths r gnrd,scrmbld r nt pstd. Ths lks lk (cybr-)stlkng nd n ttmpt t dscrdt smn nd thr wrk. ws nt wr n ppntmnt ws sppsd t b wtt; nd t mght b qt clvr t ncrg fd fr th brn clnc nd mr ntrtnl rsrch t nvrst d prmsng rsrch n ths r f clncl nd scntfc mdcn.( wld nt wrr,clr, t dd nt lk rd t m spcll cmprd t wht hv rcvd) GPs sll hv lttl ntrtnl r rsrch trnng nd hv t rl n NC nd MHR fr nfrmtn whch s phrmctcll-cmmrcll bsd (lk ths st sms t b?).

    Admin edit: Amanda – do try and post something on-topic and correct and your posts might make it through without any edits.

  14. Dr Aust, “I have nothing against investigations into dietary influences on behaviour”. At the risk of sounding like the Amen Corner, I couldn’t agree more. I despair to think how much money has been sunk into the CACTUS Clinic to no avail – it has made no substantial contribution to the scientific literature and only served to muddy it in various ways and propagate beliefs in disproved diagnostic tests.

    Yes, universities are fine when the money is flowing but will cut someone loose when the embarrassment overpowers the cash flow (which doesn’t seem to have manifested itself, no matter what they were led to believe).
    OT – thanks for the reference to Goodnight Vienna as I didn’t know the story behind that.

    Claire, one of the importuners in question is barely able to sign an X in crayon so the contract idea might be one to hold in reserve.

  15. Amanda

    Others are allowed to introduce dogs, bikini diets etc.
    Do you want the references for my assertions ?
    Why are you so concerned about everyone’s economic and educational office ?
    I am not sure it is academically safe to be SO convinced of your current views, or to discredit virtually everything someone says or does, especially when they have been published for so long. It is hard for me to tell if you genuinely do not believe anything i have said or that you attempt to be intimidatory.
    You probably realise it is not my life-long ambition to be published on this site.

    Admin: other commenters have a history of sensible comments and ones that add to a discussion, Amanda, you don’t, so they are entitled to some leeway.
    Plus, you seem to have left your sense of humour in your handbag. That was a humourous post about something that we found to be amusing in parts, it is not one of the densely-referenced scientific posts. If you were familiar with blogging and interacting with others online you might have recognised that.
    Might you apply this rush of insights as to conviction about view to yourself, Amanda?
    You have been published here, multiple times, so your point is as irrelevant as most of your wibbling. I don’t think you’ve been intimidated for a moment what with all those fabulous threats you were casting round about Google lawyers.
    Don’t trouble your head wondering, we have paid your comments as much accord as they merit for the degree of learning, accuracy etc. that they show. As ever, repeating your questions, you have learned nothing. Just to show the quality of your comments, we are letting this stand.
    Another warning – you will be relegated to OT again. And what about those Google lawyers, Amanda. Have you consulted them again? I can’t wait until they warn you that they are augmenting ASBOs by creating a special category of Asinine Commenting on Blogs Orders.

  16. wulfstan

    Amanda – please, abandon your fantasies of victimhood and think.

    Even by your standards, that remark about believing someone because they have “been published for so long” is absurd. Even you must see the need to withdraw that particular claim.

    Why do you think that Teesside parted company with Patrick Holford? Hint – some of the reasons have been written up on this blog and they relate to his error-ridden CV and his lack of scientific credibility.

    From what I have read, the people here concentrate on accurate reports of scientific evidence and fair tests: these are matters that should concern all of us. None of us wishes to be duped into spending money on something that does not work as advertised. This is true of any consumer product but seems even more important when it comes to health.

    I wouldn’t want me or mine to be persuaded against vaccination on the word of someone like Holford. I wouldn’t want anyone to follow Holford’s recommendations because he doesn’t give an accurate report of that evidence.

    Now – people and particularly adults are free to spend their money as they wish. But, how do you feel about our taxes being wasted on recommendations that are implemented on the grounds of shoddy science. You seem to be disdainful of this happening with treatments to which you object, how would you feel about Dore or supplements being funded when the current evidence for them is so poor?

    I’d ask if you think that misleading people is OK but then you don’t really seem to read links properly.

    If you think that asking for an accurate report of evidence is irrelevant when someone has a lengthy publication record why don’t you state that openly? Holford claims repeatedly to be a man of science, the people here are holding him to his word, you don’t. When you claim to be scientific, then shouldn’t your work stand up to scientific scrutiny?

    If, like Holford, you repeatedly point out what you perceive to be other researchers’ conflicts of interest, should you be that surprised when people point out that you have far greater financial conflicts of interest? Did you write and complain to Radio 5 when he was caught out on this, on air, by Victoria Derbyshire?

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