Roy Rutherford – who was Medical Director of Dore, a company selling a ‘miracle cure‘ for various specific learning difficulties – is currently marketing his services as an ‘expert’ in treating such difficulties [PDF]. As one might expect to see in the CV of an expert, Rutherford refers to his
PhD thesis- Sheffield University:
Studying the role of the cerebellum in the neurodevelopmental disorders of Dyslexia, Dyspraxia and ADD/ADHD.
Potential clients and fellow experts like to see evidence of good quality scholarship. When explaining his services in a letter to his fellow medical doctors [PDF] Rutherford states that
A prevailing theory of ADHD is one of poor cerebellar development and the consequent underdevelopment of the attentional circuitry (Castellanos X et al). I have personally spent 10 years studying the neuroscience behind this theory and am writing a PhD thesis on the subject
We were therefore surprised when somebody looking to research Rutherford’s work contacted Sheffield Uni and learned that Rutherford is no longer a PhD student there: he was registered as a part-time student from 2003-5 but “withdrew without completing any substantive research”. Continue reading
We were surprised to seeing the Independent running a story by Rob Sharp which can be summed up as ‘autistic child develops as she gets older (while parents invest lots of time and money in dubious treatments)’. This may be shocking to Independent journalists, but autism is a developmental difference, not developmental stasis. While it is always nice to see children developing, this ‘story’ is no more news than ‘pope revealed to be Catholic’ would be. Despite or because of an apparent lack of competent research, though, the story does find space to plug Defeat Autism Now and the Sewell Foundation: both organisations promoting dubious ‘treatments’ and ‘cures’ for autism.
More worrying, though, is what Richard Mills – quoted as research director for the charities Research Autism and the National Autistic Society – had to say about the dietary changes tried by the family. Continue reading
Another Holford blog entry argues that chromium
is well known to help stabilise blood sugar levels in diabetics at daily doses of 500mcg or more.
We think that it’s a bit more complicated than that. This issue is a favourite of Holford’s who cleaves to his opinion arguments that chromium supplementation should be focused on those who are known to be chromium deficient.
We posted a detailed discussion of this here, some time ago and as recently as November we suggested that it was time for him to update his recommendations. We would be pleased if Holford would take this on board. However, the restrictive comments policy on his blog does not allow us to post a comment to remind him of this interesting, important detail.
In June 2007, as the Autism Omnibus Hearings were in progress and the initial test case was being heard, Patrick Holford contacted his mailing list and asked them to sign a petition in support of Dr Andrew Wakefield. Although it doesn’t look like he ever signed the petition, it is clear that he influenced other people to sign, people who directly cited him as instrumental in the decision not to vaccinate children against preventable diseases.
Dr Carmel O’Donovan, Andrew Wakefield’s wife, recently emailed around asking for signatures in support of him. However, it seems that there is another petition, this one grandiosely and desperately asking people to sign up to We Support Andy Wakefield (Tiny URL’d). Age of Autism rather half-heartedly just reproduces the blusterous call for an enquiry (Tiny URL’d) and, without any trace of irony, condemns “the censorship of science” and the competence of Brian Deer in his remarkable investigative journalism.
We offer an annotated version of the petition: all links have been added by us and our text additions are in italics. Continue reading
Oh dear. Holford is blogging much more quickly that we could hope to point out his mistakes. However, one error of note in a recent post is Holford’s reference to “foods rich in saturated fats and devoid of essential fats (meat and dairy produce)”.
I thought it was common knowledge that most meats will contain at least some ‘essential’ fats: meat can, for example, make a useful contribution to omega 3 intake. I certainly wouldn’t suggest using red meat, pork or poultry as one’s main source of ‘essential’ fats, but meat can contain useful amounts of these fats. One would hope that any expert in nutrition would know this.
There is a credit card scam making the rounds. Targets ostensibly receive a letter from their credit card company that informs them that they have gone over their credit limit and that further transactions are suspended until the over-payment is paid and that must be done immediately.
The target is invited to contact the credit card company on 0800 03 11 03 (their spacing, 0800 031103) to discuss any queries and make the payment.
If you call the number, you will be asked for a Switch or Delta card number to make this payment. Continue reading
Former Visiting Professor Patrick Holford has what he calls a blog.[a]
So far, it contains the usual inaccuracies and reproduces articles that he wrote some time ago and Holford seems to regard it as a way of recycling his usual work.
However, this has been such a remarkable week for exposing the shoddy edifice that supports some of Holford’s cash cows and entrepreneurial enterprises that we had wondered if he would crack and write about them. Continue reading
Patrick Holford’s latest blog post advises readers that:
If you are suffering as a result of recession, and under the immense stress of real or pending debt; if you are confused about how countries can pump billions of currency into the banking system, or go bust; if you have effectively become enslaved, working harder and harder, to cover your own costs; then you might be interested in knowing how money is made – why all money is debt – how the ultimate control over people, the modern day equivalent of salvery, is achieved through money. If so, I would strongly recommend you see the film Zeitgeist Addendum.
For an holistic understanding of health and illness (I refuse to write about ‘wellness’) it certainly is important to understand the complexities of human societies. Recession – and its consequences, such as rising unemployment and financial uncertainty – can have significant health impacts. This is a serious topic, and it is therefore unfortunate that Holford’s expertise here is on a par with his knowledge of the field of nutrition: Zeitgeist Addendum is an unfortunate choice of video to recommend. Wikipedia on Zeitgeist Movie and Addendum gives a flavour of the horrors of the Addendum. The Irish Times was one of the few papers to review the Movie: Zeitgeist: the nonsense.
These are surreal perversions of genuine issues and debates, and they tarnish all criticism of faith, the Bush administration and globalisation – there are more than enough factual injustices in this world to be going around without having to invent fictional ones.
One really wishes Zeitgeist was a masterful pastiche of 21st-century paranoia, a hilarious mockumentary to rival Spinal Tap. But it’s just deluded, disingenuous and manipulative nonsense.
Sadly, practice does not make perfect and Zeitgeist Addendum is not an improvement.
Rather than offering an holistic account of the effects of recession on public health, Holford simply recommends a conspiracy theory video. Of course, a single credulous reference to a largely worthless source does not make a Holford text: Holford shows how much he cares by bringing his own special touch, over-extrapolating from this film to fit his own special agenda Continue reading