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.