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”.
However, even after 2005, Rutherford has referred to his PhD studies as if they are current or near completion. Indeed, his online CV gives the impression that he is currently writing a PhD at Sheffield University; however, Sheffield have made clear that he did not even complete any substantive research on the thesis.
This is highly inappropriate behaviour – especially from a medical doctor such as Rutherford. Potential clients and collaborators might do well to reflect upon caveat emptor.
A final point to make is that – as a medical doctor in the UK – Rutherford is regulated by the General Medical Council (GMC). The GMC’s guide to Good Medical Practice asks doctors that
If you publish information about your medical services, you must make sure the information is factual and verifiable.
It also asks that
You must always be honest about your experience, qualifications and position
I am not sure how Rutherford’s behaviour fits with this guidance. Once again, though, caveat emptor.