Patrick Holford has broken his (unaccountable) silence about pandemic fears around Mexico City flu (aka, swine flu). Take vitamin C. Jab more vitamin C into your veins. Take more supplements. Black elderberry makes it harder for viruses to enter your cells. Roll up. Learn about the Rath formulation that cures everything from cancer to HIV and flu. Roll up. Continue reading
Monthly Archives: April 2009
Patrick Holford’s Recommendation for Swine Flu – Same As Those for Bird Flu But With Phrase Substitution – Updated
Men’s Health has a good reputation so HolfordWatch was disappointed to come across: Shrink Wrapped: Strip fat with our precision engineered bangers and mash. The article is a good example of a dietary recommendation that is based on a reasonable premise but is badly communicated and promotes confusion. Continue reading
Orlistat – branded as Alli – weight loss pills are now on sale over the counter in UK pharmacies. Weight loss drugs are frequently abused, and Dr Crippen raises concerns that the pharmacist working in a bricks and mortar shop selling Alli might
not understand the realities of the drug and in any case he (or his masters) will be concentrating on the flashing pound sign
However, we were concerned to see that Lloyds Pharmacy now sells Alli pills online. While pharmacists may struggle with advising patients they meet face-to-face on Alli, selling online raises additional issues.
Would-be purchasers from Lloyds do have to complete an online questionnaire, asking them to give details such as weight and age and confirm statements such as
I am ready to adopt a reduced calorie, lower-fat diet
Unfortunately, although the questionnaires are checked by a pharmacist before the pills are posted out, people sometimes lie on such questionnaires. If someone wants – for example – to use Alli for weight loss despite a low Body Mass Index, they could easily lie about their weight. If a would-be purchaser fails to confirm tick boxes to agree with statements such as that they are willing to follow a lower-fat diet, Lloyds’ website helpfully reminds them that they must check the appropriate box in order to buy the product. Continue reading
Patrick Holford is Head of Science and Education at Biocare and a busy man. However, he has a little time on his hands since becoming a former Visiting Professor at the University of Teesside so he started a blog on which only paying-subscribers were allowed to comment. Sadly, despite the additional writing practice, Holford’s ability to provide accurate references or even link to the correct paper has not improved. We also have a splendid example of flip-flopping on the value of meta-analyses that is nicely captured in a recent Will Wilkinson summary of David Brooks:
Scientists have discovered X. Mostly X vanquishes my intellectual bugbears and confirms me in my prejudices. To the extent it doesn’t, science isn’t really an authoritative source of wisdom, now is it?
In response to a reader comment, I looked to see whether Durham’s fish oil
trial initiative report had been published. When we got a copy of this report through a Freedom of Information request (in October 2008) we were told that this had been passed to Durham’s web team. However, I cannot find this report on Durham’s website.
I was expecting Durham and Equazen to trumpet the release of this report: I had thought that ‘Durham schools initiative fails to show any benefit to fish oil (Equazen EyeQ) supplementation’ would have been an excellent headline. Oddly, though, this report has sneaked into the public domain (with no apparent publicity or fanfare) through the Bishop Auckland Town Hall (BATH) website [PDF].
Our opinion regarding the quality of the report and the underlying statistical work still stands. I find Durham and Equazen’s treatment of this research odd, though – after publicising the initiative to a massive extent, why do they seem to be being so quiet about the report’s publication (on the prestigious BATH website) and the report’s results? Continue reading
Dr Anton Emmanuel is a Senior Lecturer in Gastroenterology at UCL. He has also studied the use of IgG testing kits – specifically, Yorktest testing kits. His research has been referred to (very likely inappropriately) by Yorktest in defence of their products. He is also one of the experts listed as backing Food Intolerance Awareness – which refers people to Yorktest for IgG tests.
When Radio 4’s Case Notes investigated food intolerance, Emmanuel was interviewed re IgG testing. We were surprised to hear him offering a rather (in our opinion, appropriately) negative assessment of the diagnostic value of such tests for identifying food intolerances.
Emmanuel is introduced by the presenter as not being very impressed with testing kits, and describes this process of testing as “not nearly as specific as one would like it to be”. For Emmanuel, the fact that wheat, yeast etc. come up often on these tests probably reflects “as much as anything else, our exposure to these things in our diet” rather than a specific intolerance/allergy.
Emmanuel is not impressed with these tests due to, among other issues:
- No external standard as to levels which show intolerance: the tests rely on internal standards which aren’t as robust as one might like.
- The effects in the patients Emmanuel has seen using these tests have largely been unimpressive, period. Even where patients did appear to benefit, results have not been great in the longer term.
- A slightly leaky gut may lead to an IgG response to various proteins. It is erroneous to tie this response to specific proteins.
Last year, the Dore – which claimed to be able to treat dyslexia and other specific learning difficulties – went into administration in the UK and Australia. Dore UK failed to refund all the money that families had spent on what was promoted – without a good evidence-base – as a miracle cure. Now, Dore New Zealand has gone into liquidation.
Those who are owed money/services by Dore New Zealand should seek advice ASAP. More details on brainduck’s and gimpy’s blogs. A Liquadator’s 1st Report is on New Zealand Companies’ House. We hope that Dore will soon put up an announcement on its own website (the Liquidators’ Report is dated 23 March 2009): explaining what happened, and what people it owes money to and is providing services to ought to do next.
People Successfully Convinced that Healthy Food Is Expensive So Resorting to Supplement Pills: Patrick Holford and Vitazyme
Former Visiting Professor Patrick Holford is Head of Science and Education at Biocare so he has a substantial and understandable interest in selling supplements. Creating a large-scale market for supplements depends upon several factors. The factors include convincing people that:
- they have clinical or ‘sub-clinical’ vitamin or mineral deficiencies
- the food that is commonly available and forms their regular diet is deficient in vitamins, minerals and other micro-nutrients
- there is good evidence that supplements improve health or are adequate prophylactics.
We were fascinated to see that Dr Roy Rutherford (who helped found Dore and is listed as a Medical Consultant there) has now set up the Autism Treatment and Prevention Centre (AUTAP). Given that there is currently very little in the way of proven autism treatments/prevention techniques, we were fascinated to see what they had to say about autism treatments. We were not impressed.
The site offers lots of referency, sciency-looking links – so we thought we would follow through a few of these. One might first note that a positive link to What Doctors Don’t Tell You is not a good sign. However, optimistically, we ploughed on. Continue reading