Monthly Archives: July 2009

Joanna Blythman: Please Read the Data Appendices About Organic Food Before Conjuring ‘Cancerous Conspiracies’: Part 1

Dear Daily Mail Editors: congratulations on a very dramatic headline. A cancerous conspiracy to poison your faith in organic food: that is pure genius, building nicely on the recent reprimand to ‘the authorities’ for making us Scared to death? The REAL worry is today’s culture of fear. You will understand how many readers chuckled to read that the Daily Mail, of all newspapers, is accusing others of scare-mongering. Continue reading

15 Comments

Filed under Current events, nutrition

GCC: evidence for chiropractic for infant colic is “inconclusive”

We were interested to see (among a number of documents sent in response to our FOIA request to the General Chiropractic Council) that the GCC acknowledges that

The available evidence of the efficacy of the chiropractic contribution to the management of some types of asthma, migraine headache and infant colic is inconclusive

While one might argue that the evidence re chiropractic treatment of some of these conditions is actually negative, this GCC acknowledgement is still significant (we were pleased to see that this letter is already discussed on the Bad Reason blog).

The BCA libel case against Simon Singh has generated significant criticism. BCA responded by arguing that

It has never been the BCA’s case that the evidence is overwhelmingly conclusive. It is the BCA’s case that there is good evidence.

Does the UK chiropractic’s statutory regulator disagree with the BCA on this? And will we now see the GCC standing up for Singh and critiquing the BCA’s position?

5 Comments

Filed under patrick holford

BBC1 lets Scott Quinnell plug Dore, uncritically

I was interested to see this clip on YouTube: apparently broadcast 26/6/09*. The interviewer gives Scott Quinnell ample time to plug Dore for the treatment of dyslexia, dyspraxia, ADHD, autism and Asperger Syndrome. There are a number of important issues that the segment fails to cover. Among other concerns:
– There is no mention of the lack of good evidence that Dore is effective, or the high cost of the programme.
– There is no mention that Dynevor, which now owns Dore, was established by Quinnell (the interviewer actually introduces Quinnell’s involvement in Dore as ‘charity work’, although Quinnell makes clear that Dore is a business).
– There is no mention that Dore UK went into administration last year (something that prospective clients might want to know about, before they hand over their money). Continue reading

10 Comments

Filed under ADHD, autism, autistic spectrum disorders, Dore, dyslexia, dyspraxia

Bang Goes the Theory website: poor science communication from the BBC

Having heard that one of the producers involved with the BBC’s Bang Goes the Theory believes that virtually all science blogging is rubbish, I was expecting great things from the programme’s website. After all, they would be aiming for much higher standards than all the rubbish science blogs. Sadly, I was disappointed. Continue reading

5 Comments

Filed under patrick holford

A Tale of Two WorkForces in the Same Workplace: Different Rules for Dietitians and Nutritionists in the NHS?

Last week the newspapers covered the story of Katie Peck who is both a degree-credentialled nutritionist and a Registered Dietitian. What is particularly interesting about this story is not the nature of some of her advice but that had she been recruited to work as a nutritionist, rather than RD, in her role at an NHS Diabetes Clinic, then there would not have been a hearing involving the Health Professions Council (HPC) and it is plausible that there would be no mechanism to allow scrutiny of the evidence-base for her advice to patients (the hearing has been adjourned until December, Mrs Peck denies any wrong-doing).

So, if you were to dispense some advice that your colleagues claim to lack an appropriate evidence base as an RD, then you might be asked to account for your actions before the HPC. However, if you dispense the same advice as a nutritionist (and, let’s imagine a scenario where this is a BANT rather than Nutrition Therapy Council nutritionist), then the route for challenging the advice is unclear at best. Continue reading

16 Comments

Filed under patrick holford, supplements

Jerome Burne and Bio-Identical Hormone Replacement Therapy: Part 3

Jerome Burne and Bio-Identical Hormone Replacement Therapy: Parts 1 and 2 covered some difficulties with Kent Holtorf’s review article, Are Bioidentical Hormones (Estradiol, Estriol, and Progesterone) Safer or More Efficacious than Commonly Used Synthetic Versions in Hormone Replacement Therapy?, relating to a potential conflict of interest (despite a statement to the contrary) and the completeness and quality of the review. For this final examination of Jerome Burne’s Should middle-aged women be taking natural HRT?, we focus on a paper for which we had to guess the identity: Unequal risks for breast cancer associated with different hormone replacement therapies: results from the E3N cohort study. (Again, This Really Is Not Good Enough or TRINGE.) Continue reading

15 Comments

Filed under Jerome Burne

Jerome Burne and Bio-Identical Hormone Replacement Therapy: Part 2

Jerome Burne is co-author of Food Is Better Medicine Than Drugs (FIBMTD) with Former Visiting Professor Patrick Holford. FIBMTD has a chapter on Balancing Hormones in the Menopause -The HRT scandal vs natural control: there is a brief discussion of “Natural progesterone – a safer way with hormones”.

Progesterone is given in amounts equivalent to that normally produced by a woman who is ovulating (between 20 and 40 mg a day) and, unlike oestrogen or synthetic progestins, it has no known cancer risk – in fact…quite the opposite. [pg. 167, the reference for this bold assertion is a self-help book, not a journal paper or similar, if you were curious. And, no, no specific page reference or indication that this is a study/trial, in vitro, in vivo or animal.]

Mid-May we noticed that Burne had left a long comment, recommending his own research, on a post about The Alternative that Isn’t: Bioidentical Hormones at Science-Based Pharmacy. Gazing into our crystal ball, we anticipated that a Burne special on the topic must be in progress and so were not surprised to read today’s Should middle-aged women be taking natural HRT? in the Daily Mail. The shorthand version of the remainder of this post is:

No. Not if you are relying upon the Holftorf review to provide a comprehensive overview of the relevant evidence on efficacy and safety.

Continue reading

4 Comments

Filed under Food Is Better Medicine Than Drugs, Jerome Burne, patrick holford