Monthly Archives: December 2009

Paul Flynn MP on Dore and the ASA

It has been nice to see a lot ofgood coverage of the recent Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) upholding of my complaint against Dore. One more forum to add to the list is Paul Flynn MP’s excellent blog: Flynn discusses how Dore “has been resurrected” and reminds readers of last year’s Early Day Motion about Dore.

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Holford: “Research has shown that women in particular tend to put on 7 pounds a year”

In the holiday season, people often worry about weight gain. I’m not sure that things quite add up with Holford’s blog’s contribution to the discussion, though. A contributor has blogged that

Research has shown that women in particular tend to put on 7 pounds a year. This steady weight gain is often linked to the excesses of the festive season, which are not discontinued come January, so more weight piles on year after year.

Assuming that a women starts out at 150lb at 18, a steady weight gain of 7lb/year would mean that she reached 500lb by her 68th birthday. This type of sustained weight gain is – clearly – unusual. While I am not sure on what research ‘has shown’ this level of weight gain, I suspect that things may be rather more complicated than the blog post suggests.

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Dore media and blog coverage

After Wednesday’s ASA ruling, it’s great to see Dore starting to get some critical publicity. The Sun’s Jane Symons reports that

Professor Maggie Snowling, a literacy expert based at York University, has analysed the trial most often used by promoters of the programme. She said: “There were no significant improvements on the key tasks of reading and writing. The improvements were in things like threading beads.”

Shirley Cramer of the charity Dyslexia Action welcomed the ruling. “The ASA have looked carefully at the evidence, which is what we have done. Scientists have said you cannot make claims on the basis of this flimsy evidence.”

She said that parents found paid-for internet links particularly confusing as many did not realise they were in effect advertisements.

“A lot of parents use the internet to research these problems, but one of the worrying things with this sort of commercial stuff is that parents often find it difficult to tell what is legitimate and what’s not.”

In the past she says the charity has been “innundated” with calls from people who felt let down after spending thousands on the controversial courses.

She added that personalised exercises can help some people with dyspraxia – but these are available on the NHS.

The Mirror reports that

the Advertising Standards Authority has asked Dynevor to stand up its claims.

The firm sent two studies but the ASA ruled both flawed and said the online plugs were misleading.

Continue reading

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ASA: Dore advert is “misleading” and breaches rules on “truthfullness” and “substantiation”

I was delighted to see that the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) has upheld a complaint of mine about Dore’s advertising. I complained about an advert referring to “help with Dyslexia, ADHD, Dyspraxia or Asperger’s”. The ASA has reviewed the evidence Dore submitted to support their claims, and found that:

the evidence was inadequate to support claims to treat those [Aspergers Syndrome and dyspraxia]. With regards to dyslexia and ADHD, we did not consider that the studies were sufficiently robust to support the treatment claims for those conditions, and we therefore concluded that the claim was misleading.

The ad breached CAP Code clauses 3.1 (Substantiation), 7.1 (Truthfulness) and 50.1 (Health and beauty products and therapies).

I am delighted that the ASA has made such a firm ruling. Continue reading

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Steiner Academy Hereford and access to computers

Catherine Payer’s TES article on Steiner education providing “ethos that fosters humanity” prompted me to take a quick look at the Steiner Academy Hereford (the UK’s only state-funded Steiner school). I was disappointed to find some rather misguided ideas about human-computer interaction. Their Home-School Agreement asks parents to commit to

Protecting my/our child from unsuitable and unwarranted access to some of the concerns and worries of the adult world and from unmonitored exposure and un-mediated access to media such as television and DVD, computer games, internet chat-rooms and so on. Medical research shows that screen-based activity such as TV, videos, films and computer games can have a negative effect on children (brain activity, concentration, heart-beat, emotional balance and well-being). The younger the child, the greater the effect. For the well-being of your child and their ability to access the education and programme of teaching and learning, please allow no regular screen-based activity/watching for under 8s, no more than 3 hours a week for 9 to 14s and moderate and selective use for young people aged 15 and over. Please try to make sure TVs and computers are not kept in your child’s room so that his/her bedroom is free to be a place of rest and comfort. (Further reading ‘Remote Controlled’ by Dr Aric Sigman & ‘Toxic Childhood’ by Sue Palmer, amongst others)

This is troubling for a number of reasons Continue reading

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