Category Archives: Jerome Burne

Holford, Burne and homeopathy on the NHS

JDC has just put up an excellent post about Holford, Burne and Serotonin pills: noting that, while Jerome Burne is given space on Holford’s blog to argue for the need to “Save NHS money on ineffective drugs, not homeopathy”, Holford’s own recommendations for depression are neither cheap nor based on good evidence. I think that two further things are worth emphasising re this post on Holford’s blog:

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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


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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.

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Jerome Burne and Bio-Identical Hormone Replacement Therapy: Part 1

After L’Affaire Economist, (parts 1, 2, 3) HolfordWatch really wanted to be able to commend Jerome Burne for something. We have noticed that although his last few articles in the Daily Mail haven’t actually carried links to the research upon which he relies, he has provided enough detail to allow the careful reader to identify the papers. It would, of course, be good if we did not have to resort to a treasure hunt to identify the primary sources but that is probably a confluence of out-moded thinking by both journalists and newspaper.

Today, Burne gave generous amounts of detail as to one of the major sources for his claims in his article: Should middle-aged women be taking natural HRT?. HolfordWatch was poised to congratulate Burne for semi-identifying this work up until we actually read the paper that he describes as a “major review”: Are Bioidentical Hormones (Estradiol, Estriol, and Progesterone) Safer or More Efficacious than Commonly Used Synthetic Versions in Hormone Replacement Therapy?. Leaving aside the lack of appropriate rigour in the paper, we noticed that, despite his usual exquisite sensitivity in such matters, Burne seems to be overlooking the “review” author’s failure to declare what might appear, to others, as a substantial conflict of interest. Continue reading


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Jerome Burne, Daniel Amen and SPECT scans: “Are you wrecking your brain?”

We were surprised to see Jerome Burne’s article in the Mail, reporting that Daniel G. Amen‘s work:

explains how behaviour such as anxiety, anger or impulsiveness could be related to the way specific areas in your brain work. Continue reading


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Daily Mail, Jerome Burne Want to Scare or Mis-inform Readers About the Chickenpox Vaccine

Distressed child receives a vaccination

Distressed child receives a vaccination

Every day there are important and essential discussions about the UK vaccination schedule. These discussions take place in Well-Baby Clinics, with doctors and nurses, with family members and friends, queuing in the supermarket, on message boards and blogs and the pages of newspapers. The common thread to all of them is the need for good quality, appropriate information.

So, what were the Daily Mail and Jerome Burne thinking when they put together this latest compilation of innuendo framed by the emotive photograph of a distressed child who seems trapped between two uncaring, faceless white coats? Continue reading


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NYT Exposes Ben Goldacre and Gimpy as Critical of Homeopathy Because They Might Be In the Pay of Big Pharma: Homeopathy Resource Speaks Out

Official Homeopathy Resource breaks some shocking news: New York Times: Beware of Anti-Homeopathy Journalists and Bloggers- They May Be Sponsored By Drug Companies. Drawing upon the recent (good) article in the New York Times about the conflicts of interest of health journalists, they express their anguish at the conflict of interest that they imagine for Dr Ben Goldacre and for Gimpy. Continue reading


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Food for the Brain, Russell Partnership and Universities That Should Know Better: Updated

The Economist recently carried an article that reports a Food for the Brain conference and it linked to the charity, lending it some share of respectability. So, it is with bassoon notes of incompetence and inevitability that we learn of some Food for the Brain literature that has made its way into a café in Imperial College, London. Our sources tell us that, to date, no students have complained about the leaflet although there are 300 medical students, 200 biology students and many students of other science disciplines. So, either they thought it was an elaborate po-mo joke and they weren’t rising to it (if you’re at Imperial, there’s probably a good chance that you are already doing something right, vis-à-vis, using the brain well, studying efficiently) and dismissed it as yet another badly-written polemic by some interest group or other (actually…). Continue reading


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Who Wrote About Food for the Brain in The Economist: Conflict of Interest?

In a recent burst of autobiographical disclosure and outrage I posted The Economist: The End of a Childhood Illusion.

I can’t begin to describe my disappointment that The Economist somehow veered from its olympian standards and published a piece of such gob-smacking credulity that I was left waiting for the volte-face punchline that didn’t come. More extraordinary is the fact that The Economist links to Food for the Brain (FFTB) and lends its gravitas to that organisation by carrying this article about its recent conference (you may recall the awfulness of the lamentable Food for the Brain Child Survey 2007, details in further reading).

Treatment on a plate displays shoddy scholarship that is a strong warning sign that there is either a substantial misunderstanding or an undisclosed conflict of interest: this is not typical of The Economist…which makes this article all the more dispiriting.

Thanks to an impeccable source, we have learned the identity of the writer. Continue reading


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Patrick Holford and the Goldacre Law of BS Dynamics

Patrick Holford adopts a certain triumphalist tone when praising the academic and scientific gravitas of Food Is Better Medicine Than Drugs:

Every single section, on arthritis, on diabetes, hormonal imbalance, depression, attention deficit, etc. Every single chapter was checked by a professor who specialised in that area.

For reasons we’ve previously explained, Holford Watch begs leave to express polite disbelief about this claim. Continue reading

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