Tag Archives: Food Is Better Medicine Than Drugs

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

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


Filed under Ben Goldacre, Jerome Burne, patrick holford

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


Filed under Food for the brain, Holford, Jerome Burne, patrick holford, supplements

Patrick Holford and Scientific Accuracy and Attention to Detail: He Needs It

Patrick Holford on ITV Lunchtime 16 April 2008
Visiting Professor Patrick Holford of Teesside University and Head of Science and Education at Biocare regularly portrays himself as a fearless advocate for scientific accuracy and rigour. Despite an abundance of evidence to the contrary, he is so convinced of his own competence that Holford regularly accuses others of inaccuracy and questions the integrity of leading researchers such as Professor Carolyn Summerbell (coincidentally, a senior academic at the University of Teesside; we should point out that Holford was in error, not Summerbell). Continue reading


Filed under Holford, patrick holford, supplements, University of Teesside

Patrick Holford Responds to Radio 4 Programme and Misses the Point: Part 2b

We are going to look at something interesting about the relationship between Food Is Better Medicine Than Drugs (FIBMTD) and the Food for the Brain Child Survey 2007. The former was written by Holford & Burne, and the latter by Holford & Fobbester.

The Food for the Brain Child Survey 2007 (pdf) is irredeemable. There is nothing to be done to salvage the report because the data collection and analyses are seriously flawed. There are serious issues concerning the survey questions and this is yet another object lesson in why research must be conducted using standardised and validated questionnaires. The data were farcical even before the revelation that Professors Holford, Philip Cowen and David Smith (amongst others) want us to believe that something of statistical significance can emerge from a comparison of 2 outlier groups from an unrepresentative survey of 10,222 children. Outlier groups of 32 and 42 children which, when added together, make up 0.72% of the children (or 2.36% or so if you are just looking at the SAT group, but the point holds that these 74 children are the entire prop for the dietary recommendations). Continue reading

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Patrick Holford and His Alternative to Anti-Depressants

Professor Patrick Holford has a remarkably agile PR team with helpful lacunae in their collective memories. 27.02.2007, Holford’s email subscribers received an email, What’s the alternative to ineffective anti-depressants? Continue reading


Filed under chromium, depression, Food Is Better Medicine Than Drugs, GL diet, glycaemic load, glycemic load, Goldacre, health, Holford, Mental Health, nutrition, patrick holford, supplements

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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Filed under Ben Goldacre, Food Is Better Medicine Than Drugs, Holford, Jerome Burne, nervology, patrick holford

Patrick Holford and His Tap-Dancing on the Late Late Show

Patrick Holford the international bowel-whisperer and supplement entrepreneur is familiar to us. Prepare to be dazzled by Patrick Holford the tap-dancer as he delivers a very partial account both of the training of nutritionists and the status of his own nutritional qualifications in a bravura performance on RTE’s The Late Late Show.

Patrick Holford had a 20 minute slot to promote Food Is Better Medicine Than Drugs on the Late Late Show (watch the video). As with the recent encounter Patrick Holford v. Dr. Sarah Jarvis smackdown on GMTV (partial transcript and commentary), Holford came up against one of those splendidly feisty women GPs who have embraced the right to speak their minds plainly in fine contradistinction to anything that their mothers might have tried to instill into them regarding that stifling social convention, “If you can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything at all”.

Discussions on the Late Late Show tend to be conducted in the seductively attractive cadences of well-read Hibernians and are both entertaining and soothing even if you have no interest in the subject-matter. Read remainder of entry


Filed under Emer Keeling, Food Is Better Medicine Than Drugs, Holford, Pat Kenny, patrick holford

Statins and Why Patrick Holford Is Breaking My Heart: Part 2

Patrick Holford regularly accuses scientists, doctors and the pharmaceutical industry of withholding or distorting research findings. In a promotional video for Food is Better Medicine than Drugs Holford casts himself and co-author Jerome Burne as Woodward and Bernstein figures battling against omnipotent forces. Holford espouses a belief in:

full spectrum dominance. [The pharmaceutical industry] literally influence the researchers, the journals, the doctors…So the information we get just simply isn’t the truth.

I’ve spent the last year with top, award-winning, medical journalist Jerome Burne, exposing the truth about the pharmaceutical industry…

We’ve…found that about 20% of drug prescriptions are given to patients for whom there is no evidence that it works at all. For example, statin drugs, designed to lower cholesterol. Almost 20,000 people have to take a statin for 5 years for one less heart attack-that is, if you haven’t already had a heart attack.

Scary stuff. Continue reading


Filed under Food Is Better Medicine Than Drugs, heart attack, Jerome Burne, NNT, number needed to treat, patrick holford, statins, supplements

Statins and Why Patrick Holford Is Breaking My Heart: Part 1

I don’t expect much of Patrick Holford. I thought that he was good for a little light relief, the occasional surge in blood pressure, a claim here, a statement there, that provokes a roll of the eyes and a shrug of the shoulders. I could never have anticipated that he would leave me goggling with disbelief and speechless. Ironically, it felt as if my heart had skipped a beat or two.

I accepted Amazon’s offer to watch a video clip and Meet the Author of Food is Better Medicine than Drugs. There was the usual riff on “Pharma Bad, Dolphins Good“. Continue reading


Filed under Food Is Better Medicine Than Drugs, heart attack, Jerome Burne, NNT, number needed to treat, patrick holford, statins, supplements