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:
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
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.
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
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
Lydia Slater, writing in the Daily Mail, argues that Burne and Holford’s book Food is Better Medicine than Drugs is one of the “best of the New Year diet books”. It claims that the book is “packed with sound science and statistics” and advises that it is “Great for…people with chronic conditions”.
We would beg to differ, having gone through this book in frankly rather tedious detail but still failed to adequately cover the errors contained within. Continue reading
Food for the Brain - A Sell Out and we couldn't agree more
Just a note to say that after our disappointment concerning The Economist
and Treatment on a Plate
and the news that it was written by Jerome Burne
, there is a graceful and gracious coda to l’affaire: Clarification: Treatment of drug addiction
. Continue reading
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
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
A long time ago, MythBusters tested a scenario that recreated the classic vandalised police car scene from American Graffiti (it involved a chain being passed round the rear axle and being attached to a post). Adam Savage was brought to book by the camera crew for misremembering his predictions of the probability of the axle being ripped out of the car. When Savage was confronted with the video evidence of his errors and his revised estimates of the probability, he famously riposted: “I reject your reality and substitute my own”.
Professor Patrick Holford seems to be pursuing a similar line of defence (JKN as previous version on Holford site has disappeared). Continue reading