Ben Goldacre BBC One Show September 8 2008.
Dr Ben Goldacre was on BBC 1’s One Show. Watch out for it on BBC iPlayer for September 8 (from 8:10 to 12:00 or thereabouts if you crave the added wisdom of Len Goodman). [Update, please use the iPlayer link if you can because this tells the BBC that you were interested in the Bad Science segment. For those who can’t, or for when it disappears, there is a YouTube.]
In an action-packed segment that serves as a lively precis of his book, Goldacre admonished the media for their poor science coverage and then took the viewer on a rapid tour of the Media Hall of Shame for Science Reporting and Obsession with Miracle Cures. Continue reading
Radio 4’s You & Yours today discussed the issues arising from the alleged injury of a client of nutritional therapist Barbara Nash, when Nash put the client onto a ‘detox diet’.
The programme (here and you can listen again here, while it’s still available) includes an interview with registered dietitian Catherine Collins, and the BANT Chair Emma Stiles: extraordinarily, Stiles apparently acknowledges that nutritional therapists do not practise evidence-based medicine. However, the segment began with Mr Page telling the sad story of how this diet – including lots of water and low sodium – progressed. Dawn Page consulted a nutritional therapist because she wanted to lose some weight, but she ended up in intensive care and still suffers from cognitive problems (this case was settled out of court for £810,000; Nash continues to deny responsibility for the injuries to Mrs Page, and due to the settlement there has not been a court finding on this case). Continue reading
You may remember that Miriam Barry of the Irish Association of Nutritional Therapy (IANT) offers a Response to the recent media coverage regarding antioxidants. She opens her response with these words:
As nutritional therapists we feel compelled to give the public the facts of this case. Please click here to inform yourself of the facts regarding this study.
BANT has a sufficiently flexible code of ethics that nutritional therapists are allowed to earn commission from selling tests and pills. That in itself is not particularly striking. What is unusual is that the therapist is under no obligation to declare this commission to the client (pdf):
In addition to supplying supplements as an integral part of a consultation, the Member may also act as a supplier of laboratory tests, or any other products related to Nutritional Therapy. The member may choose to benefit from trade discounts and commission payments when offered by the supplier on products purchased by him for such use. The member decides whether such payments, in whole or in part, are retained in his Nutritional Therapy business, or passed onto the client. [pg. 9; S 7.3 a); emphasis added.]
Professor Patrick Holford of Teesside University and Head of Science and Education at Biocare has been out and about in the mainstream media, providing the industry response to the Cochrane Review of Antioxidant supplements for prevention of mortality in healthy participants and patients with various diseases (pdf). In this, he was joined by assorted other representatives of the supplement industry in an interesting example of manufactroversy or an artificially contrived controversy. Bertrand Russell wrote:
A stupid man’s report of what a clever man says can never be accurate, because he unconsciously translates what he hears into something he can understand.