I have been disappointed with some of the content of the BBC’s Grow Your Own Drugs: in particular, its discussion of the use of turmeric and willow bark. I have therefore submitted two complaints to the BBC, and will explain my concerns in this post.
The programme suggests a daily dose of turmeric tea for arthritis treatment: arguing the curcumin in this may be beneficial. Sadly, though, this treatment is simply implausible: curcumin’s bioavailability is poor and (even if black pepper can improve bioavailability) it seems impossible that a daily cuppa would give enough of a dose to do anything particularly useful. I pointed this out to the BBC, and they responded to me:
While we appreciate your concerns, it’s always been the case that James Wong doesn’t believe that natural remedies are a replacement for conventional medicine, and he reminds viewers of this during the series. The programme’s website also explains this
While I am delighted that the BBC make clear that implausible treatments shouldn’t be used to replace actual medicine, it is nonetheless unhelpful for them to suggest implausible treatments in the first place. I have therefore asked them to consider my complaint again. Continue reading
I was disappointed to some new, rather bad nutrition content on the UK Government’s Science: So What? So Everything website: there is some unfortunate discussion of turmeric, ginger and cancer. Continue reading
Expert PR people will tell you that the best form of advertising is that which looks like editorial rather than advertising. It is comparatively cheap and in ‘advertising value equivalents’, it is invaluable to the pundit whose work is thereby promoted because it enhances not only their pundit brand equity (‘Pundit Z – as featured in The New York Times‘ etc.) but can lead to increased book sales and sales of related products. It seems that people trust editorial more than advertising because the perception is that the material overcame close scrutiny to make it into the main part of the paper/broadcast, rather than purchasing advertising space.
Tara Parker-Pope recently posted one of those ever popular lists: The 11 Best Foods You Aren’t Eating. As soon as HolfordWatch saw the title, we suspected that we were about to read a list from a nutritionist rather than a Registered Dietitian, Continue reading
There have been lots of exciting news stories about turmeric over the last few years: from claims that it might slow Alzheimer’s Disease, to reducing the incidence of leukaemia, or being a potent weapon against several cancers and cystic fibrosis. There are the usual claims that it has general anti-inflammatory effects and modulates the immune system although the mechanisms are presently unclear. There is a good overview about curcumin and some of its principal researchers in a recent Scientific American: Spice Healer. Continue reading