Tangled Webs

October 2nd, 2005 by Ben Goldacre in alternative medicine, bad science, bbc, magnets, PhDs, doctors, and qualifications, references, very basic science | 46 Comments »

Ben Goldacre
Saturday October 1, 2005
The Guardian

The plot around a BBC online health correspondent gets thicker. Last week, you will recall, we were pondering the ethics and wisdom of Jacqueline Young dishing out preposterous, made-up, pseudoscientific nonsense as if it was authoritative BBC fact, with phrases such as: “Implosion researchers have found that if water is put through a spiral its electrical field changes and it then appears to have a potent, restorative effect on cells.” This bizarre claim has disappeared in a puff of electrons since my complaints although, amusingly, on the internet nothing ever really dies, and you can still revel in the faux-authoritative glory of the original BBC piece, via Google’s cache.

Top marks go to reader Ben Rubinstein for spotting an obscure chatroom post that he suspects may have been the source for her ramblings on spirals. I contacted the Beeb, but they haven’t told me when the Young article went up, so we can’t verify this. In fact, they’re not very forthcoming on Jacqueline Young at all. I publicly doubted last week whether she really was “originally trained in the NHS as a clinical psychologist”, as claimed in her BBC biog, since the people who run the register had never heard of her, and she didn’t seem to have the relevant current qualification (oh, and because I work with clinical psychologists, and they are clever and sensible). I put my allegation directly to the BBC press office, and a week later they haven’t got back to me. Hear the silence.

Meanwhile her pseudoscientific ramblings still appear all over the BBC’s health site. Suddenly everything by her has: “This article was last reviewed in September 2005″ at the bottom, although not reviewed all that carefully, to be fair. Take this from her article on cranial osteopathy, riddled with half truths: “Sutherland found that the cranial bones (the skull bones encasing the brain) weren’t fused in adulthood, as was widely believed, but actually had a cycle of slight involuntary movement.” In fact the cranial bones do fuse in adulthood.

She goes on: “This movement was influenced by the rhythmic flow of cerebrospinal fluid (the nourishing and protective fluid that circulates through the spinal canal and brain) and could become blocked.” There have now been five studies on whether “cranial osteopaths” can indeed feel these movements, as they claim, and it’s an easy experiment to do: ask a couple of cranial osteopaths to write down the frequency of the rhythmic pulses on the same person’s skull, and see if they give the same answer. They don’t. A rather crucial well-replicated finding to leave out of your story.

Could the BBC reasonably be expected to know this? Well yes, since they were told in October 2004 by Ray Girvan from the excellent Apothecary’s Drawer blog: he has been making formal complaints about this article for a year now, with a contemptuous lack of response. To me, this is borne of an ambiguity about the status of what’s on the page. The BBC has several long and sanctimonious policies on accuracy and probity in reporting: if “alternative science” coverage is specifically exempted from these, they should say so, loud and clear. I ask merely for clearer labelling.

· Please send your bad science to bad.science@guardian.co.uk


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46 Responses



  1. Ben Goldacre said,

    October 3, 2005 at 6:13 pm

    hi, sorry the server was down over the weekend and not taking any comments. and i’d also like to take this moment to say sorry to all the poor journalists and alternative therapists who i’ve ever been horrible to. i recognise now that they were only trying to make the world a better place while my attitude toward them has been consistently childish and counterproductive.

  2. avenger said,

    October 4, 2005 at 12:37 am

    So the BBC can’t even make up its own rubbish, but plagiarises it from chatrooms?

    it’s at punjabkesari.com/health/water.htm too, though that one looks plagiarised from the BBC version.

  3. Gareth Owen said,

    October 4, 2005 at 12:27 pm

    Just for some bonus rail-at-the-BBC, There’s this beauty. I love that graph — look! there’s a correlation, and before you can say “Post hoc ergo propter hoc”, a causal relationship has been willed into existence. A left a comment, but it doesn’t seem to have appeared yet.

  4. amoebic vodka said,

    October 4, 2005 at 5:43 pm

    That reminds us of the shoe size determines intelligence in children example that is used (universally as far as we can tell) in maths lessons to explain why data should be interpreted carefully.

  5. Adam said,

    October 5, 2005 at 10:37 am

    Gareth: that graph looks suspiciously like it was drawn by the folks behind Decline in pirates causes global warming.

  6. Gareth Owen said,

    October 5, 2005 at 11:57 am

    Well, it doesn’t look like my reply will get an airing? All I did was suggest that they plotted graphs of binge drinking alongside “popularity of Cleethorpes as a holiday destination”, “number of children christened Kylie” and “average wage of professional footballers.”

    I wish I’d thought of global temperature. It would’ve been nice to prove that binge drinking creates global warming (or maybe the increased temperatures causes us to drink more).

  7. Jacqueline Young said,

    October 6, 2005 at 6:04 am

    Dear Ben,

    As you will have noted from my comment sent in response to your first column I am indeed qualified as a clinical psychologist and, I hope, also ‘sensible’ and in possession of some intelligence like the clinical psychology colleagues you refer to!

    As you know I have written to you separately via the BBC, on their request, with a detailed response to the comments in your two columns. However, since that may take a couple of days to reach you , while this blog is already in the public domain, I wish to state for the record now that all the factual points (ie not your opinions) that you have made with reference to myself and the BBC’s handling of this matter are entirely unfounded and incorrect.

    I trust you will kindly post this comment on your site for the benefit of your readers and take the opportunity to read my response before you write further on this matter.

    Many thanks,
    Jacqueline Young

  8. Gareth Owen said,

    October 6, 2005 at 4:00 pm

    Ooh, there’s an interesting development.

    Will we finally discover what implosion researchers do, or what spiralised water is?

    A nation-with-nothing-better-to-do holds its breath.

  9. Dave M said,

    October 6, 2005 at 5:50 pm

    I think we are more likely to find out that writing about complementary therapy for the BBC provides you with some seriously kick-ass libel lawyers…

  10. martin g said,

    October 6, 2005 at 6:49 pm

    Interested readers might like to try making their own supply of Spiralised Water – by following instructions found here :

    user.tninet.se/~hao062h/metaphysics/PETeng.html

  11. MostlySunny said,

    October 7, 2005 at 7:46 am

    oh dear – is the good doctor going to have to set up a bananaballs fund a la Private Eye…?

  12. Steve Bond said,

    October 7, 2005 at 6:00 pm

    “…all the factual points (ie not your opinions) that you have made with reference to myself and the BBC’s handling of this matter are entirely unfounded and incorrect.”

    All of them? Well it’s Friday afternoon and I feel pedantic, so I’ve picked out what I think are all the factual points that Ben made in both of his articles.

    * That Ben (posing as ‘Quentin’) received a letter sometime towards the end of August from the BBC Press Office that contains the text he cites above.
    * That Ben received no further correspondence from the BBC Press Office between then and 1 Oct 2005.
    * That Ben contacted the British Psychological Society and was told that they’d never heard of Young, which he takes to imply that a) she trained before 1990, b) she’s changed her name, or c) she never was trained as a clinical psychologist.
    * That the claim about water spiralisation in Young’s article has been removed since Ben’s complaints.
    * That the BBC did not tell Ben when the Young article went online.
    * That Ben put an allegation (that Young was not trained in the NHS as a clinical psychologist) to the BBC press office, and they had not responded by 1 Oct 2005.
    * That Young’s articles still appear all over the BBC’s health site, and all have “This article was last reviewed in September 2005″ at the bottom
    * That Young wrote on that site: “Sutherland found that the cranial bones (the skull bones encasing the brain) weren’t fused in adulthood, as was widely believed, but actually had a cycle of slight involuntary movement.”
    * That she also wrote: “This movement was influenced by the rhythmic flow of cerebrospinal fluid (the nourishing and protective fluid that circulates through the spinal canal and brain) and could become blocked.”
    * That the BBC were informed of inaccuracy of this claim by Ray Girvan in October 2004, who has been making formal complaints about this article since then.
    * That the BBC have not responded to these complaints.
    * That the BBC has several policies on accuracy and probity in reporting.

    Have I missed any? These are all “entirely unfounded and incorrect”, yes?

  13. Alex B said,

    October 8, 2005 at 5:47 pm

    Is it possible that she infact trained abroard?

  14. Alex B said,

    October 8, 2005 at 6:10 pm

    oops sorry just noticed it said NHS trained

  15. janey said,

    October 9, 2005 at 5:11 pm

    I don’t think the article said she WASN’T a clinical psychologist, and it is perfectly possible that she is a clinical psychologist. But it is also reasonable to doubt it, in the light of her biased portrayal of facts in her articles, and the beeb not getting back on that easy question about her.

    By the way, have you seen that the BBC website has changed her cranial therapy page now? They changed her spiral water page too. I wonder if they are going to check all of them now.

  16. Tessa K said,

    October 9, 2005 at 7:25 pm

    Given what the BBC are doing with the new-style DNA science message boards, it’s not suprising that they are cavalier in their treatment of dodgy science. They have cut down nearly 20 nature and science boards to four combined ones. After complaints, they added a fifth. So now science is flooded out by people ranting about fox hunting and chatting about their pets. A lot of science posters have left for other boards. This hardly bodes well for the future of science on the BBC boards as assorted nutters, creationists and New Age morons will be free to roam unchallenged, chanting their mantra: ‘I’m entitled to my opinions’.

    Back to Ben’s piece on media graduates running science stuff…

    At least now we can post links, so now when I rant about Teeth McKeith, I can link to here.

  17. Ray said,

    October 9, 2005 at 8:50 pm

    Yeah: “Sutherland found” has changed to “Sutherland believed”. It doesn’t alter the basic bias-by-omission in failing to mention explicit evidence against proponents’ claims for the technique. Compare the equivalent craniosacral therapy page at the Channel 4 microsite. Like all the pages for therapies there, it has a prominent what’s the evidence? paragraph: “There is no scientific evidence for the cranial rhythmic impulse. Practitioners say it is too subtle for current measuring instruments and claim that training enables their hands and fingers to detect the rhythm”.

    I’d believe the BBC’s commitment to balance and accuracy if it did likewise. A few representative sceptical links wouldn’t go amiss either.

  18. Wiki said,

    October 12, 2005 at 12:42 am

    That [BBC] article would be trashed as POV ["point of view"] on Wikipedia.

    Sutherland believed that the cranial bones (the skull bones encasing the brain) weren’t fused in adulthood, as was widely thought, but actually had a cycle of slight involuntary movement. He suggested that this movement …

    claimed movement

    …was influenced by the rhythmic flow of cerebrospinal fluid (the nourishing and protective fluid that circulates through the spinal canal and brain) and could become blocked. He developed refined and subtle …

    Prestige terms.

    … techniques using very gentle manipulative pressure to encourage the release of stresses and strains in the cranium and throughout the body…

    claimed to encourage the release

    It’s particularly effective for treating children, and even babies, with problems such as glue ear, colic, sleeplessness, or birth trauma …

    Define “effective”.

    The technique uses very light pressure to evaluate …

    said to evaluate

    …ease of motion and rhythm within the cranio-sacral system and to balance it. It is thought …

    Who by?

    …that this process can activate the body’s natural corrective healing mechanisms.

    And don’t forget those details about lack of evidence and repeatability.

  19. Ben Goldacre said,

    October 12, 2005 at 12:46 am

    I love you WIki guys. The probity of it all. And remember, you were reading the BBC article after the BBC changed it in response to my article.

  20. martin g said,

    October 12, 2005 at 8:29 pm

    Personally, I prefer Scalar Wave Activated water.

    www.lifetechnology.org/h2x.htm

    Check their products page for a whole conucopia of imaginative wonders . . .

    www.lifetechnology.org/index-3.html

  21. Wiki said,

    October 12, 2005 at 11:56 pm

    Hey, and I see all the BBC complementary pages are now “medically reviewed by Dr Rob Hicks”. They don’t tell you this is a GP who’s deeply into complementary therapies. Yeah, I’m sooo convinced of the impartiality of this. Not. Could we have it medically reviewed by someone who thinks it’s all shite? Or just somebody (re my previous post) who understands the basics of journalism?

  22. Jacqueline Young said,

    October 13, 2005 at 12:52 am

    Sorry to disillusion you Ben but the article was not changed in response to your piece! The change to the word ‘believed’ was suggested by me back in June 05 immediately following receipt of the query Ray kindly submitted about this item. It was suggested purely as an interim measure as I had been requesting permission and finance for updating and revising my entire contribution to the site (over 50,000 words) and was still waiting to get it. This change was agreed by the editor back in June but it was only noticed last week during routine checking that it had not been implemented. It was then actioned. I agree however that it is still unsatisfactory and there are many parts of the site that I am very keen to revise . My entire content was actually written at the turn of the century and I have for several years been asking to be able to revise and update it with current scientific evidence etc but there has been no funding available. In fact some funding was finally obtained in September, PRIOR TO your pieces being published and all my complementary medicine pages are in fact scheduled to be reviewed by me at the end of October (again, not in response to your columns I’m afraid but part of routine upgrading of content. ) I will however of course take note of all the comments made by yourself and your blog contributors and I thank you all for taking the trouble to post them .
    As to the medical reviewing, the two BBC medical experts routinely review pages for medical content and I asked for Dr Hick’s name to be inserted so that it was clear that I myself had not been able to review or revise content since initial posting. I am delighted that I will now have this opportunity and am grateful to the BBC health editors for all their efforts this summer to make this possible. Hopefully once the revisions are in place we will all feel happier about the content.
    Finally, the BBC has now sent you a formal reply outlining some of the factual errors contained in your original pieces related to your incorrect questioning of my qualifications, sources, etc and I hope you will be able to post those corrections at your earliest convenience.
    In the meantime thank you again for your comments.
    Warm regards,
    Jacqueline Young

  23. Dave M said,

    October 13, 2005 at 5:23 pm

    That is hilarious!

    So it turns out it wasn’t Ben who made her alter those articles, Jacqueline managed to work out that they were hugely flawed all by herself.

    Obviously, she has been desperate to correct them for the last five years, just as soon as someone gives her some money to do it.

  24. Ray said,

    October 14, 2005 at 1:30 am

    I will however of course take note of all the comments made by yourself and your blog contributors

    That sounds perilously like the notorious “I hear what you say” = “I’m not going to do anything much about it”. What I’d expect, since this is going on the BBC website, is adherence to BBC editorial guidelines on accuracy “corroborating claims and allegations made by contributors wherever possible”) and impartiality (“Impartiality lies at the heart of the BBC’s commitment to its audiences”). That is, clear distinction in the text between what is general medically accepted fact and what believers in the discussed therapies claim, and impartial description of context (ie no omission, as is currently the case on the complementary pages, of counterevidence regarding therapies).

  25. Ben Goldacre said,

    October 14, 2005 at 3:40 pm

    I’m very pleased to have received a response from the BBC on my questions regarding Jacqueline Young, which I am posting below.

    As you will know from reading the articles, I’ve not said that Jacqueline Young did not train as a clinical psychologist. I had my suspicions, I tried to follow up on the question, and I described that process: that is, I contacted the BBC, and then, in the curious absence of a response from them – now explained below – I attempted to clarify the matter through independent sources.

    Having been given the relevant information by the BBC, I’m now pleased to be in a position to say that Jacqueline Young did indeed train as a clinical psychologist.

  26. Ben Goldacre said,

    October 14, 2005 at 3:41 pm

    LETTER FOR PUBLICATION

    12.10.2005

    Dear Dr. Goldacre,

    Ref: ‘Bad Science’ (24.09.05); ‘Oh what a tangled web on the BBC health site (01.10.05);

    The BBC always welcomes feedback on its output and we will gladly participate in healthy debate on our content. I think it’s important, however, to clarify a few facts in your articles above, referring to both the BBC’s Health website and the professional integrity of one of our contributors, Jacqueline Young.

    Your readers should rest assured that she is indeed a qualified clinical psychologist, having obtained her Master’s Degree in Clinical Psychology from the University of Liverpool Medical School’s Sub-Department of Clinical Psychology in 1981. This will account for the British Psychological Society, with records only available from 1990, not being able to confirm her qualification for you.

    The article on implosion on bbc.co.uk/health in its original form was never presented as scientific fact. It was based on work by the serious researcher Viktor Schauberger, but Jacqueline went to pains to include the caveats ‘Some people believe…’ and ‘….although the evidence is mainly anecdotal at this stage’ in order to make this absolutely clear.

    The ‘obscure chatroom posting’ that your reader Ben Rubenstein suspects is the source of Jacqueline’s work, is taken from her work rather than the other way round. Jacqueline’s article has been on the bbc.co.uk/health site since October 2002 while the chatroom posting dates to January 21, 2005.

    As regards the delay in responding to your original request, let me take this opportunity to apologise. I assure you this was due to an unfortunate combination of illness and Jacqueline’s overseas work commitments, rather than a result of negligence on our part.

    Yours sincerely,

    Patricia Chambers
    Editor, bbc.co.uk/health.

  27. Ray said,

    October 14, 2005 at 5:28 pm

    “The article on implosion on bbc.co.uk/health in its original form was never presented as scientific fact. It was based on work by the serious researcher Viktor Schauberger, but Jacqueline went to pains to include the caveats ‘Some people believe…’ and ‘….although the evidence is mainly anecdotal at this stage’ in order to make this absolutely clear”.

    That’s a very peculiar interpretation. Putting in the occasional caveat doesn’t mean all statements in a piece are covered by those caveats. If I wrote …

    “Some people believe that apples have a potent biological effect. Ray Girvan has discovered that putting a Cox’s Orange Pippin under his hat cured him of male pattern baldness”

    … the second sentence is still making the factual claim that I have been cured of male pattern baldness by putting an apple on my head, despite the caveat in the first.

    By the way, has Patricia Chambers asked a few mainstream scientists about the credibility of Viktor Schauberger? Remeber the editorial guidelines on accuracy: “checking and cross checking the facts … corroborating claims and allegations made by contributors wherever possible”. It doesn’t take much Googling to get the picture. Check out here: perpetual motion machines, free energy from water, flying saucers. Wacko.

  28. martin g said,

    October 14, 2005 at 8:18 pm

    But who was Viktor Schauberger ?

    Here’s everything you could ever wish to know about him, his implosion engines, his Mother Earth theories, and his organic vacuum.

    He certainly looked serious.

    www.frank.germano.com/viktorschauberger.htm

  29. janey said,

    October 14, 2005 at 8:30 pm

    Does Patricia Chambers think we’re stupid? She says “The article on implosion on bbc.co.uk/health in its original form was never presented as scientific fact… Jacqueline went to pains to include the caveats ‘Some people believe…’ and ‘….although the evidence is mainly anecdotal at this stage’ in order to make this absolutely clear.”

    All the way through the paragraph about “implosion researchers” (ha!) things are presented as scientific fact. They even quote specific experiments. There is only a caveat in the last sentence, and it’s a caveat about the last sentence. The rest is all presented as fact.

    I’m posting the whole BBC article in question here, unadulterated, since they have taken it down. People can make their own mind up if this is “presented as scientific fact” or not.

    Preventing dehydration

    Many people are dehydrated without even realising. Often this is because they don’t drink enough water, consume excess amounts of caffeine (which has diuretic effect causing fluid loss from the body) in coffee, cola and alcohol, and spend long hours in dry environments such as offices, with air control systems and lots of electrical equipment.

    To prevent dehydration, you should drink at least six glasses of good quality water every day. This amount should be increased when exercising and on hot days or if you’ve been sweating excessively (for example, due to nerves).

    You might want to consider fitting a water filtration system at home to remove any chemical residues from tap water.
    Water and health

    As well as keeping you hydrated, water is a powerful cleanser – many toxins are flushed from the body in urine.

    Water may also be used in healing. Some people believe water is a powerful messenger that can hold electromagnetic traces as a type of ‘memory’. This principle is applied in homeopathy, where it’s believed that the more a substance is diluted the more potent it becomes. However, this theory remains controversial.

    Implosion researchers have found that if water is put through a spiral its electrical field changes and it then appears to have a potent, restorative effect on cells. In one study, seedlings watered with spiralised water grew significantly faster, higher and stronger than those given ordinary water. Using this technique on drinking water is said to be beneficial for health, although the evidence is mainly anecdotal at this stage.

    Waters from certain areas have historically been used for healing particular diseases and are often found to contain high levels of specific minerals that may help to relieve the condition. ‘Holy’ or ‘blessed’ water, either from sacred sites or blessed by spiritual teachers, is often highly prized – and some have prompted claims of miracle cures.

  30. Ray said,

    October 14, 2005 at 8:36 pm

    He certainly looked serious.

    Well, it depends whether you read that as “to be taken seriously” or “threw a serious amount of effort at his research”. Read the whole site: you’ll find the barking bits soon enough.

  31. viktor said,

    October 14, 2005 at 11:14 pm

    OH MY GOD!!!

    “The article on implosion on bbc.co.uk/health in its original form was never presented as scientific fact…. Jacqueline went to pains to include the caveats ‘Some people believe…’ and ‘….although the evidence is mainly anecdotal at this stage’ in order to make this absolutely clear.”

    THAT IS THE FUNNIEST THING EVER!!!

    “Implosion researchers have found that if water is put through a spiral its electrical field changes and it then appears to have a potent, restorative effect on cells. In one study, seedlings watered with spiralised water grew significantly faster, higher and stronger than those given ordinary water. Using this technique on drinking water is said to be beneficial for health, although the evidence is mainly anecdotal at this stage.

    WHY HAS BEN NOT RESPONDED TO THIS?

  32. Ben Goldacre said,

    October 16, 2005 at 1:21 pm

    www.badscience.net/files/its_a_scientific_fact.mp3

  33. Ray said,

    October 16, 2005 at 2:17 pm

    More in that vein, for those interested.

  34. Pete said,

    November 1, 2005 at 3:08 pm

    Anyone needing a ‘Vortex Energiser’?
    They’re only £600 here…
    www.implosionresearch.com/

  35. Frank said,

    November 16, 2005 at 2:24 pm

    She has all the best quotes. It only took me two minutes to find this one.

    “with homeopathy and some naturopathic treatments it’s normal for symptoms to get worse before they get better. This ‘healing crisis’ is generally regarded as a good sign and is taken to mean that the body is striving to establish a new balance. ”

    Or it could be your body painfully working through an illness because you fed it magic water instead of Sudafed.

  36. Ben Goldacre said,

    August 21, 2006 at 11:57 pm

    heheh, got this by email:


    www.implosionresearch.com/pdfs.html

    It is such an amazing coincidence – some time ago an organization called BBC wrote an article about a dodgy “scientist” – “Prof Doctor Sir David Schweitzer”. Ironically, as Dudley Moore would say, this same “Prof” Schweitzer is a researcher quoted at Implosion Research – the subject of the BBC article. I wonder if the BBCs are related to one another????

    news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/programmes/kenyon_confronts/2051832.stm

    “Dodgy diagnosis

    He visited David Schweitzer’s practice in London who treats people by examining their blood under a microscope. He claims he is a doctor, a professor and Knighted to boot.

    Mr Schweitzer claimed Paul’s blood was infested by parasites

    Mr Schweitzer examines Paul Kenyon’s blood

    Paul Kenyon claimed to be suffering from extreme fatigue and asked “Professor, Doctor, Sir David Schweitzer” for his diagnosis.

    Mr Schweitzer took a sample of Paul Kenyon’s blood and found an extraordinary explanation for Paul’s fatigue.

    According to Mr Schweitzer there were small parasites present in Paul’s blood and, worse still, these creatures’ excretions were thickening his blood.

    He said: “The cells are stuck together already, which is a sign there is already quite a lot of excretion of the parasites, which makes the blood sticky.”

    The Kenyon team investigated further and found not only were virtually all his qualifications entirely fabricated but his diagnosis was clinically impossible”.

  37. kate a said,

    October 25, 2006 at 4:32 pm

    just reading back some of your older writings Ben, and was tempted to see what was on the BBC website about Dr Young now.

    They have a biography of her up on there, which explains quite a lot – here it is ….

    Jacqueline Young MPsych, Dip Ac, Dip Epidem, MBAcC

    Jacqueline is a practitioner, writer and teacher specialising in complementary medicine.

    Originally trained as a clinical psychologist in the NHS specialising in primary care, she then spent five years in the Far East training in oriental medicine. After returning to the UK in 1985, she did further training in many complementary therapies, helped establish several integrated medicine clinics and served on many committees related to the development of complementary medicine professions including, the All-Party Working Committee on Complementary Therapies at the House of Commons and the British Acupuncture Association’s Research and Executive committees.

    Jacqueline has run a popular practice in central London for over 20 years, is the author of several books on natural health and oriental medicine (published in six languages), and is a regular health contributor to magazines, newspapers and websites as well as radio and TV programmes. She has taught at many universities and colleges of complementary medicine in the UK and abroad and is a regular workshop presenter at health shows and community venues.

    A former trustee of the charity Care and Share International, Jacqueline is also actively involved in supporting various medical and health charities.

  38. h2g2bob said,

    June 7, 2008 at 5:43 pm

    Internet Archive link: web.archive.org/web/20060813215156/http://www.bbc.co.uk/health/healthy_living/complementary_medicine/staying_water.shtml

  39. Another worthless validation: the University of Wales and nutritional therapy said,

    October 14, 2008 at 9:32 pm

    [...] articles in his Badscience column, Imploding Researchers (September 2005), and the following week, Tangled Webs. “we were pondering the ethics and wisdom of Jacqueline Young dishing out preposterous, [...]

  40. beadsandweeds said,

    January 17, 2009 at 5:39 pm

    There seems to be a lot of surprise about Jacqueline Young, when what really astonishes me is the letter from Patricia Chambers.

    Young’s drivel is unfortunately all too common. I would be astonished by her claim to espouse science if it weren’t all too common for fairy tales to be sold as science. All that is, after all, what drives this excellent blog.

    I’m not saying it doesn’t piss me off – it does, big time. Just that these people can’t surprise me any more.

    I suppose I’m a little surprised that she has a free hand to peddle this nonsense on the BBC, but not much. I presume that they routinely transmit lies in the political news, like the ABC here in Australia? Most journalists, like most everything else, are clueless about scientists. You have to be a lot lazier (or more dishonest) to routinely pass lies about politics than about science.

    No, it’s Chambers that astonishes me. She’s responding to criticism of the article and defends it in terms of “work by the serious researcher Viktor Schauberger”! The incompetence is flabbergasting, whether you look at it in terms of science, journalism, publicity, whatever.

  41. tom said,

    September 30, 2009 at 3:09 pm

    My friend and his partner have been taking their infant son to see an oesteopath for cranial massage because the child does not sleep as much as they would like at the times that suit them. This concerns me for two reasons: the first being that that it seems to me that the manipulation of the soft skull of a baby might actually be dangerous; and the second reason being that they have been paying £21.50 per session which they can ill afford.

    I would be grateful if anyone could point me to some objective and accessible literature which discusses objectively the lack of evidence supporting cranial osteopathy as a treatment for babies. My argument to my friend that my four children all cried at night and the solution was either to feed, burp or cuddle them does not seem to “cut any ice”!

    I checked the NHS website, and found that it mentions cranial osteopathy in a list of “specific therapies [that] have been suggested and might be considered, although no reliable evidence was found to support these management approaches”.

    healthguides.mapofmedicine.com/choices/map/infantile_colic1.html

    The text containing mention of cranial osteopathy is reached by clicking on the box marked “General Advice”, about six boxes from the top.

    In the words of the NHS web site:

    “The Map of Medicine is used by doctors throughout the NHS to determine the best treatment options for their patients. NHS Choices offers everyone in England exclusive and free access to this cutting-edge internet resource, which lets you see exactly what your doctor sees.

    The information in the Map has been approved by the UK’s leading clinical experts, is based on the best available clinical evidence, and is continually updated.”

    Whilst this Map of Medicine does point out that there is no reliable evidence in support of cranial osteopathy, it is still saying that it “might be considered”.

    This too concerns me, because it could be interpreted that the NHS is condoning such unproven treatments.

    Please note that my friend was not referred to the osteopath by an NHS doctor, but by another acquaintance.

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    I’ve read all the posts on here. Ye who are cynical can dismiss cranial osteopathy for all you like. I’ve seen the impact on one of a pair of twins, known many others to gain benefit, and more.

    Also, those who seemed to dismiss anything that discovered or believed by other than a “conventional scientist” as being impossible, surely need to rethink such closed mind approaches.

    I note that many dismissive comments about Viktor Schauberger and others. If only you would apply your apparently flawless scientific minds to investigating the energy flows within water, perhaps you’d leave a legacy society would be pleased to receive. Perhaps people don’t realise that it is widely understood that no two snowflakes that have landed on the Earth have ever had the same structure. Perhaps you don’t realise that we can influence outcomes through mental approach. I’m sure that you will dismiss the work of the Japanese doctor, Dr. Emoto, with the same dismissive wag of a finger as you do anything else that is not “conventional”. The following website has a great deal to offer those seeking genuine knowledge. We underrate the power of water at our peril.

    www.whatthebleep.com/crystals/

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  46. The University of Wales disgraced (but its vice chancellor is promoted) said,

    October 3, 2011 at 10:53 pm

    [...] One of the potty courses "validated" by the University of Wales was a "BSc" in Nutrional Therapy, run by Jacqueline Young at the Northern College of Acupuncture. The problem of Jacqueline Young’s fantasy approach to facts was pointed out at least as far back as 2004, by Ray Girvan., who wrote about it again in May 2005. The problems were brought to wider attention when Ben Goldacre wrote two articles in his Badscience column, Imploding Researchers (September 2005), and the following week, Tangled Webs. [...]