Electrosmog. The Independent has seriously excelled itself this time

May 31st, 2007 by Ben Goldacre in bad science, electrosensitivity, independent | 96 Comments »

This is genuinely fascinating: from the article in today’s Independent, electrosensitivity now seems to be growing into an explicitly alternative diagnosis, to go with alternative therapies. For this article your Bad Science Bingo high scorers are: q-link, homeopathy, misrepresenting Sweden, and ignoring the provocation studies.

environment.independent.co.uk/lifestyle/article2600308.ece

My war on electrosmog: Julia Stephenson sets out to clear the airwaves Read the rest of this entry »

Wi-Fi Wants To Kill Your Children… But Alasdair Philips of Powerwatch sells the cure!

May 26th, 2007 by Ben Goldacre in bad science, bbc, electrosensitivity, powerwatch - alasdair philips, scare stories, very basic science | 162 Comments »

Hello visitors from boingboing/slashdot. I’m a doctor and I write in the Guardian and the BMJ about quackery, health scares, and pseudoscience in the media.

Ben Goldacre
Saturday May 26, 2007
The Guardian

Won’t somebody, please, think of the children? Three weeks ago I received my favourite email of all time, from a science teacher. “I’ve just had to ask a BBC Panorama film crew not to film in my school or in my class because of the bad science they were trying to carry out,” it began, describing in perfect detail the Panorama which aired this week.

Read the rest of this entry »

Paul Kenyon from BBC Panorama Responds on Wi-Fi Scare

May 25th, 2007 by Ben Goldacre in bad science, bbc, electrosensitivity, powerwatch - alasdair philips, scare stories | 31 Comments »

I’ve just been sent this by the BBC publicity office, it is a response from Paul Kenyon, the presenter of the show, and very nice chap too.

He is talking about the posts here and here. Read the rest of this entry »

Amusing Leaked Letter – BBC Panorama Wi-Fi – now updated with further response from BBC

May 23rd, 2007 by Ben Goldacre in bad science, bbc, electrosensitivity, powerwatch - alasdair philips | 44 Comments »

This has fallen into my hands. It is – I am informed – the letter that the BBC complaints people are planning to send to people if they complain about the ludicrous Panorama Wi-Fi show from Monday, featuring Alasdair Philips and electromagnetic hypersensitivity.

I thought it might amuse you to know that it has apparently been written before you managed to write to them. Do please let us all know if you receive anything eerily similar yourself…

Read the rest of this entry »

BBC Panorama on WiFi – Updated with response from Panorama presenter Paul Kenyon

May 22nd, 2007 by Ben Goldacre in bad science, electrosensitivity, powerwatch - alasdair philips | 61 Comments »

You have to skip through 2 minutes of Eastenders to get to it…

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“Discuss”.
Read the rest of this entry »

The Amazing Qlink Science Pedant

May 19th, 2007 by Ben Goldacre in adverts, alternative medicine, bad science, electrosensitivity, ITV, mail, patrick holford, qlink, times | 74 Comments »

Ben Goldacre
Saturday May 19, 2007
The Guardian

Normally I’d ignore quack medical devices, but when the catalogue from Health Products For Life – run by vitamin pill salesman Patrick Holford – arrived, I found an unexpected treat waiting for me. Among his usual “special formulation” pill-peddling banter, there was the QLink pendant, at just £69.99.

The QLink is a device sold to protect you from those terrifying invisible electromagnetic rays, and cure many ills. “It needs no batteries as it is ‘powered’ by the wearer – the microchip is activated by a copper induction coil which picks up sufficient micro currents from your heart to power the pendant.” Says Holford’s catalogue. According to the manufacturer’s sales banter, it corrects your energy frequencies. Or something.
Read the rest of this entry »

The Blairs’ Witch Project

May 12th, 2007 by Ben Goldacre in alternative medicine, bad science, dangers, MMR, religion | 69 Comments »

Ben Goldacre
Saturday May 12, 2007
The Guardian

So normally you just wouldn’t bother with the New Age stuff. Read the rest of this entry »

Given the choice, I’d have a miracle pill story

May 6th, 2007 by Ben Goldacre in bad science | 14 Comments »

Ben Goldacre
BMJ 2007;334:932 (5 May),
Observations
Media watch

www.bmj.com/cgi/content/full/334/7600/932

Complex problems have depressingly complex causes, and the solutions are often taxing and unsatisfactory

Looking at popular culture, it seems there’s something very attractive about simple biomedical explanations—and solutions—for complex social and psychological problems.

Four weeks ago the BMJ published a large randomised controlled trial, with a positive result: it showed that one treatment for children at high risk of developing conduct disorder could significantly improve antisocial behaviour Read the rest of this entry »

Attack of the wrinkled ladies

May 5th, 2007 by Ben Goldacre in bad science, cosmetics | 30 Comments »

Ben Goldacre
Saturday May 5, 2007
The Guardian

Wrinkly ladies nationwide have coordinated a stampede for Boots No 7 Protect & Perfect face cream, after it was endorsed by the BBC’s Horizon: so let’s do face creams. Basically they’re all the same. They all moisturise, like vaseline, but without the greasiness. And most also contain mashed up protein chains: these are long and mobile when they’re soggy, but curl up and contract when they dry, for instant tightening gratification. Companies give these proteins French sciencey names such as Tenseur Peptidique Vegetal.

Lastly, they may contain active ingredients: a double-edged sword. So vitamin A seems to be helpful on skin, but its active form, tretinoin, Read the rest of this entry »

You And Yours – An all time low in consumer reporting

May 4th, 2007 by Ben Goldacre in bad science, bbc, cosmetics | 11 Comments »

You and Yours has just broadcast one of the weakest pieces of journalism I have heard in a very long time. The Boots No7 face cream has precipitated a mass stampede of wrinkly ladies since it was endorsed by BBC Horizon: it is, people say, the only “scientifically proven” cream.

The reaction of You and Yours to this?

A hysterical witch hunt about the fact that Boots paid for the research. Read the rest of this entry »