Busy bee today, sorry for the late link, the second part of the BBC Radio 4 two-part series “The Rise of the Lifestyle Nutritionists” is going out at 8pm this evening, presented by yours truly (part one here) and produced by the excellently sharp Rami Tzabar from the BBC Radio Science Unit. I think it’s rather good, and makes a single clear point: lifestyle is important, and we all want to improve our health, but the evidence on diet and health is not sufficient to justify the very specific and confident advice which we crave, and which some will sell to Read the rest of this entry »
Saturday March 29 2008
And so an epic saga comes to a close. You will remember the Durham Fish Oil tale – don’t switch off now, the punchline’s funny. The county council said it was doing a “trial” of fish oil pills in children, but the trial was designed so that it couldn’t possibly give useful information – not least because it had no placebo group – and was very likely to give a false positive result. Read the rest of this entry »
Monday March 24 2008
[This is much longer than the Guardian version]
Making a show for radio 4 on the history of diet fads [tonight Monday 24th at 8pm listen again here], I began to wonder what our modern gurus will come out with, when the cheques are all cashed, and the companies fold. Dudley J Le Blanc was a Louisiana senator in the 1940s, and the greatest quack ever to live. After a doctor cured his gout with a secret potion, Dudley stole a bottle, and copied the ingredients to make his own: Hadacol. “I had’da call it something”, he would later explain, once he had nothing to lose.
Hadacol was made from Read the rest of this entry »
No column this week, sorry about that, I forgot that Jesus died for our sins yesterday so I couldn’t give the company I was writing about a fair chance to respond. The story will pop up later as a bigger feature.
In the meantime, no matter how hard I try to be bored of quackery, the email inbox keeps defeating me. This video is beyond parody, and it would be a genuine crime to Read the rest of this entry »
I’m presenting a show on Radio 4 this Easter Monday at 8pm (24th March) looking at the history of miracle nutrition cures, woven in with the history of genuine research into food and nutrition. I think it’s quite good fun, although hearing a trailer last night – where the man from radio 4 speaks a phrase which I wrote, but in his funny radio 4 voice – was a bit freaky.
Saturday March 15 2008
Doctors love pills: so do the public, and the media, and of course so do pill companies. When one pill dies, another must take its place. Are you feeling tired? Demotivated? I bet you are. But there is a solution – a pill – pushed by no less than Dr Thomas Stuttaford of the Times. Just two days ago in an article about “office tiredness” he cheerfully rehashed a press release on Boots’ exciting new pep pills. He opines at length on how tired we all feel in the office. So tired.
Why not try Coenzyme Q10, Read the rest of this entry »
Beau Funnel – updated with list of academic journals which actively encourage submission of negative results
Saturday March 8 2008
It was gratifying to see – after only a one-week delay – the government announcing that they would follow my suggestion on the comment pages last week, and demand that drug companies disclose all trial data, to make sure they’re not hiding anything. This has been pegged to the issue of undisclosed side-effects of antidepressants, because a drug company hiding side-effects is intuitively evil.
Just a brief post on how gratifying it is to see the government obediently doing exactly what I told them to and announcing plans to ensure that all drug company trial data is registered and disclosed. The MHRA press release is below so that you can bathe in unmediated news. Read the rest of this entry »