Obvious quacks: the tip of a scary medical iceberg

February 26th, 2010 by Ben Goldacre in adverts, alternative medicine, bad science, big pharma, evidence, regulating research | 121 Comments »

Ben Goldacre, The Guardian, Saturday 27 February, 2010

After the Science and Technology committee report this week, and the jaw dropping stupidity of “we bring you both sides” in the media coverage afterwards, you are bored of homeopathy. So am I, but it gives a very simple window into the wider disasters in all of medicine. Read the rest of this entry »

The BBC have found someone whose cancer was cured by homeopathy

February 23rd, 2010 by Ben Goldacre in bad science, bbc, homeopathy | 126 Comments »

Ladies and Gentlemen, we have hit the bottom of the barrel. Homeopathy cured my cancer, on BBC News.

Parliamentary Sci Tech Committee on Homeopathy

February 22nd, 2010 by Ben Goldacre in bad science, homeopathy | 81 Comments »

Here’s the report, press release below. It looks like pretty sensible stuff to me, homeopaths can’t expect special treatment among all forms of medicine, if the evidence actively shows it doesn’t work, then that’s that. I have to say what really frightens me about all this is the MHRA: if regulation is so political that they can fall into holes over sugar pills, it tells a frightening story about their wider activities. Read the rest of this entry »

How do you regulate Wu?

February 20th, 2010 by Ben Goldacre in bad science, herbal remedies, regulating nonsense | 80 Comments »

Ben Goldacre, The Guardian, Saturday 20 February 2010

You might have read the case of Ying Wu this week: a fully qualified traditional chinese medicine doctor operating out of a shop in Chelmsford who for several years prescribed high doses of a dangerous banned substance to treat the acne of senior civil servant Patricia Booth, 58, reassuring her that the pills were as safe as Coca-Cola. Following this her patient has lost both kidneys, developed urinary tract cancer, had a heart attack, and is now on dialysis three times a week. Judge Jeremy Roberts gave Wu a two-year conditional discharge, saying she did not know the pills were dangerous and could not be blamed, because the practise of traditional Chinese medicine is totally unregulated in Britain, a situation which he suggests should be remedied. Read the rest of this entry »

Guns don’t kill people, puppies do

February 13th, 2010 by Ben Goldacre in bad science, evidence, numerical context, statistics | 65 Comments »

Ben Goldacre, The Guardian, Saturday 13 February 2010

Often one data point isn’t enough to spot a pattern, or even to say that an event is interesting and exceptional, because numbers are all about context and constraints. At one end there are the simple examples. “Mum beats odds of 50 million-to-one to have 3 babies on same date” is the headline for the Daily Express on Thursday. Read the rest of this entry »

Moments of genius

February 8th, 2010 by Ben Goldacre in bad science, onanism, podcast, systematic reviews | 25 Comments »

Sorry no column this week, I’ve got some fun stuff in the pipe, as they say, and a lot on. In case you miss me, here’s my shouty contribution to Radio 4′s “Moments Of Genius”, a eulogy to the startlingly new idea of systematic reviews.

Other bits and bobs… Read the rest of this entry »