Boris Johnson and his innovative trial methodology

July 31st, 2010 by Ben Goldacre in evidence, evidence based policy, politics, schools | 95 Comments »

Ben Goldacre, The Guardian, Saturday 31 July 2010

It’s the near misses that really make you want to shoot your own face off. This week the Centre for Policy Studies has published a pamphlet on education which has been covered by the Mirror, the Mail, the BBC, the Telegraph, the Express, the Guardian, and more. Boris Johnson endorses it.

Read the rest of this entry »

Podcast on government response to SciTech NHS homeopathy report

July 28th, 2010 by Ben Goldacre in bad science, homeopathy, podcast, regulating nonsense | 23 Comments »

I zipped off this quick podcast from my phone on Monday and put it on my secondary blog, which I run for scrappy stuff. People seemed to like it a bit so I’m reposting here. There’s more audio stuff coming, a bit of video too, and I’ll work out good feeds and iTunes stuff over the next couple of weeks. Cheery pip.

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

Read the rest of this entry »

I love research about research

July 24th, 2010 by Ben Goldacre in bad science, big pharma, regulating research, spin, subgroup analysis, trial registers | 32 Comments »

Ben Goldacre, The Guardian, Saturday 24 July 2010

There is a pleasing symmetry in the ropey science you get from different players. When GlaxoSmithKline are confronted with an unflattering meta-analysis summarising the results of all 56 trials on one of their treatments, as we saw last week, their defense is to point at 7 positive trials, exactly as a homeopath would do. Politicians will often find a ray of positive sunshine in a failed policy’s appraisal, and promote that to the sky. Newspapers, similarly, will spin science to fit their political agenda, with surreal consequences (the Telegraph have claimed recently that shopping causes infertility in men, and the Daily Mail reckon housework prevents breast cancer in women).

But does the same thing happen in formal academic research?

Read the rest of this entry »

And then I was incompetently libelled by a litigious millionaire

July 19th, 2010 by Ben Goldacre in bad science, gillian mckeith, legal chill, libel | 81 Comments »

Ben Goldacre, The Guardian, Monday 19 July 2010

What do you do, as a campaigner for libel reform, when a litigious millionaire calls you a liar? This ethical quandary was presented to me last week when twitter account of Gillian McKeith – or to give her full medical title, “Gillian McKeith” – called my book “lies”. Read the rest of this entry »

Pharmaco-epidemiology would be fascinating enough even if society didn’t manage it really really badly

July 17th, 2010 by Ben Goldacre in bad science, big pharma, bullying, publication bias, regulating research, trial registers | 22 Comments »

Ben Goldacre, The Guardian, Saturday 17 July 2010

This week the FDA voted not to ban GlaxoSmithKline’s diabetes drug rosiglitazone (brand name Avandia). Their vote has been reported as a victory for the company. I don’t think so: this saga tells an ugly story about our collective medical incompetence.

Read the rest of this entry »

The bullshit box

July 10th, 2010 by Ben Goldacre in bad science, evidence, nutritionists, regulating nonsense | 36 Comments »

Ben Goldacre, The Guardian, Saturday 10 July 2010

This week the food and nutrition pills industries are complaining. They like to make health claims about their products, which often turn out to be unsupported by the evidence. Regulating that mess would be tedious and long-winded, the kind of project enjoyed by the EU, and so the Nutrition and Health Claims Regulation was brought in during 2006. Since then, member states have submitted tens of thousands of health claims on behalf of manufacturers about cranberries, fish oil, and every magical ingredient you can think of. This week it turned out that 900 have been examined so far, of which 80% have unsurprisingly been rejected. Read the rest of this entry »

Yeah well you can prove anything with science

July 2nd, 2010 by Ben Goldacre in bad science, irrationality research | 41 Comments »

Ben Goldacre, The Guardian, Saturday 3 July 2010

What do people do when confronted with scientific evidence that challenges their pre-existing view? Often they will try to ignore it, intimidate it, buy it off, sue it for libel, or reason it away.

Read the rest of this entry »