Ben Goldacre, The Guardian, Saturday 30 October 2010
When the BBC tells you, in a headline, that libido problems are in the brain and not in the mind, then you might find yourself wondering what the difference between the two is supposed to be, and whether a science article can really be assuming – in 2010 – that its readers buy into some strange form of cartesian dualism, in which the self is contained by a funny little spirit entity in constant pneumatic connection with the corporeal realm.
But first let’s consider the experiment they’re reporting on. Read the rest of this entry »
Ben Goldacre, The Guardian, Saturday 23 October 2010
This month it was revealed that US academics funded by NIH deliberately infected mentally incapacitated patients, prison inmates, sex workers, and soldiers from Guatemala with syphilis, gonorrhea, and chancroid during the 1940s. Read the rest of this entry »
Ben Goldacre, The Guardian, Saturday 16 October 2010
You will be familiar with the Daily Mail’s ongoing project to divide all the inanimate objects in the world into the ones that either cause or prevent cancer. Individual entries are now barely worth documenting, and the phenomenon is best appreciated in bulk through websites such as the Daily Mail Oncological Ontology Project and Kill Or Cure, with its alphabetised list: from almonds, apples and artificial light; through horseradish, hotdrinks and housework; to wasabi, water, watercress, and more.
But occasionally one story pops up to illustrate a wider issue, and “Strict diet two days a week ‘cuts risk of breast cancer by 40 per cent’” is a good example. It goes on: “a strict diet for two days a week consisting solely of vegetables, fruit, milk and a mug of Bovril could prevent breast cancer, scientists say.” Read the rest of this entry »
My first book “Bad Science” is out today in the US and Canada, and there are some talks coming up in Canada and the US next week. Clicking on the covers below will take you to the Amazon page.
The talks should be fun, I’m passing through: Read the rest of this entry »
Ben Goldacre, The Guardian, Saturday 9 October 2010
What does it mean to say that a psychological or behavioural condition has a biological cause? Over the past week more battles have been raging over ADHD, after a paper published by a group of Cardiff researchers found evidence that there is a genetic association with the condition. Their study looked for chromosomal deletions and duplications known as “copy number variants” (CNV) and found that these were present in 16% of the children with ADHD.
What many reports did not tell you – including the Guardian – is that this same pattern of CNV was also found in 8% of the children without ADHD. So that’s not a massive difference.
But more interesting were the moral and cultural interpretations heaped onto this finding, Read the rest of this entry »
I’m speaking tomorrow at the protest against science cuts, it’s 2pm outside the Treasury, wear something that looks like your field, maybe a white coat, or a telescope, or a field if you’re a botanist.
Details of the protest:
scienceisvital.org.uk/ Read the rest of this entry »
Ben Goldacre, The Guardian, Saturday 2 October 2010
Like all students of wrongness, I’m fascinated by research into irrational beliefs and behaviours, but I’m also suspicious of how far you can stretch the findings from a laboratory into the real world. A cracking new paper from Social Psychology and Personality Science makes a neat attempt to address this shortcoming. Read the rest of this entry »