The golden arse beam method.

July 9th, 2011 by Ben Goldacre in alternative medicine, irrationality research, placebo | 15 Comments »

Ben Goldacre, The Guardian, Saturday 9 July 2011

Since I was a teenager, whenever I have a pivotal life event coming – an exam, or an interview – I perform a ritual. I sit cross-legged on the floor, and I imagine an enormous golden beam of energy coming out of my arse. 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.

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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 »

Libel claimants get what they deserve. So do you.

April 15th, 2010 by Ben Goldacre in alternative medicine, bad science, legal chill, libel | 23 Comments »

Ben Goldacre, The Guardian, Friday 15 April 2010
[Full text at guardian.co.uk, abbreviated in the paper]

After 2 years of pursuing one man through the courts, at a cost to him of £200,000 and 2 years work, the British Chiropractic Association yesterday dropped their libel case against science writer Simon Singh. The case was over a piece he wrote on this very page, criticising the BCA for claiming that its members could treat children for colic, ear infections, asthma, prolonged crying, and sleeping and feeding conditions by manipulating their spines. Read the rest of this entry »

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 »

Oh, I found you a new job

January 30th, 2010 by Ben Goldacre in alternative medicine, bad science, utter nonsense | 76 Comments »

I thought you might be interested in this job advert from the Independent. Read the rest of this entry »

All bow before the mighty power of the nocebo effect

November 28th, 2009 by Ben Goldacre in homeopathy, placebo | 70 Comments »

Ben Goldacre, Saturday 28 November 2009, The Guardian

This week the parliamentary science and technology select committee looked into the evidence behind the MHRA’s decision to allow homeopathy sugar pill labels to make medical claims without evidence of efficacy, and the funding of homeopathy on the NHS. There were some comedy highlights, as you might expect from any serious enquiry into an industry where sugar pills have healing powers conferred upon them by being shaken with one drop of the ingredient which has been diluted, so extremely, that it equates to one molecule of the substance in a sphere of water whose diameter is roughly the distance from the earth to the sun.

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