Forty years of miracle cures. Now it’s homeopathy’s turn

May 26th, 2006 by Ben Goldacre in alternative medicine, bad science, homeopathy, mail, placebo | 64 Comments »

Ben Goldacre
Saturday May 27, 2006
The Guardian

“I hope you get cancer and then look in the mirror.” That’s a pretty representative sample from the Bad Science mailbag last week, so I shan’t be writing about mobile phone masts again until you all calm down. But it’s in the backlash that you can find the truth. This week, some fabulous elderly scientists came out loudly against homeopathy on the NHS. A maelstrom ensued, and critics focused mainly on the failures of modern medicine: the side effects, and the disappointments, as if these problems could somehow be subtracted from medicine and given to alternative therapies as a benefit. In that backlash, you can Read the rest of this entry »

Factors that risk being left out of the equation

May 12th, 2006 by Ben Goldacre in bad science, electrosensitivity, mail, medicalisation, scare stories, statistics, times | 173 Comments »

Ben Goldacre
Saturday May 13, 2006
The Guardian

“Electromagnetic fields stemming from gadgets such as kettles, computers and microwaves, contribute towards a cloud of unseen emissions – even when they are switched off.” It’s a sinister idea, and “Electromagnetic Hypersensitivity” is sweeping the nation, or at least the Independent and the Daily Mail last week. Symptoms include fatigue, tiredness, headaches, concentration difficulties, dizziness, nausea, heart palpitations, and digestive disturbances: and since these are real symptoms, causing genuine distress, the problem deserves to be considered seriously, and carefully. Read the rest of this entry »

And now the news

May 6th, 2006 by Ben Goldacre in bad science, electrosensitivity, mail, MMR, scare stories, times | 49 Comments »

Ben Goldacre
Saturday May 6, 2006
The Guardian

And now here’s the news they didn’t tell you. You might remember the scare stories about mercury fillings from the past two decades: they come around every few years, usually accompanied by a personal anecdote, where fatigue, dizziness and headaches are all vanquished with the removal of the fillings by one visionary dentist. Traditionally these stories conclude with a suggestion that the dental establishment may well be covering up the truth about mercury, and a demand for more research into its safety. Read the rest of this entry »

When in doubt, call yourself a doctor

April 21st, 2006 by Ben Goldacre in alternative medicine, bad science, mail, media, nutritionists, PhDs, doctors, and qualifications | 45 Comments »

Ben Goldacre
Saturday April 22, 2006
The Guardian

So here’s a tangled web, and frankly I don’t think anybody comes out of it looking too good, including me. Yes We Can Cure ADHD, read the Daily Mail last week. Now I know what you’re thinking. Like a magnificently drunk girlfriend, you’re shouting: “Leave it, he’s not worth it”. Read the rest of this entry »

Selling Sickness

April 15th, 2006 by Ben Goldacre in alternative medicine, bad science, mail, medicalisation, nutritionists, patrick holford | 71 Comments »

Ben Goldacre
Saturday April 15, 2006
The Guardian

It’s not every day that you wake up to find that a favourite bête noir is making headline news, but this week, to my amazement, the media collectively decided to pick up on an obscure report and conference on “medicalisation” in Australia. “Drug companies are inventing diseases to sell more of their products, it has been claimed,” said the Daily Mail Read the rest of this entry »

The Great Tamiflu Vaccine Scare

February 18th, 2006 by Ben Goldacre in bad science, evening standard, express, independent, mail, mirror, MMR, scare stories, telegraph, times | 55 Comments »

Ben Goldacre
Saturday February 18, 2006
The Guardian

The interesting thing about the Tamiflu vaccine for bird flu that everybody keeps going on about, is this: it’s not a vaccine. The manufacturers even spell that out in their factsheet. It’s a drug, an antibiotic for viruses.

But you wouldn’t know that if you read Paul Routledge in the Mirror, Alan Hall in the Daily Mail, Sally Guyoncourt in Read the rest of this entry »

Trivial Disputes

December 17th, 2005 by Ben Goldacre in bad science, chocolate, mail, references, statistics | 26 Comments »

Ben Goldacre
Saturday December 17, 2005
The Guardian

Christmas is a time for pedantic family disputes, and newspaper stories about how alcohol and chocolate are good for you. Imagine, if you can, how Christmassy life would be if we could combine these two elements.

This week, the Daily Mail reported on Read the rest of this entry »

The MMR sceptic who just doesn’t understand science

November 2nd, 2005 by Ben Goldacre in bad science, mail, media, MMR, references, scare stories, statistics | 136 Comments »

Comment: Research is all about error. Either learn how to interpret data yourself, or trust those who can do it for you

Ben Goldacre
Wednesday November 2, 2005
The Guardian

Whatever you have been told, science is not about certainty. And this creates problems for those health professionals who are charged with interpreting and relating Read the rest of this entry »

The man behind the Mop of Death

October 22nd, 2005 by Ben Goldacre in bad science, mail, media, mirror, MRSA, PhDs, doctors, and qualifications, scare stories, sun, very basic science | 29 Comments »

Ben Goldacre
Saturday October 22, 2005
The Guardian

Right. Where were we? Oh yes: there is a small unaccredited laboratory in Northants called Chemsol, run by a man with a non-accredited correspondence-course PhD and no formal microbiology training, and he seems to find MRSA in hospitals where other accredited labs, in universities and the like, cannot. And, weirdly, almost every undercover tabloid Read the rest of this entry »

Don’t dumb me down

September 8th, 2005 by Ben Goldacre in adverts, alternative medicine, bad science, bbc, cash-for-"stories", channel 4, channel five, chocolate, dangers, express, gillian mckeith, independent, letters, mail, media, mirror, MMR, PhDs, doctors, and qualifications, references, scare stories, statistics, telegraph, times, very basic science, weight loss | 85 Comments »

We laughed, we cried, we learned about statistics … Ben Goldacre on why writing Bad Science has increased his suspicion of the media by, ooh, a lot of per cents

Ben Goldacre
Thursday September 8, 2005
The Guardian

OK, here’s something weird. Every week in Bad Science we either victimise some barking pseudoscientific quack, or a big science story in a national newspaper. Now, tell me, why are these two groups even being mentioned in the same breath? Why is science in the media so often pointless, simplistic, boring, or just plain wrong? Like a proper little Darwin, I’ve been Read the rest of this entry »