October 30th, 2010 by Ben Goldacre in bad science, neuro nonsense | 36 Comments »

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 »

The stigma gene

October 8th, 2010 by Ben Goldacre in bad science, genetic nonsense, medicalisation, neuro nonsense | 27 Comments »

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 »