Brain imaging studies report more positive findings than their numbers can support. This is fishy.

August 26th, 2011 by Ben Goldacre in academic publishing, publication bias, regulating research, statistics | 22 Comments »

Ben Goldacre, The Guardian, Saturday 13 August 2011

While the authorities are distracted by mass disorder, we can do some statistics. You’ll have seen plenty of news stories telling you that one part of the brain is bigger, or smaller, in people with a particular mental health problem, or even a specific job. These are generally based on real, published scientific research. But how reliable are the studies?

One way of critiquing a piece of research is to read the academic paper itself, in detail, looking for flaws. But that might not be enough, if some sources of bias might exist outside the paper, in the wider system of science.

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Existential angst about the bigger picture

May 23rd, 2011 by Ben Goldacre in academic pr, academic publishing, publication bias, regulating research | 20 Comments »

Ben Goldacre, The Guardian, Saturday 21 May 2011

Here’s no surprise: beliefs which we imagine to be rational are bound up in all kinds of other stuff. Political stances, for example, correlate with various personality features. One major review in 2003 looked at 38 different studies, containing data on 20,000 participants, and found that overall, political conservatism was associated with things like death anxiety, fear of threat and loss, intolerance of uncertainty, a lack of openness to experience, and a need for order, structure, and closure. Read the rest of this entry »

I foresee that nobody will do anything about this problem

April 23rd, 2011 by Ben Goldacre in bad science, publication bias | 26 Comments »

Ben Goldacre, The Guardian, Saturday 23 April 2011

Last year a mainstream psychology researcher called Daryl Bem published a competent academic paper, in a well respected journal, showing evidence of precognition. Instead of designing new studies to see whether people could consciously tell you about the future, he ran some classic psychology experiments backwards.
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EudraCT, the clinical trials transparency tool held in secret

March 5th, 2011 by Ben Goldacre in bad science, big pharma, conflict of interest, publication bias | 17 Comments »

Ben Goldacre, The Guardian, Saturday 5 March 2011

The European Medicines Agency now regulate the pharmaceutical industry throughout the whole of Europe. In December 2010 Thomas Lonngren stepped down as their executive director. On the 28th of that month he sent a letter telling the EMA management board that he was going to start working as a private consultant to the pharmaceutical industry, in three days time, on 1 January 2011.
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Give us the trial data

August 14th, 2010 by Ben Goldacre in bad science, big pharma, libel, publication bias, regulating research | 47 Comments »

Ben Goldacre, The Guardian, Saturday 14 August 2010

This week the drug company AstraZeneca paid out £125m to settle a class action. Over 17,500 patients claim the company withheld information showing that schizophrenia drug quetiapine (tradename Seroquel) might cause diabetes. Why do companies pay out money before cases get to court?

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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.

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How myths are made

August 8th, 2009 by Ben Goldacre in bad science, big pharma, ghostwriters, publication bias, references, structured data, systematic reviews | 41 Comments »

Ben Goldacre, Saturday 8 August 2009, The Guardian.

Much of what we cover in this column revolves around the idea of a “systematic review”, where the literature is surveyed methodically, following a predetermined protocol, to find all the evidence on a given question. As we saw last week, for example, the Soil Association would rather have the freedom to selectively reference only research which supports their case, rather than the totality of the evidence.

Two disturbing news stories demonstrate how this rejection of best practice can also cut to the core of academia.

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More crap journals?

October 4th, 2008 by Ben Goldacre in bad science, MMR, mondo academico, publication bias, regulating research, utter nonsense | 15 Comments »

Ben Goldacre
The Guardian
Saturday October 4 2008

Important and timely news from the Journal of Medical Hypotheses this week: ejaculating could be “a potential treatment of nasal congestion in mature males.” My reason for bothering you with this will become clear later. Read the rest of this entry »

The news you didn’t read

August 16th, 2008 by Ben Goldacre in bad science, publication bias | 25 Comments »

Ben Goldacre
The Guardian
August 16, 2008

There’s not exactly a whole bunch of news going on right now. According to the Mail we are witnessing the “Invasion of the killer jellyfish” (except Portuguese Men O’ War have been reported on British shores since at least 2003), the hunt for the Yeti continues, and there’s always room for another “equation for” story.
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