Sense prevails

October 31st, 2007 by Ben Goldacre in bad science, religion | 16 Comments »

Ooh ooh I just got this in email at 00:01 and I hereby am posting it before the BBC or anyone. They lose valuable minutes by pretending not to copy and paste the press release, while I find that kind of theatre slightly childish. Meanwhile, pasted below is what our Parliamentary Science and Technology Committee on the Abortion Act recommended, after carefully reviewing the scientific evidence. The report itself is a masterful and surprisingly readable precis, which I’ll post as soon as the link goes live.

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UCL, Colquhoun, and Dr Ann Walker – A victory for common sense.

June 13th, 2007 by Ben Goldacre in alternative medicine, bad science, heroes of bad science | 32 Comments »

UCL have just issued a smashing statement on Prof Colquhoun’s de-excommunication.
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The Amazing Qlink Science Pedant

May 19th, 2007 by Ben Goldacre in adverts, alternative medicine, bad science, electrosensitivity, ITV, mail, patrick holford, qlink, times | 76 Comments »

Ben Goldacre
Saturday May 19, 2007
The Guardian

Normally I’d ignore quack medical devices, but when the catalogue from Health Products For Life – run by vitamin pill salesman Patrick Holford – arrived, I found an unexpected treat waiting for me. Among his usual “special formulation” pill-peddling banter, there was the QLink pendant, at just £69.99.

The QLink is a device sold to protect you from those terrifying invisible electromagnetic rays, and cure many ills. “It needs no batteries as it is ‘powered’ by the wearer – the microchip is activated by a copper induction coil which picks up sufficient micro currents from your heart to power the pendant.” Says Holford’s catalogue. According to the manufacturer’s sales banter, it corrects your energy frequencies. Or something.
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Science and Fiction

January 27th, 2007 by Ben Goldacre in bad science, nutritionists | 13 Comments »

New audience, this can’t last. From their New Years Diet and Detox Special.

Ben Goldacre
New Statesman
22nd January 2007

Eating your greens, just like your mother told you, is
very sensible. You don’t need a doctor, a diet guru, or a
journalist, to tell you; and that kind of broad brush
guidance is fairly well supported by research data. But
increasingly we are subjected to an entirely new category
of dietary advice: wilfully overcomplicated, Read the rest of this entry »

“Deconstructing the evidence-based discourse in health sciences: truth, power and fascism.”

August 11th, 2006 by Ben Goldacre in bad science, postmodernist bollocks | 86 Comments »

Some of you might enjoy this absolute cracker from the current edition of the International Journal of Evidence-Based Healthcare: a critical theory deconstructionist attack on evidence based medicine and Cochrane centres, in a proper journal. Presumably I am a bit of a “microfascist” for posting it here.

Deconstructing the evidence-based discourse in health sciences: truth, power and fascism

Authors: Holmes, Dave; Murray, Stuart J1; Perron, Amélie2; Rail, Geneviève2

Source: International Journal of Evidence-based Healthcare, Volume 4, Number 3, September 2006, pp. 180-186(7)

Drawing on the work of the late French philosophers Deleuze and Guattari, the objective of this paper is to demonstrate that the evidence-based movement in the health sciences is outrageously exclusionary and dangerously normative with regards to scientific knowledge. As such, we assert that the evidence-based movement in health sciences constitutes a good example of microfascism at play in the contemporary
scientific Read the rest of this entry »

Bad Science

April 21st, 2005 by Ben Goldacre in bad science, gillian mckeith, nutritionists, water | 1 Comment »

Ben Goldacre
Thursday April 21, 2005
The Guardian

· That poo lady gets everywhere. Now let’s get this straight: I like organic food, alternative therapies are OK by me, and scare stories are often great fun. What I don’t like is made up bollocks. And there’s only one thing I’m disappointed with the Soil Association for, which is giving its 2005 Consumer Education award to Dr Gillian McKeith PhD. Who can forget the time she educated us all about photosynthesis on national television, explaining that chlorophyll is “high in oxygen” and that the darker leaves on plants are good for us because they contain “chlorophyll – the ‘blood’ of the plant – which will really oxygenate your blood”.

· Of course, if you want real nonsense, you’re best generating it yourself. The three prankster geeks at MIT who had their phony paper, Rooter: a methodology for the typical unification of access points and redundancy, accepted for an academic conference this week, have released their random text-generating code to the world: just type in the author names of your choice, and you too can generate your own computer science research paper of grammatically consistent but meaningless gibberish. For example, at you can find a paper entitled On the Analysis of Robots that appears to be written by “Dr Gillian McKeith PhD, Ben Goldacre, and the staff of Penta water”. Although the next time you visit it might be On the Synthesis of Neural Networks or Permutable, Fuzzy Epistemologies for Semaphores. Don’t tell McKeith or she might use it to write her next series.

· But I digress. The trouble here is that the Soil Association is an independent body, whose little kitemarks only mean anything if we believe that it knows what it’s doing. I’ve even been kind enough in the past to not write about the “organic salt” packet someone posted me, featuring the Soil Association kitemark. Disappointed, I got in touch with its press office, and blow me if they weren’t lovely. “The Soil Association believes it is very important to give the public sound advice on issues of health and nutrition and for our licensees to do the same. I hope that we are an organisation people trust because we take this responsibility seriously.” And? “I was not aware of the specific concerns you have raised when judging the awards. The matters you highlight are clearly important, and I will be discussing them with Gillian McKeith and her representatives directly and in detail.” Contrite surprise or PR fudge? We’ll know by next week.

FREE! Here is the new “What Happened Next?” update chapter from Bad Pharma 2013

December 19th, 2013 by Ben Goldacre in bad science | 1 Comment »

20130923_200935-MOTIONHere is the extra update chapter from the new 2013 paperback edition of Bad Pharma. It’s a fun romp through the changes that have happened over the past year or so, starring the many ethical professionals in pharma and medicine who have tried to push things forward, and some very shameful denialism from people in positions of “leadership”. There are some very interesting imperfections in medicine, they cost lives, and they can all be easily fixed, where there is common sense and good-will.

It’s all much more fun if you’ve read the book itself. As always, if you like what I do, and want me to do more: buy my books and give them to your friends. Apart from anything else, it scares the enemy. You can find Bad Pharma here on…

… Amazon ……….

…….. Waterstones ……

……………… or Hive.

So, here Read the rest of this entry »

80 patient groups (eighty!) sign up to in one go! Then Cancer Research UK!

February 15th, 2013 by Ben Goldacre in alltrials campaign | 1 Comment »

We rely on clinical trials in medicine, but companies and researchers are able to withhold results wherever it suits them: this breaks evidence based medicine. The best available systematic review evidence estimates that around half of all trials for the treatments we use today have not been published: you can read the details on this problem, and the flawed efforts to remedy it, here.

We decided that something needed to be done, and so we set up, with Sense About Science, the BMJ, Sir Iain Chalmers (co-founder of Cochrane) and the Centre for Evidence Based Medicine in Oxford. Since then the campaign has snowballed. We have been joined by groups as diverse as MRC, the Wellcome Trust, IQWiG (the German NICE), NPA (the US doctors body) and many more. Read the rest of this entry »

This is excellent, and amazing. GSK have just signed up to

February 5th, 2013 by Ben Goldacre in alltrials campaign, bad science | 5 Comments »

GSK have just this minute announced that they are signing up to the campaign.

This will be written in a hurry. Briefly: the results of clinical trials have been routinely withheld from doctors and patients throughout medicine, and this problem has not been fixed. The campaign is asking for all trials to be registered, for all summary results to be reported, and for full Clinical Study Reports to be made publicly available. CSRs are important, because it is now clear that brief summaries about trials (such as academic journal articles) can be incomplete or misleading. Last Friday I met with Andrew Witty, the head of GSK, to discuss these concerns, and it was clear that they’ve spent a lot of time thinking about these issues.

I couldn’t be any happier. This is huge, and internationally huge. GSK have made a commitment to post CSRs online. Read the rest of this entry »

AllTrials campaign launches, please sign and spread!

January 16th, 2013 by Ben Goldacre in alltrials campaign, big pharma, publication bias | 2 Comments »

I am very pleased to announce the launch of a prominent campaign for access to all trial results, which we have launched this week at, with myself, Sense About Science, Sir Iain Chalmers from the James Lind Initiative (previously co-founder of Cochrane), Dr Fiona Godlee (Editor in Chief of the BMJ), and Dr Carl Heneghan (Director of the Centre for Evidence Based Medicine at Oxford).

The response so far, in a very short period of time, has been phenomenal. We have collected over 7,000 signatures already, simply from tweeting, and several extremely high profile organisations have signed up already, including: Read the rest of this entry »