Magnet Therapy On The NHS

February 26th, 2006 by Ben Goldacre in alternative medicine, bad science, magnets, placebo | 85 Comments »

Amusing to see that the NHS Prescription Pricing Authority have apparently put Magnet Bandages on the formulary:,,2087-2058902,00.html

(Even more amusing to see the Times mentioning that old “iron in blood is magnetic” chestnut again Read the rest of this entry »

Prejudice, Beautiful Prejudice

February 25th, 2006 by Ben Goldacre in alternative medicine, bad science, independent, statistics, very basic science | 46 Comments »

Ben Goldacre
Saturday February 25, 2006
The Guardian

Okay, here’s an idea: let’s see if we can gather experimental evidence to assess our prejudices. First up, prejudice number one. “Sometimes you see beautiful people with no brains. Sometimes you have ugly people who are intelligent, like scientists. Our pitch is Read the rest of this entry »

BBC Judge John Deed, Anyone?

February 24th, 2006 by Ben Goldacre in bad science, bbc, media, MMR, scare stories | 54 Comments »

Okay, here’s a problem. I got the email below from a reader last week, laying out his her concerns about irresponsible pseudoscience in Judge John Deed on BBC One. Apparently they do things like link phone masts to brain tumours and motor neurone disease, and promote some childish and destructive ideas about MMR. Read the rest of this entry »

Brain Gym, Anyone? I Need Teachers…

February 21st, 2006 by Ben Goldacre in bad science, brain gym | 140 Comments »

I wonder if anybody remembers Brain Gym? I wrote about them a couple of times in 2003 (links below). They’re a strange bunch who seem to get into lots of UK state schools at the taxpayers expense, where they share pearls of wisdom such as: “Focus is the ability to coordinate the back and front areas of the brain…Centering is the ability to coordinate the top and 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 »

It’s A Miracle!

February 16th, 2006 by Ben Goldacre in alternative medicine, bad science, independent | 47 Comments »

Here’s a funny thing. I wrote the post below, at the beginning of the year, about how Jeremy Laurance, the Health Editor of the Independent, had apparently conjured a “miracle cancer cure” story out of thin air, but I didn’t publish it onto Read the rest of this entry »

MMR letter in Telegraph

February 15th, 2006 by Ben Goldacre in bad science, MMR, telegraph | 4 Comments »

After an article on MMR appeared in the Telegraph I wrote a letter, and they printed it: recognition at last. I’m putting it here because to be honest, this blog is kind of my scrapbook…

Their article was ‘Why I am terrified of trusting MMR’ By Beezy Marsh 12/02/2006

Sensitive figures

Your report on the MMR vaccination controversy (News, February 12) says “population-based studies are not sensitive enough to pick up problems that may affect a tiny minority of children”. The figures do not support this assertion: autism has increased from one child in 2,500 to one in 250, an increase the anti-MMR lobby ascribes to the vaccine. A tenfold increase is not a “tiny minority”,and figures this large present no problem for the sensitivity of population studies.

The purpose of vaccination is to reduce the prevalence of viruses throughout the population – and ultimately eradicate them – not to protect an individual child. For example, there has been an increase in mumps, from only 200 cases a year to 40,000 since the anti-MMR campaign began, but the increase has been mostly among teenagers, not un-vaccinated babies.

(Dr) Ben Goldacre, London NW5

Come To The Lovely Forums!

February 12th, 2006 by Ben Goldacre in bad science | No Comments »

All the fun of the fair! See the trolls! Fight! Win! Lose!

And it’s happening right here:

There are 113 discussion threads, and 1,845 posts already.

You can see what’s going on – the titles from the most recent forum activity – in the sidebar on the right. If you’re registered on and logged in you can upload a nice little picture of yourself to go next to every post. There is also a roaring fire and a comfortable array of chaise longues to recline on. Think of it as a salon, a seminar, or a kangaroo court: think of it as home.

Resistance is worse than useless

February 11th, 2006 by Ben Goldacre in adverts, africa, alternative medicine, bad science, dangers, herbal remedies, times | 63 Comments »

Ben Goldacre
Saturday February 11, 2006
The Guardian

Let me take you back to 2005, and one of several Bad Science stories about Susan Clark and her What’s The Alternative column in the Sunday Times. She’s no longer in that post – if you’re lucky we’ll have room to talk about her successor soon – but she stood out on account of her Read the rest of this entry »

I Need A Neurophysiologist/EEG Person

February 7th, 2006 by Ben Goldacre in bad science | 11 Comments »

Hi, just a quick special request here, I need someone with a lots of experience of EEGs, sensory evoked potentials, that kind of thing, a neurophysiologist who does it a lot, to thoroughly torpedo a couple of bits of fabulous pseudoscience. Shouldn’t take too long, the studies are easy enough to understand, I’m just after a bit of help thinking around what might be some of their more technical methodological flaws.

If you are that person, or know anyone, do please ask them to get in touch, via any of the usual email addresses (they all go to the same place) it’s for the best possible cause…