The Two Headed Food Monster

June 30th, 2006 by Ben Goldacre in alternative medicine, bad science, nutritionists, PhDs, doctors, and qualifications, references | 40 Comments »

Ben Goldacre
Saturday July 1, 2006
The Guardian

Last year I noticed that lots of the lifestyle bunnies in the press and on the internet were suddenly showing off about being “RNutr” or “Registered Nutritionists”. Registered with whom? Imagine a two-headed monster called “The Nutrition Society”. On the one hand, they are a respectable and august research body, representing some of the sharpest academics in the country, doing research work on nutrition in both people and laboratories, publishing academic journals, and so on. That’s science. On the other hand, they “run” a “register” that I suspect consists mostly of those commercial “nutritionists” who make good money peddling lifestyle advice to the public. That’s inviting trouble. I am trouble.

I found a prominent nutritionist on their register who was doing exactly the kind of thing that nutritionists in mainstream media like to do – extrapolating rashly from research data – and I decided to complain, just to see whether Read the rest of this entry »

Evidence Based Prejudice

June 23rd, 2006 by Ben Goldacre in alternative medicine, bad science, nutritionists, references | 58 Comments »

Ben Goldacre
Saturday June 24, 2006
The Guardian

It can sometimes seem like there are two competing ways to make a decision about any complex matter of evidence based medicine. One is to purchase and digest “How to Read a Paper: The Basics of Evidence-Based Medicine” by Professor Trisha Greenhalgh (BMA Books, a life changing experience if you have a week to spare), and then find, read, and critically appraise every single published academic study independently and in full for yourself. The other more common method is to rely on “experts”, or what I like to call “prejudice”.

But there is a third way: what we might call “Evidence Based Prejudice”. I can’t possibly debunk every single Read the rest of this entry »

Bring me a God helmet, and bring it now

June 16th, 2006 by Ben Goldacre in bad science, magnets, references | 23 Comments »

Ben Goldacre
Saturday June 17, 2006
The Guardian

One of the biggest disappointments of my so-called adult life is the sad realisation that I can neither fly nor move objects with the power of my mind. This definitely sucks. But for all their broken promises, as the prison ships become more and more crowded, when I am prime minister of the One World Government, the psychics will be left well alone.

They’re just too much fun. Up in Scotland, the Evening Mail has been teasing “Angela’s Live Psychic Line”: the adverts say Read the rest of this entry »

A Brain Gym Article In The Guardian

June 13th, 2006 by Ben Goldacre in bad science, brain gym | Comments Off on A Brain Gym Article In The Guardian

Some of you will notice I’ve just gone into stealth mode briefly on a couple of previous articles. Shhh, there is no cause for alarm, more fun to come.

In the meantime, here is a Brain Gym article in The Guardian, by someone who’s not me.

Mercifully it’s critical. Read the rest of this entry »

“Now Look What You’ve Made Me Do”

June 12th, 2006 by Ben Goldacre in adverts, africa, bad science, dangers, herbal remedies, homeopathy, times | 27 Comments »

Poor old Susan Clark, previously a regular Bad Science target when she was writing “What’s The Alternative” in the Sunday Times, she is now in a position of total safety at The Observer.

Apparently in the past the poor thing has had such a hammering for her advice on malaria medication, that now her readers have to suffer. Actually it’s all my fault. No hang on. It’s your fault for encouraging Read the rest of this entry »

Academics are as guilty as the media when it comes to publication bias

June 10th, 2006 by Ben Goldacre in bad science, references, regulating research, scare stories, statistics | 31 Comments »

Ben Goldacre
Saturday June 10, 2006
The Guardian

When I am finally assassinated by an axe-wielding electrosensitive homeopathic anti-vaccine campaigner – and that day surely cannot be far off now – I should like to be remembered, primarily, for my childishness and immaturity. Occasionally, however, I like to write about serious issues. And I don’t just mean the increase in mumps cases from 94 people in 1996 to 43,322 in 2005. No.

One thing we cover regularly in Bad Science is the way that Read the rest of this entry »

The New Forums Are Open

June 9th, 2006 by Ben Goldacre in bad science | 3 Comments »

The lovely new forums are bug-tested, up, running and officially open, at:

To my complete astonishment there are already 1498 posts from 153 users, on all kinds of things which I should probably be writing about myself; you can do searches on the forum archives, run polls, message people, post pictures, make friends, meet lovers, fight trolls, plot to take over the world, or play “and another thing” to your heart’s content. Incidentally, I think it’s about time we organised another Bad Science evening in the boozer.

You need to re-register to post in the new forums, by the way. Should all be obvious. Email me if you have any problems as ever.

MMR Is Back

June 2nd, 2006 by Ben Goldacre in bad science, mail, MMR, scare stories, telegraph, times | 67 Comments »

Ben Goldacre
3rd June 2006
The Guardian

[Mmmm uh-oh I’ve just found out the Guardian newsdesk have cut this by 200 words while I was having an afternoon snooze. I can’t bear to look. Anyway, here’s what I wrote…]

MMR is back. “US scientists back autism link to MMR” squealed the Telegraph. “Scientists fear MMR link to autism” roared the Mail. “US study supports claims of MMR link to autism” croaked The Times, a day later.

Strap me to the rocket and print my home address in the paper, I’m going after them again. So what was this frightening new data? Well it’s hard to tell, since it hasn’t been properly published anywhere yet, so you can’t actually read it and Read the rest of this entry »