It’s not my fault I fall into repetitive self parody. You started it.

December 6th, 2008 by Ben Goldacre in express, independent, mail, media, mirror, MMR, telegraph | 152 Comments »

Ben Goldacre
The Guardian
Saturday December 6 2008

Writing this column only really scares me because I wonder whether everything else in the media is as shamelessly, venally, manipulatively, one-sidedly, selectively reported on as the things I know about. I’m not going to go on about MMR again. But this week the reality editing was truly without comparison. Read the rest of this entry »

Scientific proof that we live in a warmer and more caring universe

November 29th, 2008 by Ben Goldacre in bad science, badscience, bbc, independent, mail, media, mirror, times | 170 Comments »

Ben Goldacre
The Guardian
Saturday November 29 2008

As usual, it’s not Watergate, it’s just slightly irritating. “Down’s births increase in a caring Britain”, said the Times: “More babies are being born with Down’s syndrome as parents feel increasingly that society is a more welcoming place for children with the condition.” That’s beautiful. “More mothers are choosing to keep their babies when diagnosed with Down’s Syndrome” said the Mail. “Parents appear to be more willing to bring a child with Down’s syndrome into the world because British society has become increasingly accepting of the genetic abnormality” said the Independent. “Children’s quality of life is better and acceptance has risen”, said The Mirror. Read the rest of this entry »

The fishy reckoning

September 22nd, 2007 by Ben Goldacre in adverts, alternative medicine, bad science, cash-for-"stories", fish oil, mail, media, medicalisation, mirror, nutritionists | 29 Comments »

Ben Goldacre
The Guardian
Saturday September 22 2007

So you will remember the fish oil pill stories of last year. For the new kids: pill company Equazen and Durham Council said they were doing a trial on them with their GCSE year, but it wasn’t really a proper trial, for example there was no control group, and they had lots of similarly dodgy “trials” dotted about, which were being pimped successfully to the media as “positive”. When asked, Durham refused to release the detailed information you would expect from a proper piece of research. Even now, for all this pretending, there still has never been a single controlled trial, even a cheap one, of omega-3 fish oil supplements in normal children. Ridiculously.

Read the rest of this entry »

Dore – The Miracle Cure For Dyslexia

November 4th, 2006 by Ben Goldacre in bad science, brain gym, dore, mail, mirror, references, space | 71 Comments »

Ben Goldacre
Saturday November 4, 2006
The Guardian

Wouldn’t it be great if there really was an expensive proprietary cure for dyslexia? Oh hang on, there is: paint tycoon Wynford Dore has developed one, with NASA space technology. It’s only £1700, it has celebrity endorsements, it involves some special exercises, but it has been proven with experts. “A revolutionary drug-free dyslexia remedy has been hailed a wonder cure by experts,” said the Mirror on Monday, in fact. And in the Mail: “Millions of people with dyslexia have been given hope by a set of simple exercises that experts say can cure the disorder.”

This most recent wave of publicity was prompted by a paper on Dore’s miracle cure published in the academic journal Dyslexia. The story of why they should publish such a flawed study is, perhaps, for another day. But what Read the rest of this entry »

The Red Baron

July 8th, 2006 by Ben Goldacre in alternative medicine, bad science, mirror, nutritionists, PhDs, doctors, and qualifications, references | 29 Comments »

The Nutrition Society was founded in 1941 by Lord Boyd Orr. He was described in his obituary – rather fabulously – as “Baron and Nutritional Physiologist”, and in 1949 he casually picked up a Nobel Peace Prize. Since his time, the Nutrition Society seems to have gone rather badly downhill.

Here is a website, for example, run by two of the Nutrition Society’s “Registered Nutritionists” ( They are Read the rest of this entry »

“Cocaine Floods The Playground”

March 31st, 2006 by Ben Goldacre in bad science, drurrrgs, mirror, scare stories, statistics, telegraph, times | 124 Comments »

Ben Goldacre
Saturday April 1, 2006
The Guardian

Nothing comes for free: if you can cope with 400 words on statistics, we can trash a front page news story together. “Cocaine floods the playground,” roared the front page of the Times last Friday. “Use of the addictive drug by children doubles in a year.”

Doubles? Now that was odd, because the press release for this government survey said 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 »

Microbiologists raising doubts? It must be a cover-up

November 5th, 2005 by Ben Goldacre in bad science, mirror, MRSA, scare stories | 72 Comments »

Ben Goldacre
Saturday November 5, 2005
The Guardian

There are times when it’s just great to be alive: you’re running through the archives, the wind’s in your hair, suddenly you stumble on a gem from last year’s Sunday Mirror and it just makes you bless the day you decided to become a sarcastic and hateful campaigning science Read the rest of this entry »

The man behind the Mop of Death

October 22nd, 2005 by Ben Goldacre in bad science, mail, media, mirror, MRSA, PhDs, doctors, and qualifications, scare stories, sun, very basic science | 29 Comments »

Ben Goldacre
Saturday October 22, 2005
The Guardian

Right. Where were we? Oh yes: there is a small unaccredited laboratory in Northants called Chemsol, run by a man with a non-accredited correspondence-course PhD and no formal microbiology training, and he seems to find MRSA in hospitals where other accredited labs, in universities and the like, cannot. And, weirdly, almost every undercover tabloid Read the rest of this entry »

Lab that finds bugs where others do not

October 15th, 2005 by Ben Goldacre in bad science, media, mirror, MRSA, news of the world, PhDs, doctors, and qualifications, scare stories, sun | 78 Comments »

Ben Goldacre
Saturday October 15, 2005
The Guardian

A while ago an investigative television journalist friend rang me up. “I just went undercover to take some MRSA swabs for my filthy hospital superbug scandal,” he said, “but they all came back negative. What am I doing wrong?” Always happy to help, I suggested he swab “my arse” instead. Ten minutes later Read the rest of this entry »