Dianthus Medical Blog Archive

Index of 2011

ICR conference 2011

We'll be exhibiting at the ICR conference in Brighton on 21-22 March. Come and see us on stand 40!

If you can't make it, you can follow our news from the conference on Twitter. Follow us at @dianthusmed, or follow the hashtag #ICR2011.

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World Homeopathy Awareness Week 2011

This week has been designated as “World Homeopathy Awareness Week” (WHAW). This is a rather odd title, as we shall see later, but the gist of it is that it is a PR exercise by the homeopathy community, designed to increase sales of their treatments.

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Bias in papers about bias

I have just read a paper describing how Evil Big Pharma manipulates the medical literature so that they can make more money from selling their drugs, no matter what the science says. That paper made me grumpy.


Well, if you are going to write a scientific paper criticising someone for introducing bias into the scientific literature, would it be too much to ask that you should do it in an unbiased way? What makes me grumpy is when people write papers about how evil and biased the pharmaceutical industry is (and this is certainly not the first such paper), but then themselves distort the facts to make a point.

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Appropriately intolerant reporting of quack allergy testing

Last week, the government's Chief Scientific Adviser, John Beddington, caused a bit of a stir when he called for scientists to be more intolerant towards pseudoscience.

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Zinc and the common cold

Today's big health news story is a new Cochrane review that looked at zinc as a treatment for the common cold. The conclusion of the review is that taking zinc supplements within 24 hours of the onset of a cold can reduce the duration and severity of symptoms.

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New podcast from the Institute of Clinical Research

The Institute of Clinical Research (ICR) have today launched a new monthly podcast, which looks at news from the world of clinical research, and I'm delighted to say that I was a co-presenter of the first episode, along with Andrew Smith from the ICR.

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The psychology of climate change denial

Last night I watched a fascinating documentary on BBC 4 about climate change denialism in general, and about Lord Christopher Monckton in particular. Watch it on BBC iPlayer if you missed it.

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Water fluoridation

There are many controversies in science, but most of them have a "right answer". Why should something which has a "right answer" be controversial? Well, it may be because people are simply ignorant of the facts or motivated by competing interests, or it may be that even though there is a right answer out there somewhere, we don't actually know what it is.

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Duration of exclusive breastfeeding and risk of anaemia

There's been a lot of stuff in the news today about a paper that's just been published in the BMJ by Mary Fewtrell and colleagues, which questions the current recommendation that infants should be exclusively breastfed for 6 months. There are many issues here, and I don't have time to look at all of them, but one thing that I found interesting is that the paper raises the possibility that exclusive breastfeeding for 6 months may increase the risk of iron-deficiency anaemia in the infant, compared with exclusive breastfeeding for only 4 months.

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Medical writer vacancy

We have a vacancy for a medical writer to join our team for maternity cover. Please note that the job will be for a fixed-term contract for approximately 6 months, although it is possible that the position could subsequently become permanent if circumstances permit.

The role will involve writing manuscripts for publication in peer-reviewed journals, clinical study reports for drug regulatory purposes, and a healthy variety of other documents. Relevant experience would be useful, but not essential, as full training will be provided. You must have excellent English language skills, a degree (or PhD) in a science discipline, an enthusiasm for writing, and good attention to detail.

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