Dianthus Medical Blog Archive

So long, and thanks for all the fish

I'm sorry to have to announce that Dianthus Medical Limited has ceased trading. I spent 15 wonderful years of my life running this company, but that time is now over.

We've worked on some fascinating projects with some wonderful people. I am hugely grateful to all the staff of Dianthus Medical, both those who were there at the end and those who'd worked with us previously, for all their dedication and hard work. You folk are what made my job as director of the company such a pleasure.

Continue reading→

In the pay of Big Pharma

Anyone who has ever been involved in any online discussion of quack alternative medicine will no doubt be familiar with the "pharma shill gambit". It's a favourite debating technique of supporters of various forms of quackery, pseudoscentific alternative medicine, and woo. When a supporter of homeopathy or whatever has the facts pointed out to them, they respond by saying that the other person is obviously being paid to say that by Big Pharma.

Continue reading→

Rules are for the little people

One of the most fundamental principles of the ethics of research involving human subjects is that of informed consent. This applies in clinical research and in social science research. If you are going to experiment on people, you need their permission first.

And note the word "informed" in the phrase "informed consent". It's not enough that someone ticks a box on a form: for consent to be ethical, it must be properly informed. The people giving consent to be experimented on must know exactly what they are letting themselves in for.

Continue reading→

Self-driving cars

Self-driving cars have been in the news a lot recently, for example here.

Two things seem clear to me about self-driving cars. First, it's an exciting new technology which at some stage in the future will be a massive game-changer in the way we travel. Second, it's not yet ready for prime time.

Continue reading→

Do 1 in 3 women really have an abortion?

My attention was recently attracted by an advert for the British Pregnancy Advisory Service in which they claimed that 1 in 3 women will have an abortion.

2014-05-24 15.26.10

Continue reading→

Clinical trials transparency

I'm currently at the EMWA conference in Budapest, where this morning I attended a fascinating symposium on clinical trials transparency (the symposium went on all day, but I was teaching a workshop on critical evaluation of medical literature this afternoon, so sadly I couldn't stay for the afternoon session).

Continue reading→

Pfizer, AstraZeneca, and taxation

You would have to have been living under a rock somewhere to have missed the news that Pfizer is looking pretty seriously at a takeover of AstraZeneca.

Continue reading→

Care for the elderly

The top story I woke up to on the radio this morning was of allegations of mistreatment of elderly patients at a care home. This seems to be part of a disturbing pattern: mistreatment of the elderly (and other vulnerable people) in care homes is far more common than it should be.

Continue reading→

Wages and prices

An allegedly good news story today is that "wages catch up with inflation".

It's a while since I've seen a more misleading statistic. Wages have not caught up with inflation at all. What has happened is that the annual rate of increase in wages (now 1.7%) is greater than the annual rate of increase in consumer prices (now 1.6%). However, given that prices have been increasing faster than wages for some years now, wages have quite a bit of catching up to do. A 0.1% advantage in the rate of change will not come close to doing that.

Continue reading→

Tamiflu: it's a bit more complicated than that

Tamiflu is in the news again today. You will no doubt have read about how the government wasted vast sums of money on stockpiling Tamiflu, which today's new research shows is completely ineffective.

Well, that's what the press release said, anyway. And journalists are pretty good at regurgitating press releases. Here are some examples (though to be fair, they do at least all include a very brief mention that Roche disagrees, if you read that far). The reality, however, is a bit more complicated than that.

Continue reading→
Older posts →