Dianthus Medical Blog Archive

Index of Pseudoscience

Lack of transparency at the BMJ

I like the British Medical Journal. I really do. They publish some really great papers. They are also very much among the leaders in terms of publication ethics. They are one of the few journals who have espoused the contributorship model, which makes things much clearer than the traditional authorship model used by many journals. They were also writing about and acting on competing interests and the importance of declaring them as long ago as the 1990s. They have been a shining beacon of transparency and a force for higher standards in biomedical publishing.

Continue reading→

Why the NHS reforms are like dangerous pseudoscience

This is supposed to be a blog about medical stuff, not about politics, so I hope you'll forgive me writing about the Health and Social Care Bill that's currently going through the UK Parliament on two posts in a row. The bill, if passed, will have a huge impact on the way medicine is practiced here in the UK.

Continue reading→

Burzynski Clinic in the Observer: PCC response

You may remember that last month I blogged about a hideously irresponsible article in the Observer. To refresh your memory, I said I'd reported them to the Press Complaints Commission and that I'd let you know of any developments.

Well, I now have a development to report. The PCC have considered my complaint, and have ruled that the Observer article, while it was indeed misleading, did not breach the code, because it was somebody's opinion rather than a factual article.

Continue reading→

The Burzynski Clinic

I have seen a number of very sad stories over the last few months that all have something in common. The most recent was printed in the Observer last Sunday. It is an utterly heart-rending story of a little girl who is dying of brain cancer. It is hard to imagine anything more terrible for any parents to have to face.

Continue reading→

Always read the full paper

My attention has just been drawn to a paper which reviews basic research in homeopathy. It's bollocks, of course, as is most research in homeopathy, but it does provide a useful little lesson in the importance of reading the full paper and not relying on the abstract.

Continue reading→

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.

Continue reading→

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.

Continue reading→

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.

Continue reading→

Why you should not believe a word in adverts

Last month, I blogged about the highly misleading advert for Dettol, which claims "Dettol protects: fact", and my response from the Advertising Standards Authority to my complaint about the advert. It appeared that the ASA had misunderstood my complaint, and thought I was doubting Dettol's ability to kill bacteria on kitchen surfaces (which I don't). Rather, I was complaining that the advert was claiming that using Dettol can protect against infection, which is not at all the same thing as killing bacteria. I emailed the ASA to explain why their original response missed the point and asked them to take another look at it.

Continue reading→

Dettol protects: fact or fiction?

Readers in the UK (and possibly further afield, for all I know) will probably have seen a TV advert for a household disinfectant called Dettol, which has the strapline "Dettol protects: fact".

We are generally shown pictures of mummies with cute little kids and told how important it is to keep the kids protected, so the mummies clean their kitchens with Dettol. There is a clear implication that doing so will keep the little ones protected from nasty germs and therefore healthier.

Continue reading→
← Newer posts