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Posts Tagged ‘goldacre’

Back to school

Posted by gimpygimpy on 07/09/2010

It’s open season again in the battle between us sceptics and the evil, evil CAM people, and I must admit we are getting bruised.

Not that we ain’t trying, but with every move we make we seem to be getting our faces knocked in. If you ask me this is a direct result of the childish pranks that the ‘Voice of Young Scientists’ are getting up to these days. Not that I didn’t warn them. ‘Young does not mean childish’, I said, but like the kids they are they just won’t listen. So here they are again pulling the silly 10:23 campaign out of the hat. If it backfired once it’s going to backfire again, I told them. But on they go, and to make things worse they are launching the even more infantile ‘homeopathic vodka’ binge:

A BBC2 programme in support of the 1023 Campaign is to be screened on 14th September: Quote: “As part of a documentary for the BBC, the 10.23 Campaign created a new product – QED homeopathic vodka. Taking great pains to prepare the vodka absolutely correctly, to the most vigorous of standards, we then took to the streets to find out what people thought of this new product and the £40m-a year homeopathic industry.”

They may not get intoxicated from that placebo bunk, but they sure are acting like drunks, so who’s to know the difference?

It gets worse. Now the kids are launching a juvenile protest outside the Department of Health. The Voice of the Very, Very, Very Young Scientists will be offering free diplomas to practise ‘Old Wives Traditional Medicine’… Sigh… what can I say, reminds me of my early high school days.

The thing they don’t get is that the British public are not stupid, and it won’t do to offend British grandmothers if you don’t want your head smacked with an umbrella. Those Brit’s love their underdog; the more they push their immature self indulgent pranks the more support homeopathy is going to get. I guess it’s left to mature people like me to carry on a more serious campaign. Anyway, that’s what mum keeps saying.

And while the kids are playing games we are being punched all over!

Prof. David Colquhoun got the boot from the CNHC Conduct & Competence Committee! Read Here

An academic has been sacked from a committee of the Complementary and Natural Healthcare Council …after practitioners drew attention to his outspoken criticism of alternative medicine. David Colquhoun, Honorary Fellow and former chair of pharmacology at University College London, applied to join the “conduct and competence committee” of the CNHC when it was established in 2008 as a self-regulatory body for practitioners of alternative medicine.

Now we all know that David applied for the committee as a publicity gimmick, but there you have it, just another attention-grabber that backfires on the more serious sceptics, like myself. Just look at the embarrassing quote this kind of stunt results in:

(having David in the committee): “…is like asking a racist to be objective about the circumstances of racist crime”.

Meanwhile, back at the ranch… Here is a snippet from a recent and most revealing interview with ‘Prof’ Edzard Erntz, fired head of the Exeter University Complementary medicine dept:

“So is it correct that you did not acquire the additional medical title ‘Homeopath’ but took further medical education courses in homeopathy? If yes, which ones? Ernst: “I never completed any courses.”

In short, it appears that the leading ‘authority’ on homeopathy has no qualifications in homeopathy. Read more here

But perhaps most embarrassing of all are the revelations on Ben Goldacre. Benny has finally been dragged out of the closet. I had to cringe when I read it, a bit close to home, and all I can hope is that this won’t happen to me one day… Lord knows I have connections with some of the very same companies. And just read the comments; they rip poor Ben and our other friends to pieces.

A few choice quotes:

It has been a lamentable feature of Ben Goldacre’s contribution to the public discussion of science in the UK that he has everywhere generated an atmosphere of intolerance in support of his views, and rather than raise the tone of the debate it has encouraged a new kind of scientific infantilism, in which you deride your opponents and defer to authority.

It appears that Ben’s old man was a company boy too:

Goldacre senior was a co-author of a study of the effects of GlaxoSmithKline’s notorious Urabe strain version of MMR, Pluserix, after it was suddenly withdrawn from public use in 1992.

The Goldacre dynasty seems to be one of several with on-going connections and strange family ties with the MMR affair. It read like Who’s who- list of corrupt Pharma ties, including

  • Dr Evan Harris, the former MP…is the son of paediatrician Prof Frank Harris who sat on the Committee on Safety in Medicines and the adverse reactions to vaccine committee
  • Paul Nuki, the Sunday Times features editor, who hired journalist Brian Deer to investigate Andrew Wakefield with the statement “I need something big on MMR” was the son of Prof George Nuki who was on the Committee on Safety in Medicines when MMR…
  • The Davis brothers Sir Crispin and Sir Nigel. Sir Crispin was CEO of Reed Elsevier, publishers of the Lancet… was also a non-executive director of MMR defendants GlaxoSmithKline, and Sir Nigel was the High Court judge who upheld the Legal Services Commission to withhold funding from the MMR case a week later without disclosing a family connection to the case… He neither disclosed his GSK directorship or his brother’s judicial involvement in the case.
  • James Murdoch CEO of News International, publishers of the Sunday Times joined the board of GlaxoSmithKlein…This was immediately followed by renewed “overkill” type attacks in Times newspapers on Andrew Wakefield by Brian Deer and others.

It goes on and on. Most embarrassing is showing Benny boys site for selling ‘anti quack T shirts and mugs’ crap: Vomit here.  Did I say childish? Who is ever going to take someone playing that kind of cheap gimmick seriously???

Like I say, badly bruised this month, and I don’t think the back to school pranks are going to make it any better.

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Posted in 1023, David Colquhoun, Edzard, Evan Harris, gimpyblog, GlaxoSmithKline, Goldacre, Lovely Drugs, Sense about Science, Vaccination | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

Paranoia, Conspiracies and Leaks

Posted by gimpygimpy on 04/06/2010

Those deluded homeopaths are at it again. Now they believe that there is a conspiracy against them, people spying on their schools. What nonsense! If that turns out true I will eat my anorak.

Ha-ha. Another obvious symptom of their collective paranoia. We scan every one of the homeopathic websites, blogs and forums, such as Minutus, on a daily basis and we can find no evidence whatsoever that anyone is monitoring their activities. We don’t discuss them, don’t comment about them, and don’t spend our days and nights planning campaigns to eradicate them in parliament, homeopathic hospitals or Boots. Nor do we don’t try to conceal our identities. See? – it’s just paranoia!

Why should we care? We never even heard of homeopathy until they started attacking our organisations. We are peace loving folks who mind our own business. Who gave homeopaths the right to think anyone is trying to hassle them. No one from the Reiki people, the National Guild of Healers, ghost busters, or even the Church of England has ever accused us of a conspiracy, and they are as airy-fairy  as they get. So why would anyone imagine we concern ourselves with homeopaths. Homeo-who?

And then they claim that we are Phrama funded. Ridiculous! Just because their annual turnover exceeds 1.5 billion euro doesn’t mean they are a threat.

Just to see how objective we are, check out

we don’t take money from Pharma

But what really concerns me is that there may be a mole in one of our secret organisations! This is making me nervous. They are stalking us and we must take preventative counter measures at once.  Maybe some electronic listening devices, some hidden cameras and a crack counter espionage force; I always fancied myself a bit of a Tom Cruise.

Remember kids. Just because you’re paranoid does not mean you are not being followed.

Posted in gimpyblog, Sense about Science | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

From Wurst to Burst

Posted by gimpygimpy on 08/03/2010

This has been a bad week. Haggis on my wee face  as they say in Scotland.

Not only have 44 MP’s now put their name to the EDM supporting homeopathy

http://edmi.parliament.uk/EDMi/EDMDetails.aspx?EDMID=40517&SESSION=903

And not only have 2700 people signed the petition supporting homeopathy

http://petitions.number10.gov.uk/Homeopathy1/

But now the primary evidence debunking  the Autism – Vaccination link has been found to be a major hoax in the best tradition of Pharma funded research (And, don’t I know how that works, cause hey! I’m both a researcher and Phrama funded. Coincidence? Synchronicity?)

Read it here:

A Danish scientist who was a key researcher in two studies that purport to show that mercury used in vaccines and the measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccine do not cause autism is believed to have used forged documents to steal $2 million from Aarhus University in Denmark according to reports in the Copenenhagen Post Online and a statement from Aarhus University.

Poul Thorsen, MD PhD, headed up a research unit at Aarhus University that was hired by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to prepare a series of studies that would exonerate thimerosal, a mercury-based preservative and adjuvant used in vaccines, and the MMR vaccine from any role in causing autism. The veracity of the three studies he co-authored is now in doubt.

These studies formed the foundation for the conclusions of several Institute of Medicine reports that claimed that it was highly unlikely that thimerosal or MMR were implicated in autism.

Autism advocacy groups have published extensive analyses on Thorsen’s studies and found many problems in methods, assumptions and conclusions that are supported by the data. And Thorsen is the lynchpin in the series of studies used to dismiss concerns about thimerosal and MMR causing autism.


But the final pie is that our own linchpin and role model professor Edzard Ernst is about to find himself on the dole!

The University of Exeter unit, headed by Edzard Ernst, Britain’s first Professor of Complementary Medicine, could shut next year unless new finance can be found.

Read about it here:

Now why would the ‘Company’ stop funding dear Izzy? Maybe because our campaign is going pear shaped?  Makes me  really nervous!

Anyways, lucky we have some friends in the right places. A bit of puff and a bit of spin, blame prince Charles and a touch of Pharma wand (all the usual stuff), and Izzy will be right back where we need him. Good old Sarah Boseley from the Guardian got on the case, and presto, the tables are turning. Sarah has been a good friend in the past, with nice little articles like ‘Simon Singh and the silencing of the scientists’, ‘Stop homeopathy funding, says Commons committee’ ‘The drug industry needs Capitol Hill on its side’ and of surprise, surprise   ‘Lancet retracts ‘utterly false’ MMR paper’

You can read Sarah wrapping Ernie in candy floss in the Guardian ‘life and style’, just beside a similarly flavored article on  ‘how to cook the perfect sausage’ Check it out here:

But even I got a bit of a chill down my spine when I saw his pic. Brrrr. A bit Dr. No, no?  I shudder to think how those CAM sheep feel when Edzard the wolf  launches into them.

Quote from the Article:

Homeopaths and their friends at Buckingham Palace must be rubbing their hands. The scourge of complementary medicine, Professor Edzard Ernst, may be facing the closure of his unit at the Peninsula medical school in Exeter. While there is plenty of money in alternative therapies, the funding to allow Ernst to test them scientifically is running out.

Haha! Plenty of money in alternative medicine -even I had to laugh at that one -nice touch!

Anyway, thanks again Sarah! A friend in need indeed. Hmmm. I wonder If Sarah will be publishing something on good old Poul Thorsen from Denmark and his bunked vaccination research. Halloo- I don’t think so!!  Just check out this fine example of Sarah spin on AIDS vaccination. Yes minister would be proud:

The world’s first attempted Aids vaccine proved a failure yesterday when, after four years’ work, the Californian biotech company VaxGen announced that trial results showed that it did not protect those at risk of HIV infection.

But…

All credit must go to VaxGen for pushing ahead with its vaccine trials, which are a lengthy and very expensive business.

And

Is the news from VaxGen completely disastrous? No. First, any mass trial produces data that will be useful for future attempts, and VaxGen has said it intends to carry on with the work on the vaccine

I wonder if Sarah would have the same very lenient attitude to homeopathic research. Noooo, cause homeopathy’s got nothing in it, and vaccinations have mercury, see! That’s science!

Isn’t it amazing how a paper like the Guardian got so left-wing it turned into Panzer Division? All Yin and Yang hey! Reminds me a bit of good old days at the LM and Spiked Magazines– Marxist to Stalinist in one quick flip.

Posted in gimpyblog, Lovely Drugs, Rezearch, Sense about Science, Vaccination | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

From bad to worse

Posted by gimpygimpy on 03/03/2010

I’ve really had a bad week! There are now 30 MP’s signed up on that EDM. This is backfiring badly. And if homeopaths carry on writing to their MPs there will probably be more. Lucky most of them are lazy twerps who wouldn’t pick up a pen to save their ass.

Here is what the EDM says:

That this House expresses concern at the conclusions of the Science and Technology Committee’s Report, Evidence Check on Homeopathy; notes that the Committee took only oral evidence from a limited number of witnesses, including known critics of homeopathy Tracy Brown, the Managing Director of Sense About Science, and journalist Dr Ben Goldacre, who have no expertise in the subject; believes that evidence should have been heard from primary care trusts that commission homeopathy, doctors who use it in a primary care setting, and other relevant organisations, such as the Society of Homeopaths, to provide balance; observes that the Committee did not consider evidence from abroad from countries such as France and Germany, where provision of homeopathy is far more widespread than in the UK, or from India, where it is part of the health service; regrets that the Committee ignored the 74 randomised controlled trials comparing homeopathy with placebo, of which 63 showed homeopathic treatments were effective, and that the Committee recommends no further research.

Irritating!!!

Then this whoever it is on The Voice of Not So Young Homoeopathy (What’s that mean, that they are older and wiser then us?!), goes and proves that only 3 MPS voted for the recommendation against homeopathy on the NHS, and most of them were only half there!

Here what the not so old says:

So let’s get this straight – the report and its recommendations that led to the media snow this week, and the dramatic assertion that the public have been duped since 1948 by NHS placebos masquerading as medicine, is the result of a report ratified by THREE MPs: TWO of whom were NOT EVEN PRESENT AT THE COMMITTEE MEETINGS – and ONE of the two was NOT EVEN A MEMBER OF THE COMMITTEE when the hearings were held, and is due to stand down at the election in May this year.

Shit, Shit, shit. I was really hoping no one would notice that! So now it’s 3 against 30. Lucky we have the media eating out of our hands. Nothing like a bit of spin, eh, Tony?

You can read the whole bloody thing here. I did, and I didn’t enjoy it, so I had to respond somehow. Couldn’t think of much to say, so I just went for the good old ‘Homeopaths are paranoid’ bit. Only thing is, I’m using it a bit too much lately. And as we all know, just because you are paranoid doesn’t mean you’re not being hacked. Well I know that!

Silly of me to knock Carol Boyce for lobbying her MP, should have checked on that earlier. Anyways, lobbying MP’s is a privilege of the privileged, so leave it to us. What right do you have to lobby, were the experts, so back off!

And to top it all up, me old mate Ben Goldacre goes and writes an article biting off the hand that feeds us! I couldn’t believe it when I read, quote:

Homeopathy doesn’t work. But are the claims for other medicines any better?

Drug ads that don’t back up their claims show how dumb doctors can be about evidence and how lax regulation has become

Talking about Drug research and related advertising in medical journals (such as our Darling Lancet), Ben says:

The results were abysmal. Only half of the claims in the adverts were supported by the specific trials referenced and, of all the trials, only 55% got a score of “high quality”. Overall, only 39.2% of these adverts referenced a high-quality trial which supported their claim. This is not the first time such a study has been conducted. Villanueva and colleagues, in 2003, published a paper in the Lancet assessing claims for cardiac medication adverts in six Spanish medical journals: of the 102 references they could trace, 44% did not support the promotional statement. Similar results have been found in psychiatric drug adverts, and in the field of rheumatology. To offset any suggestion that I am cherry-picking, a review in the Public Library of Science’s open access journal PLoS One found 24 similar studies, and overall only 67% of the claims in adverts were supported by a systematic review, a meta-analysis or a randomised control trial. And he concludes: But it is only the most obvious illustration of the fearsome depths into which these problems extend. We are in very big trouble.

What’s the world coming to? Pass those pink pills, please.

P.S. I was on the verge of getting depressed, but one naïve homeopath made my day and commented on that Homeopathy cancer research  on my blog. Of course we all had a little fun with that. Pity all the other wised up and moved out. Come on boys, keep helping my rating!

Posted in gimpyblog, Lovely Drugs, Sense about Science | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »