Alzheimer’s: we want a cure but please don’t mention B vitamins

The article in today’s Daily Mail about B vitamins and Alzheimer’s is the story of the triumph of dogged scientific persistence – do read it first if you can because this blog would become impossibly long if I repeated all the details.  But behind it is another story of indifference and prejudice that is preventing […]

What is wrong with randomised trials Part 2

Could alcohol get a licence as a drug for depression? How do you test for the safety of a drug that causes the same side effects as the disease it is used to treat? These are just two of the points I didn’t have room for in my post last week on randomised controlled trials (RCTs) […]

Why randomised controlled trials don’t tell you what you want to know

Earlier this week the Daily Mail  published my feature on side-effects and how patients aren’t properly warned about them. Antidepressants, for instance, can cause compulsive heavy drinking but you wouldn’t know it from the drug information leaflet.  The article is about campaigning psychiatrist Dr David Healy, who believes patients need a more truthful account of […]

We know how to cut diabetes deaths. So why aren’t we doing it?

Who’s responsible for our diabetes/obesity epidemic? Is it those fat lazy bastards who eat crap food and sit on the couch all day or is it the drug companies that spend billions researching and marketing drugs of limited effectiveness or dubious safety or is the government that allows commercial interest to create a food supply […]

Treating disease with diet – new possibilities

There were several reasons I got interested in the low-calorie liquid diet I’ve written about in today’s Daily Mail – mainly the fact that evidence is mounting that it can reverse diabetes and other conditions such as arthritic knees. But also because together with the alternate day diet I think it holds out possibility of […]

The evidence–free drug that costs the NHS 70 million a year

Just as Catholic cardinals condemn paedophilia, so mainstream medicine formally rejects treatments not supported by evidence in the form of clinical trials. But in reality interfering with novices or failing to come up with the evidence, providing of course a drug is involved, doesn’t necessarily mean banishment. Both dodgy priests and drugs can remain on […]

Silver Bullet Award for dangerous drug promotion

When I saw recently that Simon Singh,  energetic “quack buster “ and scourge of  homoeopaths, chiropractors and their ilk, had established an award called the Golden Duck to be presented to the person who had “supported or practised pseudoscience in the most dangerous or irresponsible manner” , my first thought was: How unfair!     What […]

The dream that has become a nightmare

Millions of us have a problem sleeping; it’s one of the top reasons for GP visits. Unfortunately for insomniacs the way it is generally treated provides a vivid case history of why our current system of evidence based medicine needs a radical overhaul.   The dream of improving medicine with system that would separate good […]

Ben Goldacre’s new book. Too late, too little

Drug companies exaggerate their successes, hide their failures and generally fail to abide by the rules of evidence based medicine. This ongoing fraud is the subject of the latest book from Guardian columnist Ben Goldacre, better known as merciless scourge of “woo” merchants cynically flogging worthless complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) treatments. An extract from […]

Positive acupuncture trial sets critics spinning

The headline to a Guardian story this morning reads: “Acupuncture useful but overall of little benefit – study shows”. Actually that is not what the study showed at all. I reported on this study in the Daily Mail yesterday and read the report carefully. Instead the study showed two positive things about acupuncture. Firstly that […]