Homeopathy4health

30 January 2008

Witnessing the worldly struggle of parallel and opposing teams: Haliaeetus Leucocephalus (American bald Eagle)

Filed under: homeopath,Homeopathy,Personal,reflection,sceptic — homeopathy4health @ 4:52 pm
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Bald Eagle! ...... Centennial Lake, Columbia Maryland  2006

http://www.flickr.com/photos/-jon-/136679496/ 

Today I came across the proving by Jeremy Sherr of the blood of the American bald Eagle.  Some of what the proving says has relevance today in the apparently opposing world views of homeopaths and skeptics:

 ‘The tranquillity of Eagle leads to a unique characteristic.  This is a state of witnessing, a pure objectivity that will not take sides in the worldly struggle of parallel and opposing teams that can never share a common point of view. 

From this highly objective position eagle approaches the state of a truly unprejudiced observer.

Haliaeetus…. focuses not on the lines but on the eternal split between them.’  One prover felt: “It’s like a deep, deep crack and it is getting deeper, like a crack in my soul.  The crack has an endless quality to it, like a crack in my soul or the universe.”

‘The Kabala teaches that the Tree of Life is constructed of three parallel columns.  On the left side is the pole of Judgement and discrimination and on the right side is the pole of Sympathy and benevolence.  Haliaeetus separates these polarities to an extreme degree.  But in opposition to the deep and evil crack mentioned earlier, it also has the power to unite both columns in the central column of Mercy, which represents divine presence.

Though the internal configuration of Haliaeetus is the unfocused separation of parallel lines, which leads to a dark, empty abyss, in our vast curved universe parallel lines may eventually meet high above the ground or deep within our interior.  once the eagle focuses on this central point of view, it can align with the only force in the universe that is beyond good and bad, present and future, judgement and sympathy – the all powerful force of God’s light.’

No comments allowed due to allegorical nature of this piece.

21 January 2008

Rupert Sheldrake: we need to be skeptical of skeptics

Filed under: bad science,sceptic,scientism — homeopathy4health @ 10:09 pm
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Rupert Sheldrake,  one of the world’s most innovative biologists, is best known for his theory of morphic fields and morphic resonance, which leads to a vision of a living, developing universe with its own inherent memory. He first worked in developmental biology at Cambridge University, and is currently Director of the Perrott-Warrick project.

The skepticism of believers 

I used to think of skepticism as a primary intellectual virtue, whose goal was truth. I have changed my mind. I now see it as a weapon.

Creationists opened my eyes. They use the techniques of critical thinking to expose weaknesses in the evidence for natural selection, gaps in the fossil record and problems with evolutionary theory. Is this because they are seeking truth? No. They believe they already know the truth. Skepticism is a weapon to defend their beliefs by attacking their opponents.

Skepticism is also an important weapon in the defence of commercial self-interest. According to David Michaels, who was assistant secretary for environment, safety and health in the US Department of Energy in the 1990s, the strategy used by the tobacco industry to create doubt about inconvenient evidence has now been adopted by corporations making toxic products such as lead, mercury, vinyl chloride, and benzene. When confronted with evidence that their activities are causing harm, the standard response is to hire researchers to muddy the waters, branding findings that go against the industry’s interests as “junk science.” As Michaels noted, “Their conclusions are almost always the same: the evidence is ambiguous, so regulatory action is unwarranted.” Climate change skeptics use similar techniques.

In a penetrating essay called “The Skepticism of Believers”, Sir Leslie Stephen, a pioneering agnostic (and the father of Virginia Woolf), argued that skepticism is inevitably partial. “In regard to the great bulk of ordinary beliefs, the so-called skeptics are just as much believers as their opponents.” Then as now, those who proclaim themselves skeptics had strong beliefs of their own. As Stephen put it in 1893, ” The thinkers generally charged with skepticism are equally charged with an excessive belief in the constancy and certainty of the so-called ‘laws of nature’. They assign a natural cause to certain phenomena as confidently as their opponents assign a supernatural cause.”

Skepticism has even deeper roots in religion than in science. The Old Testament prophets were withering in their scorn for the rival religions of the Holy Land. Psalm 115 mocks those who make idols of silver and gold: “They have mouths, and speak not: eyes have they, and see not.” At the Reformation, the Protestants deployed the full force of biblical scholarship and critical thinking against the veneration of relics, cults of saints and other “superstitions” of the Catholic Church. Atheists take religious skepticism to its ultimate limits; but they are defending another faith, a faith in science.

In practice, the goal of skepticism is not the discovery of truth, but the exposure of other people’s errors. It plays a useful role in science, religion, scholarship, and common sense. But we need to remember that it is a weapon serving belief or self-interest; we need to be skeptical of skeptics. The more militant the skeptic, the stronger the belief.”

20 January 2008

Fact or FLACT?

Sceptics like to twist things around, notably Ben Goldacre (junior liaison psychiatrist, of the ‘it’s all in your head’ school of medicine), according to twisted logic.

It feels like this:

I might say ‘I like yellow’.

A sceptic might then claim ‘H4H doesn’t like white, red, blue, green, orange, purple, pink, black or brown.’  This would not be true as I also like blue and purple and I can tolerate all the other colours too.

I have a new term for such logic-derived ‘facts’: ‘FLACT’.

*4th February 2008.  Updated* to incorporate my justification of including Ben Goldacre from responses to Andy Lewis (aka le canard noir):

http://homeopathy4health.wordpress.com/2007/12/03/forced-vaccinations-because-conventional-medicine-is-not-effective-in-treating-infectious-disease/

The low cholera mortality rates under homeopathic treatment: When Cholera finally struck Europe in 1831 the mortality rate (under conventional treatment) was between 40% (Imperial Council of Russia) to 80% (Osler’s Practice of Medicine). Out of five people who contracted Cholera, two to four of them died under regular treatment. Dr. Quin, in London, reported the mortality in the ten homeopathic hospitals in 1831-32 as 9%; Dr. Roth, physician to the king of Bavaria, reported that under homeopathic care the mortality was 7%; Admiral Mordoinow of the Imperial Russian Council reported 10% mortality under homeopathy; and Dr. Wild, Allopathic editor of Dublin Quarterly Journal, reported in Austria, the Allopathic mortality was 66% and the homeopathic mortality was 33% “and on account of this extraordinary result, the law interdicting the practice of Homeopathy in Austria was repealed.’

Ben states:‘Homeopathic pills won’t do anything against cholera.’

So by his logic (and yours) most of the people treated with homeopathy just got better anyway: ‘the homeopaths’ treatments at least did nothing either way’

So logically: If people just got better anyway, by this evidence they should just have been left alone when they got cholera and the death rates would have been much lower. And his other part of Ben’s logic is that cholera death rates were so high because allopathic medicine made them much worse: ‘high allopathic mortality rate was due to dangerous practices’

So my point is why would the population worry so much about cholera then?

But they did:

http://www.earlyamerica.com/review/2000_fall/1832_cholera_part1.html

‘New York was probably the most thoroughly scourged among the states. Each of the thriving towns along the Erie Canal suffered in its turn, despite quarantines and last minute attempts at ‘purifications.’ . . .Small villages, even isolated farms, were stricken. And here the disease was most terrifying; it had to be faced alone, often without friend, minister, or physician. The appearance of cholera in even the smallest hamlet was the signal for the general exodus of the inhabitants, who, in their headlong flight, spread the disease throughout the surrounding countryside.’

http://www.lib.rochester.edu/index.cfm?page=3353

‘Asiatic cholera is a very violent intestinal disease, usually running a short course to dehydration and death, often in a matter of hours. Its very violence ensured that it would not be the type of disease which could be overlooked or treated with little concern’

‘The social and economic consequences of cholera were quite significant. Community life was completely disrupted whenever a new pandemic arrived. Usually panic gripped the populace and all persons who could leave the affected area promptly did so. The spectacular deadliness of the pandemic of 1826-37, which was the first to strike Europe and America, set up a psychological conditioning which assured that all subsequent invasions would induce panic. Normal economic and social life came to an end. Governmental activities were carried out with difficulty. Even medical and nursing services were impaired–sometimes to the extent that the sick were left untended and the dead unburied. Travellers and strangers often were treated badly. Gradually, as an epidemic waned, normal routines were resumed. Practically every community added boards of health and sanitation, which were supposed to take preventive measures against new outbreaks of cholera.’

19 January 2008

Medicine: blind and in the dark?

The thing I like most about being a homeopathic practitioner is the observation process.  We all practise in slightly different ways according to our strengths, and whereas some of us are adept at reading body language my strength is in the language that people use when in the homeopathic conversation (reference Brian Kaplan’s book ‘The Homeopathic Conversation’) and out of it.  My aim is to empathise with the person’s situation, understand how they think and feel and how their body reflects these.

What puzzles me about scientific papers is that observation is taken out of the process and reduced to statistics which are incomprehesible to the lay person and which are subject to statistical interpretation bias.  Observation of effects is impossible and readers of scientific papers are literally ‘blind’ to their sense of the results.

The foundations of the scientific approach are suspicion and doubt: both are deeply negative mental processes.  I am told that a good scientist should doubt his results as his first reaction;  I would say that this is an unhealthy reaction in most normal situations:  someone who doubts his reactions has poor intuition.   Someone who is doubtful isolates themselves from experience.  Suspicion causes peers to doubt each others results and slows progress.

 Then there is the requirement to take an experiment into a laboratory both to control real world contamination and to simultaneously mimic real world conditions.  How can it do both?

Skeptics believe that the scientific method is the answer to medical problems, I am unconvinced.

Dr Natasha Campbell McBride says it better than I : http://www.thehealthbank.co.uk/nutrition_articles/blind_and_double_blind.html

18 January 2008

Homeopathy myths: It’s a drop in the ocean

A response to my explanation today by Jeff Garrington:

“In homeopathy each succussion takes place in the small environment of a closed test tube and involves a relatively very small amount of water.” Surely this isn’t the case with Helios, Nelsons and other manufacturers of Homeopathic Water.
Or am I mistaken, are thousands employed shaking test tubes.

My reply:

“JG: You are mistaken.

Remedies were laboriously handmade but now many homeopathic pharmacies use Korsakoff machines where ONE vial is emptied (the small residue in the bottle being considered the ‘one drop’) and refilled and succussed to the required potency over hours or days.”

Here is Helios’s page: http://www.helios.co.uk/Helios%20Potentising%20machine.html

Here is a picture of the machine:

Helios Homoeopathy High Potency Korsakoff Machine

No swimming pools or oceans required.

More myth-busting at http://www.homeopathyworkedforme.org/

It continues to amaze me how skeptics are ignorant of the facts of the therapy they love to hate (although to be fair to Jeff he isn’t too bad).

13 January 2008

Structures of liquids are easily and regularly changed and homeopathic remedies exhibit biological activity

Homeopathy – Quackery or a Key to the Future of Medicine?

Debate between Dr Steven Novella, Dr Rustum Roy, Dr Donald Marcus, Dr Iris Bell, Dr Nadav Davidovitch, Dr Andre Saine.

Rustum Roy: ‘There are three vectors in the homeopathic process which can change structure which are well established in materials science:

1. Pressure during succussion

2. Epitaxy on each remedy’s structure

3. Nanobubbles formed by succussion.” (Slide 57)

“There have been excellent papers using physio chemical methods to show that homeopathically processed lab samples are measurably different from the original waters.  Especially the several papers by Elia et al flux calorimetry, conductivity, pH, electrode potentials and by Rey using standard thermo luminescence.” (Slide 53)

Differences in spectrometry between homeopathic Natrum Muriaticum and Nux Vomica (Slide 54)

Dr Iris Bell: Histamine Dilutions Modulate Basophil Activation Non-linearly Multicentre Study (Belon et al) (Slide 88)

Thrombogenic effects of Ultra-High Dilution Aspirin (ASA): a Nonlinear Dose-Response Relationship (Slide 89) “we see a reversal of what we usually anticipate aspirin to do at the toxic level.”

Animal studies demonstrate biological effects of homeopathic remedies (Slide 90)

What you see is an 70-80% rate of favourable outcome for the people in the real world who have found their way to homeopathic treatment across a large range of chronic and acute illnesses.” (Slide 95)

[The full write up of the debate is in the article in the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine January 1, 2008, 14(1): 9-15]

11 January 2008

“If there’s little risk, why not exploit the therapy?”

 http://health.usnews.com/blogs/comarow-on-quality/2008/1/9/an-alternative-perspective-on-alternative-medicine.html

“U.S. News‘s Avery Comarow has been editor of the America’s Best Hospitals annual rankings since their debut in 1990. In his reporting on all aspects of clinical medicine from the latest cholesterol guidelines to robotic surgery, he has kept one question in the front of his mind: What does this mean to patients? That perspective uniquely qualifies him to observe and comment on the efforts by hospitals and other healthcare providers to improve care and patient safety.”

In his personal blog he reflects on recently reporting on alternative medicine:

“Academic medical centers all over the country—venerable altars of clinical research and practice like Mayo and Duke, top-ranked cancer centers, and even children’s hospitals—are scrambling to roll out therapies that five or 10 years ago most regarded as dubious at best, crackpot at worst. Acupuncture, homeopathy, herbs, traditional Chinese medicine.

When I began my reporting, one of the first things that struck me was that not a single researcher or clinician bothered arguing that the evidence for any of the alternative therapies they were testing and using on patients was persuasive. To the contrary, all agreed that almost none of the studies that show positive results have been designed or run very well.

If I wanted an evidence base, I was out of luck. But absence of evidence, as the late astronomer Carl Sagan said, is not evidence of absence. And if we lack an understanding of or explanation for how something works (as was the case for decades for how an airplane could stay airborne), that doesn’t give us the ammunition to state that it doesn’t work. In philosophy, that kind of reasoning is called argument by ignorance.

The patients I spoke with told me how acupuncture had made their allergies go away, how they were able to avoid painkillers after major surgery because of hypnosis or visualization or other mind-body techniques, how a homeopathic remedy that science would regard simply as water reduced swelling and pain within hours after an injury. I heard many such anecdotes, along with candid appraisals of treatments that seemed to be effective only for a short time or not at all. These people were not all true believers.

It may be that the placebo effect is behind most of the successes claimed for alternative therapies. I suspect it probably is—it can be quite powerful. Suppose we could tap into that power. Maybe we’d need to redefine our thinking about a therapy’s ability to work. What does “work” mean, anyway?

I wrestled with the story for weeks, because those patients made a considerable impact on me. Yes, I’m still an evidence guy. I still want well-done clinical trials to be the foundation for care. I still want researchers to set high standards and to meet them before claiming success. But we’ve been learning some amazing things in recent years about the way the mind affects the body and the body affects the mind, discovering a relationship far more dynamic and interlocked than anyone previously believed. It seems as though many alternative therapies may exploit this relationship. If there’s little risk, why not exploit the therapy?”

4 January 2008

Treating flu symptoms with homeopathy

It’s that time of year again… « WhiteCoat Underground : ‘Over the last two weeks, I’ve seen dozens of people drag themselves in to the office or the clinic with high fevers, muscle aches, cough, and looking like absolute hell.  Some have been admitted to the hospital.  I’ve sent flu tests on some of them, and lots of them are coming back positive.’

As I have said before (http://homeopathy4health.wordpress.com/2007/12/03/forced-vaccinations-because-conventional-medicine-is-not-effective-in-treating-infectious-disease/), Doctors recommend vaccines because they have no means of treating the symptoms of acute diseases.  They have defined the disease and the virus and have a test but no treatment.

If you prefer not to vaccinate there are several useful homeopathic remedies to counteract the symptoms of flu depending on nature of the symptoms and are well described here: http://www.holisticonline.com/remedies/Flu/Flu_homeopathy.htm

And here is some information about homeopathic treatment of flu in the early 20th century: http://www.nesh.com/main/nejh/samples/winston.html by Julian Winston.

“The following is an extract from an article entitled “Homeopathy In Influenza- A Chorus Of Fifty In Harmony” by W. A. Dewey, MD that appeared in the Journal of the American Institute of Homeopathy in 1920.

Dean W. A. Pearson of Philadelphia collected 26,795 cases of influenza treated by homeopathic physicians with a mortality of 1.05%, while the average old school mortality is 30%.

Thirty physicians in Connecticut responded to my request for data. They reported 6,602 cases with 55 deaths, which is less than 1%. In the transport service I had 81 cases on the way over. All recovered and were landed. Every man received homeopathic treatment. One ship lost 31 on the way. H. A. Roberts, MD, Derby, Connecticut.

In a plant of 8,000 workers we had only one death. The patients were not drugged to death. Gelsemium was practically the only remedy used. We used no aspirin and no vaccines. -Frank Wieland, MD, Chicago.

I did not lose a single case of influenza; my death rate in the pneumonias was 2.1%. The salycilates, including aspirin and quinine, were almost the sole standbys of the old school and it was a common thing to hear them speaking of losing 60% of their pneumonias.-Dudley A. Williams, MD, Providence, Rhode Island.

Fifteen hundred cases were reported at the Homeopathic Medical Society of the District of Columbia with but fifteen deaths. Recoveries in the National Homeopathic Hospital were 100%.-E. F. Sappington, M. D., Philadelphia.

I have treated 1,000 cases of influenza. I have the records to show my work. I have no losses. Please give all credit to homeopathy and none to the Scotch-Irish-American! -T. A. McCann, MD, Dayton, Ohio.

One physician in a Pittsburgh hospital asked a nurse if she knew anything better than what he was doing, because he was losing many cases. “Yes, Doctor, stop aspirin and go down to a homeopathic pharmacy, and get homeopathic remedies.” The Doctor replied: “But that is homeopathy.” “I know it, but the homeopathic doctors for whom I have nursed have not lost a single case.” -W. F. Edmundson, MD, Pittsburgh.

There is one drug which directly or indirectly was the cause of the loss of more lives than was influenza itself. You all know that drug. It claims to be salicylic acid. Aspirin’s history has been printed. Today you don’t know what the sedative action of salicylic acid is. It did harm in two ways. It’s indirect action came through the fact that aspirin was taken until prostration resulted and the patient developed pneumonia. -Frank L. Newton, MD, Somerville, Massachusetts

Aspirin and the other coal tar products are condemned as causing great numbers of unnecessary deaths. The omnipresent aspirin is the most pernicious drug of all. It beguiles by its quick action of relief of pain, a relief which is but meretricious. In several cases aspirin weakened the heart, depressed the vital forces, increased the mortality in mild cases and made convalescence slower. In all cases it masks the symptoms and renders immeasurably more difficult the selection of the curative remedy. Apparently aspirin bears no curative relation to any disease and it ought
to be prohibited. -Guy Beckly Stearns, MD, New York

Three hundred and fifty cases and lost one, a neglected pneumonia that came to me after she had taken one hundred grains of aspirin in twenty-four hours. -Cora Smith King, MD, Washington, DC

I had a package handed to me containing 1,000 aspirin tablets, which was 994 too many. I think I gave about a half dozen. I could find no place for it. My remedies were few. I almost invariably gave Gelsemium and Bryonia. I hardly ever lost a case if I got there first, unless the patient had been sent to a drug store and bought aspirin, in which event I was likely to have a case of pneumonia on my hands. -J. P. Huff, MD, Olive Branch, Kentucky.

In reading the accounts of the epidemic it seems that most of the deaths were caused by a virulent pneumonia that was especially devastating to those who depressed their system with analgesics-the most common being aspirin.

The Physician from whom I first learned homeopathy, Raymond Seidel, MD, HMD, said that he decided to be a homeopathic doctor during the flu epidemic when he was working as a delivery boy for a homeopath in New Jersey. Raymond Seidel told me that he decided to become a homeopathic doctor when he was a ten-year old delivery boy for a local homeopath. He said, “I saw that the people who were taking aspirin were dying, about half those who were drinking a lot were dying, and those that received homeopathic remedies were living.”

3 January 2008

Malignant tumour cases regressed with homeopathy

Homeopathy is gaining acceptance in large economies such as India and France  and Indian medicine is starting to integrate modern diagnostic techniques with homeopathic treatment.  This report is by Prasanta Banerji and Pratip Banerji of the PBH Research Foundation.

http://www.virtualtrials.com/ruta/ruta2007.cfm

Presented 6/7/2007 at the Central NJ Brain Tumor Support Group

“In this lecture I have presented only seven proved malignant tumor cases who were regressed following treatment with specific homeopathic medicines – Kali Carbonicum and Ferrum Phosphoricum for bronchogenic carcinoma, Condurango for oesophageal carcinoma, Ruta and Calcarea Phosphorica for brain tumors and Symphytum for the Osteogenic Sarcoma.

Most of these cases were followed up and found normal even after five years. We have studied thousands of similar cases and promising results have been obtained in many instances.

The National Institutes of Health (NIH), USA, was very interested in our research into various types of cancers and had asked us to produce records of our successes. This we had done by submitting a “Best Case Series” on Cancer to the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM) and the National Cancer Institute (NCI) at the NIH. On acceptance of our series, we were invited to present the same before the Cancer Advisory Panel for Complementary and Alternative Medicines in July 1999. As a result of our presentation, the NCI, USA, is at present devising a “Practice Outcomes Monitoring and Evaluation Systems Study for Bronchogenic Carcinoma” at our clinic in Kolkata, India, with a view to arrive at a protocol for treatment of these cases at institutions in the US. Therefore, scientific progress demands that we continuously carry on more and more experiments and keep observational records.

Along with the Professor of Cell Biology and Genetics, at the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, one paper has been published entitled “Ruta 6 selectively induces cell death in brain cancer cells but proliferation in normal peripheral blood lymphocytes: A novel treatment for human brain cancer” in the International Journal of Oncology in October 2003 where our method of treatment with Ruta and Calcarea Phosphorica was followed with excellent results.

Of interest in this context is the fact that the brain tumor community in the US has shown an immense response to this protocol of treatment. We all know that patients suffering from serious diseases often acquire a good deal of knowledge about their diseases. Lately, we have been receiving 60 to 70 mails a day from patients all over the world who have found the paper on Ruta and in an uncontrolled manner have started taking the medicines themselves. When after 3 to 4 months of treatment, they find that their tumor has regressed or become static, they contact us to fine tune the treatment for them.

Some have even gone so far as to set up user groups on the internet which are showing remarkable results. One such group is run by Mr. Alex Fidelibus and can be accessed on the projected URL: “http://health.groups.yahoo.com/group/Ruta6/

We have treated thousands of cancer patients in the last four decades. Here we now highlight some outcome of our treatment in the recent past.

This Graph shows general outcome of treatment of 17,324 cancer patients from 1990 to 2005 at our clinics. In 19% cases the malignant tumors were completely regressed which appeared to us very significant. In 21% cases they were static or improved after treatment. Over the last two years, there has been a spurt in the number of cancer cases visiting our clinics. It may be mentioned here that the above in-house figure is mainly based on those cases with complete documentation such as scan plates, biopsy slides and such, and the actual number of cancer cases under our treatment exceeds this figure. On an average about 1000 new cancer cases are registered in our clinics every month and in December 2006 we have treated 1136 new such cases.

Thus presently it appears from all these findings that our new method of treatment with homeopathic medicines may be regarded as the future drug for cancer research and treatment for the benefit of mankind. “

The presentation includes diagnostic slides, scans and x-rays.

2 January 2008

Goldacre’s conflicts of interest exposed.

Cultural Dwarfs and Junk Journalism by Martin J Walker: free download available at www.slingshotpublications.com

Dr Ben Goldacre is the author of the Guardian’s Bad Science column and has authored ‘A Kind of Magic?’, in which:

“he produced what might appear to be a thoroughgoing, devastating critique of a bogus therapy, but the article is at best a farrago of truth, half-truth and downright dissembling. Given the lengths that the Guardian and other British newspapers go to be apparently objective on any vaguely radical subject, one can’t help wondering why the Guardian is happy to let Goldacre romp through, and tread down, all previous standards of fair debate.

Broadly speaking, the essay that follows is the latest addition to my ongoing analysis of the British corporate science lobby and its popular campaigning arms, skeptics and quackbusters. Specifically, the essay focuses on attacks on Patrick Holford, the independent nutritionist, while trying to place the quackbusting journalist Ben Goldacre, who began this round of attacks, in a social and political context.

Dr Ben Goldacre rarely draws attention to the fact that he is a medical doctor, nor does he ever discuss, even in the most general terms, patients with whom he has come into contact, in the way that, for example, James Le Fanu does in his intelligent Sunday Telegraph column.  In fact, nothing Goldacre says seems to be grounded in everyday life, the condition of ‘ordinary people’ or the public at large.

Despite claiming to spend most of his life working in the NHS, he is circumspect about which London hospital he works in and what kind of medicine he practises. For someone who spends considerable amounts of time criticising those who practice non-allopathic medicine, for example nutritional practitioners, he might, one would think, make more of his NHS position.

Despite his claim to be a serious academician, and despite the fact that a number of his PR puffs say that he ‘has published academic papers in neuroscience’, there is no record on the significant databases of his having co-authored more than one academic paper, apparently written while he was a visitor at Milan University. The only way in which academic status can be measured is by the number of peer-reviewed papers or other notable publications such as books. It should
be pointed out that the engorgement of un-provable academic credentials is one of the major points of criticisms he addresses when writing his quackbusting articles.

QUACKBUSTER OR JOURNALIST: DOES BEN GOLDACRE HAVE CONFLICT OF INTERESTS?

In 1999, two years after New Labour had come to power and Lord Sainsbury had been rewarded for his campaign donations, Goldacre was funded by the British Academy to do his Masters degree in philosophy at King’s College.

Today, the British Academy (BA) is funded by the Office of Science and Innovation (OSI), which sits within the DTI.28 In the past it has always been linked to both the Royal Society and the Royal
Institution. It claims to ‘maximise the contribution made by our science, engineering and technology skills and resources to the UK’s economic development, and to the quality of our lives’. Of course, one is bound to wonder how the quality of public life could be enhanced by Ben Goldacre gaining an MA in philosophy.

King’s College is the bastion and training ground for The Lobby. It is where Simon Wessely, the premier master of scientific spin, resides, working, mad-professor-like on endless projects to prove that organic environmental illness does not exist, and that anyone who suggests it does is deluded.

The most empathetic and forgiving of us were imagining that Ben was a junior doctor in a heavily pressed casualty unit in an inner City area. If Ben was dealing with the dirty life and death of motor accidents, shootings and drug-related deaths in north-east London for example, perhaps he might be forgiven his hard bitten views, and his anti airy-fairy concerns about people affected by electric air waves, chemicals and bad vaccines.

It appears, however, that he has always been a post-grad clinical research worker, now possibly studying for a Phd at King’s College, the home of the psychiatric school of ‘all-in-the-mind aetiology’. In all probability Goldacre has been at this University Hospital since taking his MA, and was probably attached to it when he was taken on by the Guardian.

If this is the case, most probably he doesn’t see patients, except when he passes them in the corridor at the Maudsley as he makes his way to the Liaison Psychiatry Unit within the Institute of Psychiatry,where he is studying under the Prince of Spin Professor Simon Wessely, the head of the Liaison Psychiatry Department. Wessely is an advisor to the Science Media Centre and on the Advisory panel of the US American Council on Science and Health, one of the most heavily funded pro industry lobby groups in the world.

The really good thing about Liaison psychiatry is that you can blend all kinds of social issues with lots of mad-cap psychiatric ideas that work well for industry. Liaison psychiatry is a form of psychiatry in which the psychiatrist informs unsuspecting ordinary citizens who report to hospitals with organic illnesses that they are actually mentally ill. This diagnostic ability is particularly acute when the Liaison psychiatrist meets up with anyone who has suffered an environmental illness, a chemical insult, or any industry-related illness.

For some time now, King’s College has been deeply involved in the programme of spin designed by industry and the New Labour government. However, as is evident from the involvement of Goldacre there, the relationship between The Lobby, the University and the hospital, is not simple. As well as Wessely’s role, ex-Revolutionary Communist Party members have also played a part in bringing vested interests to the college. Together with pseudo-scientific research into mental illness and environmentally caused illness, King’s is deeply involved in risk analysis for various controvertial environmental factors.

CONFLICT OF INTEREST?

Can there be any doubt that the industry directed research at King’s, with which Goldacre is associated, or his association with Professor Wessely, whose research on ME, Gulf War Syndrome and EMF never benefits patients but always government or industry, constitutes a conflict of interest that should from the beginning have been declared by Goldacre, every time he says anything about science in the Guardian
or anywhere else?”

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