Food intolerance test sellers try to cash in from BDA’s fad diet list

I’ve just spotted this news and thought I’d post it here as an afterword to yesterday’s post on dodgy food allergy/intolerance tests.

The British Dietetic Association recently published their annual list of the Top 5 Celebrity Diets to Avoid in the New Year. They have now heard that some are using the surrounding publicity in an attempt to sell food allergy/intolerance tests. Continue reading

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Wowcher promote useless hair analysis tests

Wowcher are promoting dodgy diagnostic tests that have no scientific basis.

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The ad relates to a bioresonance hair analysis test from BMT Food Tests.

Hair analysis is not a valid way of diagnosing coeliac disease or any kind of food allergy or intolerance. If you think you might have any of those conditions you should consult your GP who can refer you for tests.

The ad continues: Continue reading

Time is running out for Dr Stanislaw Burzynski

Surely this can’t go on for much longer.

Clinical trials on Burzynski’s signature treatment, antineoplastons, were stopped following the death of a child and horrifying findings by the US FDA. But Burzynski is still in business selling chemotherapy in untested and unapproved combinations, describing critics as hooligans and suggesting that former patients are prostitutes and crooks trying to make money from him.

And despite the trials having been stopped and despite serious and well documented issues, there are still recent misleading articles in the British press, casting Burzynski in a positive light.

For further background on Burzynski and on recent developments, I strongly recommend you read the recent USA Today investigation by Liz Szabo. It is an impressive piece of work – thorough, fair, accurate and utterly shocking. Watch the accompanying videos, view the embedded source documents and then ask how on earth Burzynski is still going. Continue reading

Making sense of side effects

Last Wednesday, the MRC Centre for Drug Safety Science at the University of Liverpool launched a public guide, Making Sense of Drug Safety Science, in collaboration with Sense About Science.

Side effects, or adverse drug reactions, are a big public health concern and can be a barrier to the development of new medicines, causing many promising new drugs to be dropped at the development stage or in clinical trials. As the guide explains, drug safety science is helping us learn more about side effects, what gives rise to them and the harm they can cause. Researchers are working on developing tests to predict who will experience side effects. This can allow a beneficial drug to continue and to be used by people who are not at risk.

I have often been asked to tackle this subject by outspoken defenders of alternative treatments. This post will hopefully explain how we can establish whether the benefits outweigh the harms, what some of the pitfalls are, and what we can do to improve. I would also urge those using unregulated treatments to consider what safeguards are in place to research the side effects of these, to inform the public about the harms they may cause and to protect us from them. Continue reading

Quantum embarrassment and all the fun of the festival

I have an embarrassing confession.

I’m not a particle physics expert. And  – please bear with me, this isn’t easy – I find quantum theory confusing. Shameful, I know. And I call myself a science blogger.

How dare I laugh at Quantum University (aka @iquim)? How dare I dismiss Lynne McTaggart’s The Field? Continue reading

The Salt Cave’s unpalatable health claims linger on

The Salt Cave aren’t letting the Advertising Standards Authority grind them down.

A ruling earlier this year was brushed off, leaving their website still peppered with dodgy health claims. Although the adjudication had led to a brackish article in the Daily Mail, the Salt Cave are now sending out eyewateringly implausible press releases in the hope of some rather more savoury press. Continue reading

Ask for Evidence on “miracle” cancer cures

Sense about Science are highlighting miracle cancer cures as part of their Ask for Evidence campaign.

This post aims to highlight the harm done by “miracle” cures and to suggest what evidence hunters can do to tackle this. It also gives examples of when action has had an effect and the ways those selling such treatments can wriggle out of trouble.

Continue reading