Tag Archives: Sense About Science

Healthy Evidence for tackling unhealthy news

Sense About Science have joined forces with NHS Choices Behind the Headlines to launch Healthy Evidence, a new online forum to help people understand the science behind health claims and connect them with expertise.

The Healthy Evidence online forum is a place for people to discuss health stories and share insights and useful sources to sort the beneficial from the bogus, the likely from the doubtful. Join the community here: https://healthunlocked.com/healthyevidence

Please encourage everyone to join the community to share insights on the science behind the health stories that hit the news.

The Healthy Evidence forum is part of our Ask for Evidence campaign. Continue reading

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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

The Alliance for Natural Health lay into ‘skeptics’… including me!

In a strange piece entitled Scepticism and the natural medicine skeptics: not even distantly related, the ANH laid into critics of what they call ‘natural medicine’, even going so far as suggesting we are guilty of intellectual fraud.

When the fruits of the skeptic movement are intellectual fraud, thuggery and empty character assassination, can society be expected to take the movement’s views seriously?

It was a very odd, confusing post. I think there are two possible explanations for it: Continue reading

Can these bargain bracelets boost oxygen supply and immunity?

I said last week that I hoped the Sense about Science Ask for Evidence campaign would encourage me to contact companies to challenge some of the incredible advertising claims  I encounter on such a regular basis.

That morning, I had received a promotional email about an impressive discount on an apparently miraculous ‘Ion Balance’ bracelet which it was claimed could improve circulation and immunity by emitting negative ions. Could it really be true..? Continue reading

Sense About Science launch Ask for Evidence campaign

Sense About Science is a charitable trust that works in partnership with scientific bodies, research publishers, policy makers, the public and the media. They aim to change public discussions about science and evidence and equip people to make sense of scientific and medical claims.

Their latest campaign, Ask For Evidence, backed by some high-profile performers, Professors and presenters, concerns an issue which is close to my heart: putting a stop to misleading claims about science and medicine.

Continue reading