A Fourth Year of Steam

It’s New Year’s Eve and time for my review of the year.

As usual, the dominant theme was health quackery of one form or another. The year started with fisdkings of Mike Adams’ misunderstanding of the UK health care system here and here. He also demonstrated his limited comprehension abilities in his misunderstanding of the 10:23 campaign fisked here.

Natural News is by no means the only purveyor of health quackery examined. I looked at Bio-Synergy’s pseudoscientific gobbledygook in support of their allegedly slimming-aid desert. My emails to them and to Tesco did not get me very far so I submitted a complaint to the ASA. Unfortunately I neglected to cache a copy online (though I did save a copy on my computer) so I was caught out when Bio-Synergy amended the online ad and then claimed it had never read the way I said it did. Since the scientific bollocks was removed and an unevidenced claim dropped I am chalking this up as a qualified victory – in future I will cache online copies of pages before submitting complaints.

Other health quackeries examined were divine straightening, the Daily Mail’s continued assault on the HPV vaccine and the return of the detox footbath.

The Guardian demonstrated that publishing medical bollocks is not the preseve of right-wing rags by publishing a blatant advertorial for osteopathy, claiming it could treat asthma. I complained about it as did others but Tim Lusher completely missed the point and got rather stroppy about criticism. Incidently the post about my complaint got the highest ever number of hits on this blog – for something I’d chucked together in about ten minutes. Finely crafted posts that are not linked to by Martin Robbins or tweeted by Ben Goldacre get less than a fifth of the hits. Such is life.

Other subjects covered included GMC incompetence in releasing Stuart Jones’ identity to Sarah Myhill and the CFS/ME activists which resulted in a retaliatory complaint about him to the Health Professions Council. The outcome seemed more about suppressing boat-rocking than justice as it appears to me that the caution order they issued was actually in breach of their own rules. Perhaps when the full transcript is available, more definite conclusions can be reached.

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