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Prof Healy blogs on Sense about Science, LM/Spiked, RCTs etc.

Discussion in 'Other Health News and Research' started by Esther12, Jun 9, 2014.

  1. Esther12

    Esther12 Senior Member

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    The first two of five planned blogs that involve some issues and people I expect many people here will be aware of. I often find with Healy's stuff that I agree with bits and disagree with bits, but thought that they may be of interest to people here.

    Sense about Science: Follow the Rhetoric

    http://davidhealy.org/sense-about-science-follow-the-rhetoric/


    I actually thought that this blog was pretty good about the way in which MMR has been used politically, and made these points well.
    Sense about Science: First Admit no Harm

    http://davidhealy.org/sense-about-science-first-admit-no-harm/

    I don't normally agree with, or really even understand, a lot of Healy's criticism of RCTs, but I thought that this was a fair point:

    A lot of the other stuff in that blog I didn't agree with, but I'm going to hold off really commenting on this until all the blogs are up.

    Also of interest is a Tracey Brown post defending herself here:

    http://www.senseaboutscience.org/blog.php/36/where-sense-about-science-comes-from

    Seems pretty disingenuous to me, eg on Fiona Fox and the SMC:

    A connection is made not just because Fiona Fox is the sister of Claire Fox (who was mentioned earlier as a LM member), but also because Fiona Fox was a key member herself, and even wrote the article on which led to LM getting shut down.

    Perhaps of interest to people here is the letter Tracey Brown sent selling herself to British American Tobacco, which says:

    http://davidhealy.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/06/TB-BAT-memo.pdf

    Healy said that he was sympathetic to much of what he read from LM... I've got to say that most of what I've read from them has seemed pretty repellent.
    Simon and SilverbladeTE like this.
  2. SilverbladeTE

    SilverbladeTE Senior Member

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    Somewhere near Glasgow, Scotland
    As I've mentioned before, you find a despicable nepotistic web in UK power/politics etc
    Relatively small number of folk keep showing up, often with relatives on various boards, groups etc.
    natasa778 likes this.
  3. Esther12

    Esther12 Senior Member

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    Part III is up: http://davidhealy.org/sense-about-science-follow-the-lawsuit/

    I'm not really sure what I think about this, so am not commenting much. This bit I'd have thought everyone would agree with, especially after the spin we've seen from PACE:

    One thing that has always concerned me about All Trials, and their link to Sense About Science, is that there has been reassuring noises (for pharma) made about compensation. I think that if people have been making money from treatments which they've misrepresented the efficacy of, then they should have to pay some price for this, rather than be allowed to get away with it. This blog hinted at a concern here, but didn't go into much detail, citing only:

    Furedi's (the guy seen as being at the heart of LM) work on compensation culture has always seemed like a poor defence of abuses of power, built upon a few anecdotes. Exactly the sort of left-winger big business would be keen on!
    biophile and Valentijn like this.
  4. Esther12

    Esther12 Senior Member

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    Part 4: http://davidhealy.org/sense-about-science-follow-the-patient/

    I didn't think this part was as interesting or good. I often find with Healy that I agree with a lot of his criticisms of others, but not with the alternatives he proposes. I like restricting the ways doctors can treat their patients, as I think loads of doctors are terrible, and patients are often so desperate to get better that they'll try anything.

    I actually thought that was interesting emotionally - I often think that we are not sufficiently wary of medical interventions. Given the difficulty of identifying unknown and rare side-effects, problems with social response bias, etc, it seems fair to assume that medical interventions will often cause problems we're not aware of, and so we should have really good evidence of real benefit before we start to assume that they will do more good than harm overall - the idea of seeing medicine as a poison which needs to be carefully handled rather appeals to me, at least compared to what seems to be the current emotional assumption: that medicine is 'care', and must be a good thing. (There is certainly a danger of taking this too far, and letting fear of intervening become unreasonable).

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