A canna’ change the laws of physics

Scotty, The Naked Time, stardate 1704.3, Episode 7

Posts Tagged ‘R. Barker Bausell’

Blind to the Rudolph Effect

Posted by apgaylard on May 26, 2008

A recent discussion on the bad science forum [thanks to Bryn for highlighting this topic] set me thinking about the claims made for the treatment of hay fever by red light phototherapy.

If you’ve not come across these claims before, they can be seen in the advertising material provided on-line by Lloyds Pharmacy for their “Allergy Reliever” and Health Innovations for their “Medinose Hayfever Treatment“.

These are similar devices that allow you to shove some light-emitting diodes (LED) up your nose and administer a ‘dose’ of red light to the nasal mucosa.  What is the proposed mechanism of action?  Health Innovations say, “Medinose inhibits the release of histamine, relieving or even completely eliminating allergic reactions and complaints in a natural way.”  Lloyds make a similar claim, “Allergy Reliever uses red light therapy to suppress the cells that release histamine, thereby relieving the symptoms of hay fever. ”  Read the rest of this entry »

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Posted in Phototherapy, Uncategorized | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments »

Disingenuous Nonsense

Posted by apgaylard on January 25, 2008

It’s not just bad clinical CAM trials that can mislead; it’s also the positive spin put on good ones with negative outcomes.

In some recent correspondence R. Barker Bausell, author of the compelling “Snake Oil Science – The Truth About Complementary and Alternative Medicine“, provides an instructive example.

It’s a bit of a retrospective: this study and the resulting slew of poor press coverage was commented on by David Colquhoun and Ben Goldacre, among others, last year.  Nevertheless, I think that Baussell’s observations are well worth considering; so I have provided them below.

Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Pseudoscience, Statistics | Tagged: , , , , | 2 Comments »

How Do You Interpret a CAM trial?

Posted by apgaylard on January 18, 2008

I have just read R. Barker Bausell‘s excellent “Snake Oil Science – The Truth About Complementary and Alternative Medicine“.  If you are interested in the reasons why CAM trials are likely to give false positive results and an in-depth look at the placebo effect: I thoroughly recommend it.

If you have not yet got around to it here is a flavour of the insights provided: some guidelines the author kindly offered me on how to interpret CAM trials (based on answers he has given to questions asked by interviewers). Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Statistics | Tagged: , , | 7 Comments »