Category Archives: Editorial rants

General purpose railing against the cruel world and its nasty reality, rather than diatribes on a specific ailment or treeatment

Dental fillings could be causing decay in other teeth

… scream WDDTY on their webshite in a brief post dated Thursday, October 29, 2015:


Dental fillings could be doing as much harm as good. They trigger decay in surrounding teeth in more than 60 per cent of cases, new research has found.

The chances of further decay are worsened by the technique of the dentist, especially if he or she isn’t following the latest practices, and by the oral hygiene of the patient.

One possibility could be that the dentist is damaging surrounding teeth when drilling and preparing the tooth that is to be filled.

In a review of 750 patients who had fillings, 61 per cent had decay in adjoining teeth within five years, researchers from the Nordic Institute of Dental Materials in Oslo discovered. Of these, 30 per cent needed filling.

The researchers said the risk was similar with all types of fillings, including amalgam, gold, glass ionomer, and porcelain.

(Source: Journal of Dentistry, 2015; 43: 1323-29)

All very scary. For once, given WDDTY‘s tendency to muck up the references, the journal and abstract are easy to find: they’re here.

So, are dental fillings per se triggering decay in surrounding teeth? Well, in a word:

NO

Yes, once again WDDTY has totally misrepresented the findings of a study. What the researchers really concluded, in as many words, was:

Conclusions
Both patient- and dentist related variables are risk factors for caries development on approximal surfaces in contact with newly placed Class II composite restorations.

What are these patient-related variables? Dental hygiene, or the lack thereof. But you’d guessed that.

What are these dentist-related variables? Skill and technique, says the study.

I suspect we can add to that: not enough time spent on educating patients, especially the very young, about the necessities of dental hygiene and why fluoride is a good thing. Of course, like most medical professionals, dentists often don’t have much time to spend on prevention. Which is why irresponsible lies and scaremongering by rags like WDDTY is all the more reprehensible: they try to frighten people away from getting proper preventive care and real medical care.

Why don’t doctors tell you dental fillings could be causing decay in other teeth?

Because it’s  exactly as true as saying cars cause car accidents.

Regulation: it’s only good when we like the outcome

April 2015’s issue of WDDTY opens with an editorial worthy of David Icke.

The editorial sets the scene with a laudatory description of the “grass-roots campaign” that led to the US Dietary Health and Supplements Education Act (DHSEA) – in reality an astroturfing job coordinated by industry figures such as Gerald Kessler, CEO of supplement maker Nature Plus, in support of a bill sponsored by Orrin Hatch and Tom Harkin. Hatch is deeply vested in the supplement industry and Harkin was the sponsor of what was originally called the Office of Alternative Medicine, which became NCCAM and then, following the Orwellian trend of branding the mixing of bullshit with science as “integrative”, the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health.

It’s worth bearing in mind that if “Big Pharma” ever tried to do anything this brazen, WDDTY would be marching on Washington (Lynne keeps forgetting she lives in England) with pitchforks and burning torches. The DHSEA gave “Big Herba” carte blanche to market pharmacologically active products with no evidence of safety or efficacy. The free pass given to anything branded as natural is precisely the reason that Ernst Krebs branded the quack cancer cure laetrile – “the slickest, most sophisticated, and certainly the most remunerative cancer quack promotion in medical history” –  as “vitamin B17”.

But with WDDTY, every verb is irregular. They exploit, you cleverly bend the rules, I am a persecuted visionary.

This is merely stage dressing, though, for the thing that’s really got WDDTY’s goat this month: a raid on the factory producing the unproven “miracle cure” gCMAF. WDDTY fulminates against the “flak jackets” who confiscated 10,000 vials of the “naturally occurring” substance. Space was obviously insufficient to note that the substance “naturally occurs” in blood, and was being prepared in an unlicensed facility from blood products clearly marked “Not to be administered to humans or used in any drug products“.

Imagine what WDDTY would say if they found a drug being marketed without proper approval, in an unlicensed and sub-standard facility, using  raw materials marked unfit for human use.

You do have to imagine it, because this pretty much never happens outside the world of quackery.

Next, WDDTY lays into the killing of the Saatchi Bill, which claimed to protect patients by allowing responsible innovation but in fact would only have protected those engaging in irresponsible maverick acts, from any consequences. It was opposed by every major medical research body, by doctors, by lawyers who defend doctors, and in fact by pretty much anybody who actually knew what they were talking about. Needless to say WDDTY thought it was a marvellous idea: it would have protected the likes of Dr Barry Durrant-Peatfield, who they have previously supported, and probably would have spared Dr Sarah Myhill much angst.

In fact, it is remarkable how rarely even the most egregious quackery is shut down by the GMC.

The editorial concludes with a thought about creating a “DHSEA-style grass-roots movement” and putting the support of unproven quack remedies natural medicines on the political map in the UK. Of course they already are, but no doubt WDDTY columnist and supplement profiteer Rob Verkerk will be right there watering the grass.

In the real world, whether a thing is natural or not is of no consequence. It’s either a medicine, in which case it should be regulated, or it’s not, and should not be sold as one.

WDDTY: Proper Charlies

Simon Singh: an actual free speech icon
Simon Singh: an actual free speech icon

WDDTY are nothing if not predictable. The latest round in their relentless drive to prove to the world that they have no clue about free speech is to start what appears to be a series of personal attacks on those who, in their bubble world with its complete absence of self-awareness or self-criticism, they hold responsible for the backlash over the execrable content of their quackery apologia.

The first really could be the last: it would be hard to improve on this. WDDTY, who supported unethical quack and research fraudster Andrew Wakefield’s attempts to use frivolous lawsuits to chilling effect against critics, have decided that Simon Singh’s criticism of their commercial speech means that WDDTY are “Charlie” and Simon is not.

Leaving aside for a moment the fact that WDDTY are quite open about caring solely about the impact on their bottom line, their target is about as wrong as you can get. Continue reading WDDTY: Proper Charlies

Lynne McTaggart: Vous n’êtes pas Charlie, vous êtes de la vermine

Sorry to harp on about this, but McTaggart really has jumped the shark on this one. This is a Facebook status update and blog from McTaggart. I think the term “self-indulgent, self-obsessed, self-serving drivel” is probably accurate, or at least as accurate as I can get without plumbing the depths of our rich Anglo-Saxon vernacular.

JE SUIS GAGGED

No. You are not gagged. If you were gagged you would not be able to continue publishing your lies, distortions and evasions. The fact that you do so, in and of itself negates your own claim. Continue reading Lynne McTaggart: Vous n’êtes pas Charlie, vous êtes de la vermine

Yes, Lynne, it’s all about you

Charmless egomaniac Donald Trump led the charge in exploiting the Charlie Hebdo tragedy to boost a personal agenda, tweeting some obnoxious gun-nuttery.

Not to be outdone, the WDDTY editors chose to try to exploit the murder of cartoonists for mocking religion, by repeating their fraudulent claims of censorship of their own religion, the cult of fake “cures” for profit.

B62pTTgCUAAYd3P

As we point out every single time, Lynne, you are not “banned”, WHS simply decided to stop stocking your tawdry rag. Maybe they noticed its hysterical anti-vaccine propaganda, perhaps it was the AIDS denialism that did it, maybe you published one too many misleading advertisements, perhaps they realised that advertorial masquerading as fact is deeply unethical.

Whatever it was, they do not infringe your freedom of speech. You are still able to publish your dangerously misleading magazine, you are still (inexplicably) carrying the misleading advertisements you said you would never carry, and you are still lying openly about the reasons why science advocates oppose your lies.

Oh, and censoring any critical commentary. For Free Speech. Of course.

In case we did not make this completely plain: Lynne McTaggart and/or Brian Hubbard, whichever of you it was that posted the above, you are vermin. Utterly without class, shame, dignity or integrity. You are dishonest, despicable, morally repugnant, selfish, hypocritical and beneath contempt.

And you are also an idiot. But we already knew that.

Religion: The latest scientific exploration. Or not.

If there’s one thing that doesn’t seem to trouble Lynne McTaggart, it’s doubt. When her world-view is contradicted by science, then it’s science that’s wrong. MMR-autism link refuted? Not in WDDTY it’s not. Urotherapy is derided nonsense? Not in WDDTY. Intercessory prayer? Let’s have a talk about that.

Lately I’ve been thinking a good deal about how in modern times science and religion have exchanged places. This was initially prompted by an email from What Doctors Don’t Tell You reader about an article in the new Scottish newspaper the National, reporting that Lanarkshire Health Board has stopped referring patients to the Glasgow Integrative Care Centre where they practise homeopathy.

McTaggart could mitigate the obvious falsity of her argument by couching it as opinion, while acknowledging the legitimacy of Simon’s more robust standpoint. But she doesn’t. She insists instead that she is right and the reality-based community wrong.

Yes, this was great news. A review of the evidence and public opinion, which included input from users of the service and from the homeopathy industry, concluded, as such reviews usually do, that there is no credible evidence homeopathy works.

The journo of the story dutifully quoted physicist Simon Singh, Mr Rent-a-Quote on these matters, whose point was that even if lots of people want homeopathy, as they do, “public demand did not necessarily equate to the best public service.” “If lots of people wanted voodoo on the NHS should we have voodoo?” he said. Of course, it is fairly easy to unpick all of his statements, but I’ll focus on just one: If lots of people wanted voodoo on the NHS should we have voodoo?

That’s Doctor Rent-a-Quote to you, sunshine. Unpick his statements? That should be comedy gold. Carry on, I’ve got the popcorn.

The answer to that is, of course, yes.

Er, no it isn’t. No, it really, really isn’t. There are at least three common variants: West African Vodun, Haitian Vodou and Louisiana or New Orleans Voodoo. They share many facets of African shamanic magic, including rituals of dance and myths of spirit possession. The classic voodoo doll is, I believe, primarily associated with the Louisiana version. There’s a mish-mash of traditional African cultures and Christian, especially Catholic elements, and much of what is currently known as voodoo owes its existence to the twin  evils of colonialism and slavery. Continue reading Religion: The latest scientific exploration. Or not.

WDDTY Then And Now: 1998 interview with Lynne McTaggart

In November 1998 the Independent published an interview with Lynne McTaggart. We thought it might be interesting to see what’s changed since then.

Its hundredth issue, published in July 1998, included a letter from a doctor that condemns it as “inflammatory, scare-mongering hyperbole”.

OK, so that’s still the same…

So what are Lynne and her team doing to upset the medical establishment so much? Simply, she says, telling the truth.

That was as false then as it is now.

“It’s all about disclosure of information,” she explains. “Medicine is a sort of private conversation between doctors. We feel that we have to make this private conversation public; the public has the right to know so they can make informed choices about healthcare.”

Here’s the progress WDDTY has made towards that aim:

tumbleweed Continue reading WDDTY Then And Now: 1998 interview with Lynne McTaggart

Paying the Piper

(Reblogged with permission from Majikthyse. Please go there to comment)

That guardian of all that’s self-righteous about quackery, the magazine and website What Doctors Don’t Tell You, has its ire well stoked this week. The editors reveal that the famous Clinical Trials Service Unit (CTSU) at Oxford University is funded by the pharmaceutical industry. This apparently is the result of tireless investigation by`nutritionist and wholefood campaigner’ Zoë Harcombe. Not you will note a dietician, but a nutritionist, a title that almost anyone seems qualified to hold these days. I can boil an egg, so I’m a nutritionist. “You got an ology?” But enough of flippancy.

I feel duty bound to explain that Ms Harcombe is a writer who mainly sells books on obesity. Her dedication to the truth might be judged by her false claim to the Daily Mail in 2011 that she was studying for a PhD, as reported by my good friend Ben Goldacre. But we all make mistakes. In Ms Harcombe’s case, a further mistake was not realising what the CTSU actually is.

Presumably she has not heard of contract research organisations (CROs). Most of these are commercial companies to whom health care companies contract out a large part of their research, mainly in clinical trials. They have existed for at least 30 years, and some of them are enormous. The usual modus operandi is for the sponsor to engage the CRO to carry out a clinical trial, providing entire or partial functions. So if the contract is `full service’, the CRO will do everything from writing the protocol to writing the final report. The bits in between would include obtaining all the approvals (regulatory, ethics etc), designing the data capture and processing tools, analysing the data, as well as recruiting all the trial sites and investigators and managing the logistics (eg drug and equipment supplies).

However a lot of these contracts are not full service, and in particular data capture and analysis might well not be contracted out at all, or may be delegated to a different contractor. A lot of sponsors run their own data repositories and insist on CROs feeding data into those. Lots of them do their own analysis, and employ armies of statisticians. So what is the CTSU?

It is in fact a CRO, but more so. Rather than rely on what the CTSU claims (“they would say that wouldn’t they?”), let’s look at what the independent Science Media Centre says. The relevant bit is right at the end:

The CTSU conducts, analyses and interprets its clinical trials and other research independently of industry and other funders, with the datasets held by the CTSU rather than by the funders.

Now I’m sure that text came straight from the CTSU, but some credibility is added by its appearance on an independent and respected site. The point though is that the CTSU goes way beyond the probity of a conventional CRO, by erecting a Chinese wall between sponsor and data. The people paying the piper do not call the tune, because they don’t know what the tune is until it’s played at the end of the whole project. Not only that, but the CTSU has a rigorous policy on payments to individuals. Read it and make up your own mind.

What about the funding issue? Look again at the Science Media Centre page. It’s a list of trials, with sponsors and how much they paid. It is baffling as to why anyone should be surprised or indignant about this. The CTSU is a CRO, albeit academically based (and better for that), with a more than usually rigorous policy on independence from financial bias. The CTSU exists to do trials, it has a world-class reputation for that, and companies will pay for that expertise.

WDDTY is full of righteous indignation because Merck & Co, a major statin manufacturer, is also a major funder of the CTSU. Look at the trials Merck has sponsored. Apart from relatively small amounts unrelated to particular trials, Merck provided £63.9 million for statin trials, but £149 million for trials of other drugs unrelated to statins. Yet WDDTY states (my bold):

Over the past 20 years, the two research bodies* have received £268m donations, including £217m from Merck, a major manufacturer of statins.

(*CTSU and its subsidiary The Cholesterol Treatment Trialists Collaboration)

It is a lie to say this funding comprised `donations’ – it was not. It was perfectly normal business and scientific practice, whereby the CTSU was compensated for carrying out research commissioned to it. There is nothing unusual or suspicious about that.

I am not going to get into detail about whatever the CTSU’s director Sir Rory Collins said about the discredited papers in the BMJ, which grossly overstated the side effects of statins, or about what he said about his sources of funds. I haven’t reviewed the whole saga in detail, but as the CTSU’s funding is so transparent I can’t see how he could have forgotten about most of it.

Regarding the retraction of papers, the Science Media Centre provides some useful sound bites on its news page. I am not sure whether WDDTY is simply careless and incompetent, or deliberately distorts the truth – I suspect the latter. But whatever the motivation, the editors have got it wrong yet again. They say that an independent panel refused to retract the papers that quoted the incorrect data, which is not true. The truth is that the authors of the erroneous studies agreed that they were wrong. What the panel declined to retract were two other papers that referred to the original ones. As you can see from the comments from various experts, opinions are divided as to whether there was a need to retract the derivative papers, although they are pretty much unanimous that statins are very useful drugs that have saved many lives.

WDDTY has studiously avoided saying anything about the research which shows statins to be better tolerated than previously thought. Instead the editors make invalid connections between unrelated facts, and indulge in selective reporting and distortion. A drug company would be quite rightly castigated for such behaviour, but in 40 years I have never come across one that tried anything as bad as this.


Addendum: This is the full post as it appeared on WDDTY’s website on 21st August 2014.


‘Independent’ statin research group funded by drugs industry

A research unit that influenced wider statin use in the UK was all the time being funded by drug companies, including £217m from Merck, one of the largest producers of the cholesterol-lowering drug.
The Cholesterol Treatment Trialists Collaboration (CTT), based at Oxford University and headed by Sir Rory Collins, has been very influential in shifting UK health policy, which this year started to recommend statin use for all over-60s.
The new guidelines, issued by NICE (National Institute for Health and Care Excellence), followed the publication of ‘independent’ studies from CTT that maintained that statins had few side effects but many major benefits. Sir Rory was also highly critical of studies published in the British Medical Journal that claimed the drugs caused side effects in 22 per cent of users. He demanded that the papers were retracted, which an independent review panel refused to do.
All along, Sir Rory claimed that he and the CTT were independent, and that any funding came from charitable sources such as the British Heart Foundation and Cancer Research UK. Even as recently as last March, Sir Rory repeated in an email to the BMJ that the British Heart Foundation was a major funder, and demanded to know who had funded the critical research he wanted withdrawn.
But these have been minor funders of CTT and its parent body, the Clinical Trial Service Unit (CTSU). Over the past 20 years, the two research bodies have received £268m donations, including £217m from Merck, a major manufacturer of statins.
The true picture came to light only after nutritionist and wholefood campaigner Zoe Harcombe uncovered the original documents that outline the CTSU’s funders.

 

 

WDDTY, Kingsley and cancer – A vital report that’s a gift for you

This has just landed in my email inbox:

A vital report that’s a gift for you from WDDTY

The campaign to get What Doctors Don’t Tell You (WDDTY) banned in stores across the UK is relentless.

A small group of pharma-supported trolls just don’t want you to read vital information about your health; bad for their paymaster’s pockets no doubt.
But sometimes the information is so important that we want you to have it.  Our July issue featured the extraordinary work of Dr Patrick Kingsley, who explains the six major causes of cancer (and most aren’t the obvious ones).  You can download the whole issue here:

I removed the link for the download, since it’s only valid for 72 hours. Yes, I downloaded the pdf. Yes, it will be passed around for gleeful evisceration. The rest of the email was yet another attempt to attract subscribers, so I left it out as well; if you subscribe to WDDTY emails, you’ll get reduced-price subscription offers impressively often, so it would be a waste of space printing it here. In any case, the points I wanted to address are in the four relatively short sentences reproduced above. Let’s be having them:

The campaign to get What Doctors Don’t Tell You (WDDTY) banned in stores across the UK is relentless.

Uh-huh. It’s already been pointed out many, many times to the Great McTaggart that nobody is seeking to ban WDDTY. All that has been asked is that supermarkets and newsagents cease stocking it until such time as the editorial team clean up their act and stop presenting half-truths and whole lies as incontrovertible fact.

A small group of pharma-supported trolls just don’t want you to read vital information about your health; bad for their paymaster’s pockets no doubt.

Interesting. Now this was in an email sent out to subscribers: i.e. a public list. Wisely (for once) she doesn’t name the alleged “pharma-supported trolls”. Unfortunately, McTaggart has already named and given the home and/or work addresses of people she believes to be skeptics who have been part of the campaign. In fact, it’s mostly people who had bugger-all to do with the campaign that she seems to have exposed to potential abuse and harassment from her fanatical band of swivel-eyed loony followers. Way to go, Lynne.

Anyway, we all know who she means: Simon Singh and the Sense About Science group, Alan Henness, Guy Chapman, “Josephine Jones”, Jo Brodie etc. It’s as well for the Blessed McTaggart that none of them is at all litigious, as the unequivocal allegation that they are being paid by a pharmaceutical company to blog and tweet about WDDTY and its love of potentially lethal quackery is probably actionable. Given the precarious financial situation of the WDDTY group companies based in England and Wales, McTaggart and Hubbard couldn’t afford to defend a libel claim.

But sometimes the information is so important that we want you to have it.

Ye-e-es. This is WDDTY we’re talking about. They’re not strong on information. Misinformation, yes; disinformation, certainly. Information, not so much. See the rest of this site for details.

Now, I learnt a new term last night: native advertising. It’s a vaguely racist-sounding term for what are, basically, heavily-disguised infomercials.  Some online newspapers are increasingly using them in place of real journalism, on the basis that they have to eat.

There’s an awful lot of native advertising in WDDTY, when you look at it closely. Not only does it carry the usual amount of ordinary advertising, not infrequently from businesses already in trouble with the ASA – see the figures lovingly calculated by wandering teacake – but it also contains a lot of stuff written by the editorial team that boils down to glorified adverts for their own quackery practices. This suggests that WDDTY is being used as free publicity by the entire editorial team. No wonder they’re screechingly sore about losing access to passing gullible idiots in local supermarkets. Speaking of free publicity for the editorial team:

Our July issue featured the extraordinary work of Dr Patrick Kingsley, who explains the six major causes of cancer (and most aren’t the obvious ones).

This is probably the bit where we steeple our fingers and assume an interested expression. What are Kingsley’s 6 major causes of cancer, then? I’ll compile a list. Brace yourselves.

wddty cancer kingsley july 2014

1. A lack of digestive enzymes

Kingsley bases this on some vague extrapolation from the correlation between the tapering-off of growth of the placenta and the development of the fetal digestive system. No, I am not shitting you. He argues that a chronic lack of digestive enzymes – due to modern foodstuffs, of course – can lead to cancer because digestive enzymes control cellular division, according to him.

2. Stress

“Stress of any sort is a major cause of cancer,” sez Kingsley, who then clearly specifies mental stress. Environmental stress doesn’t get a look-in in the tiny paragraph devoted to this “major cause”.

3. Too much acid

And in at Number Three is that firm favourite, alkaline diet! It’s been debunked over and over. The quacks love it, because it sounds vaguely plausible – acids are aggressive, right? So if you have too much acid, like when you get heartburn, it must be bad for you, right? – and they can sell supplements for it. Next up is another traditional quack mark-catcher:

4. Free radicals

These things were all in the news some years ago and were thought to contribute to ageing. There were ads everywhere for expensive moisturising creams claiming to combat free radicals and make your skin look 23% younger, or something. Diet hucksters published recipe books claiming to combat free radicals. Foodstuffs on supermarket shelves were claiming to combat free radicals. About the only thing not claiming to combat free radicals was the Army. Again, there’s no evidence to support it, but since when did that stop quacks from selling anything?

5. A fungus

YES! Where would a round-up of pop-eyed, straw-in-the-hard quackpottery be without C. albicans? When it strikes, it generally infects the mouth or the genitals. It does not, despite the assertions of Kingsley and similar profiteering fuckwits, regularly infect the whole body and get into the bloodstream. That, fortunately, is very rare.  The day you have candidemia raging through your circulatory system, you had better put yourself in the hands of a real doctor in an emergency ward or you will very shortly not be in possession of a single fuck to give, because you will be dead.

Kingsley’s test for C. albicans involves trying to float your spit on top of a glass of water for half an hour. Trust me, if you have an oral candida infection, you will know about it. The perils of eating too many homegrown cherries, since you ask. The cream I had to rub on the inside of my swollen cheeks tasted disgusting (I loathe orange flavouring) and it was a weird sensation to feel the colonies pop and die as the treatment got to them.

6. …

… Now isn’t that odd? There isn’t a 6th cause. All that trumpeting and ranting,  and they couldn’t even count to 6? What a rip-off.

Here are the main causes of cancer, according to real cancer specialists on a reputable website like Cancer Research UK:

  • Cancer causing substances (carcinogens)
  • Age
  • Genetic make up
  • The immune system
  • Smoking, bodyweight, diet and physical activity
  • Day-to-day environment
  • Viruses
  • Bacterial infection

Not quite the same as Kingsley’s list, is it? Now, this is where Kingsley gets down to the nitty-gritty and you understand why they were so desperate to get this issue out to the mugs, even as a freebie. It’s blatant native advertising:

1. How to diagnose your supposed ailments without bothering your doctor?

There are some blood tests that Kingsley recommends:

  • serum ferritin, which he incorrectly states is often overlooked when testing for anaemia),
  • thyroid function – another pointless test, as it will be prescribed by a doctor if patient presents symptoms of hypo- or hyper-thyroidism,
  • Vitamin D – while most Europeans are said to be low in Vitamin D, it is not considered useful to test for it. Spending 15 minutes a day in outdoors is probably enough, unless you’re daft enough to wear a burka
  • candida overgrowth. This is the quack-invented ailment which you test for by floating spit on a glass of water. It’s the second time I’ve typed this and I still cannot believe someone would seriously propound such transparent bullshit.
  • stool analysis – of course a quack, member of a breed that’s forever ranting about gut imbalances and such-like nonsense – is going to put the anal back into analysis. According to Kingsley: farting, constipation, the shits or an itchy arse are obviously due to some sort of infection. Not due to eating too many beans, or burgers or not wiping properly.

Now, how to get these tests done? Well, you can use your local lab, as long as you ignore their reference levels as those are just averages and absolutely not tailored to you. This is Standard Quack Ploy No 1: convince the mark  you believe they’re extra-special and that only you really understand their specialness and special needs for special treatment. Because they’re so much more special and different to everyone else.

Kingsley recommends 3 labs for this work. One is Genova Diagnostics, which I’d already noted as suspicious but couldn’t get beyond the login page to examine, and Biolab, which I’d already listed as quack-facilitating. Above all, though, he praises Neuro Lab, who have a terrible Web reputation and, when you see the claims the owner makes, you can understand why:

 In the late 1970’s (Olga Galkina) was one of the principles in a joint eastern bloc project that utilised Lactobacillius Bulgaricus as an extremely successful product in treating cancer patients.

Admire also this little gem of raging WTF:

schizophrenia is associated with too much memory and the younger age group whereas Alzheimers disease is associated with the ageing process and too little memory.

So, that’s three quack-friendly labs promoted. He goes on to promote various superfluous supplements and homeopathic remedies, usually specifying a brand and always specifying a stockist. More covert advertising. Last but not least, oh deary me no, we have Dr Patrick Kingsley’s Patent IV Vitamin Cocktails.

And all this fuckwittery, of which I have skimmed but the scum-covered upper atmosphere, and more comes from a book written by Kingsley. It is available AT SPECIAL DISCOUNT PRICE (What else?), signed by the author himself, and comes with lots of discount coupons for more pointless quack products.

No wonder WDDTY are so eager to spread their rag around, at a loss if need be. If sales figures continue to plummet, expect them to send people to distribute it at subway exits. With multipage native advertising pieces like that, they’re almost there anyway.

Meet the people who would dictate your health care

It’s time for the double-barrelled WDDTY-McTaggart spam shoot again. Seriously, what idiot imagined that sending subscribers to one list exactly the same emails from a second list they never signed up for was a smart marketing move? Oh, right, McTaggart. Who else?

McTaggart’s clearly getting jittery, and it’s everybody’s fault but hers that her precious monthly bundle of lies is under  attack. This is just in:

Meet the people who would dictate your health care

Dictate health care? Isn’t that a bit over the top? I haven’t seen anybody in Parliament sponsoring a Bill to prevent people refusing treatment, even for serious conditions, and opting for dumbfuckery.

As you know, we have been the target of a concerted campaign to get the store chains to stop stocking us. The architects of this campaign are the same people who spend a good deal of time attacking and harassing alternative practitioners of every variety.

Nope, they’re not being targeted qua fringe therapists. They’re being targeted qua blatant liars in their marketing blurb. And being asked for evidence. I know Sandra Hermann-Courtney thinks being asked for evidence is hate speech (no, gentle reader, this is not exaggeration on my part). Am I to conclude that you have the same paranoid mentality, Lynne?

And now, from the Dept. of Hasn’t A Fucking Clue:

Their numbers aren’t large (there’re only about 80 of them in total), and they aren’t well followed (Alan Henness of the Nightingale Collaboration, for instance, has just 462 followers on Twitter; Simon Singh, just 44 actively following him), but they are well organized and fuelled by a good deal of self-righteous passion about their mission, which is to stamp out what they view as quackery (ie, natural medicine of every variety, particularly the likes of homeopathy).

Learn to read, woman. Alan Henness follows 462 accounts; quite a lot more follow him. Simon Singh follows 44 people, with all of 54k following him. That’s a lot more than are following our Lynne, who clocks in at around 17K followers. I see we’ve also gone from the previous rant’s “handful” to “about 80”. Ye gods, those skeptics must breed like rabbits!

By the way, quackery is only “natural medicine” if you consider that doing nothing (at best), and charging large amounts of money for it, is natural medicine.

So we thought we should shine a light on the qualifications of the most vocal proponents of a group who believe they have the right to determine what you can or can’t read about your health or indeed the kinds of medical treatments you should be allowed to have access to.

What What Doctors Don’t Tell You Doctors Don’t Tell You

Of those who can be found on the GMC List of Registered Medical Practitioners, one has been issued with a warning, one has relinquished his registration, and all of them advocate dubious interventions, some of which have been shown to do more harm than good.

By all means. First though, let’s shine a light on WDDTY’s qualifications. To start with, we have McTaggart and Hubbard, who have no medical expertise or qualifications whatsoever. Remember this; it’s important.  They also don’t even hack it as journalists, given the quality of their copy. I keep running out of breath trying to read the sentences, so bereft of punctuation are they. Each has their own-brand whackjobbery: McTaggart’s “Intention” is just Reiki in an expensive wrapping; while Hubbard has a “Time-Light” plan that he claims cures chronic depression.

Now the so-called doctors on the editorial panel. I invite you to peruse this useful and well-researched post by Josephine Jones, whose only fault is that it classes Harald Gaier as a doctor. McTaggart doesn’t like Josephine Jones. We will come to this later.

Simon Singh. Singh is not a medical doctor; he has a Ph.D in particle physics.

Yes, this is common knowledge. He doesn’t hide it.

As he often signs his letters ‘Dr Singh’ when writing to Tesco or our distributors, most stores and media naturally assume that he has medical qualifications.

Please produce these letters where he does this, and explain how you obtained them. Of course, since Simon Singh is quite famous (u jelly, Lynne?), especially in the UK, I think it unlikely that his use of the title “Dr.” – which he has every right to – would mislead anybody. No more than, say, Dr. Brian May or Dr. Rowan Williams. I’ll leave the next paragraph as-is, since the venomous stupidity of someone who has no history of studying or writing about conventional medicine, other than as an exercise in writing fiction, is most entertaining.

He does not, nor does he have a history of studying or writing about conventional medicine. He’s written books about mathematical problems and patterns, codes and code-breaking and even cosmology, but nothing to date about conventional medicine – only one co-authored book (Trick or Treatment?- the clue to the slant is in the title) largely trashing alternative medicine. Singh is the public face of Sense About Science, a charity set up by a holding company in India, whose trustees include Simon Singh and his older brother, Tom, who founded the high street chain New Look. Sense about Science reports that it is supported by donations from a variety of sources, including the Royal Pharmaceutical Society and many pharmaceutically backed charities, such as Cancer UK.

Yes, yes, the “charity set up by a holding company in India” is pure spiteful misrepresentation. Either she hasn’t a clue about how charities work, or she couldn’t care less as long as it sounds bad. Tom Singh is not on the Board of Trustees, so I’m going for the second option. Now we come to the implied call for harassment, which already went out on Facebook this weekend. I’m removing the employers’ names, because we know what fanatics like to do, don’t we?

‘Josephine Jones’. ‘She’ is the pseudonym for two people: Michael and Laura Thomason, who live in Warrington. Mike works as a database developer at [redacted] Pharma Solutions; there is a Laura Thomason on Linkedin who works as a supervisor at a [redacted] Coffee Shop, but we can’t verify if they are one and the same. If so, there can’t be many people popping in and ordering cappuccinos because she and her husband seem to have the time to catalogue WDDTY‘s every move, which they circulate on Josephine Jones’ blog as a constantly updated ‘Master List’. Presently, they are carrying out a survey of stores we’re in, presumably in hopes they might be able to pick us off, one store at a time. Neither professes to any medical qualifications.

I don’t know who Mike Thomason is, but he has nothing to do with Josephine Jones. One of the reasons Laura hesitated to come out from behind the pseudonym was precisely due to bullies like McTaggart trying to sic their followers on her and her family. Female bloggers always get rougher treatment than male bloggers, because sexist brutality. Well done, Lynne, for proving her right. That is what I call balls-out übercuntery.

Guy Chapman, who created a website called ‘What What Doctors Don’t Tell You Doesn’t Tell You’, and writes a good deal of bile-filled statements about alternative practitioners, is a software developer for Dell Computers. He’s also a member of a choir.

Like me, you may be wondering what all this has to do with the price of fish. Is she jealous of people who seem to lead fuller lives than she does? I do hope she’s not mistaking my prose for Guy’s, although we are by no means the only contributors to this blog. And talking of bile-filled, Lynne, can we have some evidence for that claim? There’s plenty of bile in the missives you’ve been spitting out over the past year, if by “bile” you mean defamatory statements and hate speech.

Jo Brody works two days a week as a public engagement coordinator for a research project which runs across four sites, including UCL, Queen Mary, City University and Swansea University), studying how to make medical devices safer. Jo’s job is to update the website and expand the project’s online presence. For the rest of the week she works as an information officer at Diabetes UK. Previously she worked as a secretary for Professor Stephen Wharton. As she freely admits: ‘I am not medically trained.’

Nor are you, Lynne. In fact, your qualifications are far worse than Jo’s. Incidentally, are you sure you’ve got the right person?  Next name on the list is Alan Henness. Usual distortion of facts and petty-minded sniping applies.

Alan Henness. He and his wife Maria MacLachlan, who live in Harrow, are effectively the Nightingale Collaboration, a tiny organization that was given seed money by Sense About Science, but that spends a prodigious amount of time reporting advertisers and practitioners of alternative medicine to The Advertising Standards Authority. Despite the name, the ASA is not a government body; it’s an advertising-industry-sponsored organization with no teeth. The best it can do is place advertisers it deems out of line on the naughty step, listing them on as a ‘non-compliant advertiser’ on its own website. Evaluations of the advertisements of alternative medicine or practitioners through the ASA are a stacked deck; they are evaluated, as our ads were, by known skeptics like Dr. Edzard Ernst, Simon Singh’s co-author of Trick or Treatment?

Now, if the ASA is toothless, why is reporting illicit advertising claims to them bullying and harassment? Make your mind up, doughball. As for the stacked deck, well, that’s just the usual quack special pleading. All the ASA asks for is evidence. If you can’t back up your claims, tough shit. I’m going to snip a bit, because McTaggart has delusions of being a great investigative journalist and, frankly, all she’s doing is demonstrating that the people she hates are more rational and thoughtful than she is. Here’s a wee cracker, though:

 Maria (Maclachlan ) wrote, in a short précis of what it means to be a humanist: ‘Humanists embrace the moral principle known as the Golden Rule. This means we believe that people should aim to treat each other as they would like to be treated themselves – with tolerance, consideration and compassion.’

I wonder if this ‘Golden Rule’ also includes harassing groups, practitioners or organizations who advocate or advertise alternative medicine?

No, sweetie popkins, it does not mean standing by while the naïve and vulnerable get conned out of their health and wealth by unscrupulous hucksters and charismatic fruitcakes. Lastly, she gets very upset over Andy Lewis, aka @lecanardnoir, because he’s made it difficult for her to use ad hominem.

Andy Lewis. Set up the ‘Quackometer’ site, which he claims to be an experiment in ‘critical thinking’. Doesn’t reveal what his credentials, education or employment history are – says they ‘don’t matter’ nor does an honest debate of the issues because the wording on websites will, through his own use of critical thinking, offer prima facie evidence of ‘quackery’.

It must be really frustrating to be unable to create a diversion by attacking the writer instead of the words. I can only conclude that McTaggart and her cronies are livid that they can’t answer criticism on the Quackometer. Not, I hasten to add, because they’re not allowed to post. It isn’t the WDDTY Facebook page. It’s because they have no evidence for their often totally unrealistic and long-debunked claims.

That’s who they are. WDDTY, on the other hand, has seven medical doctors on its editorial panel, plus several PhDs and highly qualified practitioners of a number of alternative disciplines.

I refer you again to the Josephine Jones post exposing this august assembly as a bunch of quacks, frauds and profiteering dingbats, irrespective of the letters they have after their names.

Thousands of doctors and health practitioners of every persuasion regularly read WDDTY and comment enthusiastically.

The Facebook page doesn’t seem that busy. Or are the enthusiastic comments mostly negative, and therefore deleted? I think you need a large FPI™ order to wash that assertion down.

The two editors of our magazine have been medical science writers for 25 years, and every word in our pages is checked by a science editor with an extensive history of writing and editing medical studies for the pharmaceutical industry.

Bad news, McTaggart and Hubbard: WDDTY, Intention and Time-Light do not qualify as writing about medical science. I see you fail to name your science editor. It seems uncharacteristic  that you should use someone in the pharmaceutical industry. After all, you constantly spit on Big Pharma and once issued the challenge to find a drug, other than antibiotics, that had ever cured anything.

Do you want these eight people to be the ones to determine what you can read about your own health care?

I thought there were 80 of us?

If not, write to Tesco today and ask them to re-stock What Doctors Don’t Tell You….

Etc. etc. whine, whine. It ends with the now habitual plea to ask Tesco to stock WDDTY again. Being chucked out of Tesco has really hurt, it would seem. Could it be that WDDTY doesn’t attract enough subscribers, in spite of the hard sell (every month I see a SPECIAL SUBSCRIPTION OFFER email befouling my inbox), and they desperately need to prey on the innocent who might see it presented in their local supermarket as a genuine health magazine? I suspect so.

All the more reason to encourage all supermarkets and newsagents to drop WDDTY like a mouldy, worm-infested potato. If people are stupid enough to subscribe, fine. But they shouldn’t be gulled into buying this crap because it’s on the same shelf as publications that don’t tell you as if it were solid fact that cancer can be treated with intravenous vitamin C, that HIV doesn’t cause AIDS, that vaccines are pure poison, that homeopathy reverses cancer, that electric power lines cause Alzheimer’s, that pollution causes diabetes…. and so on.

Responses from those personnally targeted:

Jo Brody’s Stuff that occurs to me: It seems the magazine ‘What Doctors Don’t Tell You’ doesn’t like me

Guy Chapman’s Blahg: WDDTY goes “the full Errol”

Maria Maclachlan: Comment on Think Humanism forum