16 Aug 12 Ben Goldacre: Battling bad science
Every day there are news reports of new health advice, but how can you know if they’re right? In this entertaining TED lecture, UK doctor, epidemiologist and famous pseudoscience buster, Ben Goldacre, shows, at high speed, the ways evidence can be distorted, from the blindingly obvious nutrition claims to the very subtle tricks of the pharmaceutical industry.
Ben Goldacre writes “Bad Science” — unpicking dodgy scientific claims made by scaremongering journalists, dubious government reports, evil pharmaceutical corporations, PR companies and quacks.
Click on the picture below to hear the talk…
A preview of Dr Ben Goldacre’s new book, Bad Pharma:
Medicine is broken. We like to imagine that it’s based on evidence and the results of fair tests. In reality, those tests are often profoundly flawed. We like to imagine that doctors are familiar with the research literature surrounding a drug, when in reality much of the research is hidden from them by drug companies. We like to imagine that doctors are impartially educated, when in reality much of their education is funded by industry. We like to imagine that regulators let only effective drugs onto the market, when in reality they approve hopeless drugs, with data on side effects casually withheld from doctors and patients.
All these problems have been protected from public scrutiny because they’re too complex to capture in a sound bite. But Dr. Ben Goldacre shows that the true scale of this murderous disaster fully reveals itself only when the details are untangled. He believes we should all be able to understand precisely how data manipulation works and how research misconduct on a global scale affects us. In his own words, “the tricks and distortions documented in these pages are beautiful, intricate, and fascinating in their details.” With Goldacre’s characteristic flair and a forensic attention to detail, Bad Pharma reveals a shockingly broken system and calls for something to be done. This is the pharmaceutical industry as it has never been seen before.