Lumping and splitting: brain tumours in white Britons

A much-publicised report suggests that white Britons’ brain tumour survival rates are lower than other ethnicities. But analysing the ethnicities categories used, and considering the diversity of the “brain tumour” label, complicates the picture, as the ‘Dismal Disease’ of Glioblastoma continues to confound.

On the Global Summit: do critiques of evidence hierarchies favour chiropractic?

The Global Summit systematic review claims that spinal manipulation therapy is not effective in preventing any non-musculoskeletal disorders. But a breakaway group has challenged their findings, in part based on my arguments regarding evidence hierarchies. Are they correct? Does my critique undermine the Global Summit review? If so, does the evidence base favour chiropractic?

Minding the Gaps: Statistical Misrepresentation in Attainment Gap Research

Political interests configure the stories we tell with data. Closing the gap in attainment between disadvantaged students and their advantaged contemporaries is pivotal to an agenda to use education as a positive social force. But both the measurement and representation of this gap is politicised, skewed and open to manipulation. This paper shows how two organisations with inverse aims represent—and misrepresent—their measure of the attainment gap to portray diametric trajectories in the pursuit of equal attainment.

Conversion Therapy: Evidence is Irrelevant

Pressure mounts upon equalities minister Kemi Badenoch to resign over the UK government’s failure to ban conversion therapies. Attention has focused on the government’s failure to publish research commissioned in 2018. But evidence about whether conversion therapy works is irrelevant: conversion therapy is not a medical intervention.

The Dismal Disease: Temozolomide and the Interaction of Evidence

“I think the challenge is really that we still, not only in glioblastoma, but in oncology at large, treat the majority of patients with a one-size-fits-all approach.” — Roger Stupp    Blockbuster drugs are rare. To be a blockbuster, a drug must shift over $1bn worth in one year. There …

Stop Fighting, You’re Making Me SAD

Does medical science have to be adversarial to make progress? Does progress in patient care consist of weeding out treatments which are ineffective and replacing existing therapies with new and better alternatives? Subacromial Decompression (SAD) surgery is one of the most commonplace shoulder surgeries, performed regularly as a treatment for …

The Positivity Machine: “Evidence-Based Alternative Medicine” and Grades of Recommendation

By definition, I begin, Alternative Medicine, I continue, Has either not been proved to work, or been proved not to work. Do you know what they call alternative medicine that’s been proved to work? Medicine. —Tim Minchin, Storm   In his beat-poem Storm, the musician and comedian Tim Minchin lays …

The Parachute Problem: Extracorporeal Life Support and the Demand for Trials

“One of the best things about [extracorporeal life support] is that it acts as a parachute. It’s there when everything else fails and has known results”. Robert Bartlett   1: Parachutes and the Demand for Trials   The United States Parachute Association recorded 120 deaths while skydiving in America in …

The Avoidable Scandal: Benoxaprofen and Theories of Medical Evidence

“This debate is about Britain’s greatest drug disaster. It is about the scandal of a huge United States pharmaceutical company coming to Britain and boasting of Opren, a new wonder drug to treat arthritis — with tragic results.” —Lord Jack Ashley Benoxaprofen, marketed as Opren in the UK, created a …