How to spot a health hoax

Posted 17 September 2013

An excellent article by Susan Erasmus and published on Health24.

Joost and the ‘miracle cure’: Here’s how to spot a medical hoax.

[gn_quote style="1"]Joost van der Westhuizen last week claimed to have been cured from motor neuron disease by ‘detox specialist’ Anton Neethling. It now appears that Neethling has a criminal [...]

Righteous Indignation

Posted 15 January 2013

An interesting article in the Skeptical Inquirer, argues that that profound feelings of insult to a deeply held belief ranks among the most powerful and pervasive failures of human reasoning. It notes that “[A]ppeals to righteous indignation or sanctity—which attempt to shield ideas from contemplation, discussion, investigation, or criticism—are common, impede [...]

Twenty-six ways to spot quacks and vitamin pushers

Posted 18 December 2012

This useful and interesting article is from Quackwatch (probably the “founder” of websites/blogs that have developed in order to inform consumers), and gives guidance regarding bogus or exaggerated claims for therapeutic products. How would a company like Solal be rated according to Quackwatch’s 26 ways, and if so, how many?


Regulation of alternative medicine: why it doesn’t work, and never can

Posted 16 October 2012

An excellent article by Prof David Colqhoun (UK) posted on DC’s Improbable Science which concludes:

The regulation of alternative medicine in the UK is a farce. It is utterly ineffective in preventing deception of patients. Such improvements as have occurred have resulted from the activity of bloggers, and sometime the [...]

VroueKeuer article

Posted 29 May 2012

This article written by Tienie Holtzhausen in Afrikaans, and titled “Smokkel advertensies met jou kop?” warns:

“Wees bedag op advertensies se verskuilde boodskappe en moenie alles glo wat julle jou belowe nie” (be aware of advertisements’ hidden messages and don’t believe everything they promise”.

Thanks to Tienie Holtzhausen [...]

Confidentiality and bad science

Posted 25 May 2012

“When evaluating survey data the devil is always in the detail. In a recent case the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) allowed Solal Technologies to keep crucial survey details secret. This decision deprived the complainant, Marcus Low, from an opportunity to interrogate spurious survey findings.”

An article by Marcus Low [...]

How to be open-minded

Posted 19 March 2012

YouTube user QualiaSoup made this insightful video on what it means to be open-minded. This video is a far more helpful and nuanced description on why being open minded doesn’t mean believing in everything and anything.

More sex = a longer life? Really???

The local South African magazine Health Intelligence Edition 12 proclaims on its cover: "Passion promotes health – sex for a longer life".


(Note: The highlighting box has been added.) On page 20 the article has the title: "Sex, so necessary for positive health: sex is a buzzword that defies trendsetting and social mores, staying [...]

When balance is bias

Posted 02 January 2012

"Sometimes the science is strong enough for the media to come down on one side of a debate"

This editorial published in the British Medical Journal points out the risk of presenting the alternative point of view, and how it may influence (bias) a reader's opinion.


More Sad Facts . . .

Posted 17 December, 2011

A promise was made to publish a correction ('clarification') to a misleading and irresponsible article first published in Health Intelligence magazine Edition 10 on page 14. The article was about antidepressant medicines.  The promise was to publish the clarification in Edition 12.

An 'update' has been published in Health Intelligence magazine Edition 12 on [...]