Archive | November, 2010

Project sCAM

30 Nov

Hello all!
Just a quick blog to let you know that I will soon be sending a number of letters off to the Welsh Health Boards.
I will let you figure out what they will be about from the title of this post.
Ciao for now!

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To Judge Judy

29 Nov

To introduce this post, I accused a commenter on the Bleachgate blogpost of being an ‘alternative medicine’ apologist in a private email. They posted this as a comment and emailed me back to say that I was confused about who hadn’t made their mind up about MMS.
This was my response.
I want to post it because I feel it also highlights just why I want to deal with MMS.

To Judge Judy
First, I accused you of being an alternative medicine apologist because you used one of their prime tactics, attacking conventional medicine.
Secondly, you’ve not made up your mind on MMS? Fair enough.
However, consider this: no clinical evidence exists for it, only anecdotes. Also, toxicity studies show that ClO2 (MMS), in doses lower than Jim recommends, is a neurotoxin and a thyroid toxin. These both are worrying. The fact that Jim sells MMS, or at least used to, and now instead makes money from others with his book, DVDs, courses and royalties from other MMS suppliers, then lies and says he makes no money from MMS, is even more worrying, especially since we’re talking about what is supposedly a medicine. A pseudo medicine that is being targeted specifically at those most vulnerable, those with cancer, AIDS and other life threatening, horrible illnesses. Even worse, it’s targeted at those with chronic illnesses, those with the most potential to suffer from the long term damaging effects of it.
All this, without a shred of evidence that it works.
Perhaps now you see my worry and desire to sort this out ASAP?
– Rhys

Sense about Science fundraiser

25 Nov

Hello everyone!

As I am approaching my 20,000th tweet, I decided it would be a good idea to try and raise some money for Sense about Science!

The basics are, you bid. If you win, then I will tweet almost whatever you like – to promote it, advertise it or just have a funny tweet as my 20,000th.

Basically, tweet me your bid. When you bid, I will announce it on Twitter so that everyone else can see the latest bid too.

Obviously, there must be some ground rules:

1. Bid money must be paid through PayPal.

2. No, I will not promote any woo or bad science as my 20,000th tweet.

3. And, uhh… I think that’s it.

If I think of any more rules, I will add them here and let you all know. If you want to run anything past me, you can email me – thewelshboyo (-at-) gmail (-dot-) com

The bidding starts today and will run until 8pm on the 2nd of December.

So, let the bidding begin!

Rodial Ltd.

11 Nov

Today, I called Rodial Ltd. to ask if they had any scientific evidence for their product, Boob job.

As you may know, Rodial have sued a prominent British plastic surgeon, Dalia Nield, for saying that it’s highly unlikely that the £125-a-bottle cream would increase breast size. You can read more on this here. This is another example of our highly flawed libel laws being used to stifle scientific discourse and debate.

Scientific debates cause us to go and research things to find out exactly what is and isn’t true. Without it, we learn nothing. If people sue simply because someone disagrees with them or highlights the lack of evidence for their claims, we learn nothing.

It is right to question people making claims of any kind – scientific or otherwise.

In the case of Rodial. Ltd, they make claims about increasing breast size without providing a shred of evidence. I know this because as stated earlier, I phoned them up to ask for the evidence. They told me that they had done trials, but were not willing to produce this evidence to me because I was a member of the public. I leave you, the reader, to decide exactly what that suggests.

They also asked for my contact details. I don’t see the reasoning for that once they’d told me that they had no evidence that they were willing to provide me.

As a result of this phone call and my disgust at Rodial’s disregard for the scientific process including verification of evidence and debate and their abuse of our disgusting libel laws, I reported them to Trading Standards for making ‘unverifiable and sensational claims without providing scientific evidence to justify these claims’. We wouldn’t let pharmaceutical companies get away with it, so why let Rodial Ltd?

So, I pose the question to you, dear reader, what are you going to do about Rodial Ltd. and their sensational, unjustifiable claims?

P.S. Carmen has reminded me to add a link to the Libel Reform website!

The Mass Libel Reform Blog – Fight for Free Speech!

10 Nov

Free Speech is Not For Sale

This week is the first anniversary of the report Free Speech is Not for Sale, which highlighted the oppressive nature of English libel law. In short, the law is extremely hostile to writers, while being unreasonably friendly towards powerful corporations and individuals who want to silence critics.

The English libel law is particularly dangerous for bloggers, who are generally not backed by publishers, and who can end up being sued in London regardless of where the blog was posted. The internet allows bloggers to reach a global audience, but it also allows the High Court in London to have a global reach.

You can read more about the peculiar and grossly unfair nature of English libel law at the website of the Libel Reform Campaign. You will see that the campaign is not calling for the removal of libel law, but for a libel law that is fair and which would allow writers a reasonable opportunity to express their opinion and then defend it.

The good news is that the British Government has made a commitment to draft a bill that will reform libel, but it is essential that bloggers and their readers send a strong signal to politicians so that they follow through on this promise. You can do this by joining me and over 50,000 others who have signed the libel reform petition at http://www.libelreform.org/sign

Remember, you can sign the petition whatever your nationality and wherever you live. Indeed, signatories from overseas remind British politicians that the English libel law is out of step with the rest of the free world.

If you have already signed the petition, then please encourage friends, family and colleagues to sign up. Moreover, if you have your own blog, you can join hundreds of other bloggers by posting this blog on your own site. There is a real chance that bloggers could help change the most censorious libel law in the democratic world.

We must speak out to defend free speech. Please sign the petition for libel reform at http://www.libelreform.org/sign

Super-Duper Woo-Fighting Duo (with capes!)

7 Nov

Hello everyone!

As you might know, Marianne aka @noodlemaz and I have started a podcast, Super-Duper Woo-Fighting Duo (with capes!).

You can also find us on iTunes here Super-Duper Woo-Fighting Duo (with capes!) (reviews much appreciated!)

In this podcast, we are reviewing and reading Jim Humble’s book, The Miracle Mineral Solution of the 21st Century

It is a comedy goldmine.

We will also be having guest reports. In episode 3, we will have one from Kash Farooq (@kashfarooq on Twitter)

As an extra, Marianne has written out transcripts with added links and pictures, so you can see exactly what we were talking about/where we got our information from.

You can view them here:

So, subscribe, review, send in your feedback to 

Hope you enjoy it!

Crohn’s disease – Part 1

3 Nov

Hello everyone,
Today I am gonna be writing the first in a series about something a little more personal than normal – my Crohn’s disease. Maybe the best place to start would be how I was diagnosed.
Around last December, I started suffering from fatigue. It progressed until I was coming in from school, crashing on the sofa and sleeping. This fatigue had a rather profound effect on my schoolwork. Report grades started slipping etc. At first, everyone thought I was just being lazy. I didn’t know what was happening, so I decided I was going to get to the root of the problem.
I booked an appointment with our local GP for around February. I told her all about the fatigue. She send me for some blood tests. I came back as anaemic. At first, because it was the most likely cause, I was prescribed an iron supplement (ferrous fumarate, for those of you interested). More blood tests to check if it was iron deficiency. Next day, I could start taking them. I actually started to feel a little bit better (placebo effect!) but then received the results. It wasn’t iron deficiency. So, I stopped taking the iron. (It had horrible side effects!) More blood tests to see if I had a thalassemia trait (unlikely, I don’t have anyone Mediterranean in my family). They came back as negative. Still no explanation for the symptoms.
Half term came along and I actually started to feel better. I thought everything was over. School started again and it was apparent that it wasn’t. The symptoms came back with a vengeance. I also started noticing joint pains. This made my dad consider the possibility of IBD, especially given my bowels as a baby and more recently. I booked another appointment with the GP. She said that IBD was fairly rare and we should test for that later. I still didn’t know what was going on. I booked another appointment for a couple of weeks later to ask for a referral to a gastroenterologist. She said she’d discuss it with her colleagues.*
About a week later, at around 10:30pm, I started suffering from excruciating abdominal pain. We waited to see if it would subside, but at about 12am we decided I should go to hospital. Then our electricity failed. An hour later, I was finally taken.
First off, I saw the out-of-hours GP. She was convinced it was nothing and wanted to rule out appendicitis. However, she decided to send me home. I told her how I’d been visiting my GP for months to no avail. She tried to get hold of the Paeds surgical SHO. No answer. She left a message. Back to Paeds A&E with the assessment in hand. We took it to the nurse about 10 mins later when nothing had happened and I noticed a sign saying “Take all forms to the nurse” or something along those lines. I was taken to a cubicle.
The Paeds SHO arrived and Dad voiced his concerns that it might be IBD. I said how I’d been going to the GP for a while to no avail. After explaining the symptoms, she agreed that it was quite probably some form of IBD. I had some blood tests done at about 4am, after a sleep. I was then taken to Paeds South, the surgical ward (in case it was something surgical like appendicitis), where I waited. I was seen by a number of other doctors and sent for an ultrasound of my bowel. After this showed thickening of the terminal ileum it was decided that I should be moved to the non surgical ward in the children’s hospital. I waited some more and Mum came in to visit.
After waiting some more, I finally got seen by one of the paediatric gastroenterologists. He explained that they thought I might have Crohn’s disease. It was more than a little hard to take in at the time. Being diagnosed with a lifelong illness like Crohn’s is something I wouldn’t wish on my worst enemy. Anyway, I was given a can of Modulen IBD (disgusting stuff unflavoured) and was on my way.
I had some more tests such as a white cell scan, barium meal and follow through (odd after effects…) and finally a colonoscopy. The prep for a colonoscopy is hell. I also took the option of having it under general anaesthetic (my second time with propofol!) which my other gastroenterologist said was the best option afterwards. What was meant to take something like half an hour took closer to 2 hours. I have very oddly shaped intestines!
In the next installment of ‘Crohn’s disease’ I shall talk about what happened after I was diagnosed.
Goodbye for now.

*a week or so after my diagnosis, we got a referral letter in the post.