The random thoughts of a sceptical activist

Monthly Archives: April 2010

Bronfort on: Ear Infections

Time to take a closer look at some of the conclusions of the Bronfort report.

Otitis Media is, to the average parent, an ear infection — of the middle ear, to be precise. This can affect children and can be very painful and disturbing to both infant and parents. About one in five chiropractors I complained about made claims about ear or similar infections. It was also one of the childhood ailments that Simon Singh mentioned in the Guardian article the BCA had a hissy fit about.

Because of my complaints and because there appeared to be no definitive list (other than the ASA’s list of acceptable claims, of course) of what conditions were backed by robust evidence, the GCC commissioned five US chiropractic researchers to review the good evidence for all the conditions I complained about. I’ve already said something about the kinds of evidence Bronfort et al. decided should be included in the report: they were interested in only relying on quality evidence.

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Chiropractic Awareness Week 2008-2010

The British Chiropractic Association has finally dropped their misconceived libel action against Dr Simon Singh.

Best of all, the BCA have done this in Chiropractic Awareness Week.

The first announcement of it was from the Chambers of one of Simon’s QCs, William McCormick:

British Chiropractic Association v Singh – BCA admits defeat.

The BCA today served a Notice of Discontinuance bringing to an end its ill-fated libel claim against Dr Simon Singh arising out of criticisms he made of its promotion of treatments for childhood ailments.

Dr Singh’s predicament as the sole defendant in an action brought in respect of a comment piece in the Guardian newspaper (to which the BCA never directed any complaint) was seen as a rallying point for those concerned about the abuse of UK libel laws in connection with scientific debate.

Interest intensified when Eady J ruled that his words were not comment and that in order to defend himself he would have to prove the objective truth of what he wrote.

Earlier this month the Court of Appeal overturned that ruling and this has lead the BCA to abandon its claim.

William McCormick QC acted for Dr Singh instructed by Robert Dougans of Bryan Cave LLP.

This is great news, but the question of costs still has to be resolved. However, even if he recovers his costs, Simon has still spent the last two years fighting this misconceived and unnecessary libel case.

It is not known what will happen to the BCA: their finances are in a bit of a sorry state and their members should be asking a lot of searching questions of those individuals responsible. Indeed, those running the BCA need to do a lot of soul searching. But that’s up to them.

And the nominees are…

The inimitable Jack of Kent has been longlisted for the Orwell Prize 2010 and he will find out later today if he has been shortlisted.

Perhaps the BCA should also receive  a prize: Lifetime Achievement Award for their contribution to Chiropractic Awareness Week?

They get my nomination.

Update

The Guardian has now reinstated the original article Simon wrote for Chiropractic Awareness Week 2008, the one that the BCA had such a hissy fit about: Beware the spinal trap

What better way to celebrate Chiropractic Awareness Week 2010 and make everyone aware of chiropractic.