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Science writer Simon Singh wins ruling in chiropractic libel battle

By |October 15, 2009|Ethics|

In two previous articles, here and here, I talked about author Simon Singh’s battle with the British Chiropractic Association. The Guardian reported yesterday that the initial ruling has been overturned.
From The Guardian:

A science writer who is being sued for libel by the British Chiropractic Association is to fight on after a preliminary judgment against him was overturned on appeal today.

Simon Singh was sued by the BCA after he wrote an article in the Guardian criticising the association for supporting members who claim that chiropractic treatments – which involve manipulation of the spine – can treat children’s colic, sleeping and feeding problems, frequent ear infections, asthma and prolonged crying.

Singh described the treatments, for which he said there is not a lot of evidence, as “bogus” and criticised the BCA for “happily promoting” them.

In May, Mr Justice Eady in the high court ruled on the meaning of the words, saying they implied the association was being deliberately dishonest. Singh said that interpretation would make it difficult for him to defend himself at a full trial.

Singh was initially refused leave to appeal, but Eady’s interpretation was rejected by Lord Justice Laws, who said Eady had risked swinging the balance of rights too far in favour of the right to reputation and against the right to free expression. Laws described Eady’s judgment as “legally erroneous”.

Many scientists and science writers have rallied to Singh’s support, claiming that the freedom of scientific opinion is at stake.

Speaking after the judgment, Singh said this was the “best possible result”.

“Simon Singh’s battle in this libel case is not only a glaring example of how the law and its interpretation are stifling free expression, it shows how urgent the case for reform has become,” said Jo Glanville, editor of Index on Censorship.

Chiropractic evidence under attack in BCA/Singh case

By |June 29, 2009|Ethics|

Previously I wrote about the British Chiropractic Association suing science writer Simon Singh for libel. This has been widely criticized as a tactical mistake due both to the expense and to the negative publicity which has thus far ensued. The BCA has recently produced a list of evidence justifying the chiropractic treatment of children with asthma and colic which evidence-based blogs have proceeded to, for want of a better term, eviscerate. One of the criticisms was for the BCA not including a study which showed manipulation to be no better than placebo for infantile colic.
(more…)

Flu Vacine and Asthma

By |May 21, 2009|Research, Uncategorized|

Here’s an except from ScienceDaily.com with the original presentation information;

Children Who Get Flu Vaccine Have Three Times Risk Of Hospitalization For Flu, Study Suggests

ScienceDaily (2009-05-20) — The inactivated flu vaccine does not appear to be effective in preventing influenza-related hospitalizations in children, especially the ones with asthma. In fact, children who get the flu vaccine are more at risk for hospitalization than their peers who do not get the vaccine, according to new research. While these findings do raise questions about the efficacy of the vaccine, they do not in fact implicate it as a cause of hospitalizations, according to researchers.

Original presentation made at the American Thoracic Society’s International Conference in San Diego, CA (May 15-20, 2009):

Flu Vaccination in Asthmatics: Does It Work?
Am J Respir Crit Care Med 179;2009:A5118