Contact

Screen Shot 2016-08-18 at 21.06.45I love hearing about dodgy science, particularly if it’s in the UK media (TV, radio, magazines or newspapers). If you’ve spotted something, come and tell me about it.

You can:

Please remember to copy and paste a link!

In case you’re not sure, and with grateful thanks to Compound Interest, I’m reproducing this excellent rough guide to spotting bad science. It’s a great summary. For a higher resolution (easier to read) version, click here (or click on the image).

A-Rough-Guide-to-Spotting-Bad-Science-2015-724x1024

I asked Big Pharma if they'd pay me, and this was their response. (With thanks to fb.com/thechowbabe)

I asked Big Pharma if they’d pay me, and this was their response (image credit: fb.com/thechowbabe)

Please note: All comments are moderated before they appear this site. Abusive comments will be deleted, whether the abuse is directed towards me or another poster. Comments calling me a pharma shill (see About) will also be deleted, as will comments including the words “sheeple” and/or telling everyone to “wake up”. Comments saying this blog is all lies, whilst linking to some fraudster’s YouTube clip, are also likely to fall foul of the electronic trash can. Oh and finally, comments relating to posts where the comments have been closed will also be deleted. They were closed for a reason. I say all this this merely to save you some time…

37 thoughts on “Contact

  1. Bad science is closed minded approach.
    Btw, why topic on “eating apricot kernels” is not open for further discussion? I would like to contribute something to it.

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      • Well Katiday, this report you made regarding apricot kernels being harmful is pure rubbish!!!! My nephew was diagnosed with Stage 4 Prostrate Cancer with a tumor the size of a baseball in his buttocks/scrotum area and cancer that had metastasized into the hips and shoulders in Jan 2016. His doctor wanted to start radiation immediately. He said NO, as he didn’t want to be sick and die from the radiation. After searching for an alternative treatments he changed his unhealthy fast food diet to all plant based, with no sugar, cancer feeds on sugar. He juices 2 x per day, eats lots of salad. He took lots of vitamins, one being B17/laetrile: 500 mg 3 x per day. He also makes home-made chicken broth from pure non- hormone and non – antibiotic fed chicken. He clears all of the meat off of the bones, puts the meat away for members of his family who are not sick, and simmers the bones slowly for at least 24 hrs. This releases all of the nutrients, which includes the collagen from the bones. Collagen is the most abundant protein in the human body and is the substance that holds the whole body together. This method of extracting this valuable protein has been scientifically proven to have very valuable healing attributes. He uses this to make vegetable soups.By end of April his high PSA reading of 242 (for cancer) had gone down to 22! By June his large tumor was about the size of a small grape, and cancer reading at 2!!! He will undoubtedly be “cancer free” soon! God gave us what we need in our food to stay well and man has messed it up. The pharmaceutical companies and medical industry are killing people with chemo, radiation, and surgeries because it makes them BIG BUCKS!!!!! I was blind to the truth too until I witnessed my nephews healing, a healing with NO side effects!!!!!. So please, stop your ugly lying comments about natural healing. There are HUNDREDS of testimonials out there of people who have been CURED with B17. It HAS been proven to kill cancer cells but does NOT harms the healthy cells. This was proven back in the 1950’s by a brilliant chemist, Dr Krebs, By the 1970’s B17 was made illegal to sell by the pharmaceutical industry. They trumped up lies about its healing qualities and saw to it that it was made illegal to sell it or use it. You need to get on board and do your research. It may save YOUR life one of these days!!!!! This is just one of hundreds of examples:

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  2. Re Laetrile. I work as an Occupational Health Practitioner in a large company. Today I was called to a collapsed employee. He regained consciousness and after BP, ECG, blood glucose etc (all normal), revealed to me that he had been eating up to 20 Apricot kernels a day. Knowing the dangers of this stuff I gave him what can best be described as ‘a jolly good talking to’ and sent him off for further investigation. I look forward to seeing the results.

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    • Oh my goodness. If you can share the results I’d be interested to hear them, and maybe add this to the main article if you don’t mind? I’ve lost count of the times I’ve heard “I’ve been eating them for years and I’m fine”!!

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  3. Just a thought on homeopathy.. My son had a pilonidal-cyst and the doctor said surgery to force healing from the inside out. Apparently very painful and can take 6 weeks to 6 months to heal. I rang my homeopath (a very good one) who gave him a remedy of peony flowers. Within say 2-3 weeks it had healed and that was about 4 years ago.
    Please don’t knock homeopathy. It also worked to CURE his ADHD using pulsatilla. It also worked to CURE my friends under -active thyroid which was about 20 years ago. IT WORKS, is not expensive and I don’t know why so many people would rather go to a doctor and take zillions of pills with nasty side effects to fix the symptoms not the complaint. Needless to say it takes longer for the desired result and like all medicines both traditional and natural they DON’T ALWAYS work, Taking apricot kernels is to me NOT homeopathy probably more naturopathy There is a huge difference in the two which most people don’t understand.

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    • Even homeopaths will admit that homeopathic remedies are diluted beyond the point of having any active ingredient left. They’re just water and sugar, and sometimes alcohol. They can’t cure anything, although they might make you feel better just because someone has taken an interest in you and told you the pills/tincture etc will help. Some conditions resolve on their own. Pilonidal cysts do occasionally heal by themselves, and I note you didn’t say abscess, which would suggest a much more serious infection. As for ADHD, there’s no evidence that pulsatilla can help with it, although it may have a mild sedative effect. I’d suggest caution to anyone else reading this: it has a number of potentially dangerous side effects, and you may not know what dose you’re getting.

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  4. I am one of the victim of apricot kernels poisoning. This is how it started. I was over my mothers house one evening and open the drawer looking for some sweets. I kook end down and found thought to be peanuts. I reached ou and grabbed 3 . Looked at the size they were small. As soon as as I put in into my mouth and bit on them I got this bitterly taste and asked my mother what it was. She told me they were apricot kernels. She suffered previously from breast cysts and successful chemo.
    I swallowed them at 9 pm and at 10 I was in bed.
    At midnight I woke up with terrible headache and felt like I was about to vomit and pain in my stomach. I was not able to fall asleep and became weaker and weaker throughout the night. In the morning I started getting shakes and became so weak that I could not hold an iPad. I was wondering all morning what could be the culprit of my illness. I recollected all the foods that I had eaten throughout the day. Nothing could come to mind. My mother mentioned apricot kernels and with all the energy I had left I started googled it.
    Now was the time to go to the er. When I got there none of the nurses or doctors could belive my story and they were doing other tests that were unnecessary. I fainted twice getting the X-rays. They gave me IV. After six hours I finally started feel better.
    The moral of the story is please stay away from these. I only had three. Thanks to God that I am still alive. This product should be banned in the whole world

    Liked by 1 person

    • Well, I’m just going by the ingredients and glycerin is not listed. But why would it be a concern anyway? Glycerin is the naturally-occurring product of fat breakdown. It’s pretty much harmless.

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  5. katlday you have to be the most dense person I have ever had the experience of encountering. Really who is paying you to write this? You are being bombarded by people telling their amazing stories & you just blow them off. Personally I think you are just a horrible person, whos parents were most likely horrible as well. You have been beaten. You have no proof of anything. You have never personally conducted any experiements yourself, yet you mock people who have. What is wrong with you? Seriously?
    After reading this entire thing and watching you be defeated in your debate. You keep trying to hold your position in this forum.

    You should never write anything again. Check that, you should never give anyone your opinion on anything in any form of communication ever again.

    How people like you are created is a wonder to me, what an existence.

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    • I am going to approve this comment as a demonstration of the sort of thing I often have to read. It’s one of the politer ones.

      Further comments on this thread will be not be approved.

      To be clear: Firstly, no one pays me to write this blog. It would be nice if they did, but they don’t. Secondly, your idea of ‘experiment’ differs from mine. Eating some random substance and then saying “I’m not dead, so it’s fine!” is not what I would call a valid experiment. Undoubtedly this is how our distant ancestors did things – and many thanks to them for finding out the hard way exactly which mushrooms were poisonous – however these days we have laboratory techniques at our disposal. I have not mocked actual scientists carrying out actual experiments and publishing in reputable journals (YouTube, for the record, is not a reputable journal). Thirdly, I don’t know what my parents have to do with this, but they’re very nice people, thank you.

      I shall repeat myself: further replies to this thread will not be approved.

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  6. Hi Kati, I hope you read my quick note/request to you. Congrats for a scientific/chemistry based analysis of lemons and sad about all the Knockers.
    The old adage “you can’t put brains in statues” comes to mind with some of the posters !! Sad that they have to stoop to insulting your Mum an Dad. You handled the reply with aplomb.
    Blinkered people hate Fact..

    I am writing an Ebook on the Benefits of Lemon Water, first thing of a morning prior to exercise and/or eating. (my Website Supplied) I was researching for facts to dispel or prove the myth, that Lemon juice is Acid outside the body and suddenly attains a base state once consumed. Thank You for clarifying the matter concisely.

    Question. Would you mind if I used some of your chemistry facts and supporting logic for my Book? (your Authorship/Intellectual property accredited)

    Gr8 Blog, keep up the good work

    Kind regards Mike

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  7. Hi Kat,
    First of all my compliments on your wonderful chemistry blog! It’s really great how you manage to explain interesting yet sometimes rather tricky things in such a simple way.

    Now I have a question that perhaps you may be able to answer — and since I’m one of those fossils refusing to get a Twitter or Facebook account, I decided to resort to your contact page.
    Several times when discussing high dilutions (e.g. homeopathy) or stuff like ultra-pure water with someone, the question arose what substances can be expected to leach from glass containers, and in what amounts. Since even high-quality glassware undoubtedly contains impurities, I would expect that modern analysis methods should have no trouble identifying these. The funny thing is that whereas I can find all sorts of laws governing the maximum amount of several groups of contaminants that may leach from various container materials, any actual analyses are surprisingly hard to find. I did find this PubMed entry on arsenic leaching from glass: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16621370 , but there are still no numbers (paywall for full article). Did they find parts per billion? Or more? And of course it matters what is stored in those containers — even if it isn’t a very aggressive acid or alkaline substance.
    Do you have more information on this? No, it’s nothing important, just monkey curiosity, and the fact that I can’t seem to find much on this myself 🙂

    As always looking forward to your next article — your blog is certainly one of my favourites!

    Best regards,

    Richard

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi, thanks! 🙂 So… are you thinking that there would actually be more impurities from the glass in a homeopathic preparation than molecules of whatever they’re starting the dilution with? It’s an interesting thought. Now that I think about it, contamination will be a significant issue, from various sources. Do they, for example, make these preparations in a class 1 cleanroom? If not (and my suspicion is that it’s unlikely) then there will be contamination from particles in the air, skin, all sorts of sources. All of which will far exceed their diluted substance, assuming the dilution is carried out properly (not always the case).

      And then we have to ask, how pure is the water that they’re using? Distilled won’t be enough. Are homeopaths using, say, nanofiltration? Ultrapure water should have a resistivity of more than 18.2 MOhms. Do you think they test it?

      As for glassware, as it happens I know someone who knows a bit about this 🙂 Firstly, he says that if you want really non-leaching containers, you don’t use glass, you use quartz. It’s actually called quartzware. Lots of ions do leach out of glass, you’re right: sodium, potassium, aluminium, even copper. The procedure for super-clean, non-leaching quartzware is (hope you’re sitting comfortably!):

    • Do an acid rinse,
    • then a base rinse,
    • then two solvent rinses,
    • then a detergent rinse with a non-ionic detergent,
    • followed by a spray rinse,
    • and a dump rinse (put in a tank, fill with ultra-pure water, dump the water and then check the resistance of the dumped water until it’s more than 18 MOhms
    • and finally, an acetone vapour dry
    • This is the protocol the semi-conductor industry uses for making microchips (where purity is absolutely vital). You wouldn’t, for the record, do all of this with glass – since glass leaches anyway.

      Do you think homeopaths follow all of these procedures?

      Thanks for asking about this – I may actually write something up in a little more detail 🙂

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  8. Hi Kat,
    Thanks for your reply! This elaborate cleanroom procedure in the semiconductor industry is quite interesting to read (as a biomedical electronics expert I already knew a bit about this subject, but I never suspected that it was this drastic — perhaps that is because modern semiconductors have countless millions of devices with nanometer dimensions on one chip, and failure is not an option).
    About homeopathy: I know that any efficacy is due to delusion (i.e. placebo), not dilution — I’m trying to write a book about all sorts of curious beliefs people harbour these days, and why (e.g. chemophobia, antivaccine sentiments, cell phone ‘radiation’ panic, and, yes, homeopathy). Any homeopathic substance diluted further than 12C (~10^24) is for all intents and purposes just diluant — albeit with the aforementioned contaminants. But even at 5C (~0.1 ppb), there are hardly any substances that have any measurable effect in humans — only some very nasty bacterial toxins (botulin toxin, tetanospasmin) come to mind. So already between the third and fifth dilution step of 1:100, a homeopathic substance contains more molecules of contaminants than of the original substance. So why don’t these contribute to any effect — an effect which is extremely implausible to begin with? Ah well, you know the drill…

    Yes, there is actually quite a bit of interesting stuff to tell about containers, and it would be wonderful if you could dedicate a more elaborate blog posting on it some day. Just after submitting my previous question, I thought of no less than three more conundrums from personal observation, all having to do with plastic containers this time, and in the opposite direction (i.e. substances leaving the contents). The first was a plastic bottle of fizzy drink, having totally lost its fizz after two or three years in the pantry. Is PET somewhat permeable? Or could it be that the cap is slightly leaky? And I was even more puzzled to see that the bottle was actually slightly deformed because of underpressure — so not only did gases leave the soft drink, somehow more gas was lost than merely a sufficient amount to equalize the pressure inside and out. The only mechanism I can think of here is osmosis, but perhaps you have a better idea what’s going on.
    The second things was rather similar, if a bit more messy: an ordinary household detergent had somehow dissolved its container, again after lurking for several years under the kitchen sink. I didn’t know that this could happen. The third was a bottle of household bleach (sodium hypochlorite solution) that had lost its active chlorine compound, again after being unused for several years (yeah, we’re slobs, but at least we have the right intention — we *did* buy those products, after all :-). Did the hypochlorite leave as chlorine or chlorine oxide, again through the plastic container? And/or had it slowly reacted with the detergents and other ingredients in the solution? I did notice that the stuff didn’t smell very ‘soapy’ any more, but had a rather musty, unpleasant smell.

    So what I found is that many modern plastic containers are by no means suitable for long-term storage, and that I should pay more attention to expiration dates, even on things that I never expected to expire — and maybe you can tell us why this is 🙂

    Thanks again,

    Regards,

    Richard

    Liked by 1 person

  9. I’m unsure why FB, Twitter and a comment section is how you’re to be contacted, but, ok. I have a wonderful book suggestion for you: “The Medicci Effect” says often people considered outsiders (or new to a field) easily solve problems that experts can’t find answers to. It’s because outsiders bring in new perspectives, knowledge from other fields, and willingness to try something new. Experts can become entrenched in “the is the way it’s done,” or “this is what we know” and “this didn’t work” and might not realize they’re taking a closed minded, sort of “inside the box” view. People inspire innovation and make an impact when they combine what they know with fresh ideas/perspectives in previously unexplored ways.

    Different/diverse ways of thinking often SEEM unrelated – and Bill Nye says “Everyone you’ll ever meet knows something you don’t.” – so I guess my point is, staying entrenched in a certain mode of thinking keeps you from learning something from others’ knowledge/experience you’ve never heard of… that may trigger an idea that becomes the cure for cancer or changes the world. Nothing, including science, is completely infallible, there’s always more to learn, more unlikely combinations to try.

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  10. HI! I loved the article you write about the citric acid, around 2014, and I wonder…how many grams of Citric Acid are in a regular lemon? and before you say something like AGAIN WITH THE CITRIC ACID!! ARRRHHH…
    I’m making a chem101 class for really young people (boys and girls around the ages of 15-16 years old) and i want to make the class about things we do everyday, regular and normal tasks on the kitchen that actually contains a lot of chemical reactions. So if possible respond in a near future!
    (Yes English is not my main language, so I apologize for the writing horrors).

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  11. You’re absolutely right about the whole alkaline diet thing. Here’s some anecdotal “proof” for you: My husband eats a very “acidic” diet composed mostly of red meat, white flour, cheese, copious amounts of coffee, and citrus fruit. I eat a more “alkaline” diet of greens and veggies, some nuts and seeds, green tea, etc. – because I’ve had invasive breast cancer, and the buzz is that you should eat an alkaline diet if you’ve had cancer. Anyway, my husband just agreed to be a test subject. We tested our urine and our saliva first thing in the morning. Our urine was identical, both in the normal range. Our saliva, however, was very different. Mine was 6.2, his was 7.4. So much for an alkalizing diet! Ha!!

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    • Haha! Was this before you ate anything and/or cleaned your teeth? It might be related to how much you do, or don’t, sleep with your mouths open. It’d be interesting to test again after an hour, and see if they were still different. Good luck with your cancer, glad you’re doing well x

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  12. Just found your blog and greatly appreciate it. A chemistry major in college, doctor for almost 30 years, I try to keep up. Some excellent skeptics, not of Science but of bias and non-reproducibility, have garnered my attention and I must add you to the list.
    I actually found your site trying to guess the source of the odor from a sialolith, described and seen here- https://theoverheadpage.com/2017/05/01/case-20-bad-breath/ I’m thinking substantial butyric acid. I’m not sure this is up your alley but if so, what do you think? If nothing else this gives new meaning to “long- suffering wife”.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Oh. My. Goodness! That’s horrific! Poor man. Yes, sounds very like butyric acid. Especially the “lingered for hours” and the “blue cheese without the cheese” bits. That describes the dreadfulness of it quite well, I’d say! Apparently butyric acid IS a metabolite of periodontopathic bacteria, so it would make sense.

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