Bad Science: Quacks, Hacks, and Big Pharma Flacks

Ben Goldacre, Author
Ben Goldacre, Faber and Faber, $15 paper (320p) ISBN 978-0-86547-918-0
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Goldacre is the acerbic quackbuster who's a thorn in the side of celebrity nutritionists and alternative medicine practitioners in Britain through his "Bad Science" column in the Guardian. And now this M.D. and formidable investigative journalist brings his eye-popping insistence on rigorous science to this side of the Atlantic. There's plenty to debunk, like the detox footbaths that turn brown whether your feet are in them or not. Or the homeopathic remedies that are no more effective than placebos (i.e., sugar pills). Goldacre's on to Big Pharma as well, skewering the industry's manipulation of statistics and suppression of negative results in clinical trials. The media take their hits as well for fueling the scare over the measles-mumps-rubella vaccine's link to autism—a link that researchers have definitively debunked. And there's hell to pay for the growing legion of nutritionists and the lucrative nutritional supplement business, which come under Goldacre's special derision as "The Nonsense Du Jour" and "intellectual crimes." Not that Goldacre's always so solemn or scolding. His ongoing battle with Brit nutritionist Gillian McKeith is both unsettling and an amusing illustration of how simple it is to pull back the curtain on the wizard of Oz. (Oct.)
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