Pick of the week

Some links we feel are worth your time…

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🔗 Is it time to hit the brakes on healthcare research? Carl Heneghan and Tom Jefferson, Trust the Evidence Substack, 4th March 2024

A rather depressing though probably realistic take on the state of scientific research and publication bias. The article opens with a quote from Doug Altman in a BMJ article from 30 years ago, entitled ‘The scandal of poor medical research’, in which he says, We need less research, better research, and research done for the right reasons.” But sadly and considering the vast amount of money flowing into research, much of it continues to show poor methodology, inadequate numbers et cetera, the quantity of research goes ever upwards yet  quality seems to be in reverse. 

Their conclusion: “TTE contends that given the systemic biases within research, we must halt healthcare research to redefine how we develop, produce, and publish it. In the meantime, while we work out how to deal with systemic waste and fraud, the research funding could be spent on fixing the dire problems within the NHS.”  A fairly drastic solution but maybe drastic times call for drastic measures.

🔗 Why Are Health Care Students Still Forced to Get COVID-19 Boosters? Clayton Baker, Minding the Campus, 28th February 2024

As the author points out, all but 67 of almost 4000 US colleges are still mandating covid vaccines for most students yet continue to demand them for medical and nursing students, though again no longer demanding them for the qualified staff. It has long been clear that the vaccines prevent neither infection with nor transmission of SARS-CoV-2, so protection of the patients is clearly not the real reason.  The paper’s author answers his own question thus: “There is likely an underlying and utterly non-medical reason these mandates persist. A covert screening process, often used in large corporations’ Human Resources departments, appears to be taking place—this is an effort to weed out any and all individuals who do not passively comply with all regulations, however invasive or unnecessary they may be.

Such an approach poses grave dangers to the profession of medicine and to patient care. The history of medical progress, especially when it comes to good patient care, is filled with examples of reformers who fought harmful medical orthodoxy—and who were initially vilified. “Weeding out” independent minds who question convention in favor of submissive, incurious drones will have disastrous effects on patient care.”

This is US not UK, but even here I recently spoke to a friend whose daughter wanted to train as a midwife and had been told that covid vaccination was a requirement, despite this not being factually correct. She did not take the vaccine but instead decided on a different career, yet another loss to the shrinking number of midwives. Meanwhile, another friend’s grandchild at a UK medical school, was told that if they did not have two doses, they could not work on the wards. One of their fellow students died and another has permanent disability and mention of booster shots has been quietly dropped.

🔗 Harvard Tramples the Truth Martin Kulldorff, City News, 11th March 2024

It is exactly four years since Harvard Professor Martin Kulldorff first questioned the decision to close its doors to all face-to-face teaching,, before even the US government had advised let alone mandated this.  Six months later he joined with Oxford’s Professor Sunetra Gupta and Stamford professor Jay Bhattacharya to write the Great Barrington Declaration and with nearly a million signatures the gloves were finally off. There were orchestrated attempts to smear the lead authors – always ad hominem attacks rather than reasoned debate. He Finally, in March 2024 he was told that he was no longer on the staff. His account of the last four years is well worth reading. 

He concludes with this message: “Science cannot survive in a society that does not value truth and strive to discover it. The scientific community will gradually lose public support and slowly disintegrate in such a culture. The pursuit of truth requires academic freedom with open, passionate, and civilized scientific discourse, with zero tolerance for slander, bullying, or cancellation. My hope is that someday, Harvard will find its way back to academic freedom and independence.”

Ironically, Harvard’s motto is Veritas, latin for truth. But, as Professor Kulldorff discovered, ”truth can get you fired”.

🔗 An open letter to Baroness Hallett, Chair of the UK Covid Inquiry Dr. Kevin Bardosh and Professor Sunetra Gupta, Collateral Global, 12th March 2024.

This letter pulls apart the obvious biases and shortcomings of the UK Covid-19 Public Inquiry. It is signed by over 50 academics from around the UK, including several HART members. Click on the title to read the letter in full.

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