Saturday, May 28, 2005

Letters to the Editor/Ireland

Another letter from the ubiquitous Dick Barton:
Dear Sir,
Rita Carter's review of Steven Rose's book was a fascinating insight into the continuing battle between a bureaucratic and unaccountable establishment and the few senior scientists with integrity who try to sound the alarms in various areas. However, from the first priest who declared that the earth went round the sun to the several people who, in the early 70's, warned against feeding offal to vegetarian ruminants and the scientists currently starting to warn against GMOs, all whistle blowers have been scorned and mocked (or even burnt alive, in the case of that poor priest). Carter accuses Rose of "something perilously close to a rant" while her critique of his book is much the same. For instance, the only three facts about Prozac (and similar drugs) are that they cure absolutely nobody, are very difficult for patients to stop taking and are associated with an increased suicide risk, amongst other dreadful side-effects. (I know people who suffer from them!) Two other facts are that there is a high degree of manipulation involved in the research results that actually get published by drug companies and that many scientists don't really even know what they're doing (see last article in same issue). For Carter to proudly quote such research to show that Prozac "shows benefits" (whatever that means) in as much as 60% of cases (in itself a pathetically small figure for something that "works") is simply an establishment rant. Anything that educated, intelligent people (as I assume Carter to be) try to hide or deride is worth knowing about so I am going to buy the book.
Yours faithfully,

Dick Barton


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