At this time every year the charity Sense About Science (SAS) lists the truly daft things that various celebrities have endorsed and embraced during the past year. Amazingly 2012 was different, they were all a very sensible lot and there is nothing to report …. er, sadly no, instead it was exactly what you might expect.
So what has 2012 brought us? Well here is the latest SAS list that has been published today …
- In 2011 Simon Cowell was responsible for the intravenous vitamin craze. This year, Cheryl Cole and Rihanna were reported to be following the trend, while Simon seems to have moved on to pocket-sized oxygen shots to inhale.
- Reports had January Jones taking dried placenta pills and Patsy Palmer rubbing coffee granules on her skin.
- In this year’s review we couldn’t avoid the Olympics, inspiring everyone to be ‘faster, higher, stronger’. If you, like us, wondered why so many sporting heroes were flaunting brightly coloured tape, read on for the science verdict.
- And celebrities have taken us back to fundamental scientific principles in biochemistry, physics, geology and medicine in their comments on monkeys, aeroplanes, homeopathy and peeing in the pool.
- But there is progress… For years we’ve challenged celebrity promotion of detox diets and immune ‘boosting’ products. This year, these long-time serial offenders have almost disappeared. Better still, in this review we are able to include celebrities – from actress Jennifer Aniston to comedian Al Murray – talking sense on food fads, vitamin supplements and alternative medicine. Gwyneth Paltrow has given up odd diets after suffering from malnutrition and others in the public eye have sought advice from Sense About Science and medical charities. Could it be that we are turning a corner?
It is all perhaps inevitable in many ways, vain egotistical folks willing to pay $$$ to anybody who can sell them stuff that will enable them to remain young-looking, and also daft enough to buy into every quack claim that pops up.
“We seem to be seeing a celebrity divide on science. The implausible and frankly dangerous claims about how to avoid cancer, improve skin or lose weight are becoming ever more ridiculous. And unfortunately they have a much higher profile than the research and evidence. On the other hand, this year we have had more examples than ever sent to us of people in the public eye who clearly do check their facts, and we’re pleased to have been able to help some of them this year.” – Tracey Brown, Managing Director, Sense About Science
You can find the full 2012 list here (that link is for their pdf that they have just published today 28th Dec). There they also have a nice little 5 point list …
You might also be wondering who “Sense about Science” are, well they were established in the UK as a charitable trust in 2003 and aims to work with scientists, journalists, and others to ensure that scientific evidence is at the forefront of public discussions about science, and to correct unscientific misinformation. They have a database of over 2,000 UK scientists willing to use their expertise to help inform public debate, and on their agenda are subjects such as alternative medicine, “detoxification” products and detox diets, genetically modified food, avian influenza, chemicals and health, “electrosmog”, vaccination, weather and climate, nuclear power, and the use and utility of peer review. In other words … these are the good guys.
Oh and least you wonder, they are funded through donations primarily from individual scientists, members of the public, trusts and foundations, and also professional and learned societies, universities, companies and other organisations, you can find the list of their contributors here.
They have faced criticism …
- Dr Peter Fisher has had a go at them regarding funding, and has claimed they are in the pocket of big pharma (a claim that you can verify as complete bollocks at the link above) … but why would he make this claim? Well basically because Dr Fisher sells homeopathic medicine, the stuff that has been proven to not work, and SAS has criticised the NHS funding for this bogus treatment.