Over at DoubleXScience, the frankly amazing Emily Willingham has posted a list of questions you should always ask yourself when unsure whether what’s in front of you is likely to contain any scientific basis whatsoever. The full article, which I urge you to read, contains an explanation of the thinking behind each question.
Every time a medical or scientific claim fails one of these tests, you should be suspicious. It’s a red flag, indicating possible spurious and/or fraudulent claims.
Do not eat this (Image via Wikipedia)
A high-concentration troll was detected commenting on my 22 Nov 2011 post entitled Burzynski: piss-poor cancer therapy at a hefty price. In my opinion, the sheer enormity of what was being stated merits dissection in a separate post. Here it is. I’ll split the comments up to answer each point/misstatement individually, otherwise the whole thing will be completely unreadable.
Image via Wikipedia
The Texas Medical Board has serious doubts about Dr Stanislaw Burzynski. His licence to practise in that state is being called into question. The ANH has provided a nice standard letter all ready to be sent to various Texas politicians, including Rick Perry, whose support for Gardasil suggests that he may yet retain glimmerings of intelligence in spite of much evidence to the contrary.
This letter is in support of Stanislaw “Count PhD” Burzynski. You can customise it.
Are you thinking what I’m thinking?
The Burzynski Research Institute is a publicly traded company. I shit thee not, it is traded in an over-the-counter (OTC) market under the sobriquet of BZYR.OB. It’s what is termed a ‘penny stock’: individual shares cost less than a dollar. They are usually considered high-risk investments, in that you may make a killing if you’ve picked a winner: this is the legendary startup with a genuinely novel product (see: Facebook, Google, Amazon). More likely, you’ll lose your entire investment when the company folds or the bubble bursts. Oh, and the majority of the shares are not for trading: someone, usually the founder and his/her family, will have a controlling share that allows them to do exactly what they like with the company.
However, maybe the BRI is one of the smart picks. Let’s see. First, an extract from the blurb that goes with share price on the EDGAR listing: