Evidence Matters

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Archive for the ‘press release’ Category

Chiropractors accuse critics of “witch hunt” for examining evidence

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The case of Simon Singh vs the BCA (British Chiropractic Association) is prompting calls for a re-examination of the UK’s libel laws. Bloggers are responding by scrutinising some of the chiropractic claims that triggered this case and this has already resulted in changes to what chiropractors are willing to claim. Read the rest of this entry »

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Written by oatmealts

June 10, 2009 at 1:40 pm

Has Dore’s Miracle Cure lost its lustre?

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ARCHIVE PURPOSES ONLY. Updated version here.

The Dore programme offers miracles to transform the lives of children with ASD, dyslexia and learning difficulties but now the business is collapsing, leaving broken dreams, and unanswered questions.

Charismatic ambassadors like Kenny Logan and Scott Quinnell have told the stories of their own success with the programme. But bewildered staff and parents wonder what will happen to them in the wake of the news that Dore Australia has gone into voluntary administration and that the UK centres have closed abruptly. Dore is offering reassurances that the business is being re-structured and that everyone should “keep the faith” but in Australia, the adminstators have already told parents and unpaid staff that it is unlikely that they will see their money.

Bloggers have been following this story with keen interest*. They are a network of students, scientists and researchers with a shared interest because they also have diagnosed learning difficulties. Earlier this year, they realised that Dore was only being kept afloat by loans from Wynford Dore. It was obvious that without further injections of cash, treatments could only be funded using the money from new clients who were signing-up.

The situation wasn’t sustainable. Bloggers broke the stories of abrupt closures when outraged parents were reporting that their children’s appointments had been cancelled via text or that they had turned up at to find the centre closed.

The Dore Programme has enjoyed a lot of positive media coverage in the UK. Charismatic ambassadors told their stories of personal transformation. But the stories didn’t make clear that clients, many of them cash-strapped parents, needed to make up-front payments for their miracles. Eager parents were never told that there is no strong evidence that Dore could treat dyslexia, dyspraxia, ADHD or ASD.

In Australia, the press have been more critical of DORE’s unsupported claims. ABC’s Four Corners: The Behaviour Business not only reported on DORE, but took the unusual step of making most of the relevant scientific papers available on their website.

Dore’s much-publicised research study on their ‘miracle cure’ had caused furious disagreements at the journal that published it, leading to five resignations from its editorial board. The study was so flawed that it attracted an unprecedented nine critical commentaries from outraged academics. Yet, because criticisms of the Dore programme never made it into the mainstream press, parents were not aware of the concerns from dyslexia experts.

Following the collapse, parents and staff are venting online. The parents don’t know how to break the news of the troubles to their children for fear of damaging their motivation. Other parents are concerned that they have lost money that they can ill-afford or will be stuck paying loans for services that they never received. It looks like staff will remain unpaid. Still more are angry but are wary of going public after they read Ben Goldacre’s latest article on Dore and realised that Dore were attempting to suppress parents’ criticism with threats of legal retaliation for libel.

Nobody knows what will happen to the children who are in the middle of their programmes; currently, no rescue-plan has been released for them.

The bloggers*, who have been chronicling the breaking news about Dore, have personal experience of dyslexia that has prompted their interest. While the mainstream media continued to carry positive stories about Dore, the bloggers were drawing attention to the imminent financial difficulties that have resulted in this fast-paced series of closures.

Parents of children with ASD, dyslexia and learning difficulties can be desperate for something to help their children. They were encouraged to buy a miracle cure although there was minimal evidence that it would work. The future remains uncertain for them and the constant reminders that they should “keep the faith” are reminders of the miracle that didn’t happen.

Dore needs to answer the questions of these parents. Many children are part-way through a programme and parents don’t know what to do next? Who will perform the specialised assessments that Dore claims are necessary?

Bloggers* continue to keep track of events amidst reports that Dore are still operating in the Caribbean and NZ although it is hard to see how they can continue in the light of financial difficulties elsewhere. Are they still taking money from potential clients? Whatever the merits of the programme or its flaws, parents and children deserve better from Dore.

* The blogs covering this story include: Bad Science, Brainduck, Gimpy, HolfordWatch and Podblack

Written by oatmealts

May 25, 2008 at 2:02 pm