Peter Reynolds

The life and times of Peter Reynolds

Posts Tagged ‘Professor Shitij Kapur

King’s College Confirms Institute of Psychiatry Misled Media On Cannabis Brain Study.

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The Institute of Psychiatry at King’s College London issued a press release on 27th November claiming that its latest study shows cannabis causes damage to the corpus callosum.  This was widely reported across the world and many publications extended what was already an inaccurate claim into saying that this “damage” was a cause of psychosis.

As I have already reported and as confirmed by the NHS, the study showed nothing of the sort.  Then, last week, by accident really, I discovered that quietly and with just a small footnote the headline had been changed!

Original: “Study shows white matter damage caused by ‘skunk-like’ cannabis”

Edit: “Study shows white matter damage may be caused by ‘skunk-like’ cannabis”

Professor Shitij Kapur, Executive Dean of the Institute of Psychiatry hadn’t responded to two emails from me, so this time I wrote to the Principal of King’s College, Professor Ed Byrne.  He has now confirmed that the press release has been changed but makes the extraordinary and false claim that “By and large the press coverage was a true reflection of the science.”

Professor Ed Byrne

Professor Ed Byrne

Dear Mr. Reynolds

Thank you for your email regarding the recent article from King’s.

I have discussed it with Professor Kapur and the authors and we believe it appropriate to change the headline to ‘may be caused by’, which has already been done.

The body of the press release is a fair representation of the paper so needs no amendment. By and large the press coverage was a true reflection of the science in the paper so we do not believe the press release requires further amendments.

King’s is committed to a balanced reporting of science and its work and hence we have changed the headline and acknowledged the change.

Thank you again for your diligence.

Professor Edward Byrne AC

President & Principal

Too late! The sensationalist, scaremongering deceit and exaggeration has already spread like wildfire across the world.  Dozens of publications have repeated the falsehood and yet again the Institute of Psychiatry is responsible for misleading millions of people. It has form for such conduct, regularly, repeatedly and deliberately confusing correlation with causation and vastly exaggerating the results of its work.  This is deceit and fraud at the highest level and if it took place in another context, financial services for instance, it would merit police investigation.

I have written again to Professor Byrne asking him to do the right and honourable thing.

Dear Professor Byrne,

Thank you for your email. I am grateful that you have had the courtesy and honour to reply, unlike Professor Kapur.

I am disturbed though by how lightly you take this very serious matter. It is absolutely false to say “By and large the press coverage was a true reflection of the science”.

As someone who has observed the Institute’s work for many years, I am now convinced that it is routinely in the business of exaggerating the results of its work, deliberately misleading the media and through it, the public at large. I can only conclude that this dishonesty is connected with raising funding for its work.

This is not a situation that can be allowed to persist. Every year Professor Sir Robin Murray publishes a paper on cannabis and psychosis which is always presented to the media as showing a causal link when the science itself shows nothing of the sort. I have met with Sir Robin on several occasions and spoken alongside him at conferences. In person he is reasonable and accurate but the way his work is presented to the media is dishonest and false, exactly as this latest episode.

This is a matter of huge importance because it is largely the hysteria drummed up by such falsified science that stands in the way of legal access to medicinal cannabis in the UK. Hundreds of thousands of people suffer needlessly in Britain when throughout the rest of Europe, Israel, Canada and the USA, more enlightened policies enable access to the medicine that people need. I hold the conduct of organisations such as the Institute of Psychiatry directly responsble for the pain and suffering caused.

It is disgraceful that Dr Paola Dazzan should enter into the political arena of cannabis policy with blatantly false claims that her study shows a causal link or that the differences observed amount to “damage”. These are nothing less than lies.

This might be the result of a renegade press office which doesn’t understand the science but we have put up with it for decades and I appeal to you to take proportionate steps to stop it. To start with, on this latest incident, you should issue a further press release explaining the errors in the first. You can’t just change the headline surreptitiously, hope no one will notice and expect the dishonesty to be overlooked. The damage has already been done. You must act to make amends.

This is a matter of professional ethics and integrity and I rely on you to take the appropriate steps.

Kind regards,

Peter Reynolds

 

Blatant Dishonesty From King’s College London. Institute Of Psychiatry Untrustworthy.

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shitij kapur

Prof. Shitij Kapur. Explanation Awaited.

On Friday, 27th November 2015, the Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology & Neuroscience (IoPPN) at King’s College London issued a press release titled “Study shows white matter damage caused by ‘skunk-like’ cannabis”.  As a result, hundreds of media outlets across the world have published to the effect that cannabis use causes changes in the corpus callosum, the largest white matter structure in the brain, which is responsible for communication between the left and right hemispheres.

In fact, the study showed nothing of the sort.  Even one of its authors, Dr Paola Dazzan, is on the record stating “It is possible that these people already have a different brain and they are more likely to use cannabis.”

Professor-Robin-Murray

Prof. Sir Robin Murray. Causation Or Just Correlation?

The NHS Choices website has now analysed the study and reported on this terrible distortion of the truth.

Sadly, this is par for the course by King’s College and I can only assume is a corrupt attempt to sensationalise its work in order to drum up funding. Every time this institution publishes a study on cannabis it confuses causation and correlation.

For instance, Professor Sir Robin Murray’s annual study on cannabis and psychosis only ever shows correlation but when he talks to the press he always puts across the relationship between cannabis use and psychosis as causative.

We simply cannot rely on these so-called eminent scientists to be honest about their work. They are in the gutter and they aren’t looking at the stars, they are looking at their bank balances.

I have now written twice to Professor Shitij Kapur, Executive Dean of the IoPPN asking for an explanation but he hasn’t seen fit even to acknowledge my emails.

For anyone who takes an interest in the science of cannabis and the reasons this immensely valuable plant is banned, this example should give you an insight into the dishonesty, corruption and propaganda that is behind it all.

Anti-Cannabis Cult At Kings College Punts Another Scare Story.

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kc press release

It’s the Institute of Psychiatry at Kings College London, yet again, with another terrifying story about cannabis that is immediately distorted, exaggerated and misrepresented by the scientifically illiterate hacks of Fleet Street.

The Daily Mail

The Daily Mail

This time though King’s College itself has reported the results of its own research inaccurately and published false and misleading claims.

Can King’s College explain why its press release is headlined “Study shows white matter damage caused by ‘skunk-like’ cannabis”, when the researcher Dr Dazzan says “It is possible that these people already have a different brain and they are more likely to use cannabis”? The truth is that the study does not show any causative effect. It is merely correlation yet here we have supposedly eminent scientists and scientific institutions reporting results falsely.

I have written to Professor Shitij Kapur, Executive Dean & Head of Faculty of the Institute asking for an explanation.

The Daily Telegraph

The Daily Telegraph

On a regular basis the team at King’s College publishes research about cannabis that suggests it is far more harmful than real world experience demonstrates. Always these studies contain the vital caveat that no causation can be shown for the various ‘differences’ or ‘changes’ that the researchers observe.  Always, without fail, the researchers overlook this fundamental weakness in their work when they talk direct to the press. As a result we get ludicrous, inaccurate and wildly irresponsible reporting, particularly in the extremist rags such as the Daily Mail and Daily Telegraph but often extending, as today, even into The Times, supposedly a responsible and authoritative publication.

The Times

The Times

This latest study was led by Dr Silvia Rigucci of Sapienza University of Rome in conjunction with Dr Paola Dazzan and Dr Tiago Reis Marques from King’s College. Dr Razzan has fallen over herself in an undignified rush to gain media headlines.  She is reported as saying: “There is an urgent need to educate health professionals, the public and policy makers about the risks involved with cannabis use.”  Of course, in truth, all these people have been systematically misled about cannabis for many years. All that Dr Razaan is doing is contributing to the vast quantity of misinformation already out there by misrepresenting and overstating her own work.

This is a very small study with no proper controls that proves nothing either way about cannabis use.  It is exaggerated and misrepresented by both King’s College and the scientists concerned, presumably in an effort to boost funding.  This is the state of science on cannabis where vested interests promote misinformation which defies the real world experiences of hundreds of million of cannabis consumers worldwide.  The team at King’s College displays all the classic markers of a cult.  It pursues a belief in cannabis as the ‘devil’s lettuce’ as a quasi-religion.  It dresses up its meaningless observational studies as significant evidence.  It reinforces its belief by exaggerating and misrepresenting its work.  It considers no alternative explanations and it endlessly repeats itself, its ‘studies’ and its presentation of them as proof of its own conclusions.

No one in their right mind can claim that cannabis is harmless but neither is there any evidence to support claims that it is dangerous.  These untruths are promoted by vested interests such as researchers needing more funds, the alcohol industry guarding its monopoly of legal recreational drugs or newspapers seeking sensational stories.

It’s difficult to get hold of a copy of the actual study without paying for it. My advice is read the reports, understand the facts rather than the deliberate misinterpretations and expect more of the same.  Remember that unless such evidence is compared with evidence in respect of other substances it is meaningless.  All in all there is no evidence to suggest cannabis is any more harmful than coffee.