Lest Phelps and the Texas Supreme Court leave the unfortunate impression that the US is the sole repository of lunacy in the world, Ben Goldacre’s latest column is about linking mobile phone signals to suicides — there’s a bit of hysteria in one of the British newspapers about it. I like his approach; he called the source of the frightening information, a Dr Roger Coghill, to get the data that led to his conclusion.
I contacted Dr Coghill, since his work is now a matter of great public concern, and it is vital his evidence can be properly assessed. He was unable to give me the data. No paper has been published. He himself would not describe the work as a “study”. There are no statistics presented on it, and I cannot see the raw figures. In fact Dr Coghill tells me he has lost the figures. Despite its potentially massive public health importance, Dr Coghill is sadly unable to make his material assessable.
Makes you go “Hmmmm,” doesn’t it? Too bad it didn’t make the reporting journalist ask a few pointed questions before putting it in screaming headlines. It’s also too bad they didn’t check his website, which is nothing but a catalog of quackery. Don’t buy anything!