About this Author
DBL%20Hendrix%20small.png College chemistry, 1983

Derek Lowe The 2002 Model

Dbl%20new%20portrait%20B%26W.png After 10 years of blogging. . .

Derek Lowe, an Arkansan by birth, got his BA from Hendrix College and his PhD in organic chemistry from Duke before spending time in Germany on a Humboldt Fellowship on his post-doc. He's worked for several major pharmaceutical companies since 1989 on drug discovery projects against schizophrenia, Alzheimer's, diabetes, osteoporosis and other diseases. To contact Derek email him directly: Twitter: Dereklowe

Chemistry and Drug Data: Drugbank
Chempedia Lab
Synthetic Pages
Organic Chemistry Portal
Not Voodoo

Chemistry and Pharma Blogs:
Org Prep Daily
The Haystack
A New Merck, Reviewed
Liberal Arts Chemistry
Electron Pusher
All Things Metathesis
C&E News Blogs
Chemiotics II
Chemical Space
Noel O'Blog
In Vivo Blog
Terra Sigilatta
BBSRC/Douglas Kell
Realizations in Biostatistics
ChemSpider Blog
Organic Chem - Education & Industry
Pharma Strategy Blog
No Name No Slogan
Practical Fragments
The Curious Wavefunction
Natural Product Man
Fragment Literature
Chemistry World Blog
Synthetic Nature
Chemistry Blog
Synthesizing Ideas
Eye on FDA
Chemical Forums
Symyx Blog
Sceptical Chymist
Lamentations on Chemistry
Computational Organic Chemistry
Mining Drugs
Henry Rzepa

Science Blogs and News:
Bad Science
The Loom
Uncertain Principles
Fierce Biotech
Blogs for Industry
Omics! Omics!
Young Female Scientist
Notional Slurry
Nobel Intent
SciTech Daily
Science Blog
Gene Expression (I)
Gene Expression (II)
Adventures in Ethics and Science
Transterrestrial Musings
Slashdot Science
Cosmic Variance
Biology News Net

Medical Blogs
DB's Medical Rants
Science-Based Medicine
Respectful Insolence
Diabetes Mine

Economics and Business
Marginal Revolution
The Volokh Conspiracy
Knowledge Problem

Politics / Current Events
Virginia Postrel
Belmont Club
Mickey Kaus

Belles Lettres
Uncouth Reflections
Arts and Letters Daily
In the Pipeline: Don't miss Derek Lowe's excellent commentary on drug discovery and the pharma industry in general at In the Pipeline

In the Pipeline

« Cloning's Growing Pains | Main | Faces In the Clouds »

October 17, 2002

Not Even Funny

Email This Entry

Posted by Derek

I'm late to this particular party - see Charles Murtaugh and Medpundit for the low-down on a particularly irritating LA Times column. (It requires registration to read, which is fairly irritating all by itself.)

In a nutshell, the writer attempts to blame environmental factors for many cases of breast cancer, specifically chemicals produced by the very companies that are working on treatments. This comes very close to one of the things that will set off even the most mild-mannered pharmaceutical researcher: the conspiracy theory that says that They're Making Us Sick Just So They Can Sell Us Their Drugs. (That one's right next to They've Really Got A Cure, But They're Just Waiting Until More People Are Sick.)

Well, I'm not exactly the most mild-mannered pharmaceutical researcher, myself. And this stuff makes want to throw a one-liter filter flask at the person who espouses it. If the author wants to indulge in stupid breast cancer etiology, why not go for the deodorant theory? That one's even more mindless.

I understand the human tendency to look for a proximate cause for everything, and to search for patterns even in random noise. It's even more tempting to think that the answer's been right under our nose (or under our arms!) the whole time. "Aha! We should have known!"

But this is offensively foolish stuff. I don't have the time to dismantle it thoroughly enough tonight, but perhaps I'll give it another kick in the shins next week. We'll talk about real epidemiology instead of inflammatory guano.

Comments (0) + TrackBacks (0) | Category: Cancer | Press Coverage



Email this entry to:

Your email address:

Message (optional):

The Last Post
The GSK Layoffs Continue, By Proxy
The Move is Nigh
Another Alzheimer's IPO
Cutbacks at C&E News
Sanofi Pays to Get Back Into Oncology
An Irresponsible Statement About Curing Cancer
Oliver Sacks on Turning Back to Chemistry