Pseudoscience: The Anti-Vitamin Paper That Never Existed


Jessica Burger, CBS News, 15 April 2015

As Michael McBurney writes on the TalkingNutrition blog of supplement manufacturer DSM, a variety of media outlets (Sunday ExpressThe Guardian, Daily Mail, CBS News) reported on a study supposedly presented at the American Association for Cancer Research Annual Meeting by Dr. Tim Byers of the Colorado Cancer Center.

McBurney is not too happy about it.

Byers is reported to have presented evidence, after studying thousands of patients for ten years, that some people get more cancer while on vitamins. My problem is the apparent lack of peer-reviewed evidence with hazard ratios (HR) or odds ratios (OR), or even an abstract to partially substantiate the claim.

A session entitled “Dietary Supplements and Cancer Risk and Prognosis” was apparently held Monday, April 20 from 5-6:30pm. Dr Tim E Byers is listed as an invited speaker but there is no abstract for his presentation. The University of Colorado Cancer Center has promoted his research but an abstract, peer-reviewed paper, or supplemental data cannot be found. The question is, did journalists ask to see the scientific evidence? Certainly, I cannot make an evaluation without some scientific evidence beyond expert opinion.

In a follow-up post, McBurney wrote that there was, in fact, no presentation of new study data by Byers at the AACR meeting, and that “The entire news cycle linking multivitamin/mineral supplements with cancer risk seems to have been stimulated by the university press release alluding to a commentary published in 2012.”

It is horrifying that my Alma Mater allows colleagues to blog about fake studies. They must be paid a lot by drug companies to slam the competition. Another example of Fake News!

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