Welcome to Maidenhead Skeptics in the Pub.

Maidenhead Skeptics in the Pub is open to all those interested in science, scepticism, critical thought, philosophy, investigative journalism, politics, religion and so on. Everyone is welcome, whatever their preconceptions, just bring an open mind.

We invite a speaker every month to present on a topic of interest, which is followed by a discussion in a relaxed and friendly pub atmosphere.

Events are on the first Wednesday of every month at The Rose in Maidenhead starting promptly at 7:30pm.

The event is free. We do welcome a £2 donation towards speaker travel.

How and why the infrastructure of science is broken

Henry Drysdale representing Ben Goldacre and Team

When?
Wednesday, October 5 2016 at 7:30PM

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Where?

16 King Street
Maidenhead
Berkshire
SL6 1EF

Who?
Henry Drysdale representing Ben Goldacre and Team

What's the talk about?

For 6 weeks in late 2015, the COMPare team monitored every clinical trial published in the top 5 medical journals for “outcome switching”: when trialists report something different from what they originally said they would report. Of 67 trials assessed, 58 (87%) were found to contain discrepancies between prespecified and reported outcomes.

Outcome switching is already known to be extremely common, even in top medical journals. But COMPare went one step further: they wrote a letter to the journal for all 58 trials found to contain discrepancies; to correct the record on the individual trials, and to test the “self-correcting” properties of science.

The responses to these letters from journal editors and trial authors were unprecedented, and shed light on the reasons why this problem persists. The aim of COMPare was to fix outcome switching, through correction letters and open discussion. They never expected the levels of misunderstanding and bias at the heart of the issue.

Based at the Centre for Evidence-Based Medicine, COMPare is made up of three senior researchers, 5 graduate-entry medical students, and a programmer. The project was born when one medical student came to the department in search of a project. The idea of monitoring the outcomes in clinical trials was made possible by 4 more medical students, who were recruited to make the vast amount of analysis possible. All assessments are reviewed by senior colleagues, and decisions made at weekly team meetings. There is no specific funding for COMPare: all the students work for free, driven by the desire and opportunity to fix a broken system.

Visit the COMPare website (COMPare-trials.org) for more details about theirteammethodsresults and blog.

Dr James Erskine

When?
Wednesday, November 2 2016 at 7:30PM

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Where?

16 King Street
Maidenhead
Berkshire
SL6 1EF

Who?
Dr James Erskine

What's the talk about?

Dr James Erskine grew up in many places and has a broad perspective on most issues. His background is in healthcare and university settings. He trained as a psychologist and holds a BSc in psychology, MSc in statistics and research methods, PhD in psychology and a second clinical doctorate in counseling psychology. He has studied and worked in various universities (Hertfordshire, Cambridge, Harvard, Regents, St George’s) and hospitals / GP surgeries (St George’s, Shenley, Harperbury, Kneesworth House, Orford Lodge), as an educator, researcher and clinician. In the distant past he worked at other jobs (mail room sorter, hospital porter, kitchen assistant, cleaner, prison officer, writer, personal assistant). He has published scientific journal articles in the fields of psychology and healthcare. Furthermore he has published poetry in several anthologies. He was married, is now divorced and lives with his daughter in London. He currently runs a therapy centre in London and Hertfordshire providing treatment excellence to private clients and companies. http://www.londonhertstherapy.com/ http://www.drjameserskine.co.uk/