The Mysterious Bradford Hill

The two books I mentioned ordering arrived this morning, and since it was yet another warm sunny day, I lugged them both to my favourite pub garden, ordered a beer and a hot snack, and wondered which one to start reading first. I first leafed through Mao, by Jung Chang. But I was then captured by Smoking Kills: The Revolutionary Life of Richard Doll, by Conrad Keating.

I didn’t start at the beginning.. Or rather I leafed through the chapters on his childhood, and started reading about when he’d teamed up with Bradford Hill. And that was where I soon came across a complete bombshell:

Hill was described in one of his obituary notices as the greatest medical statistician of the twentieth century despite the fact that he held no academic qualification in either medicine or statistics. (p. 63)

What?? Bradford Hill held no academic qualification in either medicine or statistics?? 

Hill had wanted to study medicine, but after he was invalided out of the British Army in 1917 with tuberculosis, and expected to die, he was given a lifetime army pension. His disability prevented him from studying medicine. So instead…

his interests focused on preventive medicine, for which no medical qualification was necessary. (p. 65)

and he had…

little affection or aptitude for mathematics. (p. 65)

Hill studied economics, and attended part of a statistics course at University College, London, where

The mathematical lectures found him out of his depth. (p. 65)

Nevertheless…

In 1933 Hill obtained the readership in epidemiology and vital statistics at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. (p. 65)

and in 1948 he took on Richard Doll as his assistant in the London Hospitals study, because…

For Hill it was essential that his collaborator in the investigation should be medically qualified. As Rosemary Bull, his daughter, recalled: “Dad saw himself as an ‘unqualified practitioner’, and he said he needed a medical doctor otherwise he thought they’d doubt the work and say: ‘Oh, it’s just statistics.'”

Bradford Hill has always been a rather mysterious figure, completely outshone by Richard Doll. But it emerges that he shunned publicity, and left that to his ‘media savvy’ junior partner.

So the only qualification that Doll and Hill shared was Doll’s degree in medicine! And Richard Doll, at that point in time, was still a very junior doctor.

Anyway, in a book that seems to be a bit of a hagiography of Richard Doll, rather a lot of light has been cast on the hitherto elusive Bradford Hill.

If it’s sunny tomorrow, I’ll go back to the garden and carry on reading.

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About Frank Davis

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24 Responses to The Mysterious Bradford Hill

  1. harleyrider1978 says:

    Both quacks with no scientific backgrounds. If Hill would have brought on a toxicologist to prove his claimed outcomes and it was proven. Today would be a really different world. But they weren’t out to prove anything,they were out to create junk scince for the renewed anti-tobacco movement after ww2……………they got on the gravy train early and cashed in.

  2. Smoking Lamp says:

    Sounds like Hill was a snake oil salesman. I await your future descriptions of Doll; he sounds like afraid too. It’s time to expose the antismoker fraud. It seems they are on overdrive trying to force total prohibition of tobacco before anyone discovers the fraud. In addition to banning smoking in cars with children, the are now starting to move toward comprehensive cars smoking bans and bans in casinos on top of the outdoor bans they have been championing for the last few years. The latest actual scientific studies point to genetic causes for lung cancer (actually all cancers), COPD, etc. The antis are countering those with all kinds of studies linking (but carefully avoiding discussion of causation) to nearly every physical and psychological lines possible.

  3. Tony says:

    A little more about Bradford Hill from James Le Fanu ‘s “Rise and fall of Modern Medicine” :

    It seems he joined the Royal Naval Air Service as a pilot but was ‘invalided home to die’ before seeing any active service. He subsequently made an astonishing, full recovery but:

    ‘ In 1919 he was discharged from hospital with a 100% disability pension (only given to those whose disability is deemed so severe as to preclude them from any further gainful employment), which he continued to draw for the next seventy four years until his death at the age of ninety three. ‘

  4. Lepercolonist says:

    Bradford Hill was the greatest medical statistician of the twentieth century but had little affection or aptitude for mathematics ? Beyond comprehension.

  5. harleyrider1978 says:

    For that matter so are all the doctors

    Transparency Program Obscures Pharma Payments to Nurses, Physician Assistants

    New data on drug and device company payments to doctors largely excludes nurse practitioners and physician assistants, though they play an ever-larger role in health care. One advanced-practice nurse pleaded guilty last month to taking drug company kickbacks.

    https://www.propublica.org/article/transparency-program-obscures-pharma-payments-nurses-physician-assistants

    Dollars for Doctors

    How Industry Money Reaches Physicians
    http://www.propublica.org/series/dollars-for-docs

  6. harleyrider1978 says:

    Top 50 companies paying out in the USA

    Genentech, Inc. $388M
    DePuy Synthes Products LLC $94.7M
    Topera, Inc. $93.1M
    AstraZeneca Pharmaceuticals LP $90.9M
    Stryker Corporation $90.8M
    Medtronic Sofamor Danek USA, Inc. $85M
    Pfizer Inc. $82.1M
    Allergan Inc. $70.7M
    Zimmer Holding Inc $70.5M
    Arthrex, Inc. $58.9M
    Smith & Nephew, Inc. $56.5M
    AbbVie, Inc. $54.3M
    Janssen Pharmaceuticals, Inc $54.2M
    St. Jude Medical, Inc. $52.9M
    GlaxoSmithKline, LLC. $50.2M
    Covidien LP $49.1M
    Covidien Sales LLC $44M
    Gilead Sciences Inc $40.4M
    Intuitive Surgical, Inc. $39.9M
    Otsuka America Pharmaceutical, Inc. $38.6M
    Medtronic USA, Inc. $38.3M
    Teva Pharmaceuticals USA, Inc. $37.7M
    Novo Nordisk Inc $35.5M
    E.R. Squibb & Sons, L.L.C. $34.7M
    Medtronic Vascular, Inc. $32.9M
    Boehringer Ingelheim Pharmaceuticals, Inc. $32.9M
    FOREST PHARMACEUTICALS, INC. $32.4M
    Boston Scientific Corporation $32M
    Takeda Pharmaceuticals America, Inc. $30.6M
    Novartis Pharmaceuticals Corporation $30.2M
    Biomet Orthopedics, LLC $28.7M
    Cook Incorporated $28.6M
    Amgen Inc. $27.7M
    Genentech USA, Inc. $27M
    DePuy Orthopaedics Inc. $26.9M
    Merck Sharp & Dohme Corporation $26.9M
    Alcon Laboratories Inc $26.3M
    Biogen Idec Inc. $26.1M
    SANOFI-AVENTIS U.S. LLC $24.9M
    Celgene Corporation $24.8M
    NuVasive, Inc. $24.3M
    Sunovion Pharmaceuticals Inc. $23.8M
    GENZYME CORPORATION $21.3M
    LILLY USA, LLC $18.7M
    Abbott Laboratories $16.7M
    Siemens Medical Solutions USA, Inc. $16.2M
    Globus Medical, Inc. $14.9M
    Bayer HealthCare Pharmaceuticals Inc. $14M
    Eisai Inc. $14M
    Janssen Scientific Affairs, LLC $13.5M

    https://projects.propublica.org/docdollars/company/

  7. harleyrider1978 says:

    A far-reaching ‪#‎UnitedNations‬ plot to re-engineer civilization and impose global socialism on humanity, variously dubbed “‪#‎Agenda2030‬” and the “Sustainable Development Agenda,” was ushered in on Friday with a “thunderous standing ovation,” the UN Department of Public Information reported.
    Not familiar with Agenda 2030? Watch more on this agenda here: https://youtu.be/zMj6BQ00BbM

    • harleyrider1978 says:

      At UN Summit, World Rulers Adopt Agenda for Global Socialism

      A far-reaching United Nations plot to re-engineer civilization and impose global socialism on humanity was ushered in on Friday with a “thunderous standing…

      http://www.thenewamerican.com/world-news/north-america/item/21660-at-un-summit-world-rulers-adopt-agenda-for-global-socialism

      • harleyrider1978 says:

        A far-reaching United Nations plot to re-engineer civilization and impose global socialism on humanity, variously dubbed “Agenda 2030” and the “Sustainable Development Agenda,” was ushered in on Friday with a “thunderous standing ovation,” the UN Department of Public Information reported. Every one of the 193 UN member governments on the planet — from communist and Islamist dictatorships to those ruling what remains of the “Free World” — vowed to help impose the UN’s controversial goals on their subjects. Indeed, according to the UN and the global agreement itself, not a single human being will be allowed to escape what one prominent internationalist ominously referred to as the next “Great Leap Forward.”

        That the UN Agenda 2030’s 17 so-called “Sustainable Development Goals” (SDGs) and its accompanying 169 targets are essentially a recipe for global socialism and corporatism is hardly open for dispute, as countless analysts have pointed out in recent weeks. Goal number 10, for example, calls on the UN, national governments, and every person on Earth to “reduce inequality within and among countries.” To do that, the agreement continues, will “only be possible if wealth is shared and income inequality is addressed.” The brutal communist dictatorship ruling mainland China even boasted of its “crucial role” in creating the UN agenda. But as the UN document makes clear, national socialism to “combat inequality” domestically is simply not enough — international socialism is needed to battle inequality even “among” countries.

        In other words, Western taxpayers: Prepare to be fleeced so that your wealth can redistributed internationally. Of course, as has been the case for generations, most of the wealth extracted from the productive sector in what remains of the free world will be redistributed to the UN and Third World regimes — not the victims of those regimes, impoverished largely through domestic socialist policies imposed by the same corrupt regimes that will be propped up with more Western aid. More than a few governments and dictators also announced that they would be “aligning their national development plans with the Sustainable Development Agenda,” essentially ensuring a growing supply of poor people to exploit as a pretext for more UN-led global socialism.

        The UN document, formally entitled “Transforming our World: the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development,” was adopted on Friday, September 25, at the start of the UN’s three-day Summit on Sustainable Development in New York. Speaking at the opening ceremony of the confab, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon hinted at just how far-reaching the plot really is. “The new agenda is a promise by leaders to all people everywhere,” he explained, presumably conflating “leaders” with mass-murdering gangsters such as Kim Jong Un, Raul Castro, and Robert Mugabe who somehow managed to seize control over entire nations. “It is a universal, integrated and transformative vision for a better world.”

        As with all socialist and totalitarian schemes, the UN’s controversial agenda was marketed using vague, meaningless platitudes such as, for example, creating a “better” world, and “ending” poverty — common slogans among tyrants stretching back centuries. “It is an agenda for people, to end poverty in all its forms,” continued Ban. “It is an agenda for shared prosperity, peace and partnership [that] conveys the urgency of climate action [and] is rooted in gender equality and respect for the rights of all. Above all, it pledges to leave no one behind.” But the “true test of commitment to Agenda 2030,” he added, will be in its implementation. “We need action from everyone, everywhere,” Ban said, pointing to the “guide” offered by the 17 SDGs. “They are a to-do list for people and planet, and a blueprint for success.”

        “Now,” Ban continued, “we must use the goals to transform the world.” “Institutions will have to become fit for a grand new purpose,” he said. “We must engage all actors, as we did in shaping the Agenda. We must include parliaments and local governments, and work with cities and rural areas. We must rally businesses and entrepreneurs. We must involve civil society in defining and implementing policies — and give it the space to hold us to account. We must listen to scientists and academia. We will need to embrace a data revolution. Most important, we must set to work — now.”

        Whether the world’s adults can be persuaded to willingly join the UN’s bandwagon remains to be seen. But when it comes to children, the UN is taking no chances, devoting an entire “goal” in its agenda to ensuring that all children, everywhere, are transformed into what the UN calls “agents of change” ready to push forward the plan for the new global order. “Children and young women and men are critical agents of change and will find in the new Goals a platform to channel their infinite capacities for activism into the creation of a better world,” the UN goals explain.

        The sort of activists that the UN hopes to make your children into is also explicitly defined in the unanimously adopted agreement. “By 2030, ensure that all learners acquire the knowledge and skills needed to promote sustainable development, including, among others, through education for sustainable development and sustainable lifestyles, human rights, gender equality, promotion of a culture of peace and non-violence, global citizenship and appreciation of cultural diversity and of culture’s contribution to sustainable development,” the global plan for 2030 states. Considering what the UN means by “sustainable development” — population control, central planning, global governance, and more — the agenda for your children takes on an even more sinister tone.

        It all sounded so wonderful to some of the world’s most brutal dictators, though, that they could hardly contain their glee about the coming brave new world. “This agenda promises a brave new world [sic], a new world which we have to consciously construct, a new world that calls for the creation of a new global citizen,” gushed Marxist dictator Robert Mugabe, the genocidal mass-murderer enslaving Zimbabwe who also serves as chairman of the African Union. “I want to believe that we are up to this task that we have voluntarily and collectively committed ourselves to. Our success, and in particular the promise of a new world that awaits us, depends upon this commitment.” He also promised to vigorously impose the UN Agenda 2030 on the starving and impoverished victims his regime lords over.

        The brutal tyrants ruling Communist China, meanwhile, have also been enthusiastic cheerleaders for the UN goals — goals that the regime boasted it played a “crucial role” in developing. Among other “commitments,” the dictatorship promised to spend $2 billion in foreign countries to meet the UN goals in “education” and “health,” with its funding increasing to $12 billion by 2030. While only contributing a small piece of the pie — the UN claims its agenda will cost somewhere between $3 trillion to $5 trillion per year — the fact that Beijing is so excited about the agenda is quite revealing. Echoing Chairman Mao’s rhetoric, EU and NATO globalist Javier Solana said that, “With a sustained commitment from all countries, developed and developing alike, the world can ensure that it celebrates another great leap forward in 2030.”

        The Obama administration, which apparently does not plan to present the UN scheme to the U.S. Senate for ratification as required by the U.S. Constitution, also offered a forceful defense of the UN agenda. Speaking to the UN summit on Sunday after purporting to commit the United States to the global plot, Obama claimed the UN blueprint “is one of the smartest investments we can make in our own future.” He told the assembled dictators and government representatives that 800 million people live on less than $1.25 per day, without, of course, mentioning the reasons for so much poverty: Big Government policies that are remarkably similar in many ways to the UN’s new agenda. Obama, who has waged multiple unconstitutional wars, also claimed that “military interventions might have been avoided over the years” if governments had only taken better care of their hapless citizens.

        Even the world’s leading religious figure, Pope Francis, addressed UN member governments with a plea to support the UN goals. “The adoption of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development at the World Summit, which opens today, is an important sign of hope,” he said. It is worth noting, however, that not everybody within the Catholic Church hierarchy was quite as enthusiastic about the scheme. In their “Common Declaration of the Bishops of Africa and Madagascar” ahead of the UN summit, for example, Africa’s bishops blasted the “agents of the civilization of death” and called for much of the scheming to stop. “We implore you to end the filthy campaigns that promote a civilization of death on our continent,” they said, slamming the “terrifying resurgence of a colonialist spirit under the guise of the appealing names of liberty, equality, rights, autonomy, democratization and development.”

        Beyond governments and religious figures, much of the private sector also enthusiastically backed the new goals. Among the mega-corporations backing the scheme are the world’s top three search engines: Google, Microsoft’s Bing, and Yahoo. It was not immediately clear whether those corporations’ support for the UN agenda would affect the supposed impartiality of search results, but critics of the UN plan expressed alarm nonetheless. As The New American reported in May, meanwhile, top media outlets around the world are also participating in a massive propaganda campaign to support the UN agenda.

        Of course, Obama has no constitutional or statutory authority to commit the American people to the UN’s radical blueprint for humanity. But unless the GOP majority in Congress is willing to stop funding the administration’s antics, there can be no doubt that the White House will charge ahead using its pen, phone, and taxpayer funding provided by Republican members of Congress. Lawmakers who are serious about their oath of office must work to restrain the Obama administration, and ultimately withdraw the U.S. government’s membership from the UN. Faced with a totalitarian UN agenda for global socialism under the guise of “sustainable development,” now would be an excellent time to get busy.

  8. harleyrider1978 says:

    The 2 most important paragraphs

    Now,” Ban continued, “we must use the goals to transform the world.” “Institutions will have to become fit for a grand new purpose,” he said. “We must engage all actors, as we did in shaping the Agenda. We must include parliaments and local governments, and work with cities and rural areas. We must rally businesses and entrepreneurs. We must involve civil society in defining and implementing policies — and give it the space to hold us to account. We must listen to scientists and academia. We will need to embrace a data revolution. Most important, we must set to work — now.”

    Whether the world’s adults can be persuaded to willingly join the UN’s bandwagon remains to be seen. But when it comes to children, the UN is taking no chances, devoting an entire “goal” in its agenda to ensuring that all children, everywhere, are transformed into what the UN calls “agents of change” ready to push forward the plan for the new global order. “Children and young women and men are critical agents of change and will find in the new Goals a platform to channel their infinite capacities for activism into the creation of a better world,” the UN goals explain.

  9. peem birrell says:

    Bradford Hill was not the greatest medical statistician of the 20th century, and nobody apart from the flattering obituarist and perhaps tobacco controllers would claim he was. In the early days of stats in Britain there were many important contributions to the subject made by individuals without formal mathematical qualifications. I wouldn’t say ABH was one of them, but qualifications aren’t the key, or even a clue to the key. It’s what they contributed, and ABH didn’t contribute that much. It is unfortunate though that epidemiology is still in such a mess that people who don’t understand either epidemiology or statistics can get junk published because it fits the healthist paradigm. And while many of these ‘researchers’ (particularly the more senior ones) don’t have formal qualifications in either stats or epidemiology, some of the junior authors (who crunch the numbers) do. Unfortunately their formal qualifications are often from courses taught and examined by the senior epidemiologists who don’t understand stats.

  10. slugbop007 says:

    Better start thinking of novel ways to thwart their Agenda or we’ll all be in big trouble.

  11. smokingscot says:

    O/T

    After all the hoo-ha about banning-smoking-in-cars-with-kids (under 18 years of age), the police in England have basically given that two fingers and washed their hands of enforcing the legislation.

    Ain’t that a bitch!

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3253927/Police-likely-turn-blind-eye-controversial-new-law-banning-motorists-smoking-car-travelling-children.html

    Amongst the reasons given – and there are many:

    “The Police Federation, which represents front line staff, said officers should not be expected to act as health workers.”

    • beobrigitte says:

      I did see this plastered on the front page of the paper today. It made me laugh. Children in my car? NO CHANCE!!!!
      My car is MY property. And it will stay that way.

      Professor Sally Davies, the Government’s chief medical officer, said: ‘We want children to grow up free from harm and we need parents to understand why smoking in vehicles is so dangerous. Eighty per cent of smoke is invisible so even if you think you are being careful you cannot see where the smoke is going.’
      Oh dear…… And my generation is still alive. And that so much the government wants my generation to continue work beyond 60 years of age. After all, we all live longer NOW and there is an increasing number of youngsters unable to work due to mental illnesses which didn’t exist when I was a youngster….

      Our Conservative government is beginning to become as militant as Labour:
      Smoking will be banned in prisons despite fears it could spark disturbances, the Government announced tonight. From early next year, eight jails in England and Wales will become smoke-free. The ban will then be rolled out across all 136 prisons.

      So, they do know this dumb action will cause disturbances. And they still are going for the ban. I sure do hope that a few prisoners escaping in these periods of “disturbances” pay a visit to e.g. Deborah Arnott and David Cameron/Jeremy Corbyn.
      I’m sure they have a few questions to ask with the aid of a crowbar……..

  12. garyk30 says:

    Sir Ronald Aylmer Fisher

    Anders Hald called him “a genius who almost single-handedly created the foundations for modern statistical science”.

    Fisher also was the father of modern statistics and experimental design. He therefore could be said to have provided researchers in biology and medicine with their most important research tools,

    Fisher publicly spoke out against the 1950 study showing that smoking tobacco causes lung cancer, arguing that correlation does not imply causation.

  13. beobrigitte says:

    his interests focused on preventive medicine, for which no medical qualification was necessary. (p. 65)

    and he had…

    little affection or aptitude for mathematics. (p. 65)

    Hill studied economics, and attended part of a statistics course at University College, London, where

    The mathematical lectures found him out of his depth. (p. 65)

    Attended part of a statistic course? Meaning he did not even COMPLETE the course?

    What a mess………..

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