Stuff that occurs to me

All of my 'how to' posts are tagged here. The most popular posts are about blocking and private accounts on Twitter, also the science communication jobs list. None of the science or medical information I might post to this blog should be taken as medical advice (I'm not medically trained).

Think of this blog as a sort of nursery for my half-baked ideas hence 'stuff that occurs to me'.

Contact: @JoBrodie Email: jo DOT brodie AT gmail DOT com

Science in London: The 2018/19 scientific society talks in London blog post

Friday, 22 March 2019

CEASE Therapy for autism in the UK news today - it doesn't treat or cure autism

1. Listen
The BBC will run a piece* early this afternoon on Radio 4's You and Yours about a bogus treatment for autism, called CEASE Therapy aka 'Complete Elimination of Autistic Spectrum Expression'.

Listen to it on BBC Radio 4 from 12.15pm today Friday 22 March 2019, or catch up later

Read You and Yours' post about the story "Advertising watchdog rules fake autism 'cure' adverts must stop"

CEASE rests on the false idea that vaccination causes autism and uses homeopathy and supplements to try and "detox" children from the imagined negative effects of the vaccines. Not only is it nonsense it's also harmful and medically neglectful (encourages diarrhoea as a process to eliminate toxins),  a safeguarding concern (vulnerable children and families involved) and offensive (implying that autism should be eliminated). There is no need for it, and it's great that awareness is being raised.

2. Watch
The BBC also referenced CEASE on their Breakfast television show. You can watch it again on iPlayer (you may need to register) until tomorrow (Saturday, at 9.15am), from 19 minutes into the programme (6.18am on the programme itself).

3. ASA
The Advertising Standards Authority's CEO Guy Parker published a blog post today about the action the ASA has been taking against homeopaths who are offering CEASE therapy and who are referencing it in relation to autism. Last year the ASA sent out an Enforcement Notice to 150 CEASE homeopaths pointing out the problems with offering the therapy, this notice has also been published today. Five homeopaths have been referred to Trading Standards but not yet added to their Referrals page.

Why so-called CEASE Therapy claims to 'cure' autism really have to stop

Metro have also picked up the story.
Guardian too.

The ASA have previously adjudicated against two practitioners offering CEASE therapy - Teddington Homeopathy
and Elle Fox (trading as Bubbling Life).

4. SoH / PSA
The Society of Homeopaths is one of several membership societies for homeopaths but is the only one regulated by the Professional Standards Authority. SoH members are already required to adhere to ASA's guidelines but last year the PSA had to step in and address problems with some members' claims about CEASE.

The response by the SoH to the ASA's action has been described as "staggeringly inadequate" because there have been "discussions taking place on how the therapy might be renamed" instead of addressing the underlying nonsense. This merely "(e)ncourages CEASE quacks to continue as before, while hiding from ASA." 

Today (and over the weekend) Oxford University's Lady Margaret Hall is hosting the SoH's AGM and conference (on fertility and pregnancy).

5. See also
CEASE Therapy on Wikipedia
• Westminster Autism Commission (PDF) on other harmful interventions on autism (CEASE not included)

*"We report on what's being done to stop a bogus treatment which claims to cure autism in children. The Advertising Standards Authority has told You & Yours it’s served enforcement notices on 150 homeopaths who offer so-called CEASE therapy. The treatment claims to purge heavy metals, vaccines and antibiotics from a child’s system. The National Autistic Society says there's no cure for autism and it's wrong to claim it can be cured. We speak to a mother who tried the treatment for several months and now regrets it. The Society of Homeopaths say there are discussions taking place on how the therapy might be renamed to make claims aren't made that can't then be substantiated."

Friday, 8 March 2019

List of Twitter traditions

On Christmas Day 2018 I created a new page on Wikipedia to celebrate the List of Twitter traditions. The page lasted until late February when it was tagged for discussion re: possible deletion as not satisfying Wikipedia's requirements for lists. Sadly it didn't survive the discussion but a copy of the page is preserved here.

List of Twitter traditions

The list of Twitter traditions includes examples of annually repeated 'events' on the internet micro-blogging service Twitter, usually linked to a hashtag or a particular account.

#DuvetKnowItsChristmas - Christmas Sleeping Arrangements

In December 2011 musician and writer Rhodri Marsden found himself sleeping in his sister's old room[1] during the Christmas holidays, tweeting to his Twitter followers that "I think it's time for a photo meme of grown adults in single beds in their parents' house."[2] His tweet unleashed a flood of responses from those staying in childhood rooms (now turned into offices or used as storage spaces) who shared photos of incongruous bed linen and undignified sleeping arrangements. The hashtag #DuvetKnowItsChristmas was widely adopted in 2016 after Twitter user CrouchingBadger suggested "Also, can we refer to this as #duvetknowitschristmas?"[3] (though user 'Hashithappens' used the tag in 2015[4] in a reply) and it continues to be a popular annual Twitter event.[5][6] In 2018 Twitter partnered with Shelter to encourage those sharing images on the hashtag to donate to the charity in support of those without a room at Christmas.[7]


Comedian Sarah Millican sent a tweet on Christmas Day 2012 reminding her followers that they were not alone and encouraging them to share what they were doing: "And if circumstances mean you're on your own today, remember, you're not! We are here. I'll post up what i'm up to and join in if you like".[8] A little later she followed this up with a tweet suggesting a hashtag[9] (#joinin), which let people keep track of the shared conversations.[10]


During the NFL's annual championship 'Super Bowl' game advertisers, unless authorised to use the official trademark, must use a different term (such as 'The Big Game') to refer to the event. Comedian Stephen Colbert used the technically permitted phrase "Superb Owl" in 2014 and others adopted this term with #SuperbOwl being used on Twitter to share photographs of owls. Twitter does not distinguish between the hashtags #SuperBowl and #SuperbOwl so tweets from fans of the game and fans of owls overlap.[11]

John Lewis and John Lewis retail

For a number of years the UK department store John Lewis used the Twitter name of JohnLewisRetail (now @JLPartners)[12] however this did not stop customers from sending customer service-related tweets to @JohnLewis[13], a man living in North America who merely shares the same name. The tweets 'to' him peak in the Christmas season in response to John Lewis' annual Christmas advert.[14][15] His good-humoured and helpful responses have become a popular internet tradition resulting in his account being verified[16] and his own appearance in a Twitter UK video advert in December 2018.[17]

Ed Balls Day

On 28 April 2011, Ed Balls, urged by an assistant to search Twitter for a recent article about him, accidentally entered his intended search term in the wrong box and sent a tweet reading only "Ed Balls".[18] The tweet has never been deleted and the incident is now celebrated as Ed Balls Day every 28 April, with followers retweeting his original message and commemorating the occasion in other ways.[19][20]

International "When's International Men's Day?" Day

On International Women's Day in 2013 (8 March) comedian Richard Herring tweeted "International women's Day? When are we going to get an International MEN'S day? ... On November 19th. Hope that answers your question"[21] after noticing a tendency among some people on Twitter to ask "When's International Men's Day?" in response to the existence of a day celebrating women. The following year he continued[22], quote tweeting a variation of his response to hundreds of people asking the same question, and this tradition has continued.[23] In 2018 he raised £150,000 for the charity Refuge by spending the day answering everyone who asked.[24]
Category:Social media Category:Twitter-related lists Category:Annual events

  1.  "Christmas: When people return to their childhood bedrooms". BBC. 20 December 2017. Retrieved 25 December 2018.
  2.  ""I think it's time for a photo meme of grown adults in single beds in their parents' house."". Rhodri Marsden on Twitter. 25 December 2011. Retrieved 25 December 2018.
  3.  ""Also, can we refer to this as #duvetknowitschristmas?"". Crouchingbadger on Twitter. 24 December 2016. Retrieved 25 December 2018.
  4.  ""or....#duvetknowitschristmas"". Hashithappens on Twitter. 24 December 2015. Retrieved 25 December 2018.
  5.  ""#DuvetKnowItsChristmas is a brilliant Twitter tradition where people Tweet @Rhodri to share their often hilarious seasonal sleeping arrangements. This year we've partnered with @Rhodri and @Shelter to tell the story. Not everyone has a home at Christmas, please give what you can."". Hashithappens on Twitter. 17 December 2018. Retrieved 25 December 2018.
  6.  "This man has been sharing the weird sleeping arrangements people have to endure over Christmas". The Telegraph. 23 December 2015. Retrieved 25 December 2018.
  7.  "#DuvetKnowItsChristmas returns to show the reality of people's sleeping arrangements over Christmas". Metro. 18 December 2018. Retrieved 25 December 2018.
  8.  ""And if circumstances mean you're on your own today, remember, you're not! We are here. I'll post up what i'm up to and join in if you like"". Sarah Millican on Twitter. 25 December 2011. Retrieved 25 December 2018.
  9.  ""Let's use a hashtag. #joinin if you're joining in with me."". Sarah Millican on Twitter. 25 December 2011. Retrieved 25 December 2018.
  10.  "Sarah Millican's #JoinIn campaign is here to help if you're lonely this Christmas". Metro. 25 December 2017. Retrieved 25 December 2018.
  11.  "Why is r/Superbowl about owls?". Reddit. 3 February 2017. Retrieved 25 December 2018.
  12. "jlpartners". John Lewis Partners on Twitter. Retrieved 25 December 2018.
  13.  "John Lewis". John Lewis on Twitter. Retrieved 25 December 2018.
  14.  "Man called John Lewis bombarded with messages by confused Twitter users again as Christmas advert comes out". Mirror. 10 November 2016. Retrieved 25 December 2018.
  15.  "American Man Named 'John Lewis' Responds To Christmas Ad Hype". LadBible. 8 November 2017. Retrieved 25 December 2018.
  16. ""HEY! I've been verified!"". John Lewis on Twitter. 24 December 2018. Retrieved 25 December 2018. 
  17.  "Man named John Lewis is revealed as star of Twitter's UK Christmas film after he gets bombarded with tweets every year that are intended for the retailer". Evening Standard. 19 November 2018. Retrieved 25 December 2018.
  18.  Balls, Ed (28 April 2011). "Ed Balls". Twitter. Retrieved 13 September 2015.
  19.  Collins, Lauren (28 April 2014). "Happy Ed Balls Day". The New Yorker.
  20.  Sini, Rozina (28 April 2016). "Why people are celebrating Ed Balls Day". BBC News. Retrieved 28 April 2016.
  21. ""International women's Day? When are we going to get an International MEN'S day? ... On November 19th. Hope that answers your question."". Richard K Herring on Twitter. 8 March 2013. Retrieved 25 December 2018. 
  22. ""Is it International "when's international men's day?" again already?"". Evening Standard. 8 March 2014. Retrieved 25 December 2018. 
  23. "Relax, guys – it's International Men's Day (the official one)". The Guardian. 19 November 2015. Retrieved 25 December 2018. 
  24. "International "When's International Men's Day? Day"". Just Giving. 8 March 2018. Retrieved 25 December 2018.