The Force, and consultation on the Pittilo report on alternative health therapies

My eldest and I have been giggling at a book “F in Exams: The Funniest Test Paper Blunders”, which includes such gems as:

Q: Name two religions.

A: The Force (Jedi) and Football.

This amused us greatly.

What’s the difference with this next multiple choice one?.

Q: Which of the following explain(s) the physiological relationships between qi and blood/xue. 

A: Qi is the source of all material in the body and blood carries the energy

B: Blood is the source of all material in the body including Qi

C: Qi drives blood moving and blood carries Qi

D: Qi flows in the channels and blood is stored in organs

E: Qi produce blood and blood is the mother of Qi

Well, this is a real exam paper, and it isn’t funny. It is an exam paper from Salford University’s Traditional Chinese Medicine course. The wonderful David Colquhoun gives access to the full paper plus the story behind the Pittilo report

This report would, if implemented, create lots more nonsense exam papers funded by a lot more public money  – and would produce practitioners without the absolutely crucial skill of how to assess evidence and reject or use it appropriatly. 

As a GP, this makes me very concerned – after all, if someone has a degree, and is “regulated” by the government, surely you’d think the “treatment” on offer works? Sadly, and worryingly, no.

The public may now respond to the Pittilo report.  Please do.

Health and science blog (Archived)

This blog, part of the FT's health series, is a forum for readers interested in the science, policy, management, technology, business and delivery of healthcare.

This blog is no longer active but it remains open as an archive.

About our regular bloggers

Margaret McCartney is a Glasgow-based GP and FT Weekend columnist. She started writing for the Life and Arts section in 2005 and moved to the magazine in 2008. She also has her own blog:

Clive Cookson has been a science journalist for the whole of his working life. He joined the FT in 1987. Clive, the FT's science editor, picks out the research that everyone should know about. He also discusses key policy issues, from R&D funding to science education.

Andrew Jack is pharmaceuticals correspondent, covering the industry and public health issues. He has been a journalist with the FT for 19 years, based in London, Paris and Moscow