Timothy Caulfield

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Timothy Caulfield
Timothy Caulfield.png
Born
ResidenceEdmonton, Alberta, Canada
EducationBachelor of Science, Bachelor of Laws, Master of Laws
Alma materUniversity of Alberta, Dalhousie University
Scientific career
InstitutionsUniversity of Alberta
ThesisThe Last Straw: The Impact of Cost Containment in Health Care on Medical Malpractice Law (1993)

Timothy Allen Caulfield (born 1963) is a Canadian professor of law at the University of Alberta,[1] the Research Director of its Health Law Institute,[2][3] and current Canada Research Chair in Health Law and Policy.[4][5][6] He studies, writes and speaks about legal, policy and ethical issues in medical research and its commercialization. In addition to profesional publications, he is the author of several books aimed at the general reader, and the host of a television documentary series debunking pseudoscientific myths.

Early life and education[edit]

Caulfield went to high school in Edmonton, Alberta.[3] He attended the University of Alberta, earning a B. Sc. in 1987 and a law degree in 1990. He completed a Masters in Law at Dalhousie University in 1993.[7] During this period he also performed in two punk rock and new age bands, "The Citizens" and "Absolute 9".[1][8]

Academic career[edit]

In 1996, Caulfield became an assistant professor at the University of Alberta. After working several years as an associate professor, he became a full professor in 2004 and is currently teaching biotechnology. In 1993, he became the Research Director of the Health Law Institute at the University of Alberta, a position he currently occupies. He is a Health Senior Scholar at the Alberta Heritage Foundation for Medical Research and has worked on a variety of advisory committees involved in medical and scientific ethics, including one with the International Society for Stem Cell Research.[4]

Caulfield has published numerous articles in academic journals and popular media on topics related to ethics and the effect of media hype on medical research.[4][9][10] He is the editor for the Health Law Journal and Health Law Review.[4] He is a member of the Royal Society of Canada, and the Canadian Academy of Health Sciences He is[2] a member of the Task Force on Ethics Reform at the Canadian Institutes of Health Research.[4]

Debunking pseudoscientific celebrity health advice[edit]

Caulfield uses social media platforms, interviews, his books and his television series to debunk health advice provided by celebrities .[8][11] He says that as an attentive follower of celebrity news, he became worried about seeing large numbers of people follow harmful or useless health advice, dispensed by celebrities, such as juice cleanse.[8] That realization led him to be more vocal as a critic of pseudoscience:

Gwyneth Paltrow[edit]

When Caulfield published a book on the negative impact celebrity endorsement have on public health in 2015, he titled it "Is Gwyneth Paltrow Wrong About Everything?" He suggests people be critical of such health claims: "The truth is that people like Gwyneth do have a place in our lives as entertainers and artists. Just as long as we don’t see them as being sources of truthful information on anything other than what they do.”[13][14]

The book debunks health and beauty advice given by celebrities,[15][5] and addresses the statistical likelihood of the average person becoming a celebrity.[16] The book won the 2015 Science in Society General Book Award from the Canadian Science Writer's Association.[17]

Deepak Chopra[edit]

For Caulfield, alternative medicine advocate Deepak Chopra is an example of someone using scientific language to promote treatments that are not grounded in science: "[Chropra] legitimizes these ideas that have no scientific basis at all, and makes them sound scientific. He really is a fountain of meaningless jargon."[18] Caulfield's criticism gained attention in October, 2016, when he opposed Chopra's participation as a keynote speaker to a conference on autism in Edmonton (Alberta). Calling Chopra "the great de-educator", he argued that offering a platform to Chopra's views was not useful to the conference's participants.[19] Interviewed prior to his address, Chopra shot back that people should ignore skeptics such as Caulfield, but invited him to listen to his speech. When Caulfield was refused access to the room by hotel security, the following exchange on Twitter saw Chopra accusing Caulfield of inventing the incident for publicity, then apologizing when it was discovered hotel security had mistakenly received instructions to block him.[18]

Beauty products[edit]

Caulfield worries that consumers interpret a lack of results from those products by buying more, rather than questioning their effectiveness.[20] Rather, Caulfield suggests people should "get exercise, eat lots of fruits and vegetables, sleep and don’t smoke."[21]

"Scienceploitation" and stem cell tourism[edit]

Caulfield speaking about "scienploitation" at CSICon 2018 in Las Vegas

Caulfield has advocated for medical professionals to not exaggerate potential benefits of new unproven treatments in fields that have only long-term potential. Stem cell treatments in particular is sometimes fraudulently hyped as a very expensive miracle cure for anything from autism, Lou Gehrig’s disease and spinal cord injury, to cerebral palsy, a practice Caulfield calls "scienceploitation".[20][22][23]

In addition to plain dishonesty, the media looking for human-interest stories often portray unsound treatments as effective and giving hope to patients. Researchers face pressure to present their research as being more advanced than it actually is and to respond to commercialization imperatives.[20][24][25]

Caulfield points out that these practices have been used all the way back to the discovery of magnetism, and tend to appear whenever new scientific discoveries attract the interest of the public: "Now you see stem cell, genetic, and increasingly, microbiome research being exploited to sell a host of ridiculous products. My favorite example, however, has to be the use of “quantum physics.” Many alternative medicine practitioners seem to think that if they slap the word “quantum” on a product it sounds more science-y and more legitimate."[26]

Books and collections[edit]

Caulfield edited several reference works on research ethics. In the last decade, he also wrote books taking aim at pseudoscience. In his 2012 The Cure for Everything,[27][28] he tried to clarify the science behind sensationalized media reports about the effects of diet and fitness on health.[29] Is Gwyneth Paltrow Wrong About Everything? in 2015 [30] tackles celebrity endorsement of dubious treatments and their effect on public health, while The Vaccination Picture in 2017 examines myths propagated against vaccines.ref>Caulfield, Timothy (2017). The vaccination picture. Viking. ISBN 978-0735234994.</ref>

He is also editor or coeditor of:

  • Editor, with Maria Knoppers and T. Douglas Kinsella.. Legal Rights and Human Genetic Material . (1997). [31]
  • Editor, with Bryn Williams-Jones. The Commercialization of Genetic Research: Ethical, Legal, and Policy Issues (1999) [32]
  • Editor, with Barbara Von Tigerstrom.2002 || Health Care Reform & the Law in Canada: Meeting the Challenge. (2002). [33] |
  • Editor, with Sean Caulfield , 2008|| Imagining science: Art, Science and Social Change (2008)[34]
  • Editor, with Nola Ries and Tracey Bailey.. Public Health Law and Policy in Canada, 2nd ed. ( 2008) [35]
  • Editor, with Jocelyn Downie and Coleen M. Flood. Canadian Health Law and Policy, 4th ed. (2011)[36]
  • Editor, with Sean Caulfield and Curtis Gillespie. Perceptions of Promise: Biotechnology, Society and Art (2011)[37]
  • Editor, with Nola Ries and Tracey Bailey. Public Health Law Policy in Canada (2013)[38]

Television series[edit]

Caulfield is the host and main protagonist of the documentary series, A User's Guide to Cheating Death, presented in 60 countries,[39] including Canadian specialty channel Vision TV. Using humour and science, the first six-episode season presents Caulfield subjecting himself to various treatments of doubtful efficacy. Filming locations include California and South Korea. The episodes include conversations with people believing the treatments work for them and discussions with panels of experts.[40][41][42] The series has been renewed for a second season,[43] and will be available on Netflix in North America during the Fall of 2018.[44][26] His show was reviewed by Jonathan Jarry, saying "Tim Caulfield is an excellent host for a show that shines a disinfecting light on medical pseudoscience. Unlike many skeptics in the public eye, he does not come across as antagonistic or condescending."[45]

Episode[46] Original airing date
Season 1
Detox Debunked - The Truth Behind the Phenomenon September 18, 2017
The Fountain of Youth - Science of Cosmetics September 25, 2017
Full Potential - Genetic Testing and the Rise of Personalized Medicine October 2, 2017
Losing It - Extreme Dieting October 9, 2017
Au Natural - Turning Our Back to Modern Medicine October 16, 2017
Scienceploitation October 23, 2017
Season 2
I'll Sleep When I'm Dead October 15, 2018
Vitamins and Supplements October 22, 2018
Sex and Relationships October 29, 2018
Germs November 5, 2018
Body Hacking November 12, 2018
Spiritual Science November 19, 2018

Awards[edit]

  • 2000, Martha Cook Piper Award for Research Excellence, University of Alberta.[4][47]
  • 2002, Alumni Horizon Award, University of Alberta.[48]
  • 2004, Media Relations Award, University of Alberta.[4]
  • 2007, Fellow, Royal Society of Canada.[4]
  • 2010, Till and McCulloch Award, Stem Cell Network[49]
  • 2015, Science in Society General Book Award winner, Canadian Science Writers’ Association.[2]
  • 2016, Distinguished Academic Award, Confederation of Alberta Faculty Associations[50]
  • 2017, Gold Winnier, Best Blog or Column, Digital Publishing Awards[51]

Personal life[edit]

Caulfield enjoys track cycling and running. He is married and has four children.[52][53] He prefers beer to wine and cannot live without coffee.[8][53]

He suffers from motion sickness, which is one of the reasons he abandoned a fledgling career as a rock musician.[52] He is "a bit of a germophobe. I hate sharing food. I'm not good with handshakes or hugs."[54]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Pelley, Lauren (8 January 2015). "Timothy Caulfield debunks celebrity health trends, from gluten-free diets to colon cleanses". Toronto Star.
  2. ^ a b c "CSWA Book Award Winners!". Sciencewriters.ca. April 21, 2016. Archived from the original on November 15, 2017. Retrieved November 15, 2017.
  3. ^ a b "Timothy Caulfield: Alberta's 50 Most Influential People 2014 - Alberta Venture". Alberta Venture. 1 July 2014. Retrieved 26 June 2016.
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h "Task Force on Ethics Reform: Membership". Canadian Institutes of Health Research. November 15, 2017. Archived from the original on November 15, 2017. Retrieved November 15, 2017.
  5. ^ a b Walden, Celia (9 May 2015). "Is Gwyneth Paltrow wrong about everything?". Telegraph. Retrieved 16 June 2016.
  6. ^ "There's a word for that feeling you get when you're phone's not nearby". CBC. 3 December 2015. Retrieved 16 June 2016.
  7. ^ "Timothy Caulfield". Ualberta. Archived from the original on November 24, 2017. Retrieved November 24, 2017.
  8. ^ a b c d Pelley, Lauren (January 8, 2015). "Timothy Caulfield debunks celebrity health trends, from gluten-free diets to colon cleanses". Toronto Star. Archived from the original on November 16, 2017. Retrieved November 15, 2017.
  9. ^ "Healthy Skeptic André Picard eschews the hype, pandering and pseudo-science that plague his beat". Ryerson Review of Journalism, Elena Gritzan — April 6, 2016
  10. ^ Tamara L. Roleff (26 September 2005). Cloning. Greenhaven Press. p. 135. ISBN 978-0-7377-3311-2.
  11. ^ McFarling, Usha (20 April 2016). "Tim Caulfield on a mission to debunk celebrity health advice". STAT. Retrieved 16 June 2016.
  12. ^ "HEALTH FACT OR FICTION?: A Q&A WITH TIMOTHY CAULFIELD". Hamilton Health Sciences. October 11, 2017. Archived from the original on November 16, 2017. Retrieved November 15, 2017.
  13. ^ Walden, Celia (May 9, 2015). "Is Gwyneth Paltrow wrong about everything?". The Telegraph. Archived from the original on November 26, 2017. Retrieved November 26, 2017.
  14. ^ Caulfield, Timothy (July 14, 2017). "Sorry, Gwyneth Paltrow. Science will always beat goopy junk". The Globe and Mail. Archived from the original on November 26, 2017. Retrieved November 26, 2017.
  15. ^ Payne, Elizabeth (16 January 2015). "Is Gwyneth Paltrow Wrong About Everything? A Q&A with the author". Ottawa Citizen. Retrieved 16 June 2016.
  16. ^ "Book Review: Is Gwyneth Paltrow Wrong About Everything? by Timothy Caulfield". Cracked Science, February 16, 2015 by Jonathan Jarry
  17. ^ "CSWA Book Award Winners! ". Canadian Science Writer's Association website.
  18. ^ a b "Deepak Chopra, Timothy Caulfield end Twitter feud". CBC News. January 26, 2017. Archived from the original on November 14, 2017. Retrieved November 14, 2017.
  19. ^ "'Embodiment of pseudoscience': Deepak Chopra bad choice for Edmonton autism conference says expert". October 29, 2017. Archived from the original on November 15, 2017. Retrieved November 15, 2017.
  20. ^ a b c Caulfield, Timothy (September 12, 2011). "Blinded by Science". The Walrus. Archived from the original on November 21, 2017. Retrieved November 21, 2017.
  21. ^ Laidlaw, Katherine. "Timothy Caulfield: The RD Interview". Reader's Digest Canada. Archived from the original on November 16, 2017. Retrieved November 15, 2017.
  22. ^ "What is stem cell tourism? Narrated by Professor Timothy Caulfield". ccrm.ca. Archived from the original on November 21, 2017. Retrieved November 21, 2017.
  23. ^ Caulfield, Timothy (March 20, 2017). "Beware the hype on stem-cell breakthroughs". The Globe and Mail. Archived from the original on November 21, 2017. Retrieved November 21, 2017.
  24. ^ Caulfield, Timothy (December 1, 2012). "Commercialization creep". Policy Options. Archived from the original on November 21, 2017. Retrieved November 21, 2017.
  25. ^ "The blunt truth about 'cutting edge' medical research". CBC radio. March 26, 2017. Archived from the original on November 21, 2017. Retrieved March 26, 2017.
  26. ^ a b Gerbic, Susan (July 24, 2018). "GOOP, Netflix and Motion Sickness". Committee for Skeptical Inquiry. Archived from the original on July 24, 2018. Retrieved July 24, 2018.
  27. ^ Caulfield, Timothy (2012). The cure for everything! : untangling the twisted messages about health, fitness, and happiness. Toronto: Viking Canada. ISBN 978-06700-65233.
  28. ^ Ahearn, Victoria (6 March 2015). "Edmonton author Timothy Caulfield challenges Gwyneth Paltrow's 'Goop'". Global News. Retrieved 16 June 2016.
  29. ^ "Book Review: The Cure For Everything! by Timothy Caulfield". National Post, January 13, 2012. Julia Belluz
  30. ^ Caulfield, Timothy (2015). Is Gwyneth Paltrow Wrong About Everything?: When Celebrity Culture and Science Clash. Toronto: Viking. ISBN 978-06700-67589.
  31. ^ Knoppers, Maria; Caulfield, Timothy; T. Douglas, Kinsella (1996). Legal Rights and Human Genetic Material. Toronto: Emond Montgomery. ISBN 0920722865.
  32. ^ Caulfield, Timothy; Williams-Jones, Bryn (1999). The Commercialization of Genetic Research: Ethical, Legal, and Policy Issues. Toronto: Springer. ISBN 146137135X.
  33. ^ Timothy A. Caulfield; Barbara Von Tigerstrom, eds. (2002). Health Care Reform & the Law in Canada: Meeting the Challenge. University of Alberta. ISBN 978-0-88864-366-7.
  34. ^ Caulfield, Sean; Caulfield, Timothy (2008). Imagining Science: Art, Science, and Social Change. Calgary, Alberta: The University of Alberta Press. ISBN 978-0-88864-508-1.
  35. ^ Ries, Nola; Bailey, Tracey; Caulfield, Timothy (2008). Public Health Law & Policy in Canada, 2nd Edition. Markham, Ontario: LexisNexis Canada. ISBN 0433458178.
  36. ^ Downie, Jocelyn; Caulfield, Timothy; Flood, Coleen (2011). Canadian Health Law and Policy (4th ed.). Markham, Ontario: LexisNexis. ISBN 9780433465249.
  37. ^ Caulfield, Sean; Gillespie, Curtis; Caulfield, Timothy (2011). Perceptions of Promise: Biotechnology, Society and Art. Department of Art and Design, University of Alberta and University of Washington Press. ISBN 0969989849.
  38. ^ Ries, Nola; Bailey, Tracey; Caulfield, Timothy (2013). Public Health Law & Policy in Canada, 3rd Edition. LexisNexis Canada. ISBN 9780433470397.
  39. ^ "U of A professor's TV show debunking alternative therapies will be on Netflix". CBC News. August 1, 2018. Archived from the original on August 3, 2018. Retrieved August 3, 2018.
  40. ^ "Timothy Caulfield hosts new TV series: 'A User's Guide to Cheating Death'". CBC.ca. September 11, 2017. Archived from the original on November 21, 2017. Retrieved November 21, 2017.
  41. ^ Szklarski, Cassandra (September 4, 2017). "Goop-debunker buoyed by renewed attack on Gwyneth Paltrow's wellness brand". The Canadian Press. Archived from the original on November 21, 2017. Retrieved November 21, 2017.
  42. ^ "A User's Guide To Cheating Death". Eye on Canada. Archived from the original on November 21, 2017. Retrieved November 21, 2017.
  43. ^ "VISIONTV GREENLIGHTS SEASON 2 OF "A USER'S GUIDE TO CHEATING DEATH."". Peacock Alley TV. March 7, 2018. Archived from the original on July 24, 2018. Retrieved July 24, 2018.
  44. ^ Simons, Paula (September 26, 2018). "Paula Simons: A user's guide to Timothy Caulfield, the University of Alberta's very public intellectual". The Edmonton Journal. Archived from the original on September 27, 2018. Retrieved September 27, 2018.
  45. ^ Jarry, Jonathan (September 14, 2017). "Review: "A User's Guide to Cheating Death"". McGill University. Archived from the original on July 24, 2018. Retrieved July 24, 2018.
  46. ^ "A User's Guide to Cheating Death: Episodes". VisionTV.ca. Archived from the original on November 21, 2017. Retrieved November 21, 2017.
  47. ^ "Martha Cook Piper Research Prize Recipients". University of Alberta. Archived from the original on November 15, 2017. Retrieved November 15, 2017.
  48. ^ "Search Award Recipients". University of Alberta. Retrieved November 15, 2017.
  49. ^ Willemse, Lisa (April 11, 2012). "Dr. Aaron Schimmer Receives the Till and McCulloch Award". Newswire.ca. Archived from the original on November 17, 2017. Retrieved November 17, 2017.
  50. ^ "CAFA distinguished Academic Awards, 2016" (PDF). CAFA-AB.ca. September 20, 2016. Archived from the original (PDF) on November 17, 2017. Retrieved Nov 17, 2017.
  51. ^ "The Winners". Digitalpublishing awards.ca. Archived from the original on November 17, 2017. Retrieved November 16, 2017.
  52. ^ a b "Timothy Caulfield, LLM, FRSC, FCAHS". isscr.org. Archived from the original on November 22, 2017. Retrieved November 22, 2017.
  53. ^ a b Caulfield, Timothy (2018). "Genetic Revolution". A User's Guide to Cheating Death. Episode Season 2, Episode 3.
  54. ^ Caulfield, Timothy (2018). "Germs". A User's Guide to Cheating Death. Episode Season 2, Episode 4.

External links[edit]