Brain Gym brings whiff of red mist

7th April 2006 at 01:00
Heads down for the great Brain Gym brawl. Ever since science writer Ben Goldacre wrote a narky piece about the brain-stimulating exercise programme in his Bad Science column in the Guardian last month, a virtual debate has been raging - and now it has spread to the TES online staffroom.

What did he say? Well, exercise and water good, science underlying the Brain Gym programme rubbish. But he was rather less polite than that.

There followed nearly 270 emails on the Bad Science website. Some teachers expressed relief that their reservations had been outed - but others wept and wailed. Brain Gym works! they cried. How could he be so horrid?

Dr Goldacre, described on the Bad Science website as "a serious fuck-off academic ninja", returned to the printed fray. "Nothing prepared me for the outpouring of jaw-dropping stupidity that vomited forth from teachers"

began the following week's column. Oh dear. The last time the Diary looked, there were more than 150 further postings on the website, and Dr Goldacre had threatened to "pull the trigger" on teachers peddling pseudo-science to kids.

A defence of the technique by Brain Gym instructor Alan Heath in a TES website blog has only served to produce a further 40, getting crosser all the time.

Far be it from the Diary to wade into the debate. We simply advise all posters to keep cool and read what the other person is actually saying.

And next time you feel the urge to blog on a subject close to your heart, take a run round the block first. You'll be amazed how it clears the head.

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