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Home remedies put to the test

York academic’s behind-the-scenes role in new television series 


The show's scientists Dr Rhiannon Pursell, Dr Richard Albardiaz and Professor Martin Bland on the set of Health Freaks. Credit: Channel 4.

Oatmeal baths for psoriasis, duct tape for verrucae or a yoghurt and turmeric face mask for acne – could any of these homespun cures actually work?

Someone who knows the answer to that question is Professor Martin Bland from the University of York’s Department of Health Sciences, who acted as a behind-the-scenes advisor on the new six-part Channel 4 series Health Freaks.

Beginning this week, the new series by Outline Productions will put a broad range of home remedies to the test to see if they have any medicinal value.  

The series looks at the sometimes rather strange, non-medicinal remedies which people use

Professor Martin Bland

Each episode will feature a series of DIY remedy pitchers presenting their favoured remedy to a panel of three GPs – Dr Pixie McKenna, Dr Ayan Panja and Dr Ellie Cannon – who choose one proposed ‘cure’ for further investigation by the show’s three scientists.

Martin Bland, a Professor of Health Statistics, and his colleagues - a trial coordinator and a GP consultant – then put the remedy to the test and examine its effectiveness.

Professor Bland says: “The series looks at the sometimes rather strange, non-medicinal remedies which people use. I was approached about the design and analysis of clinical trials and helped to allocate participants for three very small trials, as well as analysing four trials of these remedies.”

Health Freaks will be broadcast weekly from Monday, 21 October for six weeks at 8.30pm on Channel 4. Watch the first episode on 4oD.

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