Two leading scientists have been heavily criticised by their peers today after it emerged that recent claims were misleading, potentially untrue, and not based upon sound methods of research.
Alan and Janet Wakefield, respective biotechnologist and microbiologist, who work closely with the London University of St George's, and have been married for 10 years, claim to have established a direct link between eating crusts of bread or toast, and increased chest hair growth.
"We are completely unaware of any such research having been carried out on campus, and that no funding would have been made available for any trial in this area", St George's Principal Prof. Peter Finn stressed that, "...it beggars belief that two such valued members of our staff should deem to step outside their respective fields wading without due care into a specialised field they know diddly-squat about."
Ben Goldacre, in his Bad Science blog and newspaper column, heavily criticised the Wakefields writing that "It is important that any research is published in full, in a respected scientific journal, pre-publishing findings on the world wide web. The internet was established so that researchers could exchange data and critique each others work, a fact that the Wakefields casually forgot. How convenient".
It has been made apparent that the couple's claims bypassed the usual publishing routes and instead were included in an offhand conversation during the family breakfast, an occasion attended by both Wakefields and their two young daughters. A spokesman for The Lancet said that "those gathered would not have had the intellectual tools at their disposal to question these outlandish claims and no demand was made to revisit the initial evidence. We would remind the public that, whilst there has been strong evidence that eating crusts can be linked to growing big and strong, the same is not true for chest hair growth."
However there has been some support for the Wakefields, most notably from the British Crust Marketing Board and UK Chest Hair Society who, in a joint statement said "it would be foolhardy to suggest there is no link between the eating of delicious crusts and the benefit to harvesting a bountiful curly rug on the chest. We except that more research needs to be done into this sensitive issue, and while there is no scientific consensus on the matter it should be assumed that the best advise is to continue eating your crusts."