Posts Tagged ‘scientific integrity’

Evidence That Nutrition Facts Don’t Always Change Behavior

April 19, 2018 — Facts matter. Right? We like to think so. But the truth is that people act on emotion – beliefs and feelings – every bit as much as they do on facts. For a case study in how beliefs and feelings can triumph over facts, let’s take a look at a nutrition education program. Teaching Children About Gardens […]

Respecting Truth and Personal Autonomy in Obesity

April 18, 2018 — Step right up! Many people are handing out unsolicited advice about obesity and what’s best for you. This sort of advice comes from two dramatically different extremes. We hear it from ignorant, biased individuals who think that solutions are easy. But it also comes from people who say, forget it. Obesity is no big deal […]

Freeze a Nerve for Weight Loss? Not So Fast!

March 25, 2018 — Here’s a bit of hype that crossed many screens this week. The Society of Interventional Radiology wants you to know that an experimental procedure to freeze a nerve may “ignite weight loss.” Ignite sounds good, right? Naturally, health reporters had fun hyping this one. Our favorite: “Freezing the ‘hunger nerve’ could be key to more […]

Reproducibility of Science: Look Twice Before Crossing

March 19, 2018 — Some call it a crisis of reproducibility. More than a decade ago, John Ioannidis famously told the world that most published research findings are false. His analysis quickly became the most widely read paper ever published by PLOS. You’ll find a more generous view in a new, special issue of PNAS. Attending to the rigor, […]

Mindless Hype for the MIND Diet

March 17, 2018 — Here’s a diet that has everything. It actually provides for a pretty good quality of nutrition. It has a buzzy acronym – MIND – that suggests a compelling and very specific benefit. And it has the American Heart Association (among others) hyping it. The MIND diet has a lot going for it. Except for one thing. The […]

It Works! But Don’t Look Too Close at the Data

March 12, 2018 — Are we numb to hype and little lies yet? Sad to say, they’re not confined to tabloid news or politics. Despite data that doesn’t support effectiveness claims, we see such claims for obesity treatment and prevention published in scientific journals. This week, researchers at Johns Hopkins and UC-Davis provide two distinct examples. A Virtual Health […]

Why Falsehoods Fly While the Truth Limps to Catch Up

March 10, 2018 — More than three centuries ago, Jonathan Swift wrote that falsehoods fly while the truth limps far behind it. Today, we certainly see that in nutrition and obesity. Any number of myths stand firm despite clear evidence disproving them. More broadly, the news is full of reporting about Russia and ISIS using bots to spread misinformation […]

Never Give Up on the Virtue of Doubt

February 28, 2018 — Nattering nabobs of negativism. William Safire wrote those words for Vice President Spiro Agnew to push back on people who doubted him. Three years later, Agnew resigned after a corruption probe and conviction for tax evasion. Doubt always has its doubters. But it has special virtues in science and health. Critical thinking is impossible without […]

Is the Sugar Conspiracy Our Favorite Conspiracy Theory?

February 16, 2018 — It’s the stuff of legend. Big sugar orchestrated a vast sugar conspiracy half a century ago. The industry foisted decades of flawed low-fat dietary guidance upon our nation – indeed all around the world. The theory holds that big sugar was out to blame fat for all our health woes. That was so that no […]

Obesity Prevention: Where No Effect Is Evidence of Effectiveness

December 29, 2017 — Standards of evidence can seem a little fuzzy in this age of debates with alternative facts. But serious scientists have pretty clear standards. In obesity prevention, though, we wonder about some of the studies that sneak into journals. Take for example this study in Australia. As we wrote months ago, the authors found no overall […]