Posts Tagged ‘scientific rigor’

Is Ad Hominem Logic Creeping into Scholarly Discourse?

May 13, 2018 — Ad hominem logic seem to be ruling the day. International diplomacy features name calling between a little rocket man and a dotard. And now, people are starting to call for the dotard to receive a Nobel Peace Prize. So is it really surprising to see ad hominem logic creeping into scholarly discourse? Ad Hominem Logic […]

Sugar Consumption, Cognition, Correlation, and Causality

April 24, 2018 — Late last week, the American Journal of Preventive Medicine published a correlation study of sugar and diet soda consumption in mothers during pregnancy and soon after childbirth. The researchers found that mothers who consumed more sugar during pregnancy and after childbirth tended to have children with lower cognition scores. But the researchers note correctly: As […]

Cultivating a Sweet Tooth: Fact or Presumption?

April 9, 2018 — It’s a favorite rationale for avoiding anything sweet. Even if it has no calories it will drive you to want more sweet foods and drinks. Sweet stuff will give you a sweet tooth, says the Harvard School of Public Health on its website: The human brain responds to sweetness with signals to eat more. By […]

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 […]

Low Carb, Low Fat, Null Result, Blank Check

February 21, 2018 — JAMA is out with a big, important study of low fat versus low carb dietary strategies. And the study has a null result on three hypotheses the researchers were testing. The results showed no differences in outcomes between the study groups. Low fat was no better than low carb. Also, neither genetic nor insulin secreting […]

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 […]