Posts Tagged ‘scientific rigor’

Overcoming Bias with a Passion for Objectivity

February 20, 2019 — Objectivity is tedious. When survival is at stake, snap decisions can confer an advantage. Friend or foe? Fight or flee? We might not have time to collect and analyze data. And thus, humans brains are wired with shortcuts for making instant judgments. But those shortcuts come at a cost when we live in a modern […]

Diet Soda: Beating a Correlation to Death

February 18, 2019 — How many times have we documented a correlation between diet sodas and cardiovascular disease? Who cares, say the editors of Stroke. Apparently, the click bait is irresistable. Thus, we have the upteenth correlation study, unsupported suggestions of causality, and a tidal wave of sensational headlines about diet soda, strokes, heart attacks, and death. We have […]

PREDIMED and the “Corpse” of Nutrition Science

February 14, 2019 — Last year, the New England Journal of Medicine retracted and then published a revised analysis of the landmark PREDIMED study. With that action, it shook the world of nutrition science. Even now, there’s still a whole lot of shakin going on. What About 267 Secondary Publications? Just last week in the BMJ, Arnav Agarwal and John […]

What Presidential Checkups Tell Us About Self-Reports

February 13, 2019 — Our president just had his annual medical exam and that ritual is providing us an important reminder. Self-reports – especially about obesity, nutrition, and physical activity – are not very reliable. That’s because most people misremember or shade the truth. We’re all lighter, taller, eating healthier, and more active when we do the reporting ourselves. A Long […]

Forgetting to Randomize a Randomized Study

February 10, 2019 — Sometimes things are not what they seem. That’s a problem when something slips into scientific literature that’s not exactly true. We offer a prime example today. Here we have two papers where an RCT – a randomized controlled study – is not properly randomized. Apparently, the investigators, reviewers, and editors for these papers weren’t too fussy about […]

Feasting on the Mythical Magic of Breakfast

February 8, 2019 — Give us our porridge bowl of steel cut oats. It may be “key to living longer,” the BBC tells us. WebMD reports “an abundance of data” to show a link between skipping breakfast and excess weight. But there’s one teensie problem with that assertion – it simply doesn’t hold up to scrutiny. Better Weight Outcomes from […]

The Cluster Fuss Continues with Two New Studies

February 1, 2019 — We keep hoping that editors and reviewers of obesity, nutrition, and physical activity studies will use a sharper eye when a cluster randomized trial comes to them. But two new publications tell us we can’t count on it yet. In both papers, the researchers claim to have proven the effectiveness of their programs. Yet neither […]

A Cluster Fuss in Obesity Studies

January 29, 2019 — In obesity research, we have a bit of a cluster fuss on our hands. It’s all about a type of randomized study where the randomization is between clusters. This randomization method is important because it’s very useful for obesity prevention studies. For example, you might have children in different schools or different classrooms participating in […]

When an Impact Does Not Cause an Effect

January 26, 2019 — The language of cause cause and effect is slippery. That’s what we’ve learned this week from the American Journal of Preventive Medicine. “The Impact of U.S. Free Trade Agreements on Calorie Availability and Obesity: A Natural Experiment in Canada” appeared last May in that journal. This week, the authors of that article explained that “impact” is […]

Cutting Sugar Clears Up Liver Disease in Children?

January 25, 2019 — JAMA grabbed some headlines this week on a popular subject – cutting sugar consumption for kids. Fatty liver disease is a serious problem and the headlines point to a simple solution. “To fight fatty liver, avoid sugary foods and drinks,” said the New York Times. How did researchers prove that? All it took was a randomized […]