Posts Tagged ‘scientific rigor’

Spin, Pilots, and Sacred Cows of Obesity Care

August 15, 2019 — Beware of pilot studies with claims of effectiveness. “A pilot study is not a hypothesis testing study,” says Andrew Leon in a cogent summary of what pilots can and can’t do. But it’s oh so tempting to jump on effect data from a pilot study. Especially when you believe in what you think it tells […]

Jogging Beats Genes for Obesity? Not Exactly

August 5, 2019 — Facts are stubborn. So, too, is an entrenched bias. The bias that obesity is a simple matter of choice runs especially deep. Thus it creeps into headlines and even scientific journals. A new study in PLOS Genetics provides a vivid case in point. Unwarranted causal language in a paper flows through to a press release. […]

Look for a Good Answer or Tell the Truth?

July 31, 2019 — Four principles describe a common framework for healthcare ethics: autonomy, nonmaleficence, beneficence, and justice. That first one, respect for autonomy, requires telling the truth. But unfortunately, it can come into conflict with beneficence – the moral obligation to do good for others. So which comes first? Tell the truth as you find it? Or look […]

Five Subjects Too Hot to Handle in Nutrition and Obesity

July 30, 2019 — Sadly enough, we live in an age of angry tweets and venting spleens. So it is in nutrition and obesity (as well as politics) these days. We’ve found that five subjects – whatever you say – will attract responses that are too hot to handle. In our view, this is a reason to try to […]

2020 Guidelines: A Plant-Based, Low-Carb Ruckus

July 13, 2019 — The USDA opened up the process for developing the 2020 Dietary Guidelines for inspection and input this week. It was the second of five public meetings. Also, it was the first of two chances for the public to deliver live comments to the committee. The committee seems to be taking its task for the 2020 […]

Doubts About Dietary Options for Heart Health

July 9, 2019 — Could it be that chasing dietary options for heart health is pointless? Commenting on a new study in Annals of Internal Medicine, Amitabh Pandey and Eric Topol express doubts: Diets and supplements are 2 of the most intense areas of public interest but are among the most lacking in adequate data. Unfortunately, the current study […]

Can’t Reverse Obesity Trends Without My Pet Project

July 6, 2019 — As health authorities in the U.K. whip up fears about obesity, it becomes fodder for entertainment writers. With a witty headline, Brian Beacom tells us that he has the answer for obesity. “There’s fat chance of tackling obesity without school sports investment,” he writes. Of course, not a shred of evidence supports his assertion. But […]

Pasteurized Bacteria for Metabolic Syndrome?

July 2, 2019 — Beware of pilot studies. However, we have a fascinating one for you. Nature Medicine published this study yesterday. It’s a randomized, controlled trial of 32 subjects in three arms. Clara Depommier and colleagues found that a daily supplement of pasteurized bacteria (Akkermansia muciniphila) could improve some of the markers of metabolic syndrome. Specifically, they saw […]

The Urgent Need for Fresh Thinking on Childhood Obesity

June 27, 2019 — Two major research programs spanning two decades for reducing childhood obesity have yielded null results. Altogether, none of five separate studies from these two programs have shown an effect. No effect on obesity. No effect on related health outcomes, either. These studies are important because they target populations where obesity is most severe – low-income […]

Keep Your Eye on the Evidence to Emotion Ratio

June 26, 2019 — Risk-benefit ratio is a term of art that most anyone in healthcare will know. It answers a very basic question. Does this thing offer more benefits than risks? The thing might be a drug, it might be a device, or it might be an operation. But what about some of the beliefs that drive health […]