Posts Tagged ‘scientific rigor’

Vitamin D: The Leap from Correlation to Effectiveness

January 16, 2021 — In a more innocent time, Schlitz, the beer that made Milwaukee famous, was also the beer with sunshine vitamin D. “A priceless source of vigor,” claimed the advertising. Similarly sunny claims are bubbling up for vitamin D in this time of COVID-19. These claims are based on observed correlations. But thinking that vitamin D might […]

How Much Exercise to Prevent Weight Gain?

January 11, 2021 — In the relationship between exercise and weight, one article of faith has held up for years. Exercise is a valuable tool for preventing weight gain. Though you can’t outrun a bad diet, experts are quite clear that exercise helps to maintain a lower weight. However, a new randomized study in Obesity asks a key question. […]

The Problem and Promise of an Active Life

January 6, 2021 — When you’ve got something to sell and you know in your heart that it’s really great, you’ve got a problem. The temptation to oversell can be tough to resist. In health promotion, exercise is an obvious example. Over at the New York Times, Gretchen Reynolds is a huge fan. She writes the Phys Ed series […]

Is Convenient, Pleasing Food Addictive?

January 3, 2021 — Food addiction is a concept that sticks to the popular psyche. Yet it remains scientifically controversial. True believers will tell you that eating addictive food “lights up” parts of the brain involved in addiction. But then, just about anything that brings a person pleasure does that. So this is not an especially persuasive argument to […]

The Missing Dialogue on Ultra-Processed Foods

January 2, 2021 — New publications about the role of ultra-processed foods in health and food systems remind us about a missing dialogue. Food policy advocates are very clear that food systems should evolve to favor minimally processed food. Nutrition scientists know that ultra-processed foods have an association with poor health outcomes. But they also know that the science […]

2020 Concept of the Year: Immunity

December 28, 2020 — Merriam-Webster tells us that the word of the year is pandemic. (That was easy.) Oxford says that one word is not enough for this year, so the Oxford lexicographers have a produced a report to explore the many words and trends that define this weird year. But our approach to this question is simple. We […]

Soda Taxes: Feel Great, Less Fulfilling

December 27, 2020 — Soda taxes are a favored tool for fighting obesity around the world. The World Health Association is totally on board with this taxing sugar sweetened beverages (SSBs). But there’s just one tiny problem. The promise that these taxes will improve health feels great, but fulfillment of that promise is elusive. In fact, evidence for an […]

A Tale of Two Retractions – It’s Complicated

December 26, 2020 — Some mistakes are hard to correct. Sometimes, it’s even hard to figure out where the mistake lies. Thus, retractions can be quite messy when a problem arises with a scientific publication. Two recent examples illustrate just how complicated retractions can become. Do Women Need Male Mentors? Back in November, a paper in Nature Communications started […]

What a Year We’ve Had: Five Defining Marks of 2020

December 21, 2020 — We started this new decade “pretty sure” about stories that would grab headlines this year. But we also said we should be “ready for surprises.” That was probably our most accurate prediction. Little did we know then, a new coronavirus was already at work. Thus it turned out that, more than anything, a pandemic made […]

Vitamin D: Evidence, Speculation, and COVID-19

December 20, 2020 — As we struggle with this pandemic, cheap answers have great appeal. Some are absurd, like bleach for purposes other than cleaning. Others present a puzzle with many dimensions to resolve. Such is the case of vitamin D. This week three authoritative health groups in England sorted through all the evidence on vitamin D and COVID-19. […]