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16 Reasons Why Most Studies Are Wrong

16 Reasons Why Most Studies Are Wrong

By Ron Hoffman, MD, ANH-USA President and Medical Director

In a previous article, I highlighted Americans’ lamentable lack of health literacy and challenged readers to take a quiz to assess their Health IQ.

But one of the reasons for confusion over fundamental health issues (Is moderate drinking healthy? Is coffee good or bad for you? Does consuming eggs up your risk for heart disease?) is that many studies contain fundamental methodological flaws.

Even doctors, who are supposed to studiously evaluate the latest research and interpret their conclusions for patients, are ill-equipped to cut through the confusion. We all had to take basic courses in statistics and data analysis, but the complexity of scientific studies often renders them too tough to properly critique by all but the most wonky bio-statisticians.

In fact, in a celebrated 2005 paper, Dr. John P. A. Ioannidis explained: “Why Most Published Research Findings Are False”. Among his assertions are “The greater the financial and other interests and prejudices in a scientific field, the less likely the research findings are to be true,” and “The hotter a scientific field (with more scientific teams involved), the less likely the research findings are to be true.”

So, what’s a person to do?

Even if you’re convinced that critiquing a scientific paper is above your pay grade, here are some basic ways you can arm yourself against junk science when confronted with health headlines that just don’t add up.

1) Correlation is Not Causation: I recently heard a doctor hold forth on his personal theory on why men are less fertile these days. He’s a urologist, and conscious of the relationship between testicular temperature and sperm motility (why taking hot baths before sex might offer relative—but not complete—contraceptive effects).

He actually authored a study containing neat graphs correlating “global warming” with declining male fertility—a perfect match! The trouble is, it’s by no means clear that temperature elevation is the sole or even primary cause of men’s declining fertility. What about poor diet and environmental toxicity? Endocrine disrupting chemicals are a more plausible explanation for sperm problems than over-heated gonads.

Read the full article.

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3 thoughts on “16 Reasons Why Most Studies Are Wrong

  • Truth59

    Ron, You aren’t wrong that almost all studies are wrong at least for most people. The problem is one of many. The AHA is in with the WEF/CDC gang in believing that saturated fats are bad and will harm you and/or they just don’t want to share their food with the commoners. Also, they still want to make one size fits all but that doesn’t work in health and nutrition. What works for me doesn’t necessarily work for others

  • Dee

    The global warming theory of reduced fertility “may” not be provable; however the way this report is written seems to negate every other environmental and human consequence of the very-well proven global warming, CO2 exacerbated global warming situation we face, which is well documented over the past couple years. So you lost my support because of your single-minded denigration of science that does not align with yours. Just the fact that you list it in first place shows your bias.

  • john

    excellent ..excellent ..excellent ..excellent ..excellent ..excellent ..excellent ..excellent ..excellent ..excellent ..excellent ..excellent ..excellent ..excellent ..excellent ..excellent ..excellent ..excellent ..excellent ..excellent ..excellent ..

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