No more “observational studies”!!!!

We’ve all been burned too often. Vitamin D and moderate alcohol consumption may not do anything special. Correlations and observations. Correlations and observations.

Now, Red Meat Increases Risk of Dying From 9 Diseases:

“This is an observational study,” said the lead author, Arash Etemadi, an epidemiologist with the National Cancer Institute, “and we can’t determine whether red meat is responsible for these associations. But we have a 16-year follow-up, and we had the numbers to look at different causes, and we can see that it’s happening” for many causes of death.

You lost me at observational study. Observational studies are fine in theory. But in practice in fields like nutrition they’re worthless, because it’s all about making news, or pushing a particular health agenda.

I’ll still take mine medium rare.

Also, you want to know about the benefits of randomized trials for your mental health, I suggest Jim Manzi’s book Uncontrolled: The Surprising Payoff of Trial-and-Error for Business, Politics, and Society.

5 thoughts on “No more “observational studies”!!!!

  1. Doctors with computers. And, Press releases. If we want NIH to save money and increase the credibility of medical research. there is a lot of low hanging fruit.

  2. So what’s your proposal for, say, lung cancer research? Grab up some babies and start exposing a randomly selected group of them to cigarette smoke?

  3. did you read the part where i said ” But in practice in fields like nutrition they’re worthless, because it’s all about making news, or pushing a particular health agenda.”

    in cancer research the dynamics are different. there are serious problems. but the media and researchers are a little more careful than nutrition (or social psychology).

    but even with cancer, ‘easy gets’ like the association btwn smoking & lung cancer are done. the smaller the effect the more difficult it is to be sure it’s a robust one (or one that doesn’t entail recommendations which have side effects that cancel out the efficacy). ergo, even researchers admitting that ‘everything causes’ cancer.

  4. After over 50 years of intense and continuous personal research I can definitely attest to the fact that moderate alcohol consumption is central to personal well being in our modern cyber-industrial society. And on top of that my friends, and family over the generations I have known them, all concur. In fact specific patterns of consumption such as a cocktail taken as an aperitif in one’s easy chair after a hard day at work or a glass of good Bordeaux when consuming a char-broiled medium rare sirloin steak are both particularly efficacious methods to achieving this desirable and quite special effect.

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