Let s give a big shoutout to Gawker today. They really stuck it to the Times by pointing out that their columnist Nick Bilton, who writes about style (and should obviously not venture beyond this) had some questions about potential health hazards from the new Apple Watch.
Bilton, already way over his head, tied a couple of extra cinder blocks around his neck by citing a "longitudinal study conducted by a group of European researchers" that links cell phone use to cancer, something that has been shown to be nonsense for quite some time.
ACSH s Dr. Josh Bloom, formerly a chemist a profession whose sartorial splendor has been not unfairly described as people who dress as if they had run out of a burning hotel room wonders why Bilton would be talking about a longitudinal study at all, since before seeking out scientific advice, he probably thought it had something to do with mapping the Aleutian Islands.
At least Bilton had the good sense to know that he needed some scientific input. But, with the unlimited resources of the Times at his disposal, his choice was roughly equivalent to going to a formal function wearing green leather pants, a mauve Nehru jacket, disco platform shoes and a canary on your head the incomparable Joe Mercola, who was affectionately described as Crazy Joe Mercola by Dr. Bloom in his Science 2.0 piece from 2014. (Non-Seinfeld watchers may want to watch this to understand the reference.)
Because if there s a worse person to get medical advice from, we sure can t think of anyone who can top Mercola.
His advice? "The radiation really comes from the 3G connection on a cellphone, so devices like the Jawbone Up and Apple Watch should be O.K., but if you're buying a watch with a cellular chip built in, then you've got a cellphone attached to your wrist. And that, he said, is a bad idea.
Dr. Bloom says, The terms Mercola and bad idea go together like Abbott and Costello. And if you want to read about a whole bunch of them, I suggest checking out what Dr. David Gorski has to say. His site, Science-Based Medicine, takes no prisoners.
Gorski, a breast cancer surgeon, and professor of surgery at Wayne State University School of Medicine is a relentless and vocal critic of alternative medicine, and has has been a vocal critic of celebrities, such as Oprah Winfrey, Bill Maher, and the Food Babe, all of whom espouse junk scientific advice, taking advantage of their celebrity status to spread the bad word.
In his column Respective Insolence today, Gorski is his normal prickly (and splendid) self: Even in the Style section, you d think the editors wouldn t want to cite a quack as any sort of authority in medicine. I mean, seriously. Bilton ought to be ashamed, and the editors of the NYT ought to be mortified. Not only does he recycle every dubious cell phone-cancer trope out there, but he couples that misinterpretation of existing scientific evidence with quoting a quack who sells supplements.
Yikes. This sounds like someone from ACSH who woke up with a hangover. We love it.