Why on Earth does the media print sensationalist nonsense over and over again? We know of at least three reasons: (1) It cares more about internet traffic (and $$$) than anything else; (2) science journalists often have no formal education in the field; and (3) university press offices purposefully exaggerate their research.
Question: How do you know when a "study" isn't really a study? Answer: When those who performed it also write up a brochure, hyping its results before actually bothering to publish a scientific paper.
In the mid-19th century, traveling medicine shows became all the rage. They were basically like small circuses that also peddled phony medicine. Today, we may laugh at how gullible we once were. But charlatans like Dr. Oz are the modern-day equivalent of that traveling con job.
Bloomberg's recent hit piece on milk touches upon almost every sensitive issue that worries parents: food, school and their children. Toss in a conspiracy theory about "Big Dairy," and that's how Bloomberg came up with a fear-mongering headline, complete with a disgusting photo that is supposed to make readers feel queasy.
With so much disinformation on the Internet, debunking junk science and bogus health claims could be a full-time job. Indeed, "debunkery" is one of the main reasons why ACSH exists. Narrowing down a full year's worth of nonsense into the 10 worst bogus health stories is quite a challenge. But we never shy down from a challenge. Here are the stinkiest stories from the past 12 months.
The plaintiffs claim that Ocean Spray lied about not using artificial flavors, and the only restitution is for the company to hand over a big bag of money. How big? Very big. They want a jury to award them "statutory, compensatory, treble, and punitive damages." That's all due to a technicality that hasn't affected their lives one iota.
Researchers, believe it or not, ingested Lego toys to see how quickly they could be, um, excreted. Yes, this actually took place. This "work" was published in a journal.
Dr. Oz is what would happen if Alex Jones and Mother Jones had a baby. And perhaps short of murdering somebody on live TV, there is literally nothing Dr. Oz won't say or do for money.
Race, age and other demographic factors are commonly controlled in epidemiology studies. It makes no sense to compare one group to another group if researchers do not bother to control for confounders – that is, factors like race or age that can cause researchers to draw the wrong conclusion.
Dr. Oz is a fraud who ought to be fired from Columbia University and have his medical license revoked. Instead, he's headed to the White House.
A hot rock massage and herbal tea might make you feel nice, but they don't actually cure anything. Pointing that out in China, however, might land a person in jail.
One of the biggest goals of autism research is to determine its cause. And one of the best ways to achieve that is to rule out the things that don't cause it. So let's acknowledge this month by doing just that.