Don’t use bathroom tissues, or coffee or…… well…. anything…until you read this!
We understand the dilemma we all face when we hear these media grenades come across the airwaves. Based on the merest … and unreproducible… results of a single study, we are frightened into thinking that harmless, or even beneficial foods, drinks, supplements and activities may be dangerous to our health.
Is coffee cancerous? Is exercise life shortening? Is my tap water laden with poisons?
Almost certainly not, it turns out.
The medical scientific community is no less frightened than the non-medical.
We are subject to the “fear factor” excitement as much as anyone else.
But here’s the rub:
We aren’t supposed to be so.
Friends, patients and colleagues rely on us to separate the nonsensical and spurious chaff from the useful and informative wheat.
We do that, by and large, by ignoring single studies by less than prestigious or scrupulous journals and instead turn our attentions to better studies and well- designed clinical research. Correlation is not causation. And putting them on the same plane is a recipe for paralysis and ignorance.
Further, we too ignore the silly and “one off” statements of woe and danger in favor of consistent and replicable trends that emerge only after plausible and reproducible results can be verified.
Common sense should prevail, and it ultimately does.
The bottom line is that believing everything that we hear is a foolish way to direct our health choices.
Keep calm and carry on.