We often hear in the media and in the academic press about promising new studies that can link some common everyday thing such as coffee, garlic or sex with a disease such as cancer or arthritis (either as causing it or protecting from it).
Reasons for jumping to conclusions vary but include (but not limited to):
- Over generalization from animals to people
- Poorly designed samples with inherent biases
- Using samples that are too small for the effect being shown
- Deliberate misinterpretation of results to fit a pre-conceived narrative
Often the scientists behind the study are not to blame, they may produce the best pre-clinical research possible. Drawing far reaching conclusions from early research is the problem.
A new Twitter account that is really worth checking out explains one of the reasons for this. Remember that over 100,000,000 years ago, the last most-common ancestor of mice and humans had died and we have been evolving in different directions ever since.
Imagine a world where transparency and explicit research methods make this sort of sensationalism impossible!
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