4 thoughts on “Why most epidemiological studies involving lifestyle data are wrong”

  1. Being a biophobic, audiophilic Chem. major, I avoid thinking about many issues raised on JS.com…………………
    However my even greater revulsion about all kinds of BS prompted me to try making some sense out of the cholesterol issue………………
    I originally thought that here we have an emulsifier in the bloodstream which is not the problem in itself but an attempt to keep fat globules in suspension………..after reading ENC and stumbling upon the writings of M. Kendrick http://www.thincs.org/Malcolm.htm#atkins I find my theory to be wrong but leading to more or less the same inference.
    My better half [RN 1967] read the info and commented that, [to paraphrase N. Bonaparte]: ’Medical theory is often a myth agreed upon’.

  2. It’s nice to see that something demonstrating the gross inaccuracy of nutritional data will appear in the Journal of Nutrition. Of course they will then resume publishing articles that are based on the same type of erroneous data. Just a moment’s reflection should tell any thinking person that the data used in all dietary studies are completely unreliable. This goes all the way back to the studies of Ancel Keys who claimed to know the percentage fat in various countries’ “national diet”. I used to tell our medical residents when lecturing on how to read a medical journal article that “before you get all caught up in the intricacies of statistical analysis and the like, just ask yourself if it is remotely possible that the data they cite can even be reasonably determined or measured.”
    Back in the mid 1980s the Lipid Research Clinics study was published in the Journal of the American Medical Association and was hailed as providing the definitive proof of the cholesterol theory. About a year later JAMA published a commentary by a professor of biostatistics that was a withering critique of the Lipid Research Clinics study. He pointed out that the authors basically committed scientific fraud by changing the criteria they had set at the outset of the study for statistical significance. And they apparently did this after the results were in so as to convert an insignificant difference between the drug and control group into one that barely achieved “statistical significance”. It would be interesting to know why it took a year for this to be revealed. But what is more interesting is that this critique that virtually demolished the scientific authenticity of the study has apparently had no effect on the acceptance of the cholesterol theory or the belief that this study provided the definitive proof of that theory.
    So I won’t hold my breath waiting for the nutritionists to throw up their hands and say “Oh my, I guess we’ve wasted an enormous amount of time and money on this nonsense over the past fifty years or so.”

  3. The authors rightfully point out the systematic error involved with self-reporting by survey subjects. Overlooked, but just as important, is selection bias in the sample population, which seemingly cannot be avoided in nutritional studies.

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