Tuesday, 17 April 2018

Who's to blame when bad science is published?

The gradual, ongoing campaign to push drinking guidelines towards zero took another step forwards last Friday when the Lancet published evidence which confirmed that alcohol has significant health benefits but dressed it up in such a way as to make the media think the opposite.

I have written about it for Spectator Health...

When bad science appears in the media, who is to blame? Sometimes it is the fault of the journalists, sometimes it is the scientists and sometimes it is the person who wrote the press release.

There was a classic example last Friday when news outlets around the world covered a study in the Lancet with headlines such as ‘One drink a day “can shorten life”‘ (BBC) and ‘Just one alcoholic drink a day will shorten your life, study shows’ (Evening Standard). As if this were not scary enough, Yahoo warned that ‘Alcohol guidelines in many countries may not be safe’ and the Guardian declared that ‘Drinking is as harmful as smoking’.

Do read it all.

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