Wednesday, August 04, 2010

Bad Science Strikes Again

Yes, I've been a huge bum lately and haven't posted anything, and this really isn't much better.  But it's something.  Here's a post I made on Facebook, regarding an experiment that showed that pancreatic cancer cells LOVE fructose.  Enjoy!

While this study is interesting, I definitely have issues with the statement the main researcher made, suggesting that this study means we should act to restrict high fructose corn syrup.
I think this paper has a lot of public health implications. Hopefully, at the federal level there will be some effort to step back on the amount of high fructose corn syrup in our diets.
A real researcher would naturally be cautious and understand that this one study doesn't prove anything, as that's just not how science works. Science works by building a knowledge base in order to understand why these things are happening. One study, or even a handful of studies, doesn't prove anything. This study is just a building block of science, not an end result which demands immediate action.

The fact that they think we should take active steps based upon one study that didn't explain why this is happening would indicate that the researchers were biased and were attempting to find this exact result, in order to give us this exact conclusion. And that's just a bad way to do science, as it's too easy to devise a study to fit what you're looking for; even if that's not what you're intending to do.

Unfortunately, there's very little pure research done these days, as the easiest way to get funding is to set-out to prove a specific thing. If the sugar industry is funding you, it's because you were attempting to prove that sugar is safe. If an anti-diabetes group funds you, it was because you're proving sugar isn't safe. That's just how it works. That's not to say that these people are necessarily corrupt or anything, it's just that it's a perversion of science. Even well-meaning people can fool themselves into performing bad science, and if these researchers actually imagine that this one study should dictate public policy, they've probably engaged in bad science.

I mean, seriously, if their experiment showed that glucose cells grew more than fructose cells, would they have told us to drink more soda? I don't think so. They got the result they were looking for, and that's never a good thing.


Betsy said...

I really appreciate your coming back. Don't like to harass you because you probably have a life or something. Good post, people aren't taught this stuff so we are all victims until we happen to learn it somewhere. Related: a gullible friend of my husband's is always trying to lose weight. So he is paying $1500 (!!) to his "Doctor" for some magic drops. Two a day on your food and the weight falls off. Of course the food you put them on can only amount to 500 calories a day (SNORT--CHOKE--GUFFAW!!!!) I don't worry about him he won't be suffering long, only in his wallet.

Doctor Biobrain said...

Well, if the drops are gross enough that they could limit a fatty to 500 calories a day, or even the recommended 2000 calories a day, they're probably worth it. Or, the doctor could just give the guy liquid LSD to drop in his food and he might forget about eating all together.

As for me posting, I honestly don't have my heart in it anymore. In fact, while I know I do have other readers, I think I might just be doing it for you these days, as I'm really not interested in much of this anymore.

Have you considered joining Facebook? As sucky as that idea is, it really is a better way to keep in touch with me. I've really had a lot going on in my life (too much to say here), but would be happy to see you on Facebook. I've seriously been thinking about dropping this blogging thing all together, so if you stop seeing me here, I still pop by there occasionally.

Of course, just me reading myself writing that I'm giving up blogging and suggesting you go to FB upsets me, so maybe I still have a little heart left after all.