Health Studies

The Convert

Posted on October 20, 2016. Filed under: Health Studies, Psychology | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , |

Possibly, it is the most obnoxious kind of human:  the new “I saw the light” convert.  Everybody knows at least one, and can attest to the truism “give someone a badge, and, he just can’t wait to arrest someone.”

Your words for the day (according to Dean):

  • convert = a waffle; one who is flipped from one side to the other
  • zealot = a waffle on steroids
  • waffle-ism = a dedicated passion to follow the latest and better-sounding argument (see “fad” in your favorite dictionary)
  • immanent doom-ers = disciples of “boy-are-you-gonna-get-it-now-because-you-didn’t…   (pick a failure, any failure)
  • pain in the butt = a persistent proselyzer…   or just a bad case of hemorrhoids

For decades, I had heard that laboratory mice could not survive on a strict diet of man-made white bread.  Every one, said the experts, should therefore eat whole grain breads.  Those around me echoed the mantra whenever they saw the white bread I was stuffing into my mouth.  “Oh, no!” they would say.  “You should be eating whole wheat bread.  That white stuff is not good for you.”

Eventually, though, I caved and followed the crowd.  I sampled the papery texture of whole wheat, and, dutifully, gave up my tasty white bread.  It became a ritual before bedtime to slowly munch 2 slices of whole wheat bread, washing each bolus down, bite by bite, with a swig of ice-cold milk.  That was good, but, the aroma of fresh-baked white bread still sang the Sirens’ song to my taste buds.  Convert-like, I stayed the course and continued to eat healthier.

I walked the path and continued to buy healthy whole wheat.  Until about a year ago.  Loosely holding my prized purchase before me in my grocer’s check-out line, I encountered a convert of the more recent “lose the wheat belly” movement.  Ahead of me in line, he suppressed a superior sneer, but couldn’t keep that condescending grin from showing itself.  “I gave up wheat bread and I feel so much better than I used to.”  Emphasizing his well-being, he stood straight and caressed the flatness that was his abdomen.  He continued to share the benefits of “NO wheat” as a life commitment until my silence and noncommittal gaze conveyed my intense non-interest.

There is little I despise more than to have a stranger accost me and tell me what I am doing wrong with my life.  In all such instances, that individual is simply a proselyte, a tool of some charismatic (read “cockamamie“) theory or preacher.  My negative feelings aside, that encounter with that gabby convert pushed my memory into retrograde:

  • For maybe 100,000 years, wheat has been considered the staff of life…
  • until some lab rats — researchers, not rodents — tried to get mice to live for a year on nothing but loaves of white bread…
  • thereby restricting the unfortunate subjects to a single food item and denying them the varied diet required for their kind to maintain a healthy body…
  • predictably resulting in unhealthy mice.  (This experiment could have been carried out on paper without mistreating those mice).
  • And, just as predictably, the 2-legged lab denizens concluded:  white bread is not good for humans.

Subsequently those lab rats bulked up their resumes while the media, diet gurus, marketing mavens, and medics-with-a-journalistic-bent picked up the drum beat and eaters of white bread became targets of social ridicule.  Further loading of the anti-wheat band wagon ensued when the gluten thing took off like a rocket.

I must note that —

  • for a thousand centuries, white-bread eaters were not dropping like flies in an insecticide cloud…
  • nor were any special diseases or disorders attributed to white bread consumption (such as rickets caused by non-consumption of limes by Limeys)…
  • and, that the new gluten-is-bad-for-you craze is about a slight digestive discomfort showing up in less than 2% of the population.

Further, bread of any kind is normally an accessory for a meal.  No one serves up bread-a-la-carte or plans a meal around bread as the entrée every day of the week.  Which means that the health status of mal-treated mice in a lab bears no relationship to the average human diet or ensuing health status.  But, the researchers and other members of the anti-white-bread band wagon are billed as experts and the public, herd animals to the core, slavishly falls into line repeating the announced party mantra.

Cause evangelists do not limit themselves to just my dietary habits.  That human herd mentality provides instant audiences that can be made to salivate over almost any subject:

  • The secret to wealth, health, peace, and all kinds of other secrets…
  • such as: El Dorado, The Silver Chalice, The Robe, The Fountain of Youth, Yeti, Sasquatch, boogie man, Loch Ness Monster, alien abductions.  The answers are out there!
  • Global warming is real…  People are causing it and we can prove it — especially if we go back and change the input data to agree with our EXPERT conclusions.
  • Climate change is ongoing…   The process is recorded in layer after layer of Earth’s strata over hundreds of millions of years.  Nothing new.

Who can forget the converts of PYRAMID POWER?  No, not the Ponzi schemes; real pyramids that supposedly had the power to sharpen your razor blades overnight or, if placed under your bed at night, you got a great sleep not to be equaled until “sleep number” came out.  There were other claimed beneficial wonders as well, but, none of that survived the few months of frenzy.

ANYWAY, the upshot is that I have resumed eating white bread.  So, all you converts-of-the-moment out there, quit bothering me in the check out lane.

Advertisements
Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )

Microwaves, Bluetooth and Health

Posted on July 31, 2014. Filed under: Health Studies, Technology | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , |

Whoa!  Have I shown you my mutated

Electromagnetic radiation is a basic in the Universe’s structure and operation.  It is everywhere (probably).  The Great Learned of Earth have examined it, mulled it, and catalogued its various manifestations to their satisfaction.  The inventive among them have figured out how to capture that theoretical* stuff and make it work for humans.  Thus, we have devices that can employ, create, record, and interpret long waves, short waves, microwaves, radio waves, x-rays, gamma rays, and, I am sure there are a lot of other descriptive tags** for all that stuff…

some of which — in ANY concentration — ain’t good for nobody.***  Think of it as a Cosmic Candy & Pastry Bistro, with aisle after aisle of freshly prepared, aromatic come-ons everywhere.  As long as you sample very sparingly, the delight remains delightful, but, over-absorption leads to complications within your biomass…   and repeat trips to the clothing store, dietician’s office, medical specialists, and, that  once-in-a-lifetime dream trip to the mortician’s workshop.

For simplicity — and fewer words — let’s just call all that stuff microwaves.  It is omnipresent and useful to that naked ape tool-maker, homo sap us.  But, like all things human, we tend to overdo it.  You ride the wind, you go where it takes you.

Our bodies were developed amidst the wild, chaotic, and yet, orderly, workings of the Universe.  That ambient level of microwaves was calibrated into our genetic makeup.  But, those clever, industrious humans have learned to create and issue billions of new sources of microwaves (radar grids, cell phones, Bluetooth technology, GPS…) that traverse the whole of their environment; have they tipped the scale of neutral microwave effect beyond the normal and natural safe limit of absorption?  If so, to what effect?  If not, how will they ever know?

Hey, I am just one of trillions upon trillions of living entities.  Like all them others, I got lots of questions and almost no answers.  Trial-and-error and wait-and-see are the only strategies any of us have.  But, we humans have invented something else to pass the time between birth and death:  games — such as one-upmanship, he said-I said, unprovable hypothesizing, hot-button journalism…

In the realm of human-generated microwave transmissions, there is either too much or not enough data to determine the degree of impact on human organisms.  Until that is resolved, we will all keep playing our word games.

hmm!  What do you call that, anyway?

 

 

 

 

 

Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )

Death Cup 4: Was coffee study faked and misleading?

Posted on December 30, 2013. Filed under: Health Studies | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , |

ABOUT 76% WAS FABRICATED by my calculation, based on the article’s wording.

Now that I have your attention, let’s get the preliminaries out of the way.  Source refresher:  an online article on August 15, 2013, by Jenny Hope, put up at http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health, on a blog called MailOnLine.

Tossing a few stinky red herrings around, Dr. Snow-Job (a.k.a., Dr. Lavie of the Ochsner Medical Center in New Orleans) said:

  • “There continues to be considerable debate about the health effects of caffeine, and coffee specifically, with some reports suggesting toxicity* and some even suggesting** beneficial effects.”
  • Boy, if I read about results like I found*, I would avoid the problem even without definitive evidence.  (It is too aggravating for me to re-read that story, so I sorta just paraphrased that last comment.)

Dr. Snow-Job, knowing his claim differs from the vast majority of earlier studies, emphasized some studies alleging coffee toxicity* while trivializing the many studies claiming its benefits.  Grasping for further validity, he off-handedly alludes to a “genetic coffee addition” that may make some people vulnerable to his alleged harmful effects…

  • So, Dr. Snow…   any ideas about what this gene was doing for about 100,000 years while hanging around our double helices waiting for Folgers, Maxwell House, Maryland Club, Community, and Starbucks to show up so it could take a coffee break?
  • …I mean, other than just being available to prop up your so-called study?

And yet, through all of these “suggestive” studies, this multi-billion dollar a year industry continues to supply hundreds of millions of customers who HAVE NOT been dropping like flies.

Dr. Euan Paul, Executive Director of the British Coffee Association, at the other end of the chain Dr. Snow-Job rattled, rebutted the “study” with:

  • “…the study’s limitations may have skewed the findings.
  • “Previous studies have found either NO LINK between coffee consumption and heart deaths, or a POSITIVE EFFECT ,” he added.
  • “Other factors such as smoking and poor fitness could partly explain the link with premature death.
  • “There is a growing body of data which suggests that coffee is perfectly safe when consumed in moderation — four to five cups a day — and as part of a balanced diet.”

Now, there is something I DON’T understand.  Controversy is the life blood of the “responsible news reporting” industry (a.k.a., The Big P).  That stuff really drives media sales.  According to

  • …Dr. Lavie, 4 to 5 cups a day is excessive consumption.
  • …Dr. Paul, 4 to 5 cups a day is moderate consumption.
  • …Dean (that be me), 4 to 5 cups is time to start my 2nd pot of coffee…   this morning.

So, hey, all you PAU grads, where is the 2-week ongoing coverage to define (according to the media) excessive vs. moderate consumption?  I am sure you experts in yellow journalism could whip up something between your morning and afternoon coffee breaks.  Dr. Lavie won’t mind if you throw his name around a little.  After all, it’s just more publicity.

Dr. Lavie actually took time to run up a list of statistics based on his…   uh…   study.  I found that odd, since I always thought you had to have real numbers from which to create viable statistics.

  • Snow-Job’s stated age parameter for the study is 20-87 years, which implies a study span of 67 years.
  • Dr. Snow’s stated study length is 16 years.
  • The difference between the “real years” (16) and the “implied years” (67) is 51 years.  Thus, 76% of the claimed study range had to be recounted from the participants’ memories.   That is a polite way of saying that the claimed input data would have to be faked.
  • Don’t get me started on the total lack of breakdown on that 43-thousand plus participant figure…   and, when they quit participating because of death or lack of interest.

Cynicism — my general outlook on existence — is held in low esteem by many of my fellow Homo sapiens.  I CAN’T TELL YOU HOW MUCH I LOVE IT:

  • Is the 20-87 age range the starting ages of the subjects or their ages at the end of the study?  If starting ages, the 87-year-olds finished at 103 years of age, and the 20-year-olds at age 36; if it is their ending ages, then the 20-year-olds began the study at age 4.  AM I BEING OVERLY CRITICAL?
  • The 20-year-old starters quit documenting at age 36, years before entering the dreaded death zone of 40-55 years of age (US Mortality Table, year 2011).  That means there is no recorded data on how their coffee-swilling may have influenced their longevity.
  • The over 55-year-old starters…   what can I say?  They started the study already free and clear of the Lavie Death Zone.  That entire group (How many?  What percent of the total?) left no recorded study data for their pre death-zone drinking habits.  In any case, they had all thumbed their noses at the “premature coffee death” hypothesis before they picked up that first pencil

So, Lavie, when you say you applied the results of the study to the under 55 age group to get an inordinate indication of premature deaths…   EXACTLY TO WHICH RESULTS WERE YOU REFERRING?

Ladies and gentlemen, I present Doctor Euan Paul, Executive Director of the British Coffee Association, who has agreed to give you an encore reading of his objections to Lavie’s publicity stunt.  Doctor Paul, go ahead.

  • The study’s limitations may have skewed the results.”

Thank you, Sir, for stating the more than obvious in such concise terms.

Comparing the “study” to the US Mortality Table for year 2011 shows an interesting result: 

  • Lavie states 2,500 deaths during the 16 years of the study, with just under 1/3 of these from heart issues.  Annual average of these figures:  156 deaths, 46 from coronary causes.  Annual percentage of Lavie’s coronary related deaths:  29%
  • Death zone figures from the US Mortality Table for 2011 gives 1,852,355 deaths, with 597,689 of those coronary related.  Annual percentage of US coronary related deaths32%

Is it just me, or do the annual percentages show that Dr. Lavie of the Ochsner Medical Center, has just demonstrated —

  • the LONGEVITY BENEFITS of consuming 4 OR MORE cups of coffee per day?  

Since NO ONE on the planet Earth knows a given individual’s projected life span until that person dies, what god-like power gives Lavie or any other researcher the temerity to decree what is “premature” death?

___________

*Yeah, that would be Lavie’s own report.

**He is appalled that other studies differ from his own’

***The Chicken Little ploy.  Tacit admission of bull shit?

______________________________________

Series references:  premature death, 4 cups a day, coffee, Dr. Carl Lavie, Dr. Euan Paul, faked study, cynicism, statistical death zone, researcher, coffee addiction gene, caffeine, health effects, longevity benefits

Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )

Death Cup 3: 5 Things THEY Don’t Want…

Posted on December 7, 2013. Filed under: Health Studies | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , |

…YOU to know about “shocking” results of “new health studies.” (One thing I don’t want you to know: this is the longest article I’ve posted to date.)

I really hate article titles like thatthe mysterious “they” holding back on something vital to our survival.  I have covered this before in journalistic veracityThe Big P is looking to sell advertising,* whether it is printed, broadcast, or internetted.**  To that end, salacious, frightening, or sympathy-inducing tabloid-type headlines (yellow journalism), passing as legitimate news, are the means employed.  So, I guess I’m just parodying the Yellow J with Yellow S (sarcasm}.

Rejoining Dr. Snow-Job (Carl Lavie) and his heart-clutching “premature death” announcement, we gonna analyze his load of bull sh…   uh…   bull shize manure.  Remember, TYSK means Thing(s)YouShouldKnow.

TYSK 1.  WHAT ARE THE STAKES FOR THE PUBLICIZING RESEARCHER ?

  • Justification of that 16-year long 9-5 salary?
  • Gain publicity to enhance a GRANT MONEY APPLICATION…   you know, razzle-dazzle those grant signers into giving up the loot so that “research” on the current inanity can continue?  You don’t think he is paying for the “study” out of his own pocket, do you?  The man gotta show positive results, or the money train grinds to a halt.  Ditto his employment.
  • Gain publicity that will enhance his (and his organization’s) REPUTATION, which could get him a raise or a better paying post later?

Down here in the coffee-swilling-with-a-Red Bull-chaser segment of society, we just cut through the b.s. and call it what it is:  resume building, a big feature of which involves fluffing up your creds.

TYSK 2.  WHAT WERE THE ORIGINAL PARAMETERS OF THE EXERCISE…   study…   I meant of the STUDY?

  • I mean, c’mon, who embarks on a 16-year, grant-money-approved-tedium of enrolling 43,727 humans from a (presumed) wide spectrum of society to fill out forms weekly recounting from memory*** their coffee consumption (x 52 weeks = 2,273,804 collected forms/year x 16 years = 36,380,864 collected forms for the study)…
  • …WITHOUT HAVING SOME SORT OF PRE-CONCEIVED AGENDA IN MIND?
  • Can the original (and somewhat casual?) study protocols be adhered to over so many years through so many employees with any reliable degree of accuracy?
  • Oooo…   one more step:  let’s say 10 questions on the form; that would be 363,808,640 questions to be entered for the entire study.  Unless the forms were set up for automatic scanning input, that’s an awful lot of carpal tunnel syndrome…
  • …giving us yet another basis for a new grant-money-subsidized “health” study on the downside to such massive keyboard pecking:  carpal tunnel syndrome…   leg and back problems from sitting for so long…   eyestrain from flickering monitors…   marriage problems from the above-stated work-related stress…   which, in this case, could be attributed to coffee-induced stress by proxy.  (If litigators get wind of this, Dr. Snow-Job^ better have some big bank accounts.)
  • For this study, what participant status was designated to constitute DNFIR (Dead:  No Further Input Received)?  If a participant after, say, 8 years, decided to stop this nonsense and quit sending in the weekly questionnaire, was he listed as MIA, thus prompting a visit from a response team to locate and re-indoctrinate him?  Or, did an unimaginative clerk simply list him as KIA and stick him in the “dead” column as a victim of 4CAD/EDS, thus skewing the claimed results?  (If you have been paying attention, you know this is:  4Cups A Day/Early Death Syndrome.)
  • Was the program originally scheduled for 16 years, or did it just take 16 years to figure out how to string all those non-related data bits into a pearl-like necklace that would dazzle the media and, hopefully, the eventual check-signer of the new grant application (who, incidentally, will be harder to dazzle than the slutty Big P)?

TYSK 3.  IT IS THE NEGATIVE, UNSUBSTANTIATED CLAIMS THAT HIT THE BIG HEADLINE

  • cause they are scary and attention-getting.  Lots of people drink coffee; lots of people are uneasy about death.
  • Just note how many “it is believed that (something negative)…,”   “maybe (something negative)…,”   “there are indications that (something negative)…,”   “It could be that (something negative)…,” etc.  etc. are thrown at you.   Can you spell u-n-s-u-b-s-t-a-n-t-i-a-t-e-d?
  • Just note the big-titled sources and mind-numbing statistics listed to give the article the feel of veracity in lieu of verifiable facts.
  • HOW FORTUITOUS for me:  a new release in this study of uncertainties provides an example of expert fear-mongering-for-publicity-space to enhance the status of (…please understand my loathing to use this word) “experts.”  Seems some group has determined that burned breakfast foods have been found to contain a (possibly) harmful substance; the FDA chimed in with a “maybe” warning.  They specified breakfast, so, I guess if you eat the burned toast at lunch you gonna be in the clear.

TYSK 4.  STUDIES ON A GIVEN SUBJECT ARE INTERMITTENT AND CYCLIC:  good, bad, good, bad, good…   you get the picture.

TYSK 5.  THE TIMING OF THE RELEASES AND WHY THEY ARE ALMOST ALWAYS COUNTER TO CURRENT PUBLIC THINKING

  • “Timing” is easy.  “We are running out of money for all the salaries being paid and need to show fruits of research in order to keep the grant bank open.  We want to keep this sweet gig going as long as possible.”
  • Why counter to public thinking?  In a few words, TO GET ATTENTION.  If you have a yellow announcement posted with a lot of other same shade yellow announcements (same old same old), your bid for the fabled 15-minutes of fame does not stand out and your opinion…   uh…   your biased assertions…   uh, hold on now, I think I’ve got it…   your “scientific conclusions” will go unappreciated.
  • Turf-marking amongst the elite “experts.”  Check with author Diana Gainer^^ (New Title 2:  The Human Journey, available at Amazon.com) who noted that, if you dig up old bones that have been previously named, no one remembers you.   If you can claim those bones are a new type, you get to name them and people remember you.  Authoritarians are no different from gangs or wild animal packs guarding their claimed territories assiduously.  Basically, that means…
  • THE RANKER YOUR MARKING MEDIUM (as attested to by Fido the dog and Tom the cat), THE MORE NOTICIBLE YOUR PERSONA.  Others get a whiff of you, and their ears perk up.

I guess I am old-fashioned; if you tell me with authority that PROBLEM “X” is going to kill me, I am expecting more in the way of reasons than “IT IS SUSPECTED THAT…,”   “MAYBE…,”   “THERE ARE INDICATIONS THAT…,”   and ‘IT COULD BE THAT…”   To me, those are all just variations of…

  • “Blow this up your butt and feel the burn — and, by the way, my name is DR. G. WHIZZ, with 2 z’s…   That’s right, TWO Z’s.  And, YES, I AM A DOCTOR!”

That was just a personal aside so that you feel I am close enough to share my dark side; in the interest of “truth in opinionating,” here is TYSK 6, which is my personal itch aggravated by the unholy union of gossip-journalism [which is (1) the typical genre of today’s info media, and (2) doing it for the money) and pseudo-science (which (1) is doing it for the money, and (2) can be grouped with pop-psychology).

  • TYSK 6.  That kind of crap REALLY pisses me off.  (And, judging from comments affixed to Jenny’s article, a lot of others feel the same way.)

The United States Food and Drug Administration recently provided background music for the gossip- and pseudo- adherents with its “burnt-stuff-for-breakfast” warning — lots of if, maybe, it could be, etc.  Next, we can expect to see litigator ambulance-chasing ads such as —

  • “If your bread or sausage, or that of a loved one living or dead, tends to burn when you over cook it, it is NOT your fault, nor that of your dead or living loved one.  YOU MAY BE ENTITLED TO COMPENSATION from the bakers and packers who failed to include FDA approved fire-retardants in the base mixtures.  Contact us at 1-800-FillMyPpockets.  We are…

(Here, you may insert one of the following proven client grabbersChristians…   Big Business Tamers…   Champions of the common people…   et cetera ad nauseum)

  • “…SO YOU CAN TRUST US TO GET YOU WHAT YOU DESERVE.”

 ________________________

*Obnoxious pop-ups

**Posting stuff on the web (my definition)

***Alluded to by Dr. Paul Euan, Executive Director of the British Coffee Association

^Dr. Carl Lavie, Oschner Medical Center, New Orleans

^^I do not know how the science community views Ms. Gainer, but, since she seems to use clarity of thought in her comparisons, I suspect she is persona-non-grata at the annual mutual-admiration meetings of the Science Boys Clubs.

Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )

Death Cup 2: The Snow Job

Posted on November 4, 2013. Filed under: Health Studies | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

If you are a coffee drinker, you were taken aback by the recent “4 cup a day early death syndrome” (4CAD/EDS) press release. It is not truly a scientific study; it has all the earmarks of a publicity stunt to enhance a researcher’s status or give the research group some credibility. Basically, it is just another attempt to manipulate public perception. IT IS A SNOW JOB.

True confession: I am NOT omniscient.  In fact, ignorance is that warm security blanket shielding me from untold amounts of information that serve no purpose other than to scare the pants off me. For instance, I love nature shows and finding out all sorts of things about the structure in which I exist. What do the science channels insist on telling me? This stuff:

  • Yellowstone Park, USA, is the site of a gigantic volcano caldera that could blow anytime (it is a thousand years or so overdue), destroying most of the United States and crippling civilization all around the globe…   or was that Krakatoa or Iceland… 
  • A rock or something icy flying about the solar system could slam into the Earth at any time, Ditto the results… 
  • A star going super-nova out there in the galaxy somewhere could send a tsunami-like wave of particles across our solar orbit and strip the atmosphere from Earth…

I can’t do anything about any of that.  WHY DO I NEED TO KNOW IT?  And then there was that Cote de Pablo thing with NCIS…

On the other hand, Dr. Snow-Job* apparently wants people to think he is omniscient.  His comments for the press release acknowledged that many other studies run counter to his heart-stopping announcement.  His justification for the counter conclusions — AND I PARAPHRASE WHAT I HEARD as Lavie crowded the microphone and said…

  •   “I…   CONCLUDED!  Therefore…   IT IS.  So, don’t bother me with your silly requests for corroborating data.” 

I don’t want to sound like that, so, let me tell you straight up where I stand on this matter of coffee consumption:

  • COFFEE.  BLACK coffee.  HOT black coffee.  In a ceramic cup, foam cup, metal cup, plastic cup, mug, open top or sip through lid.  More than 4 cups a day, every day, every week.  For more than a couple of decades, Outdoors in cold rainy weather loading/unloading trucks, and, while bored outta my gourd on the long, 7a-5p office tours.  COFFEE.  Black COFFEE.  Hot black COFFEE.  That’s my bias, and, I’m sticking to it.

Let me share with you the essence of the recent scary headline, designed by others to alter your perceptions, but, mostly, to get you to notice all those pop-up ads on the Yahoo, Google, et al home pages and the blog website.  The scary, please-notice-my-popups headline is first:

  • More than four cups of coffee a day puts you at risk of early death, claim experts (this was the big headline)
  • High consumption raises premature death chance in younger people (this was the little headline)
  • The findings come from a U.S. study of 43,727 individuals aged 20 to 87
  • It is suspected that excessive consumption may adversely affect metabolism
  • By Jenny Hope, Published:  12:16 EST, 15 August 2013, Updated 19:27 EST, 15 August 2013, http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health **

Those are all the facts you can expect to find in this article.  The rest of this stuff is the product of my disturbed cynicism.

My initial reaction to the calculated gloomy announcement:

  • “…claim experts.”  — Only ONE alleged expert was cited.
  • “…premature death chance in younger people.”  — Clarified later as under age 55.  Are you kidding me?  What over-the-hill 30-year-old considers 55 as young?
  • A (16-year) US Study of 43,727 people aged 20 to 87.  —  A lot of years, a large number of subjects, and a wide age range to give the feel of thorough procedural veracity.  (O-kay…   so the 20 year olds are now 36, and the 87 year olds who started the study are 103 years old today…   right?)
  • “It is suspected that…” — Wasn’t the point of the announcement to PROVE THE CLAIM rather than CLAIM THE PROOF?

Are you Homo sapiens sapiens, or simply H. sap…   a deep thinker, or your run-of-the-mill gullible rube?

  • Taxonomically, Homo sapiens sapiens is the upgraded version of Homo sapiens neanderthalis (or some cousin thereof).  H. sap. is often — and sometimes aptly — used to abbreviate that classification.

If you are Homo sapiens sapiens (the one who thinks for himself) , there are certain Things You Should Know (TYSK) about this and all publicized so-called studies.  (This is your chance to show you are smarter than a cave man.)  I will list them here, and, in the next segment, elaborate on each of them.

  • TYSK 1.  What are the stakes for the publicizing researcher?
  • TYSK 2.  What were the original parameters of the exercise…   study…   parameters of the study?
  • TYSK 3.  It is the negative, unsubstantiated claims that hit the BIG headline.
  • TYSK 4.  They are intermittent and follow a predictable cycle:  good, bad, good, bad, good…   you get the drift.
  • TYSK 5.  The timing of the releases and why they are almost always COUNTER to current public thinking.

Okay.  You have enough time to grab another cup or two of coffee before the next installment, Death Cup 3.

__________________

*Dr. Carl Lavie, a co-author of the alleged study results.  Sorry, Doc, but all authoritarians-for-a-buck get a moniker in this blog.

**In the wake of Dr. Snow-Job’s announcement, there were many articles posted on-line about “early coffee death” making it look like a landslide of evidence damning coffee drinking.  THERE WAS ONLY ONE STUDY commented on by dozens of bloggers and journalists.  Just about the only difference in all those stories was the name of the blog posting its version  —  and the pop-ups the various oportunistic blogs waived in front of you.   

Series references:  premature death, excessive coffee consumption, Dr. Carl Lavie, Dr. Euan Paul

Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )

Coffee? 4 Cups A Day? You gonna die

Posted on September 2, 2013. Filed under: General Interest, Health Studies, Journalism | Tags: , , , , , , , , , |

…but, even if you DON’T drink coffee, you GONNA DIE anyway.

Your proverb for the day:  It ain’t poison unless it kills you within a week. Anything taking longer than that is just what floats your boat.

DIE, coffee drinker, DIE!  …Ooooooooooooooo!  Sounds like a vengeful spirit out of Hollywood, doesn’t it?  Relax.  It’s just one of your biennial “scientific study” publicity releases.  I guess those are okay, since most of us don’t have the time to take off from work and spend 5 or 10 years without pay asking people what they did before they died.  But, these unpaid researchers patiently tally, categorize, enter data into spreadsheets, divine what it all means, figure out which mathematical tact will “prove” what they set out to prove in the first place…   Yeah!  I didn’t buy it, either.

Your words for the day:

  • existence = (consider it) a sporting event
  • birth = “WAKE UP!  You’re at bat.”
  • life = going for extra bases
  • death = you got tagged (“You’re outta here!”)
  • the dugout = your basic hole in the ground

Source of today’s laugh:  an online article on August 15, 2013, by Jenny Hope, put up at http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health on a blog called MailOnline.  (Aside to the author:  Usually, I refer to female journalists giving me a laugh like this as Jenny Stonebottom.  I will spare you, since your name is already “Jenny” and Jenny Hope sounds like a cutie.*)

The headline — the funny part.  “More than four cups of coffee a day puts you at risk of early death, claim experts.”

The big picture, if you have been too busy dealing with life to have noticed:  One gets BORN; one LIVES LIFE as events, circumstance, and personal whims permit; then, one DIES.  You have no control over your birth; you have less control over the progress of your life than you like to think; and — though some might fiddle with the “how” — one DIES.  No refunds.  You can’t avoid death.

You only go around once in life, so grab some gusto while you can(It’s not plagiarism!  It is — loosely — from a beer commercial a few years ago, but, I don’t remember which one.  Al Gore’s information highway can answer that for you…   my smart phone is on the fritz.)

You survived the first year of LIFE.  Consider yourself on base.  From here on, the name of the game is (1) don’t get tagged out, and, (2) try to have some fun.  (Yeah, I know, it’s kind of ironic — avoid getting tagged and sent to the dugout early while you round the bases, but, when you reach home, you get sent to the dugout anyway.  Don’t dwell on that.  Concentrate on enjoying that trip to second base.)

But, enjoyment comes with a price.  You enjoy scattering your toys while you play, but, come evening, there are the nagging voices of parents saying, “Clean up your mess before you go to bed.”  You enjoy hanging out at the mall with your buds after school scarfing down McDonald’s French fries, but, there is this other group that has figured out LIFE ACCORDING TO THEM and are now suing McDonald’s to prevent YOU from buying and enjoying what YOU enjoy.  You move on over-the-hill (you know…   your 30th birthday) and become health conscious, so you take your vitamins, eat balanced meals, exercise more, take them antioxidants, and wash all that down with a cup of hot coffee…   or four.  And, those do-gooder groups line up at your door to straighten out your act:  you have the wrong balanced diet; you are exercising wrong; vitamins just might not be so good for you; antioxidants are not what they are cracked up to be.   That line extends around the block and you can’t make out who they all are, but, they will announce themselves soon enough…

…Uh, that was your cue, Doc.  Tell them of your fabulous finding that 55-year-old young people can expect to die before they are 55 if they drink 4 cups of coffee a day…

Yeah, I know, right?

  • The over-the-hill 30 year-old can’t blow his birthday candles out because his sides are splitting from finding out that 55 year-olds are called “young” for this study.
  • The record number of over 60 year-olds, who have been drinking 4 cups a day since they were 30, were once part of the “early death” squad claimed by our fame-seeking researcher.  Oh!  Now isn’t that thoughtful.  They are all hoisting a coffee toast to all you doomed 54 and below drinkers.

This article engendered 3 pages of 11×17 paper in 8 point type.  And, 15 cups of coffee.  I had to cut out 2.5 pages just to get this.  So, YES!  You can bet I have more to say on this subject.  (Excuse me.  I gotta hit the head.)

______________

* Okay.  Okay!  That was chauvinistic, sexist, and un-called for.  But, it stays.

_______________________________________

Next up:  lots more stuff about the hazards of coffee studies

Article references:  coffee, coffee study, coffee death, premature death, under 55, health risk, genetic coffee addition, antioxidant, Dr. Carl Lavie, Ochsner Medical Center, Dr. Euan Paul, Director of British Coffee Association.

Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( 1 so far )

Liked it here?
Why not try sites on the blogroll...