Death by Bacon: Did the News get to the Meat of the Matter?

The conclusions were guaranteed to make headlines around the world: processed meats, such as bacon, were carcinogenic—and red meat was a “probable” carcinogen. The World Health Organization’s International Agency for Research on Cancer had surveyed over 800 studies on...

Black Coffee is Not a Sign You Are a Sadist

Black coffee drinkers are more likely to be psychopaths and sadists, screamed a slew of recent headlines (see: Huffington Post and Quartz). And the content of some of these stories was equally hyperbolic: “Are you wondering whether to trust someone you recently met?...

Causation vs Correlation

Journalists are constantly being reminded that “correlation doesn’t imply causation;” yet, conflating the two remains one of the most common errors in news reporting on scientific and health-related studies. In theory, these are easy to distinguish—an action or...

The Drink of Death?

How reliable is the claim that sugary drinks are killing 184,000 people every year?   Sugar-Sweetened Beverages (SSBs)—soda, fruit juice, iced tea to the non-academic—have increasingly been blamed for fattening and sickening the world; now, according to a new study...

Fracking and Babies: It’s Complicated

A new study finds an association between living close to fracking wells and babies who were born small for their gestational age. Small for gestational age (SGA) is a particular diagnosis; if a baby is born below the tenth percentile for weight among babies born with...

Calling Out Coffee Mania: A Reporter Looks at the Statistics

The press bombards us with messages about what’s bad for us: obesity, drugs, too much alcohol, (maybe), coffee, sugar, cell phones, and—most recently—loneliness, which we were told was as damaging to our health as obesity and smoking. Occasionally, we catch a break...
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