How Medical Statistics are embellished to scare you needlessly
Have you ever read a clinical study or even a news report that eating something or drinking something will increase the risk of you contracting some horrible illness by some scary percentage?
Most of the time, this is little more than a theatrical performance that is staged in order to provoke importance in irrelevant findings that they spent way too much money on the studies for them to not report some significant finding, so they get creative with their math instead!
Whenever you read about an “increased risk” of anything that is identified in a clinical study, you can most often be assured that their study found nothing. They’re not talking about your overall risk, they’re talking about the increase from your current or baseline risk, if you didn’t do that. But, they will never identify what your current risk is.
To help you better understand this here is a perfect example of the first random article of embellished fear mongering being used to justify failed clinical investigation that I came across this morning, so that I could have an example to help better explain this to you all.
Just last month, the American Association of Cancer Research backed a study of the impact of consuming alcohol on the risk of developing melanoma cancer, and it was supposedly peer-reviewed and published in the Journal of Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers and Prevention(1) as an overall 13% increased risk for white people who drink white wine, winding up with melanoma skin cancer.
This study was touted as being groundbreaking research, and was reported by several media outlets, including; Elle Magazine(3), CNN(4), The Sun News UK(5), Yahoo News(6), Medical News Today(7), Forbes Magazine(8), Huffington Post(7), and many more but when you look at the news stories, some of them misquote the clinical study, claiming it’s an 18% increased risk, almost none of them identify that they only studied Caucasian people, or that they found no significance in any other type of alcohol, yet some of them, just identify that alcohol will increase your risk.
So let’s have a look at the actual significance of this so-called, groundbreaking research! LOL
There were 315 Million people in the USA in 2013(10) and 1 Million people in the USA were living with melanoma at that time(11) which means a 0.31746031746031744% chance of winding up with Melanoma, but this life altering new research identified that people who drink white wine have a 13% increased risk of winding up with melanoma and this was spun as huge, but here is the reality(3).
Baseline of Probability: 0.31746031746031744%
White Wine Drinker’s Probability: 0.3587301587301587%
How is a crude increase of 0.04% increase to your risk of melanoma even news at all or worthy of the international fear mongering?
Seriously? A VERY grossly estimated 0.04% increase of risk is indisputable science worthy of peer reviewed, medical journal publication and science magazine articles, when it is convenient to them, but when it is natural medicine, they start talking about 30%, 40% and 50% placebo effects?
But, the reality of this, is that it’s not even a 0.04% increase that has been identified, because they only used light-skinned people for this study, so one would have to be able to differentiate the numbers of light-skinned people only, which they know full well, are at the highest risk of melanoma, and why they selected that only data. It also means that the real risk is likely only a fraction of the 0.04%. Yet, this is worth of Peer Reviewed Journals and widespread International news coverage?
Another thing that you will always see when they’re trying to fake the science to scare you with statistics, is how the numbers are age-adjusted, population adjusted, they’ll pick only the worst year, or find some other way to modify the numbers to suit their needs, like the only tested light-skinned people, as they did in this study.
So, don’t just be careful of fake information from unqualified bloggers and be careful of what clinical evidence you accept as fact.