Thursday, 7 August 2014

Media reporting on Scientific research

The number of times the media latches on to some spurious PHD research by a student who couldn't think of anything else to write and then puts it up as factual knowledge that we should all jump to (or at least those who are not so sceptical of the media do)  Take for instance the MMR vaccine scare where thousands of parents lept at this non proven research that stated that the MMR vaccine causees autism.  Now we have many more cases of Measles than we should have.  But I digress.  The latest thing is that a lack of Vitamin D has shown that people are more suceptable to Dementia,  I've listened to all the reports and not one has asked any searching questions of the  Professor who has published this.  Just taken the whole thing as fact. Let me ask a question.  How rigorous was this research?  How do we get Vitamin D?  Well most of us through sunlight and some through oily fish.  But mainly through sunlight.  Dementia is generally an illness of  the elderly.   One of the issues we have is that the elderly are often lonely and don't meet with people to the same extent as the rest of us. They don't go out much.  In other workds elderly patients may well have less Vit D. But couldnt the Demetia be due to the the fact that they are lonely?  They don't have meanigful conversation?  Their brains are not being made to stay active. My conclusion is therefore different.
Loneliness could be one of the causes of Dementia.  Loneliness also causes a lack of Vit D but is not necessarily a cause of Dementia.
Not one member of the News Media has questioned this academic about the rigour of the research.  Lets just put out a statement as if its fact is their answer.  I want News and Fact backed up by rigorous reporting.  We don't get either.