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  #1   ^
Old Mon, Jun-21-21, 12:58
Kristine's Avatar
Kristine Kristine is offline
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Default The Obesity Wars and the Education of a Researcher: A Personal Account

The obesity wars and the education of a researcher: A personal account

A scathing indictment of Willet and Hu, which got a lot of attention and support from the likes of Gary Taubes, Nina Teicholz, etc on twitter.

Quote:
Abstract
A nave researcher published a scientific article in a respectable journal. She thought her article was straightforward and defensible. It used only publicly available data, and her findings were consistent with much of the literature on the topic. Her coauthors included two distinguished statisticians. To her surprise her publication was met with unusual attacks from some unexpected sources within the research community. These attacks were by and large not pursued through normal channels of scientific discussion. Her research became the target of an aggressive campaign that included insults, errors, misinformation, social media posts, behind-the-scenes gossip and maneuvers, and complaints to her employer.


Quote:
At first, I was startled, but eventually I came to expect partisan attacks masquerading as scientific concerns. I had expected some modest interest in our findings, pursued through normal channels of scientific discussion. I had not expected an aggressive campaign that included insults, errors, misinformation, behind-the-scenes gossip and maneuvers, social media posts and even complaints to my employer many more instances than I have space to describe here. It seemed that some felt that our work should be judged not on its merits but rather on whether its findings supported the goals and objectives of the interlocutors. I saw first-hand the antagonism that can be provoked by inconvenient scientific findings.

Guidelines and recommendations should be based on objective and unbiased data. Development of public health policy and clinical recommendations is complex and needs to be evidence-based rather than belief-based.46, 47, 48, 49, 50. This can be challenging when a hot-button topic is involved. Scientific findings should be evaluated on their merits, not on the basis of whether they fit a desired narrative.
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  #2   ^
Old Wed, Jun-23-21, 08:23
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GRB5111 GRB5111 is offline
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Thanks for the link. This publication definitely gets my attention. "Science" is a very loose term nowadays that too often represents a weapon used to support a philosophy of crusades, agendas and politics. It's disturbing realizing that there are other "science" crusades going on today that can be placed in this category; yet, we're on this forum for nutrition and healthy eating. Yes, Willett and Hu of PSPH, cited in many other threads in this forum, seem to be ever-present to trigger attacks when a narrative doesn't fit their view of dietary or metabolic health. This study simply researched obesity and published the findings that adjusted for obesity-related mortality. But it caused a firestorm of attacks from these jokers. Given the major worldwide increase in human obesity and the diseases associated with T2D, one would think that most dedicated scientists would want to get to the root cause of this riddle and would welcome challenges and corrections to previously published papers.

In the mean time, dynamics like this confuse the public and prevent any communication of agreed upon healthy practices to correct the serious health issues experienced worldwide today. How does the saying go? "Nero fiddled while Rome burned."
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  #3   ^
Old Wed, Jun-23-21, 08:33
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Benay Benay is offline
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A woman on Twitter heard her diagnosis of T2 diabetes then had a gout attack the next day. She thought they were related and were an overnight phenomenon rather than years in the making.

It is criminal to my mind to have so much dis-information out there that people and their physicians believe.
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  #4   ^
Old Wed, Jun-23-21, 09:48
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Kristine Kristine is offline
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Of note: the same prof. Hu went after Nina Teicholz's 2015 BMJ paper criticizing the USDG review process. (Found via April Harding on twitter)

Quote:
CSPI in particular opposes new thinking on saturated fat, presumably because the group has campaigned against these fats for decades and indeed, is uniquely responsible for driving them out of the food supply. Yet these fats have undergone considerable reconsideration over the past five years [There are many articles on this, in mainstream publications]. In her BMJ piece, Teicholz argued that this recent science had not been systematically reviewed by the 2015 DGA committee.

CSPI wrote the letter of retraction submitted to The BMJ and collected signatures from 180+ scientists, including all members of the Dietary Guidelines Advisory committee. This is virtually an unprecedented number of scientists (?) calling for retraction of an article [and is therefore arguably a subject that RW ought to address]. The original number of signers was actually higher, but 18 dropped out. Harvard professor Frank Hu made a particular effort to round up signatures. He is the DGA committee member who chaired the 2015 DGA review of saturated fats that Teicholz criticized.

Its not clear whether the 180+ scientists understood the alleged errors that formed the foundation of the BMJ retraction request, as reporter Ian Leslie reported in The Guardian: When I asked them to name just one of the supposed errors in it [the BMJ article], not one of them was able to. One admitted he had not read it.


(bold mine) (From https://shootingthemessenger.blog/tag/retraction-watch/ )
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  #5   ^
Old Wed, Jun-23-21, 15:13
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cotonpal cotonpal is online now
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This is why Dr. Richard Feinman calls nutritional science an oxymoron.
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  #6   ^
Old Thu, Jun-24-21, 07:49
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WereBear WereBear is offline
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Quote:
Scientific findings should be evaluated on their merits, not on the basis of whether they fit a desired narrative.


While this is hardly new* I do think electronic communications makes it swifter and easier for anyone to indulge in it, and quickly flood available channels for the purpose of sowing confusion.

*Dr Ignaz Semmelweis was hounded from the medical profession and beaten to death in an insane asylum because he suggested doctors should wash their hands.

They were all gentlemen! How dare he suggest such highly ranked men would have dirty hands!
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  #7   ^
Old Fri, Jun-25-21, 04:51
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Benay Benay is offline
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I had not known this about Dr Ignaz Semmelweis

Thanks

PS They still don't wash their hands - they use gloves instead
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  #8   ^
Old Thu, Jul-01-21, 05:54
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It occurred to me this morning that I learned the scientific method from my own reading.

It was a rare science class that even went there, much less explored it in all its glory.
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