When I graduated from college (many years ago), I used to seek out medical knowledge in arcane places such as the New England Journal of Medicine. For those of you not aware, the NEJM is one of the most respected journals read by medical doctors, and typically requires the fluent understanding of Latin to comprehend the articles (exaggerating just a little on the Latin part). Well, after a couple of years of reading the NEJM, I started seeing a pattern quite different than I experienced reading engineering journals — namely, claims and conclusions were frequently overturned with diametrically opposed recommendations (alcohol is bad for you… a little red wine is good for the heart.)
I was reading some articles on-line and I came across this heading: “Tomato study yields confusing results“. I was initially interested in the article because the amateur horticulturist in me thought that I would learn something new about raising my beefsteak tomatoes. In reality, the article led with this paragraph:
Tomatoes don’t really help prevent cancer after all. Yet at the same time, perhaps they do. So say the confusing results of a new study that was to be released Wednesday by one of the world’s top medical research institutes.
This is what triggered me to start thinking about about the lack of science in medicine… Based on my experiences with medicine, I avoid the latest fads and just try to eat properly, get a decent amount of exercise, and get restful sleep — everything in moderation.