Thursday, October 25, 2012

Scientific Integrity is an Oxymoron: Bad ‘science’ from Harvard

By Rich Kozlovich
Today the American Council on Science and Health posted an article in their Medical & Pharmaceuticals section entitled, Bad ‘science’ from Harvard.  The article starts out saying that;
“It isn’t very often that a world-renowned, respected teaching facility, such as Harvard University’s Brigham and Women’s hospital, publicly apologizes for promoting bad research — but that is exactly what they did. The so-called study, led by Dr. Eva Schernhammer and her team of researchers at Brigham and Women’s hospital, concluded that those who drink a daily diet soda sweetened with aspartame could have an increased risk of leukemia, lymphoma or non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.  Aspartame, an artificial sweetener, is an ingredient in some 6,000 products, especially diet soda. Despite literally hundreds of human and animal studies showing no ill effects from aspartame and other artificial sweeteners, Dr. Schernhammer and colleagues looked through the records of more than 77,000 women and 47,000 men in their nurses and health professional’s studies.”
This study was to be published online in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, but at the last minute “the senior vice president of communications at Brigham and Women’s Hospital walked back the press release”.   Why?
First of all this study was already rejected for publication by the Journal of the National Cancer Institute, the Journal of the American Medical Association, The Lancet and the British Medical Journal.   Furthermore the study, according to the article, was “flawed, and showed such unconvincing results.”
Okay, so they 'walked" the release back at the last minute; but my first thought was.....how did it get that far?  Apparently it was clear that the lack of value in this study was easily understandable to anyone with any legitimate credentials, so how did this piece of junk science get past these science "experts"?  Elizabeth Whelan, President of the American Council on Science and Health notes in the above linked article that this;
"only illustrates perfectly the sad path that science has taken. Much of the scientific research we see has become an ideologically driven agenda against aspartame and artificial sweeteners, based on fear of ‘chemicals’.” She continues, “It can even be seen in this month’s issue of Harvard Magazine, which carries a story on ‘Soda and Violence.’ It truly is sad when institutions of higher learning take a turn from sound science to political correctness.”
If the only grant money that was available was to prove that Aspartame and all other artificial sweeteners not only didn’t cause cancer, but was a tremendous boost to our general health we would see these people do an about face so fast that you would think they were the color guard in a military parade.  Then we would be able to see them for what they have truly become.  Old time quacks and snake oil hustlers! 
Whether it is pesticides, artificial sweeteners or a host of other "green" issues you find the same pattern.  The problem is they can't overcome the fact that people in advanced modern civilizations live longer, healthier lives than anytime in human history.  If all these chemicals are so terrible....why is that happening?  Everything we are told should bear some resemblance to what we see going on in reality, and unfortunately reality and the green movement are at odds, but they have never had a close relationship with truth. 
Here is a reality that can't be dismissed.  For a scientist to promote, and support this greenie claptrap for mere grant money and notoriety is to be morally defective. 

Editor's Note: You may wish to view this article from ACSH, Replication, Replication, Replication .

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