5. Not the Full StoryJune 13, 2013
TV Kills was the headline that raced around the world as a result of this study.
As New Scientist pointed out:
The asked 8800 people about their health, lifestyle and television watching behaviour, and then followed them over the next six years, during which time 284 of them died. Among people who spent more than 4 hours a day in front of the TV, it found, the risk of their dying within the period of the study was 46 per cent higher than among those who watched less than 2 hours a day.
The error is confusing CORRELATION with CAUSATION. The risk might involve the sitting rather than TV. Or it could be that those who sit in front of TV longer are not well.
THIS IS A COMMON AND DANGEROUS ERROR INVOLVING HEALTH STATISTICS
Now that we have more screening tools we must be more cautious.
Angelia Jolie had her breasts removed because of testing positive for the BRCA 1 and BRCA 2 genes, which are linked to an increased risk of Breast Cancer.
This is her decision. Anyone facing breast cancer would seriously consider this option.
BUT, be wary if you face this decision.
Think of Asthma. If we started our research into asthma looking for asthma genes we would have found them.
Genes create a pre-disposition for Asthma (hence the correlation) but they do not cause asthma. The dust mite, pollen, cat, dairy and other allergies cause asthma. If researchers had concentrated on genes alone our knowledge of asthma would be limited.
Another study showed that 80% of prisoners in Australia smoke. Isn’t it obvious? Smoking causes criminal behaviour!!!!!