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Posts Tagged "evidence"

Absolutely Maybe

Blink! This Contact Lens Post Could Make Your Eyes Water

Cartoon of rose-colored glasses for reading about contact lens risks

He would dab on a bit of cocaine to anesthetize his eyes first. Then, to prevent air getting in, Müller would insert the lenses with his eyes under water. And they would help his myopia … for about half an hour. Wearing them much longer was intolerable. It was 1889 and August Müller was a 25-year-old [...]

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Absolutely Maybe

Long Overdue: Is the Question of Induction of Labor and Cesarean Section Settled?

Cartoon of pregnancy etiquette for childbirth advice

I used to think there was no question about this. Induction was the prologue to a long, hard labor that often wouldn’t go well. And cesarean section was the (un)natural logical end of that. Simples. In the early 1970s, induction got out of hand - over half of labors in the UK were induced. Then came a [...]

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Absolutely Maybe

Is a Baby Aspirin a Day the New Apple?

Cartoon of a shelf of aspirin

His first big clue came when people started hemorrhaging after chewing gum. Lawrence Craven did tonsil and adenoid surgery in his office. And it usually went well. But in the mid-1940s, “an alarming number of hemorrhages were evidenced in disturbing frequency,” he said. He figured it was the aspirin chewing gum people were using for [...]

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Absolutely Maybe

Resveratrol Hangover: Waking Up After Hypothesis Bingeing

Cartoon of a tottering house of cards

Outbreaks of science myth-busting can be a bit of a puzzlement. The science behind a popular headline-maker might be a tottering house of cards, but it can be impressively sturdy nevertheless. New studies might re-arrange it a little here or there, but it doesn’t usually topple. Only those studies that reinforce the narrative seem to [...]

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Absolutely Maybe

Vacation: What’s the Point?

Cartoon - what did you do on vacation? Went cherry-picking

It’s not really news when a journalist goes cherry-picking for juicy tidbits to fit a narrative, is it? We all fall into the trap of going too easy on the things we want to believe. So what is it about a piece about vacations in Vox that got me rushing to the keyboard? Science journalist [...]

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Absolutely Maybe

A Viewer’s Guide to Mammography Evidence Ping-Pong

Cartoon of woman saying you bet I have questions

You could get a very sore neck watching all the claims and counter-claims about mammography zing back and forth. It’s like a lot of evidence ping-pong matches. There are teams with strongly held opinions at the table, smashing away at opposing arguments based on different interpretations of the same data. Meanwhile, women are being advised [...]

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Absolutely Maybe

The Disease Prevention Illusion: A Tragedy in Five Parts

Cartoon of an early bird catching no worms

Act I: An ounce of “prevention.” “Prevention is better than cure.” Aphorisms like this go back a long way. And most of our dramatic triumphs against disease come from prevention: clean water, making roads and workplaces safer, antiseptic routines in hospital, reducing smoking, immunization, stemming the spread of HIV. Many of our cultural superstitions and greatest [...]

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Absolutely Maybe

The winter sneeze – hand, tissue or Dracula style? (Gesundheit!)

Cartoon of Marie Antoinette saying "Let them sneeze into their elbows"

When I was a kid from the wrong side of the tracks, wiping your nose on your clothes was a marker of social class. Lots of us girls were very keen on our hankies, though. I used to embroider initials on them and crochet lace around their edges. Now it’s hankies that should make people [...]

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Absolutely Maybe

5 key things to know about meta-analysis

Cartoon - meta-analysis bookshop

Knowledge accumulates. But studies can get contradictory or misleading along the way. You can’t just do a head count: 3 studies saying yes minus 1 saying no ≠ thumbs up. The one that says “no” might outweigh the others in validity and power. You need a study of the studies if you want to be sure [...]

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Absolutely Maybe

Inching closer towards a science base for justice

Photo of installation

In a courtroom, the full power of the state comes down on an individual. No one should have to face that on their own. A criminal defense lawyer was making this argument to me after a long day in the court we were both working in. I’d asked him, how could he defend that man? [...]

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Not bad science

Is It Possible To Forget? Investigating the Suppression of Memories

scary-clown-1-580x435

Everyone has experiences happen to them that they’d rather forget about. Every so often though, you might have a reminder of that experience: perhaps someone says something to you or you see something that jogs your memory. When this happens, and that memory rises to the surface, you may try to block that memory, or [...]

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Symbiartic

How Fossil Fish Make Front-Page News

13-042FEATURE

Perhaps you’ve heard about Entelognathus primordialis this week. Wait, the scientific name doesn’t ring a bell on its own? What if I refer to it as the 419-million-year old placoderm fish that surprised everyone with its beautifully preserved, surprisingly modern-looking jaw? Entelognathus primordialis shakes our family tree at its roots; it unseats cartilaginous fish as [...]

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