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SCIENTIFIC FLIP-FLOPS

Posted by Tim Bryce on May 16, 2014

BRYCE ON SOCIETY

– What is good for us? Scientists really do not know.

(Click for AUDIO VERSION)

To use this segment in a Radio broadcast or Podcast, send TIM a request.

Something that has irritated me for a long time is how scientists change their minds on such things as food and drugs. Whereas, something today may be touted as good, tomorrow it might be discovered it is actually bad, or vice versa. This can be very confusing and puts the credibility of scientists into question. So much so, we no longer know who to believe.

To illustrate, it was recently reported that vitamin supplements were a waste of time and simple natural foods provide better nutrition. Consider how many years we’ve been taking “One A Day,” “Chocks,” “Flintstones Vitamins,” “Centrum,” and dozens of other pills. We’ve been consuming pills for Vitamins A-E, K, Fish Oil, Magnesium, Zinc, and God knows what else since time immemorial it seems. Do you mean to tell me this was only good for lining the pockets of the drug companies? Please say it is not so.

For years, we heard how coffee is bad for you, that the caffeine will ultimately kill us by attacking our hearts and nervous systems. This led to the advent of decaffeinated coffee, the “Tab” of the coffee industry with about the same rotten taste. Now we are being told coffee is good for us. In a recent study by the University of Scranton (PA), it was discovered coffee is the number one source of antioxidants. There is also evidence it reduces the risk of Type 2 Diabetes, Alzheimer’s, and even prostate cancer. It appears a light roast is better for you than a dark roast which may burn off the antioxidants, and you should avoid cream and sugar. I’m just grateful I never gave up my black unleaded version of Chock Full O’ Nuts.

As I grew up, it was preached Marijuana was bad for us. Since the 1960’s though, few seemed to have listened, including our Commander-in-Chief who claimed it was “no worse than alcohol.” Then a movement began touting the virtues of Medicinal Marijuana. In a recent post, I mentioned it has questionable medicinal benefits. Shortly afterwards, a research report was published by Northwestern University and Massachusetts General Hospital/Harvard Medical School, in the “Journal of Neuroscience.” Their research, “suggests young adults who smoke marijuana at least once a week have altered areas of the brain involved in emotion and motivation.” This was closely followed by another report in the Journal of the American Heart Association stating “marijuana use may result in cardiovascular-related complications — even death — among young and middle-aged adults.” Further, a report by the National Institute on Drug Abuse found that “marijuana use makes tobacco use more pleasurable and may increase the user’s risk for becoming addicted to nicotine.” So, surprise-surprise, it is considered bad again and will likely hinder plans to legalize marijuana. I wonder how the anti-tobacco lobby, who advocates marijuana, will react to this.

Alcohol has also had good and bad reviews for many years. On the negative, it has been blamed for a litany of diseases, not to mention drunkenness. On the plus side though, it was recently reported that drinking wine in moderation can be good for you.

In a story unrelated to nutrition, a new research study, published in the Journal of “Nature Climate Change,” and paid for by the federal government, produced the startling fact that Bio-fuels (e.g., Ethanol) create more carbon emissions than fossil fuels (as much as a 7% more than gasoline). This revelation flies in the face of the government’s support of bio-fuels. So what will the government and oil companies do; eliminate Ethanol and increase gas production, or continue to pollute the planet?

Last but not least, there is the issue of Tobacco which has been under scrutiny for the last fifty years. Interestingly, a recent report from Australia reveals there is a molecule in tobacco plants found to be useful in killing cancerous cells in humans. Then there is a report from Vanderbilt University’s Center for Cognitive Medicine which finds nicotine is safe, even helpful in combating Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s Disease. Hmm, let me see if I’ve got this right; if I smoke marijuana, I’ll want to smoke more tobacco, and the nicotine from the tobacco will keep me alert, steady, and will help me with my fight against cancer. I can see the tobacco companies drooling now.

This does not mean you should reach for a pack of cigarettes just yet, but it is an ironic twist in the war against tobacco. In a way, it reminds me of the Woody Allen movie, “Sleeper” (1973) where Allen, who has been in suspended animation for over 200 years, is awoken and finds the world substantially different than when he went to sleep in the 20th century. After being awoken, he is interviewed by a scientist:

Scientist: “Now here, you smoke this, and be sure to get smoke deep down into your lungs.”

Allen: “I don’t smoke.”

Scientist: “It’s tobacco, it’s one of the healthiest things for your body. Now go ahead, you need all the strength you can get.”

This vignette says a lot about the flip-flopping by scientists. It also says a lot about the government grants to pay for such research. It seems the scientists have to produce something, anything, to justify their research. Frankly, I have trouble believing them anymore and will proceed without the vitamin pills, while enjoying a good cup of coffee and cigar. In other words, until such time scientists can authoritatively prove their research, once and for all, tell the scientists to leave us alone.

Keep the Faith!

Note: All trademarks both marked and unmarked belong to their respective companies.

Tim Bryce is a writer and the Managing Director of M&JB Investment Company (M&JB) of Palm Harbor, Florida and has over 30 years of experience in the management consulting field. He can be reached at timb001@phmainstreet.com

For Tim’s columns, see:
timbryce.com

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Copyright © 2014 by Tim Bryce. All rights reserved.

NEXT UP:  PRE OR POST DOCUMENTATION, WHICH DO YOU PREFER? – Documentation is a working tool and a byproduct of design. – Bryce’s Law

LAST TIME:  AMERICAN INVENTIONS  – How technology changed the country and the world.

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9 Responses to “SCIENTIFIC FLIP-FLOPS”

  1. Tim Bryce said

    Here is another for you – Coffee is good for your eyes –
    Coffee good for your eyes:
    http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation-now/2014/05/06/study-coffee-good-for-eyes/8771781/

    Like

  2. Kevin Schachter said

    And how do you feel about Climate Change?

    Like

  3. Tim Bryce said

    Kevin – I guess it’s a matter which scientist you talk to this week. I saw one report on the erosion on Antarctica and another on the rebuilding of the northern Ice pack.

    Like

  4. Tim Bryce said

    A J.D. of Palm Harbor, Florida wrote…

    “I really enjoyed your article. Well written. The subject was interesting and your style made it quite humorous.”

    Like

  5. Pam said

    President Dwight D. Eisenhower, in his farewell speech to the nation, said that he had dire concerns concerning the use of public money for university research . He was concerned about the potential tainting of the research in and of itself… Go figure!!!

    Like

  6. […] SCIENTIFIC FLIP-FLOPS […]

    Like

  7. Tim Bryce said

    For those of you who watch what you eat, here’s the final word on nutrition and health. It’s a relief to know the truth after all those conflicting nutritional studies.

    1. The Japanese eat very little fat and suffer fewer heart attacks than the English.
    2. The Mexicans eat a lot of fat and suffer fewer heart attacks than the English.
    3. The Chinese drink very little red wine and suffer fewer heart attacks than the English.
    4. The Italians drink a lot of red wine and suffer fewer heart attacks than the English.
    5. The Germans drink a lot of beer and eat lots of sausages and fats and suffer fewer heart attacks than the English.

    CONCLUSION: Eat and drink what you like. Speaking English is apparently what kills you.

    Like

  8. Tim Bryce said

    Vegetable-Only Diet Ups Risk for Brain Shrinkage
    http://www.foxnews.com/story/2008/09/15/vegetable-only-diet-ups-risk-for-brain-shrinkage/

    Like

  9. Tim Bryce said

    A B.H. of Boulder, Colorado wrote…

    “The BIGGEST problem I have with the scientific and medical communities today is the tendency of “researchers” to bypass the peer-review cycle and go directly to the more “popular” journals and media with their preliminary (and unconfirmed) results. This means, the PEOPLE get this preliminary information (good or bad) and start a groundswell accordingly. Only after a period of time, additional research, and PEER REVIEW by those in the field who should know methodology and relationships is there any sort of reliable information. Unfortunately, that takes a LOT of time, and that translates to a LOT OF MONEY, which also translates to LOSS OF REVENUE for companies … so it’s the same thing in politics … follow the money if you want to know WHY we get these conflicting reports.”

    Like

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