The Real Culprit

Is the glass half empty or half full? The pess...

Is the glass half empty or half full? The pessimist would pick half empty, while the optimist would choose half full. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

There are always interesting headlines. Drinking a glass of water before bed reduces chances of heart attack. Drinking raspberry leaf tea reduces risk of preterm labor. Children breastfeed beyond one year achieve greater academic success. And so on.

I try to not get roped into believing everything I read, but ‘facts’ are so hard to argue with. When a study shows a line graph, I am usually pretty convinced. Seriously, you can SEE the difference between the study and the control. I adore the scientific method, studies, research and proof.

But after bringing subject after subject after subject to my skeptical, logical husband I have finally learned to be a tad more objective. What I learned is that even a study (even with a line graph!) can be neglecting certain factors. For instance:

Do people who drink water before bed also have other rituals they observe throughout the day. People who observe routine are also less likely to skip meals, remember to take vitamins, exercise, etc…

Raspberry leaf tea is high in vitamins, is it the tea that prevents preterm labor or a vitamin? What about the nature of the woman who is so careful to research what she eats in pregnancy and takes her vitamins? There is a likelihood this woman also exercises, eats vegetables and skips soda if she cares so much about what she drinks.

Breastfeeding beyond a year or two enhances academic success? Think about what this entails, usually this sort of breastfeeding success entails a stay at home mother, or a working mother who is very diligent to take extra care of her children. This type of woman probably thrives on activities such as reading to her children, exploring nature, and walking and talking to her offspring. Where all these factors considered as well?

I am NOT giving medical advice here, but thought I challenge us all with the task of thinking objectively. There are a lot of studies going on, and a lot of people in media paid for the links we click on and the products we buy. Sometimes it would help us to look beyond the surface level studies and consider the whole picture.

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