I was spoiled for choice for a story from last week.
There was an interesting report from the University of East Anglia showing what it calls “the true cost of diabetes.” The projection that we’re heading for 592 million diabetics by 2035 and the estimate that the average lifetime cost to the US healthcare system for a diabetic is $283,000 should have public health care systems exploring every other option (e.g. diet?).
Then there was one of the daftest claims I have seen: diet drinks increase waistlines in a study of over 65s in America. a) the results were tiny – over almost a decade, the diet drinkers gained an average of 2.11 cm and the non diet drinkers gained an average 0.77 cm. Try measuring your waist to even a centimetre! And b) even if this association is anything to get excited about, there’s an equally plausible direction of causation – people turn to diet drinks when they think they’re gaining a bit of weight.*
The breastfeeding story
On Tuesday 10th March 2015 a Cochrane study was published entitled “Hormone therapy for preventing [HRT] cardiovascular disease in post-menopausal women.”
Cochrane reviews are the gold standard of reviews. They are called systematic reviews, which are seen as Level I evidence in the world of academia. They are undertaken by worldwide collaborators who are free from commercial sponsorship and other conflicts of interest. It should be noted, however, that Cochrane researchers can only review the studies that are available and these have often been funded/supported by the pharmaceutical industry.
This review was reported very differently in the UK media: