Monday, January 11, 2010

Does having sex twice a week "reduce" the risk of heart disease in men?


As Dr John Ray from the Food & Health Skeptic ( comments below, this is typical of the pseudo-scientific epidemiological bullshit that creates so many of the headlines in our media relating to health, creating out of little or nothing health scares or promoting cures and panaceas that give false hope (such as whatever the latest supposed "super food" is today).

Essentially all you have here is a correlation between men who have sex regularly and lower incidence of heart disease. That's it. The rest is pure speculation.

But it could just as easily be rendered as - healthy men tend to have more sex, not that sex somehow makes them healthier.

Same goes for the endless rounds of red wine is good for you; sorry, no it's bad for you; um, no it's actually good for you.

Most of these results are not based upon properly randomised double-blind trials, ie where a study group representing the general population as closely as possible that drinks red wine is compared to a similarly chosen control group that doesn't drink red wine over an extended period of time, with any difference in health outcomes carefully measured.

Rather they are based on epidemiological "research" such as this. Who knows what the causal chain here is, if any. Certainly these people don't, as is clear from the article. Is the correlation significant, or isn't it? Any large enough data set can contain correlations that are based solely on chance.

But on such "evidence" is built the ballooning edifice of public health wowsers and nannies, school lunch box commissars and "wellness" hucksters.

The usual epidemiological nonsense that "intuits" the direction of the cause. The findings show that healthier men have more sex, which is no surprise for a variety of reasons.


Posted via email from Garth's posterous

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