Science is oh so fickle

We may be better off relying on old wives' tales than scientific research, according to a report from The Associated Press. A recent review of 45 studies published in highly acclaimed medical journals shows a third of the studies turned out to be false or have exaggerated results over time.

Of the studies--all of which claimed a drug or therapy worked in fighting illness or injury--16 percent were proved to be out-and-out wrong by subsequent research, and further research of another 16 percent showed significantly weaker results for the treatments studied.

The news doesn't bode well for those hoping a newly released drug will be the end-all, be-all cure for whatever ails them. But it does serve as a reminder that it can sometimes take decades before medical research reveals the whole picture of the effects of a new drug or treatment.

But what I want to know is: Does this mean I should stop drinking beer to make myself smarter?

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About the author

Jennifer Guevin is managing editor at CNET, overseeing the ever-helpful How To section, special packages, and front-page programming. As a writer, she gravitates toward science, quirky geek culture stories, robots, and food. In real life, she mostly just gravitates toward food.

 

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