More and more studies these days are just excuses to spend public money. Some are studies that show things that have already been known for a while, while others are simply poorly designed and constructed. But sometimes, we have the bad luck to stumble upon a study that represents everything bad about scientific researches. One such a case stems from Boston, as poorly designed study ties brain health to fitness.
The completely unprofessional study
Published on the 10th of February in the journal Neurology, the study that tied exercising and keeping your blood pressure under control in your midlife to having a better brain health is one of the worst examples of studies done right in recent times; and not because the premise was false.
Actually, the premise and the large sample of subjects were pretty much the only things the researchers behind the study got right. Everything else was an example of how not to approach a study. Here are the details.
The researchers looked at 1,500 men and women aged 30 to 50, none of them suffering from dementia or heart disease between 1979 and 1983. The participants were asked to run on a treadmill to determine their fitness levels; next comes the part that invalidated the whole study – the researchers didn’t perform MRI scans of the participants’ brains.
During the second stage of the study, lasting from 1998 to 2001, the participants were asked to perform the same fitness tasks again. Afterwards, an MRI scan of their brains was taken, leading the researchers to conclude that those that lacked physical activity had a decrease in their brain volume.
See the problem yet?
Since there were no initial scans taken of the participants’ brains, there was no way to determine the validity of the premise. It’s true, other professionally done studies confirm the premise, but that doesn’t make this particular study any less professionally incompetent.
Why the trend is worrisome
We’ve seen this trend increasingly more often over the past few months, and actual experts are starting to get worried. This is because since so many studies are done just for the sake of performing a study, people are going to stop trusting actually important researches.
Studies that are attempting to confirm something already confirmed, that are starting with the wrong premise, or that are simply incompetent in following through with simple scientific procedure, along with them wasting precious public funds on something pointless, are a threat to the actual scientific community attempting to enlighten people.
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