Friday, 5 March 2010

Everything I hate about science reporting...

The BBC has managed to hit just about everything I hate in science reporting in one story. It's about how DNA analysis could predict most effective diet. So, I click on it to read.
A simple DNA test may predict whether someone is more likely to lose weight on a low fat or a low carbohydrate diet, say US researchers.
The results from the small preliminary study of 101 women showed those on the best diet for their genes lost two to three times more weight than the rest.
The results are being presented at an American Heart Association conference.
Experts said the findings tied in with previous studies, but further work should be carried out. 
Who are these researchers? What conference? When? What was the nature of their study? I'm not looking for crazy details, like the metabolic pathways involved... hell, even some credit to the team(?) of people who did it would be great. Some names, for crying out loud.  Who are "researchers?" Stanford is a big university. Saying "Researchers at Stanford" is like saying "Some people in California." It doesn't let me know who the heck we're talking about.

Thank goodness they didn't bring on some quack for false balance...

1 comment:

themadengineer said...

If it's a DNA test, then it should indicate what gene, or at least what protein that gene controls. Boy are they leaving a lot out.
It would be like saying "A new test shows that painting your room a certain color raises IQ scores" and then not saying which color, what the test rise is (which could be margin-of-error or less), and so on.
Which makes me wonder -- were the details omitted for "film at 11" purposes, or because the reporter didn't know and didn't care?