Or, possibly, it may not be. But that’s the sort of headline that makes my heart sink when I spot it in my morning Metro, because it means that some overworked journalist has glanced at a press release announcing new research, written it up in five minutes flat and had a sub create a nonsensical headline. This is how we end up constantly being told that the same thing is both simultaneously good and bad for us, and this is how we end up suspecting that scientists are just making it all up.
Anyway, I’ve just come across a resource that will be very useful the next time I see one of these headlines. NHS Choice’s Behind the Headlines looks at the facts behind media reports of research and explains what the researchers actually found, what it might mean for individuals and whether the research was actually any good to begin with.
For example, it takes a Daily Mail report that arguing with your boss might be good for your heart, based on a study that found links between passive workplace behaviour and heart disease. Behind the Headline quietly points out:
– that the researchers didn’t pay any attention to the diet of their subjects
– that they didn’t properly assess levels of smoking and drinking
– that you probably shouldn’t start shouting at your boss as part of a healthy working life just yet.
How refreshing to see some sensible reporting about science. Please go and subscribe to their RSS feed immediately.
PS No, I have no idea what NHS Choices is either.