Coffee, death, and the New York Times Well blog |

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Gary Schwitzer is the founder and writer of HealthNewsReview. He has lined well being care information nearly completely since 1973. Right here is his on-line bio.  He tweets as @garyschwitzer or as @HealthNewsRevu.

A New York Instances publication headline author tried to be cute:

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No, it’s not so easy.

And, no, the research didn’t discover that those that drank reasonable quantities of espresso have a decrease mortality danger than non-coffee drinkers.

That could be a cause-and-effect assertion, and this observational research didn’t discover that, didn’t show that, however solely pointed to a statistical affiliation.

The precise on-line model of the story, linked to from the teaser above, hedged and danced with varied wordsmithing.  Excerpts:

  • “That morning cup of espresso could also be linked to a decrease danger of dying”
  • “There are, nevertheless, main caveats to decoding this analysis… That is an observational research, which implies the info can not conclusively show that espresso itself lowers the danger of dying; there could also be different way of life components contributing to that decrease mortality danger amongst individuals who drink espresso, like a nutritious diet or a constant train routine.”

However whom you select to interview additionally impacts the message.  And the Instances selected to interview one of many editors of the Annals of Inside Medication, which revealed the paper.  And that editor gushed with extraordinary glee for a journal editor.

“It’s enormous. There are only a few issues that cut back your mortality by 30 p.c,” stated Dr. Christina Wee, an affiliate professor of drugs at Harvard Medical College and a deputy editor of the scientific journal the place the research was revealed.”

Besides that, once more, the paper didn’t show a discount in mortality by any p.c.

As I’ve written earlier than, espresso is the poster baby for miscommunicated observational analysis.  However throughout the entire COVID craziness of the latest previous, it has taken a again seat. God assist us if this marks a comeback for crappy espresso headlines.

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