Bad Science & Social Media Chatter

Image from The Lancet

The Power of Social Media over Bad Science

Can the common folk change their destiny by openly discussing science (good or bad science, even those that are just mimicking research)? Recently, on Twitter in particular, scientific debates are daily. Some of these debates can become less than cordial, but, on average, the ugly and the constructive sort of balance out. Often the constructive wins. Here is the latest example: an article originally published by The Lancet that received a nasty treatment from many online discussions—including from me, see here, here, and here.

A new correspondence to the January 2019 Eat Lancet article published on the 25th of November 2019. The correspondence is very interesting; it shows how much power people have using social media. Here is a quote from the paper:

“Scientists and journals face serious challenges in a rapidly changing media landscape that is susceptible to the intentional dissemination of misleading content.2 Health communication campaigns are clearly susceptible to polarisation, so-called content pollution, and disinformation.3, 4

Scientists and scientific outlets such as The Lancet need to be continuously aware of, and act proactively, to avoid manipulation and misinformation about issues of fundamental importance for human health and the planet.” (see here)

Well I’ll be darn if this is not great news!

While the authors published this article to point out the huge negative power of information (they call misinformation) that is available to the general public, and which can doom good or bad science, note what it means to the general public: the public can doom any science if they see it is full of bogus information. The research they conducted shows just how much power we have! So let’s use it from now on for all research appearing in publications! Let us look and see the merit—or lack thereof—of any research paper published and let us chew the bad ones apart publicly so that those without a biology degree can understand what not to follow!

Finally! We The People!

We have the power to destroy the reputation of the science that is bad science (and scientist(s)) and point out the problems with the research as well as with the researcher(s). And even if that bad science will not change in the paper—meaning no retraction—the people change as a result of the new understanding they receive. People get educated over time and learn to see through bad science.

And even if they don’t understand why it is “bad science”, they read the articles and comments we or some other social media may write. For example, the article that appeared in the Independent, a UK-based news, which you can see here. Or if you have outlived your free-reading welcome there, then read it here.

Image from the Independent

We are tired and downright annoyed at the same old science for the past 50+ years that already got us obese and sick. We will no longer listen to carefully formulated bad science.

The People & Social Media

There are millions of people all over the world who dropped old science and their doctors cold turkey and moved to self-cure themselves. And they are succeeding without—I should say in spite of—their doctors and nutritionists.

We all are tired of scientists publishing with interest group supporting whatever their agenda, which covers their research expense and also brings money into their pockets. Note that “VG is Deputy Director at the Stockholm Resilience Centre (SRC), Stockholm University. SRC is scientific partner to the EAT Foundation” (included in The Lancet correspondence) is one of the authors of the article on social media influence, complaining about its power. The interest group is listed with his association. The original article he is supporting, the Eat Lancet article by Willett et al., see here, had many authors with financial conflicts of interests, including him.

Thank you for this research finding David Garcia, Victor Galaz, and Stefan Daume. It makes me extremely happy to see how our power increased over yours!

Comments are welcome, as always, and are moderated for appropriateness

Angela

About Angela A Stanton, Ph.D.

Angela A Stanton, PhD, is a Neuroeconomist focusing on chronic pain--migraine in particular--physiology, electrolyte homeostasis, nutrition, and genetics. She lives in Southern California. Her current research is focused on migraine cause, prevention, and treatment without the use of medicine. As a forever migraineur from childhood, her discovery was helped by experimenting on herself. She found the cause of migraine to be at the ionic level, associated with disruption of the electrolyte homeostasis, resulting from genetic variations of all voltage dependent channels, gates, and pumps (chanelopathy) that modulate electrolyte mineral density and voltage in the brain. In addition, insulin and glucose transporters, and several other variants, such as MTHFR variants of B vitamin methylation process and many others are different in the case of a migraineur from the general population. Migraineurs are glucose sensitive (carbohydrate intolerant) and should avoid eating carbs as much as possible. She is working on her hypothesis that migraine is a metabolic disease. As a result of the success of the first edition of her book and her helping over 5000 migraineurs successfully prevent their migraines world wide, all ages and both genders, and all types of migraines, she published the 2nd (extended) edition of her migraine book "Fighting The Migraine Epidemic: Complete Guide: How To Treat & Prevent Migraines Without Medications". The 2nd edition is the “holy grail” of migraine cause, development, and prevention, incorporating all there is to know. It includes a long section for medical and research professionals. The book is full of academic citations (over 800) to authenticate the statements she makes to make it easy to follow up by those interested and to spark further research interest. It is a "Complete Guide", published on September 29, 2017. Dr. Stanton received her BSc at UCLA in Mathematics, MBA at UCR, MS in Management Science and Engineering at Stanford University, PhD in Economics with dissertation in neuroscience (culminating in Neuroeconomics) at Claremont Graduate University, fMRI certification at Harvard University Medical School at the Martinos Center for Neuroimaging for experimenting with neurotransmitters on human volunteers, certification in LCHF/ketogenic diet from NN (Nutrition Network), certification in physiology (UPEN via Coursea), Nutrition (Harvard Shool of Public Health) and functional medicine studies. Dr. Stanton is an avid sports fan, currently power weight lifting and kickboxing. For relaxation (yeah.. about a half minute each day), she paints and photographs and loves to spend time with her family of husband of 45 years, 2 sons and their wives, and 2 granddaughters. Follow her on Twitter at: @MigraineBook, LinkedIn at https://www.linkedin.com/in/angelaastantonphd/ and facebook at https://www.facebook.com/DrAngelaAStanton/
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7 Responses to Bad Science & Social Media Chatter

  1. chris c says:

    tl:dr our sponsors are unhappy with their income. We must push our/their agenda further and shut down all opposition.

    To look at a lot of the mainstream media, especially the likes of The Guardian and BBC, you would think the majority of the population was vegan. In fact I believe it is a single figure percentage, with a few more vegetarians.On “social media” there are a LOT of low carb/Paleo/keto folks but it would be interesting to know how many there are in the actual population, more or less? I’ve met a few low carb diabetics and a few who used it to lose weight in the Real World but not that many.

    I like Tom Naughton’s take – partly derived from Thomas Sowell – of The Anointed vs. the Wisdom Of The Crowd. The Anointed see a Great Wrong and come up with a Grand Plan to solve it. When the plan fails, as it inevitably does, it is never because the plan was wrong but because it was not followed by stupid people and undermined by wicked people, so they double down on stupid. Meanwhile the people following social media fix it and get on with their lives.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Agree, though there are few people who are not on social media of one form or another… I get contacted for migraine by some people every now and then who have no FB or twitter and have heard of me–not sure from where though some doctors now refer to me, so perhaps from there. So this signals that even those not on social media have the chance to know.

      I totally agree with you on the number of vegans and vegetarians. Wikipedia has a great table that summarizes vegetarian, vegan, and the rest https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vegetarianism_by_country India is the largest at 31% vegetarian but 0% vegan (in fact, some Indian twitter buddies pointed me to an article some time ago how they are chasing the vegan influencers out of the country), next is Switzerland, Brazil, and Taiwan! I didn’t expect that; all three 14% vegetarian, no vegans in Taiwan and 3% in Switzerland and Brazil. many countries are missing from this table, of course, but it shows you that vegetarians are in the very minority.

      My problem is the push for annuals and monocrops, destroying the soil, and weakening the ecosystem. In the US you play Russian Roulette these days by eating a bowl of salad!!! People are dropping dead from e. coli infections that are resistant to any treatment… so far this year romaine lettuce killed/or permanently damaged (kidney failure) roughly 200 people in the US. And while everyone is blaming the water, I thnk it is the soil that has lost all of its defenses from all the spraying and it is now creating superbugs.

      So while normally I would care little about vegetarians or vegans, and let them have their way, their ways seem to affect now everyday livign of others and that’s intolerable..

      Like

      • chris c says:

        Indeed, I rabbit on about modern farming because it surrounds me and it’s nearly all carbs except for the margarine, and pretty much all sprayed with glyphosate pre-harvest. Fortunately they still use animal manure, and in return the livestock farmers give them a market for some of the straw. There are only a few intensive pig and turkey farms, most of the animals graze though many go indoors for the winter and are fed haylage and silage with grains only as a supplement. The free range pig farms generally grow crops after a few years of pigs, then move the pigs on to previously cropped land, which maintains the soil. When I was young most farms were “mixed”.They would sow a temporary grass ley and graze cows for a couple of years then plough it up for crops. One guy I knew who did a lot of experimenting would sow turnips and other things into his stubbles then bring in sheep to graze it off and leave neatly pelleted manure ready for a spring-sown crop. The likes of Joel Salatin are doing things which their grandfathers would have understood.

        We sometimes get recalls on supermarket foods but I don’t know how common e. coli is on locally produced veggies, I never saw recalls in the veg shops or farm shops.

        I’m surprised by that vegetarian/vegan article on Wikipedia, I would have assumed they would exaggerate considering some of their biases. Judging by the small numbers of vegetarians/vegans I know In Real Life I would say it was quite accurate for the UK

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Roald Michel says:

    If he had been alive, Richard Feynman too would have been jumping for joy now.

    Me? Hmmm, I’ll wait and see, as I saw the masses, sometimes after a great start, messing things up later on too many times already 😈

    Like

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