Friday, November 05, 2010

The Beeb Sets Something of a Precedent

I thought this article by the BBC was interesting, mostly because they actually linked to the study in the BMJ. It is the first time I can recall a mainstream media publication doing that since I started paying closer attention (mostly with the intention to mock their poor science). I wonder if this unprecedented linking has anything to do with the preponderance of health blogs where people actually analyze the data themselves rather than just get it spoonfed from some j-school graduate. Naw, probably not.

I take vitamin E, as it is recommended by Drs Eades and Eades, and I am going to continue for the reasons they cite: increased insulin sensitivity, 40% lower heart disease risk and most importantly, preventing wrinkles (I've got my public, dahling).  The meta-study (I'm not a huge fan of meta-studies, too much room for cherry-picking) cited shows that vit E might increase the rarest form of stroke, haemorrhagic, by 22% whilst lowering the risk for the most common stroke, ischaemic, by 10%. This comes out as a net gain in the apparent benefits for vit E. So why the headline, Vitamin E linked to increased risk of some strokes rather than Vitamin E linked to decreased risk of most common strokes? The link to the article on the front page is even worse, Vitamin E linked to stroke risk. Misleading, oversimplified and silly, just what I would expect from a mainstream media 'health' article, but at least they linked to the actual study that had numbers, statistics and lots of sciencey stuff. Perhaps things are slowly improving.

Addendum: there are actually studies that show that vit E has zero or even negative effect on health. This article sources a couple of them. The beeb didn't mention any of those studies, so they still suck.


  1. HEY I am czechoslovokian!!! haha i thought it was so weird wheni found your blog! everyone here in the US always asks if my last name is polish but i always correct them that my family came over ont he boat from Czech!

  2. But the Czech Republic is landlocked!

    Did your parents emigrate in '68 like so many others?

  3. Vit E has four components (tocopherols). D-alpha tocopherol is only one. "Vit E" in nature always occurs with these four components; is a spark plug an engine?

    That's why studies using foods that naturally have vit E find all these health benefits, but then the idiots pretending to do science "isolate" one of the four and find it does harm. Then the corporate media screams "vitamins kill!", before going to commercial ("ask your doctor if blah blah blah...").

  4. You are probably right, but I confess to supplementing with vit E, anyway.

    And the BBC is about as far as one can get from 'corporate media'.