Sunday 16 June 2013

Book review: The Great Cholesterol Myth

Title: The Great Cholesterol Myth (2012)
Authors: Jonny Bowden and Stephen Sinatra
Publisher: Fair Winds Press

There is nothing I like more than finding out that something that has been widely believed for decades is wrong. The cholesterol myth fits the pattern of so many items in my blog: it sounds good, it superficially makes sense, and there is a biologically plausible explanation, but when put to the (scientific) test, it fails.

Saturday 8 June 2013

Unintended consequences and the homeostasis of risk

I recently saw a patient who broke her ankle slipping on the shiny yellow paint they use to highlight the edges of steps. Is this an example of the law of unintended consequences, or the theory of risk homeostasis (risk compensation)? Either way, a well-intended intervention backfired (what the CIA colourfully label ‘blowback’), a phenomenon more common than we think.

Thursday 6 June 2013

Web review: Skeptical Medicine

Skeptical Medicine is a website, not a blog, and I highly recommend it. It contains material from a single author, covering topics related to the scientific basis of medicine: reason, logic, argument, bias, and the philosophy of science. It is extremely well written and referenced but most importantly, it is reasoned, logical and, well, very scientific. For anyone wondering what it is to be skeptical – to take a scientific view of any subject (not just medicine) – then this is the site to read.