Forgettable research in Alzheimer’s disease

None of the major news outlets could provide the info this week. I don’t even think they knew that they should be publishing it. Why let such a trivial thing get in the way of a big headline?

The journal that it was published in couldn’t even be arsed to co-ordinate publishing this study in line with the massive PR campaign. So, why should we care?

What am I talking about, dear reader?

The leading health story this week about a supposed “test” for Alzehimer’s disease.

I blogged earlier in the week about my dissatisfaction with the way the PR was handled. But my biggest grumble was that the false alarm rate for this test was never mentioned in the massive PR campaign, which I found very suss.

As the journal can’t seem to be arsed to publish the article, it was left to New Scientist, who are not exactly known for casting a critical eye over science and publish some absolute tosh that is badly flawed both experimentally and statistically, but, a hoorah for them! They actually, for once pointed out that, while the detection rate might be 87.5%, the false alarm rate was 10%.

TEN PERCENT!

Now I know why the Lancet didn’t publish the work!

With a FA rate of 10% this research is going NOWHERE!

If you don’t think that’s a big deal, think of it this way….

Think of all those people you supposedly “know” on facebook. Ten percent of them would be diagnosed with AD when they didn’t have it. Think how devastating it would be to be told that your brain is rotting and you are slowly going to turn into the living dead. Ten percent misdiagnosis is atrocious. What is even more atrocious is the false hope this has given to millions of people because the researchers had to big up their reputations, flaunt themselves in front of the media, and the media being so poorly trained in science that they overlooked the big flaw in the research.

I suppose it is ironic, given that it is AD research, that in a week’s time everyone will have forgotten about this disaster

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