Friday, April 15, 2016

"I interpret “incomplete publication” as a polite version of scientists are freakin’ liars."

Eating Red Meat, Cheese, Butter, Pork and Cream Is Not a Death Sentence After All - Hit & Run : "Eating plant-based oils did reduce cholesterol levels in participants assigned to that diet. While original researchers back in the 1970s did not find any effect on heart disease trends, they believed that had their experiment gone on that the benefits from lowering cholesterol would have eventually emerged. The results of the study were never fully published, although the researchers reported some of their preliminary results at a American Heart Association conference 1975. So why were the results of a such rigorous study not published widely? 

The BMJ study also cites biostatistician Steven Broste, who used the Minnesota data in his master's thesis back in 1981, which found no significant difference in mortality rates in the saturated fats versus unsaturated fats cohorts. 

According to the Washington Post, Broste suggests ... ...that at least part of the reason for the incomplete publication of the data might have been human nature. The Minnesota investigators had a theory that they believed in — that reducing blood cholesterol would make people healthier. Indeed, the idea was widespread and would soon be adopted by the federal government in the first dietary recommendations. So when the data they collected from the mental patients conflicted with this theory, the scientists may have been reluctant to believe what their experiment had turned up. 

 “The results flew in the face of what people believed at the time,” said Broste. “Everyone thought cholesterol was the culprit. This theory was so widely held and so firmly believed — and then it wasn’t borne out by the data. The question then became: Was it a bad theory? Or was it bad data? ... My perception was they were hung up trying to understand the results.” 

 The BMJ data recovery and reanalysis now finds that the vegetable oil diet did lower cholesterol, but did not lower mortality or heart disease rates. In fact, for participants over age 65, lower cholesterol led to higher, rather than lower risks of death. In addition, the BMJ researchers comprehensively reviewed other controlled trials and report that they "do not provide support for the traditional diet heart hypothesis." The BMJ study is another in a growing line of research* that undermines the "heart-healthy" dietary guidelines from the federal government and that American Heart Association."

Fat Head » Another Big Fat (and old) Fail For The Lipid Hypothesis: "“Had this research been published 40 years ago, it might have changed the trajectory of diet-heart research and recommendations” said Daisy Zamora, a researcher at UNC and a lead author of the study. 
And that’s why it wasn’t published. 

The results of the study were never touted by the investigators. Partial results were presented at an American Heart Association conference in 1975, and it wasn’t until 1989 that some of the results were published, appearing in a medical journal known as Arteriosclerosis. 
Amazing. A big, expensive study is conducted to test the hypothesis that switching from saturated fats to vegetable oils will reduce heart disease by lowering cholesterol. The results show the opposite – at a time when many Americans were being encouraged to follow exactly that advice. What kind of lousy @#$%ing scientist would bury the results instead of publishing them? 

The lead investigators of the trial, noted scientists Ancel Keys and Ivan Frantz, are deceased. 

You’ve gotta love Ancel Keys. The guy conducts an observational study by giving two dietary questionnaires to a whopping 30 or so people in seven countries. From this itty bitty dataset, he decides he’s proved that saturated fats cause heart disease. Meanwhile, he tries to destroy the careers of other researchers who question his findings. Then when his own clinical study – involving thousands of patients – shows that switching to vegetable oil increases heart disease and overall mortality, he clams up and doesn’t publish the results. What an awesome scientist he was.

No wonder the researchers who crunched the “lost” Minnesota data wrote this: 
Findings from the Minnesota Coronary Experiment add to growing evidence that incomplete publication has contributed to overestimation of the benefits of replacing saturated fat with vegetable oils rich in linoleic acid. I interpret “incomplete publication” as a polite version of scientists are freakin’ liars. Naturally, researchers who’ve spent years promoting the switch from saturated fats to vegetable oils immediately called a press conference to offer their apologies and a promise to re-evaluate their positions. Kidding! Of course that didn’t happen. Here’s what did happen: 
“The bottom line is that this report adds no useful new information and is irrelevant to current dietary recommendations that emphasize replacing saturated fat with polyunsaturated fat,” Walter Willett, chair of the nutrition department at Harvard University, said in a blog post from the school. “Many lines of evidence support this conclusion.” He characterized the new analysis of the old experiment as “an interesting historical footnote.” 

So Willett, like Ancel Keys, considers his observational studies to be rock-solid evidence, but dismisses clinical trials if the results undermine what he already “knows.” As Max Planck said, science advances one funeral at a time. Ancel Keys is dead. A few more funerals, and we may finally see the Lipid Hypothesis end up on the Scrap Heap of Wrong Ideas, where it clearly belongs."

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