In related research news, the Com-Post Science Page -- unable to afford bespoke artisanal stupidity -- reprints some off-the-shelf stupidity from the Daily Torygraph, pausing only to simplify and sensationalise it further:
Evidently the preoccupation with "Are we putting too much stuff in our mouths and swallowing?" -- and its variant, "Are we putting the right stuff in our mouths and swallowing?" -- transcends national boundaries. And if it doesn't, the print media will do their best to make it so.
Actual NZ highbrow journals
The background of the Heart-attack story is a meta-analysis just out in PLOS-Medicine, heralded with press releases and flourishes of strumpets.
It features a gene that encodes for a gene-expression-regulatory protein... one of the bureaucrats of the cellular economy, which spends most of its day in interminable meetings, before going behind the backs of other genes to sabotage their inhibitory endeavours (by undoing their methylation of the mRNA expressing still further genes). It is active in hypothalamus function: a variant form of the gene is associated with decreased satiation, and thus obesity. Evidently it has other functions, for the same variant is also linked to faster brain shrinkage with age, and with earlier death even when weight is controlled.
But Tove Fall and 124 co-authors, it seems, have shown a causal relationship between small weight gains and ill health in all its forms, by comparing people endowed with the normal form of the FTO gene against the unfortunate and slightly weightier group with the variant form. They prove that the variant gene is not causing the ill-health through its other, non-weight activities, by assuming that those other activities do not exist.
Fall et al. prove a cause-&-effect relationship between weight and ill-health, beyond the shadow of a doubt, by (a) geometric logic, and (b) assuming the non-existence of any other relationship.
Any research, however fraught, if it raises the prospect of dietary interventions, is sure to be much-run-after by some lobby group or another as confirming their fondest expectations. Sure enough here is Tam Fry to weigh in, speaking in the one-sentence-per-paragraph style beloved of British journamalism:
Tam Fry, spokesman for the National Obesity Forum and chairman of the Child Growth Foundation, described the findings as "very important".It only remains to hear that the National Obesity Forum has a side-line in manufacturing and marketing a brand of low-fat ersatz salami. It will then be possible to accuse the spokesman of being concerned for his phoney-baloney job.
He said: "What is really exciting is they have pinned down causality, which is essential when coming up with any pronouncement like this.
"The database is so large you can now say 'hand on heart' being overweight causes heart failure. This is the final evidence. [...]"