Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Another victim of Political Soundness Gone Mad

Libby Weaver bills herself as "Australia's leading nutritional biochemist", and is a "celebrity nutritionist"... this means, more-or-less, that newspappers like the Com-Post (Wellington's Paper of Note) syndicate her columnised blatherings about every superfood-du-jour because she's a celebrity, and she's a celebrity because the newspappers syndicate her columns.

So Dr Libby has a book-shaped object out! -- though judging from the size of the font, it is more a compilation of double-line-spaced tweets. From it we learn (inter alia) that a dietary folate deficiency cases Trisomy 21, a.k.a. Down's Syndrome. Challenged on this fascinating subtraction from knowledge, she has promised to amend it in the next edition, because the evidence for the link is "mixed", which is to say "imagination-based".
Research suggesting a link between folate consumption and a reduced risk of Down syndrome is "mixed" says Weaver, who will remove the reference to it from the next edition of her book.
"I was under the impression that it was common maritime practice for a ship to have a crew."
"Opinion is divided on the subject."
"Oh, really?"
"Yahs. All the other captains say it is; I say it isn't."

She does not resile, however, from her belief that oral contraception depletes the body's reserves of folate [thus causing spina bifida]. This theory was abandoned way back in the 1980s because evidence, but Dr Libby has evidently been too occupied with the nutritioning and the first-name celebriting to update her antiquated medical training.

The question of error-correcting the book becomes moot if enough purchasers take up her offer of returning it for a refund. The offer was made after another aspect of Dr Libby's time-capsule education came to light... namely the fact that the 1980s was also about the last time when it was acceptable to use the racialised, pejorative term "mongolism" instead of "Down's Syndrome".

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