Science for Sale

Science for Sale

Call me a cynic – my wife does. I just can’t view any scientific “discovery” or announcement without stopping to find out who funded the study.  I wish conflicts of interest in science and news weren’t commonplace and that I didn’t have to look into these sources, but they are and I do.

Whether it is shoe manufacturers like Nike, Converse and Adidas funding studies that show what is great about their shoes or a football helmet manufacturer funding a report on how great their newest product is at reducing concussions, the money for most university and scientific studies are funded by someone with an interest in the study telling their story.

Don’t get me wrong. There is a lot of good science being conducted and when a study doesn’t show what the funder is looking for, the reports just may be left unpublished.  I am not saying that folks are fudging the results (although this has happened) just favoring the outcomes that lead to profits.

There is a lot of good that has come from this method as well.  Almonds were just nuts until someone discovered they were pretty healthy.  The same thing happened with milk, eggs, electric vehicles, hand sanitizer and countless other products.

Another negative of the “follow the money” scientific method are the countless conflicting studies.  One study says eggs cause high cholesterol and the next one says that was overstated and they are in fact, healthy.  One study says to stop eating so much meat and dairy and stick to carbohydrates, then we are told that carbs are killing us.  We see studies that say we should slather spf5000 on our skin if we go outside or we will turn into leather skin cancer patients… then one comes out that says if we don’t get the sun to our skin we will lack Vitamin D and fall into a deep depression.  We see a huge increase in the diagnosis of many ailments just as soon as the advertisements start promoting a new drug.   As always…. follow the money.

In the end, take everything you read or hear with a big grain of salt (but be careful not to eat too much salt) and follow the advice of our grandmothers.  Eat healthy, exercise, mind your manners and be nice to others… other than that, it is all hype.