BMJ online publishes my letter criticizing their "large thighs protect" news release

My Rapid Response posting on the BMJ (although it was not so rapidly posted in about 8 hours!):

This is not a comment on the study but on BMJ's promotion of its publication, sent to journalists around the world.

It was misleading and erroneous.

The title of the news release: "Large thighs protect against heart disease and early death."

The news release did not mention the limitations of such a study and did not mention the fact that association does not equal causation.

So it is inaccurate and misleading to talk about "protection" from anything when you haven't established a causal link.

Each day for the past 3.5 years, my project has tried to help journalists understand how to better interpret science for their readers and viewers. Had a news story done what the BMJ did, we would have given it an unsatisfactory score.

Are your standards no higher?

You missed a chance to educate; indeed, you misled.

But, indeed, I guess that BMJ got what it wanted: early this morning I counted more than 140 stories online that loved the "thick thighs protect hearts" theme that you promoted - erroneously.

About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by Gary Schwitzer published on September 4, 2009 3:46 PM.

Lovely LaCrosse, Wisconsin: the unwitting home of Sarah Palin's death panel myth was the previous entry in this blog.

How the new MN Senator deals with a State Fair crowd on health care reform is the next entry in this blog.

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