Friday, September 26, 2014

It's Duh Study Time Again

As a health writer, I read many press releases about articles and studies that have been or will be published in the medical journals. Some of these are quite interesting while others are, quite frankly, head scratchers.

I've written before about my idea of Duh Studies - studies that make you think, "Seriously? They had to study that?" This week, I found two great entries for the Duh Study database, two days in a row. I don't think that has happened before:

"Pain keeps surgery patients awake, extends hospital stay." Did you know that? That if you have uncontrolled pain, you can't sleep, which could in turn affect your ability to heal? To be honest, this particular one bothered me because pain is an issue that is often not taken seriously. I wrote about the myths involved in the whole area of pain when I was preparing to give a talk on chronic pain. But when we need studies to tell us that people who have just been cut open, had joints taken out and replaced and then sewn back up have pain? Wow. Just wow.


"Not all Hispanics are the same when it comes to drinking." Another doozy. Do I even need to write down what I find offensive about this one?

"A new Michigan State University study indicates that the risk of alcohol abuse and dependence can vary significantly among different subgroups within the population."

I'm just shaking my head on this one.

Some people may say, "what's the harm in these?" While there is no actual harm (that I can think of) in these types of studies, I do think that they lower the value of research overall. What kind of impression do these types of findings give to laypeople who read that researchers are spending such valuable time and money in these ways? One can argue that it is important to study obvious things in order to move forward to more intricate details and perhaps this is true. If that is the case then perhaps it's the media's fault, for even making news out the findings? I don't know.

Do you have any Duh Studies to add?