False Balance, Fruit Juice, Over-hyped claims and more…

FSM Friends News and Articles

False balance on vaccines in Portland, courtesy of KATU and Genevieve Reaume: “When it comes to conspiracy theory-based movements like the antivax movement, facts don’t matter, and presenting antivaccine pseudoscience side-by-side with science does falsely elevate the pseudoscience, no matter how much refutation to antivax pseudoscience is included. This is information warfare, and it’s asymmetric warfare. Antivaxers don’t have the credibility of mainstream medicine; so they exploit the tendency of journalists to “tell both sides” even when there are not, scientifically speaking, two sides to tell.”


First-year uni can add 4kg to your weight. Here’s how universities can scale that back: First year uni students gain more weight compared to their counterparts in the general population, and their environments don’t help.

Large glass of fruit juice a day increases risk of premature death, research suggests: Admittedly this is a preliminary observational study, but it does give you time to pause. Not everything natural is necessarily good for you. Obviously it is best to adhere to the old maxim: moderation in all things.

Bottom line: it is better for you to eat the fruit than to drink large amounts of fruit juice or smoothies.

Today’s Abused Health Concept

Overhyped claims for Science Studies: University of Sydney pulls claims elderberries can fight flu: The study itself involved dosing human cells in a lab with concentrated elderberry juice. There were no tests on humans, or even on mice.

The Age and the Herald do not suggest this is improper, and do not question the validity of the study itself or the work of the study’s authors.

But while it is widely acknowledged very few results in mice translate to humans – this research was conducted at an even earlier, cellular, level.

“This is an appalling misrepresentation of this Pharmacare-funded in-vitro study,” said associate professor Ken Harvey, president of Friends of Science in Medicine.

“It was inappropriate and misleading to imply from this study that an extract was ‘proven to fight flu’.”

The press release did not mention the study was funded by Pharmacare, a company that sells elderberry-based natural supplement Sambucol.

Great Moments in Heath and Science

The Invention of the Urine Dipstick: Helen M. Free: Able to test for a number of important chemicals related to illnesses such as diabetes, urine infections and kidney failure, the humble urine dipstick is cheap, fast, easy to use and a reasonably reliable test from the GP office to the hospital ward.