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Flukes and flaws

Connections between salt and heart disease or passive smoking and lung cancer are discovered in one study only to be disproved by another; and claims made for wonder drugs are routinely disappointed in the real world. Too much research seems to be based on flawed statistics. What's going on?

By Robert Matthews   November 1998

It’s a scary world out there: breathing in other people’s cigarette smoke, eating too much salt, living near power lines-all have a stack of scientific studies linking them to life-threatening diseases, from cancer to heart disease. Just as well, then, that there is also an impressive list of studies of these same risks finding no links at all. In any case, doctors now have a host of clinically proven wonder drugs to save our lives if we ever do fall prey to these diseases. But here is another funny thing: there is an equally impressive stack of evidence showing that…

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