Have you heard the phrase "if it bleeds, it leads"? It refers to the business of getting people to buy papers (for you old-fashioned types), click on stories, and visit websites. Scary, gory, and depressing stories sell better than good news so naturally those are the stories making the headlines. It leaves people with a sense that we live in some pretty grim times and that things are getting worse.
After all, if all you read is doom and gloom, you’re going to start feeling pretty blue. Mainstream media coverage of science is no different. If a study emerges with a positive or reassuring finding, it rarely makes headlines.
So, IWF’s Culture of Alarmism project is starting a new weekly roundup of good-news stories because…for goodness sake, things ain't so bad!
• The newest study on GMOs confirms the stuff is safe to eat. A new long-term study on genetically modified rice finds that it has no adverse health effects on the rats fed a diet of the GMO rice. In addition, the researchers concluded that the GMO rice is as safe and nutritious as the non-GMO rice. Read that study here.
• Questioning the heretofore-accepted connection between sugar and hyperactivity in kids, Healthcare Triage host Aaron Carroll explains the process of randomized controlled trials and how it's more likely that kids are hyper after sugar "because they’re just so pumped to have gotten some of it. Come on– sugar’s real good." He's right!
• Here's a shocker of a study: canning bad teachers improves student performance. See the full story over at the Daily Caller.
• And in this week's most annoying news (now that I'm done having kids), a new study shows that women who drink small amounts of wine during pregnancy tend to be healthier in other ways than mothers-to-be who abstain completely. Time to consider another now that it'll be wayyyy more fun.
• And in this week's best news, new research shows that people who eat chocolate are skinnier. Where’s my extra dark Hershey bar?
• All jokes aside, the most important piece you can read this week isn't about a new study but is a very personal story about one woman battling an 18th century disease that has reemerged due to anti-vaccine zealots who continue to promote lies about vaccine safety. Infected with whooping cough, the author offers a horrifying glimpse of what it’s like to live with this crippling disease. Those who choose not to vaccinate their children should note that this article was written by a 31-year old woman who often coughs so hard she vomits. Maybe a few of these parents will take a moment and wonder what it would it be like to see a child suffer through this totally preventable disease. The author also addresses 'herd immunity" and how the anti-vaccination crowd desperately clings to the "it's a personal decision" theme while failing to understand how their actions impact the wider community. When people decide not to vaccinate and publicly and proudly promote this decision (just this weekend, a woman on my Facebook newsfeed actually publicly said she relies on good nutrition rather than vaccinations…because hey, what idiot doesn't know Kale cures Polio), they endanger their entire communty.