NYT has an article about a study that purports to show that exercise is as effective in reducing mortality risk (death) as drugs for four major conditions (heart disease, chronic heart failure, stroke, and diabetes).

Great news, yes?

Maybe. Maybe not. Problem is, it’s not really science. It’s just crap wrapped up in a neat package and made to look like science. That’s what meta-analysis is: crap, nonsense, non-science.

Correlation, causation…blah blah blah. Why do people do this stuff? It’s a waste of time and money. Worse, it’s destructive to the concept of science.

The NYT write and the study authors apparently almost realize that this is nonsense:

On the other hand, people who once had suffered a stroke had significantly less risk of dying from that condition if they exercised than if they used medications — although the study authors note that stroke patients who can exercise may have been unusually healthy to start with.

Yep. So what you need to do BEFORE YOU CAN SAY ANYTHING REASONABLE about exercise versus medication is to do a double blind randomized trial.

Again, one of the “scientists” seems to almost realize that they’re not doing science:

“We need far more information” about how exercise compares, head to head, with drugs in the treatment of many conditions, he said, as well as what types and amounts of exercise confer the most benefit and whether there are side effects, such as injuries.

Yep. So rescind your non-science paper and go out and do some real work!

Also, one of the scientists makes this ridiculous request:

Ideally, he said, pharmaceutical companies would set aside a tiny fraction of their profits for such studies.

What? Why in the world would a pharmaceutical company ever do this? They wouldn’t and they shouldn’t. If anybody should do this, it’s the exercise community; they’re the ones who stand to gain from it.

The takeaway is simple: there are a lot of stupid doctors and scientists out there.

-JD Cross