Audio: Research and statistics

​This is an audio clip from Sober Podcast #247 sent to sober podcast members.

​Now that we know that the alcohol industry has been funding some of the booze-related research, it just makes me wonder about studies and research in general.

and how most of us (me included) aren't able to determine whether a news article that claims to be based on a study, is actually ​fact, if it's been skewed, who paid for it, and what is the underlying agenda of the news media writer, or the original researcher.

in this audio, i start off ranting about booze research, and then I think that before i get myself into too much trouble, i will share some of my own biases, thought process, and numbers. how many people had i been penpals with before it was a paid thing? how many people did i interact with, see patterns, offer cheerleading to, before i started talking about what i saw? listen to this and find out.

see if there's something in here that rings true to you. other than the visual of me standing on my balcony with cold feet, wearing my pyjama bottoms and sweater, holding a clip-on microphone to my mouth. I also tell you about the little girl with the yellow raincoat that I see from the window.

​I have posted below the ENTIRE 22 minute audio for this podcast, and I will leave this link available for ​24 hrs only. ​Have a listen now. all i ask in return is that you post an anonymous message in the comments. If you’d like to be able to hear this again, ​you can use the link to sign up at the bottom of the post.

​Comments from subscribers:

Inspired (day 606): "​I feel the same way about research, critical thinking, agenda behind it and bias. Years ago, wolfie loved hearing research that wine was heart healthy and resveratrol in red wine was good for me. BRING IT ON, he said, we will just moderate drink. This topic reminds me of an interview with Katie Couric, a news anchor, I read a few days ago in the airplane magazine on a flight. She speaks about the difference in reporting on information versus affirmation. Are we only looking to affirm our beliefs in order to empower or strengthen them, or can we allow information in when we may not agree with it completely? Critical thinking and continuing to ask the questions around agendas and bias is important ..."

Jacci2 (day 82; medical professional): "​... as a general rule, I ALWAYS take research cited by any journalist with a huge lump of salt. If I really want to know something, I'll go look up the research article myself and read it to discern whether or not it was a good study, whether or not it is generalizable to the public (they often are not, the journalist just extrapolates the data to apply to everyone even though the study group is limited and very specific), and who funded it. This drives me crazy. Journalists are not scientists and they make their own assumptions from the research and feed it to a gullible public. RANT ALERT! I had to do this recently for my boyfriend. His mom was all concerned about some article in a magazine about one of the meds he was taking for heartburn, saying it was going to give him kidney failure. I pulled up the original article, and it turns out the findings were only relevant if you are over the age of 65, are obese, have diabetes, and are already showing signs of kidney failure ​..."

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I want to put this online, to hold myself accountable. I want to document the noise in my head. I'm tired of thinking about drinking. date of last drink: june 30, 2012

  • You’re a good, caring, genuine kind of person, and that makes you stand out, Belle. Most of the people conducting those so-called studies are driven by money. You’re not. They used to do this for cigarettes, they told us it was not dangerous, there were studies about it… financed by the tobacco industry. Today, it’s the same with sugar. You read all kinds of studies telling you how inoffensive it is. It’s the same with meat, they tell you that if you’re on a vegan diet, you’ll get sick and weak, it’s extremely dangerous, blablabla… They don’t tell us that red meat is cancerous, they tell us that if we want a little of it, it’s okay, there’s iron in it, it can be good for you too… They don’t tell us to stop eating sugar, they tell us it’s okay to moderate. They tell you one drink of alcohol is okay, it’s healthy actually, so keep up drinking, just not too much, try to control your drinking… I tend to rely on people, more than what’s written of a piece of paper or what’s published on the Internet. Or I double check the sources! I know what my body and mind need, and what they don’t. They don’t need alcohol, that’s one thing I’m very sure of! Thank you for this podcast.

  • It is amazing how the majority of the articles that get published in mainstream media are the ones that push alcohol being good for you. How many magazines / newspapers would they sell if the published articles telling their readers that something that a big majority of them do is killing them. The alcohol lobby is so powerful it is terrifying.

  • As far as I’m concerned, the alcohol industry has taken their funded research studies straight from the playbook of Big Tobacco. And using these stats can continue to back-up any arguments or claims for their narrative. I used to work in an organization where we would call dubious stats, PFA (pulled from air) Stats. And there was one publication where we would always wonder where they got their numbers from – but when we quoted them as PFA Stats, it sounded so official that no one questioned them. I wish there were more articles that talked about the links of cancer and drinking, especially breast cancer. But why would Wolfie want us to worry about that when he can tell us how good it is for our heart – but why does it make my head hurt the next day when I have too much of it and why is the word “toxic” in the middle of intoxication? An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure!

  • We know this in our heads but hide our heads in the sand because we don’t know
    What to do about it…thanks Belle, it’s good to be reminded not to accept research without doing our own! Fran

  • Thanks Belle for your thought audio. We are hungry to be better stronger healthier and happier. We will grab at it. I try to hear my body first and see how I respond—even to corn. A half of glass of kale is good for you. Fine, Eat kale. A half glass of red wine, good for heart health? Ah, no. Not for me. Not for my heart. Boozers hear that and it’s an almighty prescription. The Wolfe in us listens to the siren of our universal downfall. I love little studies. They tell me nine out is ten times the obvious. Sure, one half glass of red wine won’t hurt your health, if you’re a cat.
    I do read medical inserts.
    One another note: you have two emails from me one is for chatting one for downloads. Sorry Belle, I’ve skewed ya numbers! Angie

    • not to worry, i don’t track email addresses. i just track people who’ve signed up to be penpals with me. hugs hugs from me 🙂

  • Here’s what hits me: Just this week, I was researching Rachel Carson and her awesome 1962 book about pesticides, Silent Spring. One of the mind-blowing (at the time) things she did was to call into question the “authority” of scientific experts. She talked about how scientists often had their research funded by chemical manufacturers and agribusinesses. So these “experts” were tied into all the interests working to produce profits for the pesticide industry. In a speech for the Women’s National Press Club, she pointed out the links and reminded listeners to always ask, “When a scientific organization speaks, whose voice do we hear — that of science or that of the sustaining industry?” And of course it comes up in all kinds of industry — as far as I’m concerned, especially those who deal with dangerous substances and poisons like cigarettes and alcohol. The issue is just as relevant today as it was in 1962.

  • I used to read a column where a scientist would critically look at weekly research papers and how they were reported in the media and basically you can’t believe what you read. Papers rarely explain the logistics of the study and journalists have to make a story that people want to read. People ( including me in the past) will latch onto whatever feeds Wolfie ignoring the fact that they are drinking more than the amounts talked about. It must be very frustrating to read this when you give advice based on accumulated evidence over the years of coaching people. I trust in your advice because all the things that your voice says to you it says to me too and all the thousands of people you have had contact with.