Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Hype, Hype, Hype from a single study.

You know what pisses me off. The blatant stupidity given to hyping one piece of literature and making it seem as if it is true.

What pisses me off more is insinuating that there is some inherent value in a certain single study without prefacing the factors.

Let me tell you who often does that.

1. Nutriceutical salesmen in a Multi Level Marketing Scheme

2. People looking to sell some fancy medical device

3. Pharma companies creating fake journals

4. DTC Genomics companies trying to prove value from their tests......

Don't believe me? Well, just read the spittoon's blog post about TRALI....which is Transfusion Related Acute Lung Injury......

How does this hype occur? First the study....

It starts with a scare

"TRALI is one of the major causes of transfusion-association deaths in the developed world."-Spitton

Ok. We used to think this was rare and yes, it is more common based on some new agreed standards..... 1 in 300,000 people in some studies.....

Then it continues with baffling science jibberish to make people think you know what you are talking about........

"One reason TRALI happens is that ...... Several triggers for this type of TRALI have been identified. One of these, the HNA-3 antigen, has repeatedly been associated with severe and fatal TRALI reactions. HNA-3 comes in two versions: HNA-3a and HNA-3b........ The likelihood that a woman will have antibodies against HNA-3 increases with each birth.

The new research found that the different versions of HNA-3 are due to SNP rs2288904 in the SLC44A2 gene. Someone who is GG at this SNP will express only HNA-3a. Someone who is AG will express both the HNA-3a and HNA-3b version. Finally, someone who is AA at rs2288904 will express only HNA-3b. " -Spittoon

It finishes with a testimonial and a point of sale

"Confused? Here’s an example from my own family that will hopefully make things more clear:

My mom is AA at rs2288904, meaning that her body expresses only HNA-3b. My brother and I are both AG (we inherited the G at this SNP from my father), so we have both HNA-3a and HNA-3b in our bodies. If my mom was exposed to blood from my brother and/or me while we were being born, her immune system could have recognized our HNA-3a antigens as foreign and made antibodies. So now, if my mom gave blood to my brother or me, we would be at risk for TRALI, even though we all have the same ABO blood type (A+)."-Spitton

What is wrong with this? It asserts that they would absolutely without a shadow of a doubt be at risk of TRALI........based on ONE STUDY!!!

And the point of sale?

"(23andMe Complete Edition customers can check their data for rs2288904 using the Browse Raw Data feature.)"

OMG, Holy Crap, I have to know whether I will be at risk for TRALI. Thank you so very much 23andMe! You have solved my life's problems. Maybe I could get a life alert bracelet with all of the "risks" I have?

Seriously. What would have been nice is a "This is only one study and there is no other replication out there, but, this is interesting EARLY SCIENCE"

We still have not conclusively implicated TRALI to just this.......There is no complete consensus on the absolute pathogenesis of TRALI.

The Sherpa Says: One study a fact does not make. Nor does it make good marketing. Tssk, Tssk. One would figure that they would use proper editing of these things........Oh wait, they fired them.


Anonymous said...

Ouch. No wonder no one came to your birthday party.

Anonymous said...

They do have a disclaimer that addresses several of the points you raise:

"SNPwatch gives you the latest news about research linking various traits and conditions to individual genetic variations. These studies are exciting because they offer a glimpse into how genetics may affect our bodies and health; but in most cases, more work is needed before this research can provide information of value to individuals. For that reason it is important to remember that like all information we provide, the studies we describe in SNPwatch are for research and educational purposes only. SNPwatch is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice; you should always seek the advice of your physician or other appropriate healthcare professional with any questions you may have regarding diagnosis, cure, treatment or prevention of any disease or other medical condition."

Steve Murphy MD said...

Good disclaimer.

Peter Castellano said...

Question: in your opinion, how many studies which "conclude" essentially the same thing can constitute validation that a concept or idea is marketable or sound? Thanks.

Steve Murphy MD said...

That depends on what you mean by "sound" Does sound mean clinically useful or valid? Or does "sound" mean not likely to attract ire from governmental regulators. Or does "sound" mean, likely to have people buy it because it is "sound"?

These are all different levels of evidence......not as precise as clinically valid and useful.....

peter castellano said...

Well, I suppose I'm most interested in what is scientifically or medically "sound", since generally speaking to meet government regulatory standards you have to meet the standard set by the industry. And from my limited review of regulations regarding scientific matters, they seem to adopt the standard set forth by the scientific community.