I’ve often railed against the utterly terrible science and medical reporting in the general media — and today’s ABSURD media coverage of a recently published, far-far-far-from conclusive study about marijuana and brain function is a perfect example.
I was waiting for the responsible, physician-facing MedPageToday to cover this ‘emerging’ story — and I’m glad I did.
When’s the last time I suggested you share a story I’d posted? Pretty much never, right? You might want to re-post THIS story, because the mainstream media have really bollixed it.
MedPageToday deputy managing editor, John Gever writes:
Correlation does not equal causation, and a single exam cannot show a trend over time. Basic stuff, right?
But judging by coverage of a study just out in the Journal of Neuroscience, these are apparently foreign concepts for many folks in the media.
Blame doesn’t belong to the mainstream media alone, according to Gever:
Sad to say, the Society for Neuroscience (SfN), which publishes the Journal of Neuroscience, may have driven these dramatic overinterpretations by promoting the study in a press release headlined “Brain changes are associated with casual marijuana use in young adults.”
Also note that the study did not identify any cognitive or behavioral abnormalities in the cannabis users versus controls — it was strictly an MRI study.