Science Journal Admits Those Bone Horns Were Wrong

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Remember the study claiming smartphone usage caused bone horns to grow on millennials? The publisher now admits the conclusion was false. But other scientists say their correction is still false.

While the correction attempts to clarify the record on smartphones, it does not do anything to address the fact that the study’s main finding — that poor posture and age are connected to neck bone spurs — still isn’t supported by the underlying data…

“I actually think Nature should remove the original article as the correction has not proved their point,” said Sara Becker, a bioarchaeologist at the University of California Riverside.

Check It Out: Science Journal Admits Those Bone Horns Were Wrong

Science Journal Admits Those Bone Horns Were Wrong

2 Comments Add a comment

  1. wab95

    Andrew:

    Sadly, as some of the scientists quoted in the article point out, false stories spread more rapidly and widely than do true stories, in part fed by their salacious nature. And a false story is like a genie; once it’s out of the bottle, there is no re-corking it. Then, there is the sad truth that there are many who simply like a good ‘bad’ story, and once it’s published, even if later retracted, will cling tenaciously to its message (eg measles vaccine and autism).

    That said, I disagree with one of the points made by Nature Research cited in your link, the data might remain valid (they are what they are), however the methodology was not; having actually read the published article, it was seriously flawed. Indeed, this statement underscores another fact. Simply having some scientific training, or clinical training, does not mean that one understands scientific methodology, critically reads and understands the literature, and what are limits of inference of a specific data set (what can you rightly conclude from a study and what can you not). Not only have I personally had discussions with heads of clinical departments who did not know the limits of inference from a cross sectional vs longitudinal study (apologies for veering into the weeds here, we’re out now), but some of the world’s most prestigious journals have published utter rubbish that later had to be corrected or even retracted (yes, I’m looking at you, New England Journal of Medicine).

    And this, even before we get to the question of whether what the original article said was even plausible (hint, as John Hawks, the paleo anthropologist pointed out, it was not – not even remotely).

    Still, expect some variant of this rubbish to persist and mutate through multiple iterations into an even more garish EK (everybody knows) or urban legend.

  2. Lee Dronick

    The story will persist for a long time and be shared over and over on Facebook by the type of person who never fact-checks.

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