Friday, September 26, 2008

Junk Science

Morning, Folks. Hope you had a pleasant Monday. I know I did. This morning, I am going to be taping a bit for Relevant Radio about the patron saint of my parish here in Prague, OK, Saint Wenceslaus. If the mood and urge hits, I'll post the essay here and elsewhere. But before I do that, I had to share with youse guys an article I found that chapped my fur.

According to the Times of India, exclusive vegetable consumption makes your brain shrink. However, when you read the article, you discover that the culprit of the brain mass loss (and researchers verified the dimutation of mass so there is something going on) is not the vegetables but the low levels of B-12. But that's not all. The study, which seems as though it was well constructed, focused on folks 61-87. Correct me if I'm wrong, but don't you normally get brain mass reduction, and general tissue reduction as you grow older? The article then concludes with comments about correlations between brain mass loss and other lifestyle habits such as drink and obesity.

Let me be perfectly frank. My problem with the article has nothing to do with the research on things what make you brain smaller. My problem is that it proceeds from the assumption that brain size has anything to do with intelligence, learned or native. This might be apocryphal, but Einstein has a sub par size brain and I think he did alright for himself. Granted he got lost quite often but I blame that on advanced math. Brain mass loss might have something to do with loss of intelligence and memory if you lose, oh, say, a hemisphere or a lobe or the corpus callosum.

This sort of article reminds me of two things: go beyond the headline and think things through once you are there.

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