Though the results of drug studies often make newspaper headlines, you have to wonder whether they prove anything at all. Indeed, given the breadth of the potential problems raised at the meeting, can any medical-research studies be trusted?
That question has been central to Ioannidis’s career. He’s what’s known as a meta-researcher, and he’s become one of the world’s foremost experts on the credibility of medical research. He and his team have shown, again and again, and in many different ways, that much of what biomedical researchers conclude in published studies—conclusions that doctors keep in mind when they prescribe antibiotics or blood-pressure medication, or when they advise us to consume more fiber or less meat, or when they recommend surgery for heart disease or back pain—is misleading, exaggerated, and often flat-out wrong.
When Sarah Weinman, who writes our Dark Passages column, tweeted that she'd read 462 books in 2008, I thought it had to be a typo. Maybe she meant 46? 62? Either of those, about a book a week, would be respectable. But no, she really did read the impossible-sounding 462 books in 2008. Those 462 books marked a personal record — she's been keeping a formal list since 2005. Below, she explains what it's like to be a super-speedy reader.
Kabban Mirza sings his famous song from Razia Sultan
Around this time of year, I like to take a tour of psychology studies from the last twelve months and pick out those that I think are really worth knowing about. There are, of course, several others that deserve mention, but the ten below are those that struck me as especially intriguing, with the added benefit of also being useful.