According To A 2011 Study, People Who Subscribe To This Blog…

…live longer!

(at least, I don’t think anyone has died.)

I feel better already!

A few days ago I opened up one of my favorite magazines and turned to a page entitled: action plan. There were several items on the page including a picture of potted plants along with this caption:

“Hospital patients who have potted plants in their rooms report less painanxiety, and fatigue than those who don’t, according to a 2009 study.”

A study? Who, I wonder, took the time to perform this study? They don’t say, and what they do say is so general I have to wonder what they are leaving out.

According to a 2009 study…

  • Conducted by my grandmother
  • Made up for this article
  • Based on the responses of 5 people standing in line at Wal-Mart on Nov. 17th

Assuming someone did take the time to perform an actual study; I have to wonder—Why? Isn’t it obvious that a room with a potted plant would be cozier, and therefore better for the overall well-being of a patient, than one without? (Unless you’re allergic to plants) And think about it, how did they come up with the results? Did they deny certain patients plants in order to see if their anxiety and pain level went up? And how many poor patients did they do this too 5, 10… a thousand? (I assume someone passed out a survey, but still…)

than those who don’t,…

Are they saying that if one patient’s room is filled with roses and balloons and cheerful cards from people they love—but NOT a potted plant, that the patient in the adjoining room who has only a potted plant, possibly even a wilting one, will still have less pain, anxiety and fatigue?

Despite my doubts as to the existence or validity of this study, I have to admit, I now have a strong desire to go out and buy a potted plant for my office. I can almost imagine how much cozier and more productive I will feel… at least until I kill the plant (which, for me, is only a matter of time.)

Now on the same page of this aforementioned magazine there was another “2009 study”.  This one “…found that diabetes patients who watched 30 minutes of funny TV or movies each week had lower levels of cholesterol and stress hormones than those who didn’t.”

I agree, funny is good—but what if you compare someone who is eating a giant bag of greasy potato chips while watching their 30 minutes of “funny” TV shows, verses someone who takes their dog for a 30 minute walk out in the fresh air (where there are plenty of potted plants)?

Hummm, I wonder whose cholesterol would be lower?

Don't say 'nothing bad about my coffee!

If you’re at all like me (and there is a 2009 study that claims you are) then you’ve probably gotten pretty good at picking and choosing which studies you accept as fact. For instance, if one study finds that coffee is good for you—I believe it. Should another just as valid (or invalid, as the case may be) study find that coffee is bad for your health—I simply assume it’s another stupid study and ignore it.

Have any fascinatingly general studies you’d like to complain about? Let me know!


9 thoughts on “According To A 2011 Study, People Who Subscribe To This Blog…

  1. Denise Thornton says:

    As a science journalist, I have a perspective on all these studies. What the public is reading is not the study, it’s somebody who has to fill some space in a publication’s quickest possible read of a study that probably had plenty of qualifiers.
    Most media hype up whatever might or might not have been determined in any particular study just to grab jaded readers’ eyes for a moment.
    No one study is going to tell you whether coffee, or potted plants or zinc is good for any particular individual. Yet we are all looking for the magic pill, and so the media keeps trying to give us one.
    The magic pill approach is a disservice to the reading public and definitely a disservice to the careful and thoughtful research, through which study upon study builds scientific understanding like bricks build a skyscraper. Hyper-focusing on any individual brick is not enlightening, often confusing.
    Science surrounds and supports our lives. Sometimes it threatens our lives. It is neither good nor bad. It is a method of understanding our situation by processing data through careful testing and retesting. Forming hypotheses, testing them and then inching forward in our understanding.
    The last place to learn about science is the popular media. If a topic interests you, dig into it. Find out what serious people who are devoting their lives to the study are learning about it. But don’t waste your time reading a few hundred words (or worse yet watching a tv personality make a flip summary) of any individual study.


    • LJ Metz says:

      I think most people today realize that what they’re reading is only part of the story. What was interesting to me, was my initial reaction–I felt that strong desire to get a plant. In this case, there’s nothing bad about getting a plant, but it is sad how well marketing works even when we know we should dig deeper. I notice the corn syrup people are now fighting back with adds trying to tout the goodness of corn syrup. Guess everyone will be back to drinking soda again soon. 🙂


  2. Kathy Bostrom says:

    When I am sick and people give me potted plants, I end up killing them because I don’t have the energy to tend to them. I guess that would mean I heal better without potted plants! But they are lovely.

    Been enjoying your posts!


  3. zenmamajo says:

    here’s the title of one i read today: Yes, Sex Can Kill You, U.S. Study Shows (one study i’ll *definitely* keep in my back pocket next time i’m slacked off on my workouts…uh, honey: i can’t – i’d be risking my life and you’d be left to care for the kids alone. *hahah*)


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