THIS FAT OLD LADY’S FAT FRIDAY – GIVE ME ENOUGH DATA I CAN PROVE ANYTHING – EVEN IF IT’S JUST PLAIN WEIRD

Okay.  There’s a new “study” that says there is an association between exposure to artificial light at night (ALAN) while sleeping and obesity.

Sleeping with Night Light Associated with Weight Gain

WTF?

So, after reading an article about this study, I find the abstract.

Abstract on Artificial Light at Night Exposure and Weight Gain

And here is what I learned.

This was really a case of data mining.

They used the data from the Sister Study.

The Sister Study is an ongoing study on the commonality and differences between sisters where at least one of the sisters has had breast cancer.

The Sister Study

I know about this because I am part of the sister study, since I have a sister who is a breast cancer survivor and she asked me to participate in this study.

The Sister Study is the source of data regarding 50,000 women.

However, all of the data in the Sister Study is self-reported.

Also, the data regarding ALAN is taken when you first join the study (the initial questionnaire is huge), and is never again addressed.  So there is no way to know if the exposure to ALAN continues or ceases.  There is no follow-up to this data.

The only follow-up is provided if and when the Study asks for updates on particular information, like weight (again, self-reported) – and the Sister Study updates are more concerned about changes in health and cancer diagnoses.

The thing is, all the researchers really know is what was happening in the lives of these women when they initially signed up for the Sister Study (sometime between July 2003 and March 2009), and what they weighed as of the follow-up on August 14, 2015.

That is all they know.

“The authors acknowledge that other confounding factors could explain the associations between artificial light at night and weight gain. However, their findings did not change when analyses controlled for characteristics that may be associated with exposure to light at night. These factors included age, having an older spouse or children in the home, race, socioeconomic status, calories consumed, and physical activity.”

Again, they have no idea regarding changes that occurred in the lives of these women between their initial questionnaire and August 2015.

“Results were supported by sensitivity analyses and additional multivariable analyses including potential mediators such as sleep duration and quality, diet, and physical activity.”

Again, they have no idea regarding changes that occurred in the lives of these women between their initial questionnaire and August 2015.

I’m not saying that the researchers are wrong.   I’m saying, they don’t know.

It appears that the women who, sometime between July 2003 and March 2009, reported they slept with some kind of artificial light source, gained more weight by August 2015, than the women who reported sleeping with no artificial light source.

But the fact is they don’t have a clue as to why.

I guess it’s interesting, but before you get rid of your night light, or turn off your TV at night, or whatever you use to help you sleep at night, you might want to wait and see what’s really going on here.

Oh and the “risk” of weight gain was 17% and the amount of weight gain was approximately 11 pounds (or more) – and that would be over a period of 6 to 12 years, depending on when you joined the study.

This is what’s called “basic research”.

And why the long rant?  Because I don’t mind the research, I mind the news releases making a big deal out of something that really isn’t understood, even by the researchers.  But like sex, obesity sells.

And I deeply suspect they did not start out with the question “Is artificial light at night while sleeping associated with weight gain and obesity?”, as their Abstract would have you believe.

I’m thinking they ran the data, came up with this anomaly, which they turned into a paper.

I could be wrong.  Guess it’ll take more research to find out.

sleeping

One thought on “THIS FAT OLD LADY’S FAT FRIDAY – GIVE ME ENOUGH DATA I CAN PROVE ANYTHING – EVEN IF IT’S JUST PLAIN WEIRD

  1. Pingback: THIS FAT OLD LADY’S FAT FRIDAY – GIVE ME ENOUGH DATA AND I CAN PROVE ANYTHING | Fatties United!

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