The usual suspects at the Daily Mail are busily plugging the idea that eating berries (and walnuts) could stop Alzheimer’s.

Their story is based on work by Shibu Poulose who reported his findings to a meeting of the American Chemical Society.  The fact this was reported at a meeting or conference makes it sound rather as if Dr Poulose hasn’t published his research in a peer reviewed journal yet.  A quick search through Pubmed certainly fails to find any papers by Dr Poulose on the topic.

What the Mail didn’t tell you is that the research was carried out by feeding berries to rats.  Not humans.  At least over at the grown up papers the Telegraph did mention this fact but that isn’t stopping them from uncritically plugging the same story.

Depressingly the intrepid Dr Poulose is suggesting that people eat the whole fruit, which contain hundreds of health-boosting chemicals.  While the result sounds potentially promising, I’m not sure a rat study lasting a couple of months is enough evidence to be pontificating about what people should eat.  Perhaps you should be concentrating on getting this study published and then doing further work in actual humans first?

A final point of interest is the identity of the Telegraph journo covering this story.  Stephen Adams would appear to be their arts correspondant.  How did he end up covering a science/health story?

A Google search confirmed my suspicions and throws up a press release from the American Chemical Society.  All of which suggests the following journalism warning label should be plastered over the story:

Advertisements