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Dr. Malcolm Kendrick on Doctoring Data

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ByCrossFit June 9, 2019

Dr. Malcolm Kendrick has long been an outspoken skeptic with regard to the medical status quo. “It’s just not possible to believe much of the clinical research that’s published,” he says.

Just one week prior to this talk, delivered at CrossFit HQ during a CrossFit Health event on Dec. 15, 2018, Kendrick’s Wikipedia page was deleted because, as he explains, “I’m now considered dangerous enough to be removed from public consumption.” In this talk, he shares one thread of his “dangerous” thinking — a thread that follows the distortion of data pertaining to cholesterol and statin research, which he explores in greater detail in his second book, Doctoring Data.

Kendrick explains that he wrote the book to:

  • show how data from clinical studies are distorted;
  • allow people to make informed decisions about the interventions and drugs they receive;
  • highlight some of the really bad advice we are given about fat and carbs;
  • stop believing that “experts” know what they are doing or saying; and,
  • reduce the fear and anxiety that now seems to stalk the land.

He describes several ways in which data become distorted and focuses in particular on the strategic use of relative and absolute risk factors in the data from the famous JUPITER trial, previously discussed on CrossFit.com.

He also highlights some of the reasons why data get distorted. While money is a contributing factor, he explains, a much more potent and insidious explanation relates to researchers’ attachment to ideas.

People become emotionally attached to ideas, he observes, and “facts have very little effect on what people believe.”


Read a transcription of the presentation here.

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