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Animal research rarely replicates in humans—So why does the media hype these studies?

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This article or excerpt is included in the GLP’s daily curated selection of ideologically diverse news, opinion and analysis of biotechnology innovation.

Last year, I F*%king Love Science blared a headline sure to pique the interest of any alcohol imbiber: “Beer Hops May Protect Against Liver Disease.”

“Diet Soda May Alter Our Gut Microbes And Raise The Risk Of Diabetes,” NPR reported in 2014. The impetus for that headline was a study in which researchers fed zero-calorie sweeteners to mice over eleven weeks and observed the effects.

Both of these stories, along with their hyped headlines, were inspired by studies on rodents, and they’re not alone. Dozens, perhaps hundreds, of stories relating studies on rodents to humans appear each year. The media loves them, and readers greedily click them by the tens of thousands. The problem is that these stories are not newsworthy.

Rodent studies are by definition preliminary, offering only the most tenuous hint that their respective findings will bear out in humans. Just a third of animal studies published in the most prestigious journal replicate to humans.

Science is often counterintuitive, but in this case, our intuitive senses serve us well: Mice are not humans. Sure, we may share a significant number of genes, but as I reported last year, the way mice are “wired” and how they live are drastically different to humans.

The GLP aggregated and excerpted this blog/article to reflect the diversity of news, opinion, and analysis. Read full, original post: The Worst Kind of Science Clickbait

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