Dear Mr. Dad: Like you, I enjoy reading about new research findings in health and parenting. But I get really frustrated when what’s in the headlines isn’t always what’s in the actual research. How can I find the truth?
A: You’ve hit on one of my biggest pet peeves. As Mark Twain said about 100 years ago, “There are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies, and statistics.” You can find a study to support just about anything you believe. And if you can’t, statistics are easy to manipulate, massage, shoehorn, and just plain distort. Here are a few examples.