Monday, February 12, 2007

Napping Study for the Heart is a Snooze


Just napping.

(If only I could believe this study where researchers claim to have found the best preventative measure for curing heart disease: naps! But before climbing in your hammocks at work, realize there were some significant problems with this population-based study in which folks self-reported their diet, exercise and siesta routines. Maybe this is why the paper appeared in the Archives of Internal Medicine (it needed to be archived quickly).

To summarize the Greek and Harvard-based authors' own feelings regarding the limitations of the study:
Among the weaknesses of our study are the relatively small number of outcomes (coronary deaths) and the comparatively short follow-up period. (6 years)
Note, these were not cardiovascular deaths, but coronary deaths and only men showed a difference in deaths (there were too few numbers of deaths in women). Hello, researchers! Too few data points are a big problem, no?

The study interjects many of the most common forms of bias in such clinical studies (recall bias, interviewer bias, follow-up bias and misclassification bias) due to its design - you think they could do better. But heck, all the news agencies (via the Associated Press) seem to think this is worth reporting, so wake me up when the hype is over.


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