Don't take our word for it -- listen to Dr. John Ioannidis and his team of celebrated meta-researchers. Their job is to comb through all these awesome-sounding medical studies to assess their validity. And, surprise: Up to 90 percent are critically flawed in some way or another. If you're hoping this is contained to fringe, little-used research, find a new vessel for your misplaced hope. Ioannidis and his crew examined 49 of the most highly regarded medical findings in the last decade or so -- between a third and a half of them where straight-up wrong or highly exaggerated.
That's why all the stories about "promising new research" tend to come and go with the speed of Disney pop stars ("Take Omega-3 to prevent heart disease! Or don't! Who the fuck knows?"). And it isn't just the stuff that turns up on BuzzFeed: We're talking about the body of knowledge that your doctor relies on when prescribing drugs, giving advice on dietary habits, and recommending surgery, among other things.
This is why all operating rooms now have a live feed of trending Twitter hash tags.
How can so many studies be so badly flawed? Well ...