There's a problem I keep finding in how people (including the media - perhaps especially the media) react to scientific studies. They jump to conclusions, saying coffee protects against Alzheimer's, because a study (one study) finds a negative correlation between coffee consumption and Alzheimer's. They draw conclusions that are far beyond the scope of the study (a recent NPR report talked about a study showing that a person's natural running gait is their most efficient - which is neither what the study concluded, nor what it tested). So, a few thoughts for consuming scientific information: Consider the source. There's a fair amount of pseudo-scientific information out there, and many websites (especially, though mass media sometimes falls into this trap) don't differentiate between an uncontrolled and unreviewed study, and one that was performed with strict control groups and was reviewed and found reliable by experts in the field. Don't get too excited about one data point. One study can be very incorrect in its conclusions. At the end of every study, the researchers draw some conclusions from what they discovered. But a single study will always be flawed - it's simply impossible to account for all necessary controls in a single trial. So, wait for more studies, and preferably the meta-analysis of several studies. Pay attention to what they actually studied. Let's go back to that running gait study I mentioned earlier. Researchers tested runners - both experienced and entirely untrained (non-"runners"). They had them run using their usual (note: not necessarily "natural", which was the term NPR used) gait, versus some other gait. They found O2 efficiency highest with the gait they were used to. What they didn't study was whether the participants could become more efficient by learning a new gait and practicing it for an extended period (that would be a new study), but NPR's report concluded that our natural gait is our best gait. Pay attention to the population used. Some studies exclude women, so they don't have to try to correct for monthly hormonal changes (which would require a longer study with more participants, which is much more expensive). Some only study women. Some only include pregnant women. Some use mice. Look at the level of exposure used. There are studies that show direct, irrefutable carcinogenic effects of some chemicals. Mind you, they fed mice the human-equivalent of a pound or so of the chemical a day to get that outcome, so it's possible any reasonable dosage would be harmless. We know too much sun can lead to skin cancer, but nobody should believe you're going to catch cancer walking from your house to your car. There are other things to watch for, but the main message is this: don't get too reactionary. Science is rarely speedy, because it takes time and effort to get enough well-controlled results to draw rational conclusions. Any other thoughts or suggestions on how to intelligently consume scientific results?