Studies don't matter to alties

I was, not surprisingly, correct when I said that the recent echinacea study would fail to persuade alties, no matter how well-designed it was or how much it built on previous negative studies, that this herb does nothing for the common cold. Much of their objections come from an appeal to ignorance:
Her brother immediately forwarded her a news article about the echinacea study, she said, but "it didn't really bother me." Why? "Well," she said, waving her hands and looking off into the distance, "I wouldn't be surprised if again in six months another study was published and it turns out that echinacea extends your life or something."
Not an entirely unreasonable thing to say about any one study, but it isn't just one study. I've addressed this issue before, and it's the preponderance of studies that matters. You can always dismiss one study (although this one was particularly well-designed and controlled), but this is merely the latest and best-designed of of several studies that have shown echnicacea does nothing for colds or cold symptoms above placebo.

Health food stores probably have nothing to fear as far as their echinacea sales go.


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