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12-07-2011, 04:10 PM
  #98
sandysan
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causation and correlation

I will say that I am pro-fighting and a scientist but I am really really disappointed about how much credit this NYT piece has gotten.

No one doubts that repeated blows to the head are to be avoided, but I do not understand how people come to the conclusion that this is specifically fighting related on a sample size of 4 ( one of whom was not a fighter). I don't know if this was misrepresented in the article but it also appears that the person who diagnosed the CTE knew beforehand that the brain came from a hockey player. I've seen the stain they are using, why are they not scoring these blind ?

I've seen lots of biomedical experiments point to something really interesting that ultimately ends up being nothing which is why you don't publish preliminary results and why these associations take time to prove because there are lots of alternate explanations that need to be discounted. As of right now I think the best we can say is that fighting might contribute to CTE in some people by mechanisms we completely do not yet completely understand. But from the comments at the NYT it seems that a lot of people seem to think that the association is not only demonstrable but that it is causative. This is, in my opinion, not only wrong but dangerous as well.

Boogaard's death was tragic enough, using it to set policy would compound the tragedy.

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