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Genetic breakthrough findings often bogus, even when in medical journals

(NaturalNews) Many scientific "breakthroughs" widely reported in the popular press are actually false, warn researchers Marcus Munafo of the University of Bristol and Jonathan Flint of Oxford University, writing in The Guardian.

"The social environment in which research occurs places scientists under pressure to perform, measured by the amount and quality of publications, and success in attracting research funding from government and charitable agencies," the scientists write.

This pressure encourages researchers to find some exciting conclusion to report, the authors write, even if that conclusion is probably false.

All scientific studies -- such as those claiming to find a "gene for" depression, schizophrenia, obesity, or any other condition -- contain a probability that their findings occurred simply by chance. Normally, this probability is less than 5 percent -- making the findings "statistically significant." Munafo and Flint note, however, that it is actually fairly easy to produce statistical significance.

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