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Washington Post article: scientific consensus is mainstream CTE facts are exaggerated, misleading

Discussion in 'PatsFans.com - Patriots Fan Forum' started by Ice_Ice_Brady, Jan 22, 2020.

  1. Ice_Ice_Brady

    Ice_Ice_Brady PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    Interesting stuff here. We know the the WaPo is no fan of Roger and the goons, so coming from this publication maybe worth a read...Florio also picked it up.

    Basic gist of it is that the celebrity doctor and face of the cause Bennet Olamu has greatly exaggerated the risk of CTE, used shoddy scientific methods, and has essentially attached himself to the disease to become rich and famous, while accusing any skeptics of being paid off. In reality there are a lot of academic brain scientists who are not paid for their research who believe these CTE conclusions are incorrect. The disease does exist, but many of the brain scan photos you see are not CTE (it is some other stuff that occurs in the brain), the risk of dying from this disease from playing in the NFL is closer to 5% and nowhere near the certain death that it's been made out to be.

    There's a lot of information in here.

    https://www.washingtonpost.com/graphics/2020/sports/cte-bennet-omalu/


    Bennet Omalu “exaggerates his accomplishments and dramatically overstates” the risks of CTE in contact sports

    Florio's cliff notes:

    When it comes to the NFL’s hypersensitivity to brain health over the past decade, Dr. Bennet Omalu gets most of the credit for sparking the change. Based on a new article in the Washington Post, however, Omalu has a far different reputation among those whose work focuses on brain science.

    As explained by Will Hobson of the Post, brain researchers have reached a “wide consensus” that Omalu “routinely exaggerates his accomplishments and dramatically overstates the known risks of CTE and contact sports, fueling misconceptions about the disease.” Hobson bases that conclusion on interviews with more than 50 experts in the field, and on a review of more than 100 papers from medical journals.

    Omalu has claimed credit for both the discovery and the naming of Chronic Traumatic Encephelopathy, or CTE. He didn’t discover it nor name it, however. And there are questions among researchers as to whether Omalu correctly diagnoses the condition, including in his seminal paper concluding that the late Mike Webster had CTE.

    “His criteria don’t make sense to me,” said Dr. Ann McKee, one of the leading experts in the CTE field. “I don’t know what he’s doing. . . . My God, if people were actually following [Omalu’s] criteria, the prevalence of this disease would be enormous, and there’s absolutely no evidence to support that.”

    Omalu, as Hobson explains, responds to criticism by accusing detractors of having financial motivations. Omalu, however, has a clear dollars-and-cents reason for saying what he says and doing what he does. Per the report, Omalu charges a minimum of $10,000 to serve as an expert witness in CTE litigation. Likewise, he charges $27,500 per appearance as a public speaker.
     
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  2. bormio

    bormio In the Starting Line-Up

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    I am no expert on CTE, but the truth is medical researchers are no less corrupt and deceitful, and petty and ambitious as anyone else.
     
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  3. Ice_Ice_Brady

    Ice_Ice_Brady PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    A celebrity researcher whose entire fame and financial success is tied to CTE to being really bad is more valid than a very large group of academics who study brain science? This isn't a paid think tank to discredit CTE; it is an academic consensus that is not being sponsored by a company and have zero financial gain. Includes people from top schools who study brain science.
     
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  4. Ice_Ice_Brady

    Ice_Ice_Brady PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    Or maybe I got your point backwards.
     
  5. bormio

    bormio In the Starting Line-Up

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    I agree on Omalu, but don’t think that university researchers are as pure as the driven snow. They aren’t. Not everyone’s corruption is money.
     
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  6. fightingirish595

    fightingirish595 Experienced Starter w/First Big Contract

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    I still haven’t seen the movie concussion. Now I definitely won’t be watching
     
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  7. ALP

    ALP Pro Bowl Player

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    my understanding was Omalu had removed himself from the brain field and moved away to some no name town to raise a family?

    my impression was a guy who wanted out of the limelight and financial connection to CTE, how often is he used as an expert?
     
  8. primetime

    primetime Pro Bowl Player

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    I mean, if you read this, the meat of this story is some bizarre sensationalism over images selected for a paper on Mike Webster's brain... even though every person involved worked on that paper and agree Webster had CTE.

    Basically, even the researchers who disagree with Omalu's methods for assessing CTE believe tackle football is dangerous and causes much higher rates of brain damage than in the regular population. They just believe Omalu's methods overstate prevalence and the potential danger of sports that aren't football (though certain studies not by Omalu have also found professional soccer, of all things, is associated with very high rates of death from brain damage).

     
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  9. Elijah

    Elijah PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    This is definitely true, but also kind of irrelevant to this discussion. Omalu's credibility has been doubted in specific ways, whereas the other scientists have given us no specific reasons to doubt them.

    Your point means scientific findings should be taken with a grain of salt in general but to start casting blind doubt on the findings of this article is just unnecessarily muddying the waters.
     
  10. primetime

    primetime Pro Bowl Player

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    You should always be skeptical of any academic research, and doubly so when it relies on a convenience sample and can't be studied until after the subject is dead. There is an epistemological limit to CTE research at the moment that's always going to invite legitimate skepticism. And it's easy to tinker with your methodology until you get that p-value that you're searching for, which is why the best researchers pre-register their methods before they conduct research.

    But the correlation between playing football and CTE has been established by multiple researchers in multiple labs. Other researchers believe he may have overstated prevalence, but they don't disagree with him that football is dangerous and associated with much higher rates of brain damage than the general population. McKee, the star interviewee here, was the one who examined Hernandez's brain after death, for what it's worth.

    Also, it's very odd this story didn't have a statement from Omalu or at least claim that he was contacted and didn't provide a statement. They just used stuff he said in his book. Between the fact the frame is this overly sensationalized thing about the Mike Webster images (where, again, everyone just seems confused about the images Omalu chose for the paper, because they all agree Webster had brain damage) and the fact Omalu isn't actually given the chance to defend himself in the story, this feels like, uh, bad journalism.
     
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  11. Raymond

    Raymond In the Starting Line-Up

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    Like Climate Cha...…...
     
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  12. Ice_Ice_Brady

    Ice_Ice_Brady PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    Isn't this already implied considering the year is 2020?
     
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  13. primetime

    primetime Pro Bowl Player

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    lmao not even close
     
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  14. Froob

    Froob Independent Investigator & pliable af PatsFans.com Supporter

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    Here we go
     
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  15. primetime

    primetime Pro Bowl Player

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    The Post often does pretty good journalism! However, I really don't know if I trust the Post's sports page to be doing hard-hitting science journalism. I mean, the title says that he "built a career on distorted science" which is a completely explosive statement that isn't at all backed up by the relatively tame academic disagreements about images selected for an academic study in the body and the consensus about the existence of CTE and its association with playing football among all researchers interviewed therein. It's, like, interesting and weird that Omalu doesn't use the NIH definition of CTE, and yeah maybe that's a problem, but there's also very little meat about what that actually means for his research (except in the context of this Webster study, which nobody really seems to have any real issues with), and instead we get these weird musings about his supposed interest in celebrity and his role as an expert witness for Ford that has nothing to do with anything.

    Rather, to someone who's dealt with this kind of thing, this seems to be pretty routine as such things go. Without the whole book and movie angle, this is at its heart relatively boring and honestly by the standards of academic stuff not even particularly acrimonious quibbles over scientific methodology... which is the heart of the scientific process! Not only is this not necessarily a bad thing, it's the way it's supposed to work.

    Only here the author (and the editor, presumably, who's responsible for the misleading headline) chose to sensationalize it and, so far as I can tell, failed to ask Omalu his side of the story in a story specifically framed as an attack on his scientific integrity. And presumably there are also academics who would take the other side, that Omalu's methods are sound or whatever, but here we have just one side. To me that's really ugly journalism.
     
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    Last edited: Jan 22, 2020
  16. mosi

    mosi Experienced Starter w/First Big Contract

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    Bennet Olamu is not someone respected in the CTE field. He has published very little of his findings and has no NIH funding and never really has. He stumbled across something and has tried to ride that wave.

    CTE is real but not occurring in every 10 year old playing football. I think most scientist believe that CTE research is still in the early stages of understanding and no specific methods exist to diagnose this condition without an autopsy. The claims made by Omalu that CTE is a progressive disease caused ONLY by head trauma/impacts are not supported by any solid data.

    Articles like this are why scientist hate talking to the media. Everything gets sensationalized in a way that distracts from the facts.
     
  17. borg

    borg PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    I guess all the messed up NFL old timers are exaggerating

    And all the old time boxers who can’t tell you their name.....

    ......yeah.... no connection there
     
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  18. patfanken

    patfanken PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    or rather the crap Climate Change deniers use to protect short term corporate interests, while the rest of us will burn or drown because of their self interest and greed. And I say this with no dog in the fight since I will be dead before it because inevitable
     
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    Last edited: Jan 22, 2020
  19. Jlaff

    Jlaff Early Bird Specials PatsFans.com Supporter Weekly Picks Winner

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    How dare you, especially when we know Florida and New York are days away from being fully submerged into the ocean.
     
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  20. fightingirish595

    fightingirish595 Experienced Starter w/First Big Contract

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    did you here about that peer review fraud
     

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