Thursday, March 18, 2010

X-rated science and that Something Special that exends life

Now here's the latest science news story, if you're intellectually prepared for its deeply technical nature.* Guess what? A study in the US found that healthy older men want more sex! (This study applies to older people; younger ones don't need the help of scientific research when it comes to between-the-sheets time.) And guess what else? They're getting it, too! Now this hot-item (news) is published in the British Medical Journal. This is a respected journal but the fact that it was published there rather than in some staid American journal undoubtedly reflects how steamingly hot all of this is.

If you're feeling out of sorts or out of shape (or if SHE thinks your shape is rather out-of), then I guess we have to be stunned to learn--this is real science after all!--that you're spending more time reading or watching Competitive Poker than you'd like, and none of it stud.

Now, there may be a good-news/bad-news problem here. The rigorous results of this study show that the more your spice up your life the more life you'll have to spice up. Thus, the BMJ story suggests doctors prescribe the beast with two backs, as Shakespeare put it, to two aspirins and bed rest. The study suggests this will lead to longer life (longer in years, at least) if you go home in the randiest of states and startle your unsuspecting partner:

"Tell me what the doctor said, dear?"

"I'll have to show you. But put down your knitting first, or someone could get hurt."

"Eeeek! Stop that!!"

The point here is not to denigrate the importance of sexual health to general health, or not understand aspects of either. But it is to question whether this kind of study had much chance of saying anything that one did not already basically know or, from a practical point of view, raised any practically useful insights, not just to get correlation coefficients that might be mildly interesting. NIH money supported this study, which used existing questionnaires and telephone surveys, with their well-known reliability and laser-sharp penetration (sorry!) of the truth. It is hard to accept that much hard knowledge could come of yet more federal largesse. Since grants are supposed to be funded based on their priority, we can probably guess what the priorities of the review panel were. Imagining what they've funded probably gave the reviewers years of extra life, and maybe their spouses, too. All of it science in the public interest!

*(We're not making this up! We have seen the actual story because our library subscribes to the online journal, but it's not publicly available yet.)

1 comment:

Texbrit said...

Who says knitting isn't sexy? It's all in the knitter!