It is very easy to think that statistics are the definition of the truth. When you see a study that quotes a percentage in their findings it is natural to believe it to be accurate. The truth is, statistics can be very misleading and are easily manipulated. For some crude examples:
100% of people with a heart will die!
This suggests that having a heart will cause you to die, when in reality it is the opposite.
Drinking tea increases your risk of diabetes by 50%!
Although there may be some truth here, the statement has failed to mention how much sugar people are having in their tea, tea alone may be beneficial against diabetes!
Being bald increases your risk of cardiovascular disease by 70%!
The risk of cardiovascular disease increases with age, and so does baldness, so baldness and cardiovascular disease may not even be linked.
The last example is actually a real claim which was made very recently. So how true is it? The truth is that statistics are mostly meaningless without further information, and only shows apotential connection. Until an actual link between baldness and heart attack causes can be established it means very little. An example of a link is: ‘balding is a sign that there is a reducing in hormone ‘X’, which plays a vital role in maintaining a healthy heart function’.
This connection hasn’t been made yet, and these statistics are usually used as a marketing ‘hook’ to grab peoples attention.
Don’t worry bald people, you are not in any proven danger from anything other than sunburn.
Image courtesy of lendingmemo