Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Low Salt Diets Increase Risk Of Death

From The New York Times, "Low-Salt Diet Ineffective, Study Finds. Disagreement Abounds." by Gina Kolata:
A new study found that low-salt diets increase the risk of death from heart attacks and strokes and do not prevent high blood pressure
Dr. Michael Alderman, a blood pressure researcher at Albert Einstein College of Medicine and editor of the American Journal of Hypertension, said medical literature on salt and health effects is inconsistent. But, he said, the new study is not the only one to find adverse effects of low-sodium diets. His own study, with people who had high blood pressure, found that those who ate the least salt were most likely to die.
Despite the protests about the conclusions of this study within the medical profession, this study is better than many others in that it was a prospective study and not a data mining exercise using historical data and reporting statistical correlations as "medical research."

All past data has some correlations, but finding a relationship in past data does not prove cause and effect. Prospective studies are more likely to prove or disprove casual factors. Random double blind controlled prospective studies are the gold standard of study methodology.

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