Is your little brother making you sick ?

16 Nov

A study has been widely reported this week that suggests that having a younger sibling causes an increase in your blood pressure. Given that heart problems as a result of high blood pressure is a leading form of premature death in many Western societies this paper would seem to be of widespread interest.

As you will see from the image above, the Daily Mail’s report of this paper is illustrated with a photograph of two caucasian children. However, merely by reading down the Mail’s story a little you discover that the paper used participants from Amazonian villages in Bolivia !

Whilst the original paper is very interesting, and the reported increases in blood pressure are intriguing, it is interesting to get students to think about what might influence rises in blood pressure in Western societies. Students should be able to readily see that trying to draw any particular conclusions about Western health problems from this sample isn’t very wise !! It’s important with a paper like this for students to realise that there is absolutely nothing wrong with the original paper, it’s they way in which the media cover it that is the problem.

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