Weird science: Medical studies 

If you’ve noticed an uptick in oddball medical research lately, you’re not imagining things. With more than 900,000 studies published each year in mainstream medical journals, there are bound to be a few weird and wacky ones. Too often, the craziest science gets the splashiest media coverage. Which would YOU read first in your paper: “Fiber Is Good” or “Smoking Protects Your Joints.”

How do you know what to believe? Start by remembering this: One study is never enough. Science is always uncovering new facts and challenging old assumptions. But the golden rule of research is that study results have to be repeatable — at least three times, and four’s better. So don’t let a bizarre study throw you.

Trimming salt doesn’t help your blood pressure. A recent Dutch study questioned the long-established link between high-sodium diets and high risk for high blood pressure, suggesting that salt-loaded diets lower your risk of heart disease — yep, really. Should you feel free to order salty smoked salmon on a salt bagel instead of fruit and oatmeal? Nope. Heart experts quickly highlighted several flaws in the study, including that it looked only at midlife adults with healthy tickers! The punchline: More data definitely is needed before you treat salt like water.

The YOU Docs — Mehmet Oz, host of “The Dr. Oz Show,” and Mike Roizen of Cleveland Clinic — are the authors of “YOU: Losing Weight.” For more information go to www.RealAge.com.

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