Moshe-Mordechai van Zuiden
Psychology, Medicine, Science, Politics, Oppression, Integrity, Philosophy, Jews -- For those who like their news and truths frank and sharp

Increased statistical-medical nonsense in the news

Poor statistics and poor mental health care can team up

I can’t tell if statistical-medical nonsense is on the rise or that just more of the nonsense is published because we’re deep into the silly season.

Every day, I see now several articles that come to ‘almost prove’ something that holds not even a medical hint. Let me first discuss this example:

“New study reveals link between depression, reduced microglial brain cells”

“[R]eveals link”?! Fresh brain autopsy biopsies showed a reduced activity of microglial cells near neuronal cell bodies in people diagnosed with depression, and the greater the depression, the greater the abnormalcy.

“Their hypothesis proved to be correct” – No proof at all given, of course.

But for argument’s sake, let’s say this is correct. (It’s not, of course. Shrinks always know better than the brains they study. As executors of classism, they’re paid to have people produce. People’s value is so given by how much money they produce for the rich. If they don’t, they are worthless and should be labeled sick. Psychiatry rejects the notion that we know what we are doing when we become gloomy and, in fact, ask for support to examine sad episodes in their pasts to diminish their emotional baggage.)

But then the wilder speculations begin. The altered interaction between neurons and microglial cells may disrupt neuroplasticity, the brain’s ability to form new connections between neurons, which is thought to be down (pun not intended) during depression.

Really, the only things statistics could give are mere suggestions of causality. Which? One or more of the following could be the case:

1. There is something that both causes microglial cell abnormalcy and depression. It could be a creeping physical neural disease. No cause of death is reported. You need to exclude people with any post-mortem physical brain disease to try and diminish this option in your study.

2. The abnormal microglial cells give depression. No mechanism is known. It’s a wild, baseless leap but a productive one (see below).

3. Psychiatrists stigmatize unhappy people and then prescribe them brain poison called antidepressants that may hurt microglial cells’ functioning. First, they label you mentally sick. Then, they drug you. Then, they ‘find’ you’re atypical: drugged. And then, they ‘conclude’ that your brain is sick.

4. It could be all a coincidence, a one-off finding.

The researchers picked 2 because psychiatrists don’t listen anymore except to rich people. They give pills. Cheaper. And pills can influence cell function. So, they want to use this ‘revelation’ as an excuse to medicate even more.

So far, no cell abnormalcy causing depression was found. Of course.

As extra entertainment, these reports always contain typos not spotted by the journalists since they’re just copying without any knowledge or insight. Here, the Dutch Brain Bank is called the Dutch Bran [sic] Bank.

The ‘finding’ here is hyped by not just writing “look what we found” but “Contrary to Expectations.” How did they bake that one?

People with rheumatism have immune cells attacking their joints. And they are more often depressed. They are in pain so that’s not so surprising.

But the brain cells we here talk about are immune cells too, of the CNS. And they are suppressed in their function. And these people are in mental pain.

So, with rheumatic pain, immune cells work overtime. But in mental pain, the immune cells underperform. The comparison is so ridiculous.

Fittingly, the nonsense is published in the magazine Biological Psychiatry (give ‘m pills), but what saddens me most is that now, peer review means nothing anymore. It’s like the charts. The more reviewers like it, the better it must be. Popularity over quality. Critical thinking is a thing of the past.


Let us discuss another example. The UK Biobank is the gift that keeps giving. “[V]igorous physical activity lasting at least 3.6 minutes a day was associated with a 17% to 18% decrease in the risk of getting cancer.”

Here are some obvious mistakes:

1. There is no group randomly split to have a control group. People who exercise and who don’t differ in many ways. Apples and oranges.

2. We now know there is no health difference between doing vigorous and mild exercises. You don’t need to run up the stairs. You can ease yourself down the stairs with the same result.

3. Cancers generally grow for decades before they become manifest. People who don’t feel well will be less inclined to be physically active. If anything, the study found that precancerous patients exercise less. Duh.


Here’s one more example of the shrinks trying to push drugs onto us:

Sexism made that researchers would only experiment with male mice. Women were dispensable. Female lives mattered less.

Now, bio-psychiatry goes feminist. Female mice must be studied too. Women are entitled to their own ‘fitting’ psychotropic drugs. Is it really feminist to help women smoke as many cigarettes as men?


Less meat is a better diet in many ways. Don’t let the medical fools fool you.

I’ve warned often already against new crazy medical theories made from faulty statistics from the giant numbers from the UK Biobank project.

The newest theory is that vegetarians have a 50% higher chance to break a hip than meat-eaters and occasional meat-eaters.

Here are several ways to debunk this bunk science with basic medical knowledge and a tiny bit of common sense.

1. Broken hips happen seldom. The difference reported is not 6.5 but 9.5 times per 1000 people over 10 years: 50% more. Vegetarians also have a 20% higher rate of strokes than meat-eaters. This difference is equivalent too to 3 more cases of strokes per 1000 people over 10 years. But heart attacks happen much more often than hip fractures or strokes. There are three times more heart attacks than hip or brain fractures. So, the reason meat-eaters have a bit fewer strokes and hip trouble is since their hearts died before their hips or brains gave in, not because their diet was lacking.

2. Meat is expensive. Poor people tend to eat lots of meat because they’re brainwashed that is a good investment in their health, or they eat none at all because they can’t afford it anyway. The poor are inclined to eat poorly overall. That can break you a bone. Nothing to do with meat consumption.

3. The only reliable statistics are to divide a group randomly and have each eat differently, preferably with placebos for the rest. This was not done here at all. Vegetarians by choice (not per poverty) have such a different lifestyle than the herd animals who keep eating meat. You can’t just compare them and say the health differences come from diet differences. That is especially nonsense when you have no mechanism that would give vegetarians less calcium for their bones. The truth is probably quite the opposite. Meat-eaters break their bones more often because the iron in the meat (blood) competes with the calcium (yogurt) to be absorbed.

Don’t believe the headlines that make no sense. Use common sense.

When you see enormous numbers of people (half a million or so) compared health-wise, you already know there was no proper control group, and the whole story is just medical-statistical garbage.

Now, bio-psychiatry goes feminist. Female mice must be studied too. Women are entitled to their own ‘fitting’ psychotropic drugs. Is it really feminist to help women smoke as many cigarettes as men?


This is not to say that today, you need faulty statistics to get medical nonsense published in prestigious medical journals.

Take this new story. Mysteriously, when a certain, studied worm eats a certain fat, not only her fetus but also her grandchildren will be protected against this being deficient. ‘It’s a mystery how,’ but we see that this effect is ‘multigenerational.’ Of course, that cannot be. Think for a minute.

In a pregnant mother, three generations are present. The mother, the fetus, and in the fetus, the eggs or sperm cells of their offspring.

We need to look with great skepticism at any ‘approved’ medical news.

But also, we must reject crackpot medical science and populist anti-science.

We live in complicated times.

About the Author
MM is a prolific and creative writer and thinker, previously a daily blog contributor to the TOI. He often makes his readers laugh, mad, or assume he's nuts—close to perfect blogging. He's proud that his analytical short comments are removed both from left-wing and right-wing news sites. None of his content is generated by the new bore on the block, AI. * As a frontier thinker, he sees things many don't yet. He's half a prophet. Half. Let's not exaggerate. Or not at all because he doesn't claim G^d talks to him. He gives him good ideas—that's all. MM doesn't believe that people observe and think in a vacuum. He, therefore, wanted a broad bio that readers interested can track a bit what (lack of) backgrounds, experiences, and educations contribute to his visions. * This year, he will prioritize getting his unpublished books published rather than just blog posts. Next year, he hopes to focus on activism against human extinction. To find less-recent posts on a subject XXX among his over 2000 archived ones, go to the right-top corner of a Times of Israel page, click on the search icon and search "zuiden, XXX". One can find a second, wilder blog, to which one may subscribe too, here: or by clicking on the globe icon next to his picture on top. * Like most of his readers, he believes in being friendly, respectful, and loyal. However, if you think those are his absolute top priorities, you might end up disappointed. His first loyalty is to the truth. He will try to stay within the limits of democratic and Jewish law, but he won't lie to support opinions or people when don't deserve that. (Yet, we all make honest mistakes, which is just fine and does not justify losing support.) He admits that he sometimes exaggerates to make a point, which could have him come across as nasty, while in actuality, he's quite a lovely person to interact with. He holds - how Dutch - that a strong opinion doesn't imply intolerance of other views. * Sometimes he's misunderstood because his wide and diverse field of vision seldomly fits any specialist's box. But that's exactly what some love about him. He has written a lot about Psychology (including Sexuality and Abuse), Medicine (including physical immortality), Science (including basic statistics), Politics (Israel, the US, and the Netherlands, Activism - more than leftwing or rightwing, he hopes to highlight reality), Oppression and Liberation (intersectionally, for young people, the elderly, non-Whites, women, workers, Jews, LGBTQIA+, foreigners and anyone else who's dehumanized or exploited), Integrity, Philosophy, Jews (Judaism, Zionism, Holocaust and Jewish Liberation), the Climate Crisis, Ecology and Veganism, Affairs from the news, or the Torah Portion of the Week, or new insights that suddenly befell him. * Chronologically, his most influential teachers are his parents, Nico (natan) van Zuiden and Betty (beisye) Nieweg, Wim Kan, Mozart, Harvey Jackins, Marshal Rosenberg, Reb Shlomo Carlebach, and, lehavdil bein chayim lechayim, Rabbi Dr. Natan Lopes Cardozo, Rav Zev Leff, and Rav Meir Lubin. This short list doesn't mean to disrespect others who taught him a lot or a little. One of his rabbis calls him Mr. Innovation [Ish haChidushim]. Yet, his originalities seem to root deeply in traditional Judaism, though they may grow in unexpected directions. In fact, he claims he's modernizing nothing. Rather, mainly basing himself on the basic Hebrew Torah text, he tries to rediscover classical Jewish thought almost lost in thousands of years of stifling Gentile domination and Jewish assimilation. (He pleads for a close reading of the Torah instead of going by rough assumptions of what it would probably mean and before fleeing to Commentaries.) This, in all aspects of life, but prominently in the areas of Free Will, Activism, Homosexuality for men, and Redemption. * He hopes that his words will inspire and inform, and disturb the comfortable and comfort the disturbed. He aims to bring a fresh perspective rather than harp on the obvious and familiar. When he can, he loves to write encyclopedic overviews. He doesn't expect his readers to agree. Rather, original minds should be disputed. In short, his main political positions are among others: anti-Trumpism, for Zionism, Intersectionality, non-violence, anti those who abuse democratic liberties, anti the fake ME peace process, for original-Orthodoxy, pro-Science, pro-Free Will, anti-blaming-the-victim, and for down-to-earth, classical optimism, and happiness. Read his blog on how he attempts to bridge any tensions between those ideas or fields. * He is a fetal survivor of the pharmaceutical industry (, born in 1953 to his parents who were Dutch-Jewish Holocaust survivors who met in the largest concentration camp in the Netherlands, Westerbork. He grew up a humble listener. It took him decades to become a speaker too, and decades more to admit to being a genius. But his humility was his to keep. And so was his honesty. Bullies and con artists almost instantaneously envy and hate him. He hopes to bring new things and not just preach to the choir. * He holds a BA in medicine (University of Amsterdam) – is half a doctor. He practices Re-evaluation Co-counseling since 1977, is not an official teacher anymore, and became a friendly, powerful therapist. He became a social activist, became religious, made Aliyah, and raised three wonderful kids. Previously, for decades, he was known to the Jerusalem Post readers as a frequent letter writer. For a couple of years, he was active in hasbara to the Dutch-speaking public. He wrote an unpublished tome about Jewish Free Will. He's a strict vegan since 2008. He's an Orthodox Jew but not a rabbi. * His writing has been made possible by an allowance for second-generation Holocaust survivors from the Netherlands. It has been his dream since he was 38 to try to make a difference by teaching through writing. He had three times 9-out-of-10 for Dutch at his high school finals but is spending his days communicating in English and Hebrew - how ironic. G-d must have a fine sense of humor. In case you wonder - yes, he is a bit dyslectic. If you're a native English speaker and wonder why you should read from people whose English is only their second language, consider the advantage of having an original peek outside of your cultural bubble. * To send any personal reaction to him, scroll to the top of the blog post and click Contact Me. * His newest books you may find here:
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