Scientists: Don’t let your cows drink coffee in Australia

Weather getting you down? “Pig’s arse,” an Australian medical study reveals.

Well, the story about these finding doesn’t use such an Aussie expression to disagree. But stories about health and science seem to pop up every day. Such subjects can also easily confound readers. There seems no shortage of the modern news media publishing the “Researchers say … ” type of medical story. You are no doubt familiar with the type of article. Usually some medical journal, the likes of Prostate Quarterly, announces to the media some study was published in said journal that is the definitive word on some bodily function or condition.

When I see these type stories I always think of that George Carlin bit — permit me to plagiarize myself and the late Mr. Carlin — “Researchers have found that saliva causes stomach cancer. But only when swallowed in small amounts over a long period of time.”

Findings by scientists seem forever questioning the  usefulness or safety of common items like coffee or red meat, or maybe both. I can see my lead now:

Scientists have discovered that cows which drink more than two cups of coffee daily produce meat that is more likely to keep consumers up late at night.”

Now comes a study published in the journal Arthritis Care and Research which shatters perceptions that the pain noted in numerous old wives tails is caused by something other than the weather. The experiment conducted on some 1,000 patients with low back pain in Sydney during 2011-2012 “compared  the weather at the time patients first felt lower back pain with weather conditions one week and one month before the start of pain,” said an article published in Daily Digest News about the study.

No correlation was found between the weather and lower back pain.

Now I have lower back pain pretty much around the clock. The same goes for neck pain, the latter which is likely caused by bone spurs and a blown disc in my cervical spine. Since I have had surgery twice on my C-spine, including fusion, the doctors say they can only operate on it again in case of an emergency threatening life or limbs. So, I take methadone for that pain. But that doesn’t prevent my neck from having spikes in pain. And, I have found these instances of increased pain in times during nearby low pressure weather systems. For instance, I noticed the pain increased considerably during two of the hurricanes I went through.

The doctor who authored the study makes it clear in the news story that more investigation is needed with weather conditions in concert with certain pain caused by problems including osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis and fibromyalgia.

I might suggest that the researchers also find places outside Sydney for such studies. It seems rather presumptuous, if not foolish, to expect the weather in one part of the world to represent the entire planet. Various conditions control the weather systems of coastal Texas where I live. I would imagine the same could be said for southeastern Australia, although I do remember quite pleasant weather when I visited there some 35 years ago.

I can’t remember weather systems causing pain in Australia but I do remember a bit of a hangover after drinking the local Ouzo and pints of beer one night. Oh, that was Christmas Eve and as I recall, it was a very mild evening.