I Smell Junk Science . . .

by Jimmy Akin

in Science

. . . in this article about men suffering from pre-menstrual syndrome.

Setting aside the obvious point that men don’t menstruate, it is hypothetically possible that men have a monthly biological rythm that leads them to experience PMS-like symptoms on a regular basis, however that is not what the study in question shows.

All it shows is that on a survey of 50 (!) men, the men admitted to

feeling antisocial and suffering poor concentration; depression; lack of arousal; hot flushes and pain – including stomach cramps, back pain and headaches.

Okay, fine. But so what? Lots of people have periodic symptoms like that without it amounting to a syndrome. What you’d need to have in order to argue that there is a male equivalent to PMS is evidence that the symptoms recur on a somewhat regular schedule, especially a monthly one. Yet that is what the researchers seem to admit they don’t have. According to the article:

[Dr. Aimee Aubeeluck] and colleague Joanne Worsey will now study couples over several months to discover if symptoms are cyclical for both men and women.

Given the wild inaccuracy of the press (more on that later), I can’t be sure if the researchers themselves tried to advance the “male PMS” angle or if that was a figment of the newspaper’s imagination, but if so it would be irresponsible to advance such a claim based on the scanty data the article represents the researchers as having (anybody know where the original study can be read online?).

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{ 1 comment }

Adam N September 10, 2004 at 9:28 pm

I smell the same. From looking at other articles online, it appears that the study wasn’t so much published recently as certain vague information about it was given to the press prior to its formal presentation to the British Psychological Society sometime next month. If and when it’s published in one of their online journals I could get you a copy if you’re still interested, but I’m guessing this will be something we’ll never seriously hear about again.

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