Jonathan Falk points to this article, “Examining the impact of grape consumption on brain metabolism and cognitive function in patients with mild decline in cognition: A double-blinded placebo controlled pilot study,” and writes:
Drink up! N=10, no effect on thing you’re aiming at, p value result on a few brain measurements (out of?), eminently pr-able topic…Seems like a TED talk is nigh…
In all seriousness, don’t these people know that the purpose of a pilot study is to test out the methods, not to draw statistical conclusions? Pilot studies are fine. It’s a great idea to publish pilot studies, letting people know what worked and what didn’t, give all your raw data, let it all hang out. But leave the statistical significance calculator at home.
1.112 ± 0.005262
P.S. I’m not saying these researchers are bad guys; I assume they’re just following standard practice which is to try to get at least one statistically significant result and publication out of any experiment. We just need a better scientific communication system that’s focused more on methods, data, and understanding, and less on the promotion of spurious breakthroughs.