/Double the risk of death! The problem with headline health statistics

Double the risk of death! The problem with headline health statistics

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How should scientists and journalists report risk? The way in which a statistic is presented can entirely change how alarming it sounds. And too often, both newspapers and scientific journals choose the most alarming, but least informative, way.

For instance, according to a widely reported study published in the BMJ this month, if you father children in your fifties, your children are more likely to suffer various health issues, including seizures. Specifically, if you are aged 45 to 54 when you become a father, your children are 18 per cent more likely to suffer seizures than if you …