Research on cohabiting reaches questionable conclusion


Because I write a bioscience blog, I read a lot of medical and scientific topics. And I’ve learned to watch carefully for qualifying statements, extra information, study-size, and other limitations that can make conclusions tenuous or shaky.

Just found this article that’s headed: “Marriage may protect against dementia.” It makes it sound like living without a partner increases your risk of eventual cognitive impairment. But when you read the whole thing carefully, this report on a meeting of the Alzheimer’s Association, notes that those who developed Alzheimer’s were far more likely to have a certain gene marker than those who didn’t. And that having lost a partner through death or divorce increased that risk by a factor of about 8. So “other factors besides cohabitation were at work.” Yeah, for sure.

All the participants were Finnish citizens. I don’t know what it’s like to live alone in Finland. But the implication that people who don’t cohabit also don’t have social networks and close communication with other human beings seems totally out of line with my observations of many of today’s single women–and with those of our next guest on the SWWAN Dive show, Dr. Kay Trimberger.

Dr. Kay, herself an ever-single adoptive mother, has done the research. And she reports that what appeared to be true 20 or 30 years ago about, for example, single mothers by choice is now proven to be totally inaccurate–now that studies have been set up by investigators who are not so biased about the subject.

As the quantum laws say, nothing happens that is independent of the effect of the observer. How much truer even of scientific studies, which rely on the observer to choose what will be observed and set the conditions for observing. You can see how this approach would tend to reinforce whatever the experimenter already believes–consciously or unconsciously.

Don’t let the studies get you down! Listen live to our interview with sociologist Dr. Kay Trimberger, “The New Single Woman–Uncensored” on Friday August 15 at 11am CT/9am PT.

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