"There are a number of reasons people pay attention to the first or more dramatic finding. People get more excited about it," said Dr. Marc L. Gordon, a neurologist and Alzheimer's researcher at the Feinstein Institute for Medical Research in Manhasset, N.Y. "This is not to say that studies shouldn't be done . . . but we need to analyze the whole range of data."
Ioannidis, also a professor of disease prevention at Stanford, agreed. "For the general public, the information is not bad to be exposed to," he said. "It's challenging, it's intriguing, and there's a constant flow of it. But be very skeptical about using the information to make changes in lifestyle . . . or clinical practice. Many of these claims will not be validated; some of them might."
The U.S. National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences has more information about biomarkers.
SOURCES: John Ioannidis, M.D., chief, Stanford Prevention Research Center, professor, disease prevention, Stanford University, Palo Alto, Calif; Stephanie Bernik, M.D., chief of surgical oncology, Lenox Hill Hospital, N.Y.; Marc L. Gordon, M.D., neurologist, Alzheimer's researcher, The Feinstein Institute for Medical Research, Manhasset, N.Y.; June 1, 2011 Journal of the American Medical Association.
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