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Smoking and PTSD?

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Steve Levitt has a great post over at Freakonomics on a new study appearing in the Journal of Clinical Psychiatry. The study purports to show a link between smoking and PTSD. Studies like this are what give science a bad name.

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Levitt proposes a better experiment: "You find a bunch of smokers and non-smokers before a traumatic event. You subject them to a traumatic event. Then you see how they fare."

Just try to get that past the IRB!

Seriously, though, his criticism of the research points out once again the hazards of jumping too quickly to inferring causation. The editors of the journal should surely know better. We see the same fallacy all the time in arguments about crime, deterrence, and root causes.

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