Miscalibrated Internet Receptor Stalks
Miscalibrated Internet Receptor Stalks

A Crossfit gym is suing scientists who did a study on it:

Ok, full disclosure: I did Crossfit for a few months last year. Nearly a year later, I still have knee pain that prevents me from rock climbing, jogging, and drinking wine every night (the last because I'd like my pants to continue to fit despite lack of exercise). It was FUN, and for a while I was itching to go back, but now I'm bitter like baker's chocolate. This was despite having instructors who were fairly concerned about injuries and proper form, not those "bad boxes" you hear about.


Anyway. Some people at Ohio State did a study on Crossfit's effects on body composition and VO2max. Their findings were very favorable to Crossfit. But 11 of their subjects didn't come back for followup. Peer reviewer wanted to know why (this bit I'm remembering from a different article). They sent out a survey; 2 people said time concerns, 9 people said things that got grouped as "overuse or injury" in the paper. Peer reviewer was satisfied. The 16% injury rate got some press. The owner of the gym where the study was done got pissed, claimed business dropped and lost money as a result, and is suing.

I'm not aware of another case where a company sued scientists because they didn't like the results of a study. I would not be surprised if the pharmaceutical industry has done this, and I'm curious whether some of you here know. Regardless, this is epically problematic.

Now, I think their followup on the 11 dropouts could have been more rigorous. The injury rate wasn't the focus of the study, but the couple lines in the paper about it would have benefited from breaking down what the injuries were, and whether they were new or aggravated prior injuries, or some guy just didn't like how sore he was the next day. But it wasn't the focus of the paper. In any case, the court system is not where it should be decided whether scientific papers are being done well and whether the peer review system is working.

There's a pattern easily seen in internet comments on any study: people apply more scrutiny to findings they don't like. Suing scientists over findings you don't like is very bad for scientific inquiry. As the article points out, no one is going to want to do research on Crossfit anymore, and the benefits and risks of that stuff is valuable information given how popular it's gotten. I'm all for scrutinizing scientific methods and the peer review process, but not by the court system.


Also, I'm surprised I never saw this on Gawker Media, apologies if it's made the rounds already.

Ok, I need to get off my ass and go to the gym and do my lat pulldowns grumble grumble.

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