Information suggests irrefutability. Information means supporting data and no reasonable counter argument.
Twelve years ago, MORA devices (Mandibular Orthopedic Repositioning Appliances) hit the market; one of the leading proponents was the Edge Tech company. I was skeptical; scientists performing double-blind studies, published in peer-reviewed Journals, showed no improved performance in athletes using MORA mouthguards.
I wrote a piece for HockeyZone.ca at the time on mandibular strength research (in hindsight, I wish I'd called it, "MORA – The Research Bites." Much funnier.) You can read it below, from September 13, 2003:
As often happens in the fitness industry, a bad product or scheme is simply warehoused for a decade and re-"introduced" when the hype has gone. MORA devices are back, pushed by companies like UnderArmour (who bought up BiteTech) and supported by "research."
QuackWatch has a good summary of the 2012 MouthGuards-make-you-stronger claims:
MedLine also has an interesting study to share: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22272945
A few weeks ago, a Harvard study on red meat consumption suggested that 'all red meat is bad for you." The study failed to show causation, but merely demonstrated correlation. Some of the better responses were from WeightyMatters.ca and, of course, Mark's Daily Apple. A good discussion of "Why People Don't Want to Read What They Don't Want To Hear" is here.
Correlation occurs when two things seem to always happen together; causation is when one causes the other. For instance, whenever it rains in Sault Ste. Marie, people are carrying umbrellas. The two are correlated. Does that mean umbrella-carrying is the cause of rainfall in Sault Ste. Marie?
While using 'research' to prop up medical and fitness claims is nothing new, the industry ITSELF is prone to swings and spirals. Trends recur with annoying regularity.
Upcoming (recurring) trend predictions for the next 2 years:
Nutrition – the pendulum will swing back toward high-carb. It's barely swung the other way, it seems, but the quick adoption of all fats as "healthy" by some will likely fuel the fear of higher-fat diets again. Driven by the need to sell "new" books, the nutrition world will never be able to settle on one recipe for success. Instead, the pendulum tends to pivot on a controversial issue – like dietary fat – and swings back and forth between "it's poison" and "it's good." As you approach one end of the spectrum, you can expect a recoil in the other direction.
Movement – bouncing up and down. Where mini-trampolines enjoyed a short (approximately 30 minutes) craze in the late 1990s, new bouncy-shoes make use of all the inline skates that didn't sell in 1998:
What's next….vibrating platforms for weight loss? A 'healthy' cigarette that delivers vitamins or filters "toxins" from the air? Motorized exercise bikes?
All of the claims in this article have "research" to back them up. Most studies have been purchased by the producer of the equipment; the others have built equipment based on overextrapolation of small-study results.
There's a buyer born every minute, as the saying goes…or maybe that's not quite right.