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OPINION: A little bit of science goes a long way

Cochlear implant recipient, 63 year old Sue Grimwood of Sydney, was in the CSO concert audience at Llewelyn Hall when she heard her daughter, 36 year old Kim Kelly of Brisbane, sing for the first time.September 26th 2015. Photograph by Graham Tidy.ONE of the greatest privileges of my life was seeing a cochlear implant device give a person the gift of sound.
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The device, which has changed the lives of hundreds of thousands worldwide, is testament to human ingenuity, endurance and, ultimately, the power and significance of medical research.

During my time at Cochlear in Sydney, I witnessed a war veteran return to the world of hearing, and cried as a baby heard sound for the first time. A woman in Maitland could dance again thanks to the implant, and a young girl made it to university in the United States – all thanks to Professor Graeme Clark’s life-changing device.

The development of the cochlear implant was undoubtedly a little bit of magic, with a big handful of science.

But in the age of Doctor Google, we need to bring the sexy back into medical science and innovation. Anyone who has put their symptoms into a search engine and ended up with cancer will know this well. Celebrity chefs and sugar-haters are chomping at science’s heels and we flock to them by the millions.

The Biggest Loser trainer Michelle Bridges offended many Australian women recently when she said her pregnancy at age 45 was due to the fact she looked after herself.

Social media was alight with the controversy with ladies who had been unable to conceive a child outraged by the implication that they were unhealthy.

Well she would know because she’s on television and has built an empire making women feel bad about their bodies.

Paleo king Peter Evans, the chef behind the most-hyped food movement in Australia, is also anti-fluoride in drinking water and is a big fan of the anti-vaccination campaigner, Dr Joseph Mercola.

I’ve also seen a well-known Australian journalist link immunisation to autism on Facebook, despite the bulk of evidence to the contrary. The one and only study into this issue was deeply flawed and discredited yet people still believe its findings.

Alas they are both too young to remember an American president who had been ravaged by polio and was hobbling around on walking sticks.

They’ve probably never seen a child struggle to breathe with whooping cough, either.

They can have their opinions but don’t force them down my throat. Ireally don’t care what you eat, butwhen I see a picture of a Melbourne tram with Paleo Pete’s face all over it, I have to say: enough.

Even the veteran journalist Mike Willesee has fallen for paleo and he took to it with gusto in a puff-piece for Sunday Night.

Of course, his weight loss had little to do with giving up his huge Coca-Cola habit or was the result of working out with a personal trainer.

It was all due to paleo, according to Pete.

I’ve even seen people on social media say the paleo diet has reversed their husband’s dementia.

Coincidence should not be confused with cause. Go see a doctor, they’ve spent more time at university than a former pizza chef. Plus, they are insured if anything goes wrong.

Now go and eat a burger.

Lisa Tait-McLean is a journalist who has worked for the Australian Medical Association and Cochlear

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