Two pages of allegations, not a single document

Until Recently, I have been annoyed about the fact that the medical debate on the limits has been carried out exclusively by epidemiologists, toxicologists or specialists in Environmental health. Where was the voice of the German respiratory medicine on the topic? Since last Wednesday I wish they would have never raised.

Nearly 100 German lung doctors have signed a statement, which provides the scientific basis of the currently valid limit values for fine dust and NOx in the agreement. This in itself is not problematic. Criticism of the limits and, above all, the proportionality of the bans is quite appropriate.

I am convinced that most of my colleagues to Express their support in good faith. Unfortunately, it is not so easy. The opinion triggered a media storm, put the communicative incompetence of science and led to the collision with the “post-factual” age. How could it come to this?

The gentlemen followed their signing of the opinion, the call of the former President of the German society for pneumology, Professor Dieter Koehler, the Initiator of the letter, and for some time in the role of “renegades”: a lung doctor who holds the health hazards caused by NOx or particulate matter for simply “invented” – wating for the media world.

Among the signatories of the opinion of many well-known colleagues of mine are good, conscientious Doctors. Whether you have considered at the time of their signing, that they would do so overnight to be stirrup holders of a “lie”-campaign (“image”)? In the name of these colleagues and hundreds of qualified scientists working for decades with the matter, and their Work has been published in prestigious medical journals with peer-review process, not about the Over – or misinterpretation of the data, but simply the deliberate lie accused.

A disservice to the science

Maybe that was for the majority of the signatories are not predictable, naive and it was all. Because you would have to know that you can sign in support of individuals that of the state of the scientific knowledge for a “joke” (“Hard but fair”), other researchers hold differing opinions to “ideologized” and members of a “sect” (“Cicero”), and the whole limit debate with the witch persecution, compare. The phrases say like “there is absolutely no fine dust disease of the lung” (ARD “Diesel Disaster”), and in a letter claiming, pulmonary physicians would see in everyday daily deaths from COPD and lung cancer, “however, Deaths due to fine dust and NOx, no”. In short: oxides of nitrogen and fine dust are in Germany, not a single case of death, responsible.

All of these “robust” views and statements signed by my colleagues on Wednesday a quasi-sometimes – and thus the scientific examination proved to be a disservice. Because good – scientific – arguments, one searches the opinion in vain. It will only be placed in the assertions, to cite only a single study that underpins these theories. For example, it is claimed that the “voluntary exposure study,” smokers “falsifiziere” the studies related to low-level fine-dust and NOx with reduced life expectancy: Because the pollutant subject to the values in cigarettes is many times higher than in outdoor air, should smokers extrapolated much sooner die, than actually doing it.

With this handy comparison Köhler draws for months by the German TV-landscape. Ironically, one could argue exactly the opposite: This is a pure assumption (hypothesis) is falsified by the numerous cohort studies (experiments) on the topic of in many cases.

Further evidence for the “Trump” of the company

As a serious scientific engagement with the subject of looks, the in November of 2018, the German society for pneumology published a position paper in which the state of the science presented and the current limits are based, in Essence. It has a circumference of about 50 pages, and 451 source of information. Although mass is not class, but one would have hoped that the opinion would in turn call one or the other study that defines the current state of research (that is, NOx or particulate matter in the in Germany the measured concentrations are very well healthy harmful).

The media’s reaction to the opinion was foreseeable. From almost a hundred – mostly in private practice established – colleagues to draw renowned scientists “(“The world””), Minister of transport, Scheuer welcomed the “scientific approach”. 50-page position paper, 451 quotes and countless studies on the topic: wiped out from the 2 sides of an opinion without a single document or at least a concrete proposal, the “lack of a scientific Basis for” the limits to improve.

How far the “Trump” of our society and of individual media is already well advanced, could be seen in the public discussion: Reproducible evidence that does not fit, is defamed with the “Fake News”-the vocabulary of “lie”, “invention”, “hysteria” and “ideology”. What you can’t refute, not to believe you. The image that will remain after the controversy of the medical science, is a severely damaged.

The stereotype of the academic, scatterbrain, don’t know what he’s talking about, is supported. The glad all those who are of the opinion that the pursuit of objective knowledge, is in any event unnecessary Ballast. The professional societies in this debate is not a good picture. According to the judgment of Leipzig, a number of months lapsed in vain, to make the voice of pulmonology audible. The companies would convey as leaders of the state of knowledge, but also open questions of naming and distortions, such as the need to correct the “13.000 diesel dead” (DUH).

As the position paper was released in December, was over, the debate is long since out of control. You recapture is likely to be a Herculean task. Respiratory medicine has missed in my eyes a great opportunity to cancel their outstanding importance to the Public in memory. In fact, it has driven the discussion of against the wall.