Does Crohn’s Disease correlate with Climate Change?

Well, according to this graph I knocked up in about 20 minutes, it would seem that there is a moderate correlation between increasing atmospheric carbon dioxide (linked to man-made climate change) and UK hospital admissions for Crohn’s disease, for the period 1990-2000:

Crohns CO2
Sources:
CO2http://co2now.org/Current-CO2/CO2-Now/scripps-co2-data-mauna-loa-observatory.html
Crohn’s – http://www.ons.gov.uk/ons/rel/hsq/health-statistics-quarterly/no–16–winter-2002/crohn-s-disease-and-ulcerative-colitis–divergent-trends-in-hospital-admission-rates–1989-90-to-1999-2000.pdf

Therefore, Crohn’s disease becomes more prevalent with increasing CO2 concentrations.

Of course, I’m not being serious.  But it shows that you can take any data you like and correlate it with something else.  Whether you can actually draw sound scientific conclusions from this is a totally different matter!

Which was a very roundabout, fun-filled but ultimately pointless way for getting to this: I think my continuing diagnosis and treatment for Crohn’s Disease is a good analogy for climate science.  Bear with me…

Having wasted much of my weekend reading through climate science and climate skeptic blogs, one of the things that struck me was how often skeptics cherry-pick the data or arguments that fit what they believe, and ignore the bigger picture.  Or they dismiss data and conclusions because it has high uncertainty.  This is where my analogy begins.

Over four years ago (probably five, I’m not sure), I started developing symptoms of what I now believe to be Crohn’s Disease.  When I first approached the doctor, and when the first tests were done, there was clearly something wrong, but there was no clear evidence for a diagnosis.  Various individual tests since then have largely all been inconclusive on their own, but over time a picture has begun to be built.

Initially I was seen by a gastroenterology consultant, then by a colorectal  surgeon.  Then the dermatologist, a dentist and a urologist.  While the tests and examinations from each might, in their own right, not point the finger directly at Crohn’s disease, when combined together to form the bigger picture, it seems to be clear now what the problem is.

Someone who wished to ‘deny’ I had Crohn’s could look at my skin biopsies and dismiss them as of too high uncertainty to draw any meaningful conclusions, but when you take into account the mouth ulcers, the fistula, perianal sepsis, low energy, and so on, then one must take a view on the likely root of the problem.  This, I think, is akin to climate science.  Yes, there’s uncertainty, but there’s a best guess answer which fits the bill.

Perhaps where the analogy fails (if it hasn’t already!), is how one tests the theory/diagnosis.  In my case, I will be given drug treatment to see if I respond, whereas in climate science, models would be used to test an outcome of the theory.  I may not respond to the treatment, but that does not necessarily mean I do not have Crohn’s, only that the particular treatment was not effective.

Anyway, that’s just my opinion and something I was thinking about over the weekend.  I may have got the scientific principals incorrect, or found a correlation where there isn’t one.  But I’m happy to acknowledge that I am fallible and willing to be challenged, unlike the majority of climate change skeptics I’ve encountered online.

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