03/28/2008 02:45 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

The Gift That Keeps On Giving: Perino's Pseudo-Science Gets Frosted

2007-10-26-Perino.jpgEarlier this week, White House Press Secretary Dana Perino made heads spin when she claimed that climate change offered the prospect of health benefits. When questioned about this contention, she responded thusly:

Sure. In some cases, there are -- look, this is an issue where I'm sure lots of people would love to ridicule me when I say this, but it is true that many people die from cold-related deaths every winter. And there are studies that say that climate change in certain areas of the world would help those individuals. There are also concerns that it would increase tropical diseases and that's -- again, I'm not an expert in that, I'm going to let Julie Gerberding testify in regards to that, but there are many studies about this that you can look into.

So, basically, some say the world will end in fire, some say in ice. From what we hear from Bush's crier, she'd rather plunge us into fire. But if you want to be precise, the science that we have to date says that the health offset by lack of ice is not so great.

Will this suffice?

The increase in extremely hot summers predicted by climate change models will lead to a higher death toll that will not be offset by fewer deaths during warmer winters, say researchers.

"The increase in mortality when you have one extra cold snap is 1.59%, but the increase in mortality for an additional heatwave is 5.74%," explains Mercedes Medina-Ramón of Harvard University's School of Public Health in Massachusetts, US.

Medina-Ramón and colleagues looked at how temperature correlated to mortality in 50 US cities between 1989 and 2000. They found that heart attacks and cardiac arrest were the causes of death that were most likely to increase with more extreme temperatures.

This is a reminder that you should always opt to take the road less traveled by people who haven't the faintest idea what they are talking about. It will make all the difference.