Is grandma bad for your health?
It should always be remembered that a large proportion of academics are entirely mad.
There are many reasons for this. The cloistered nature of academic research, the need to scrabble for grant money, the urge to garner attention for the latest study and, perhaps most importantly, half these people need a dose of the real world to relieve them of their research-based, theoretical approach to life.
The latest piece of nonsense comes from the Public Health Unit at the University of Glasgow and it is both ridiculous and obnoxious in equal degree.
According them, your Nana could give you cancer.
Yes, grandparents are apparently a bad influence on their grandkids, what with giving them treats at the weekend and spoiling them and doing all the cool things their parents won't do.
But cancer? Well, some grandparents still smoke, and some of them smoke in front of the little kiddies. So, by the tortuous illogic of the researchers, this either exposes kids to second-hand smoke or so 'normalises' smoking that the younglings will develop the habit and go on to have terrible lives.
What planet do these people live on?
The study ignores the growing practical need for many grandparents to take over child-minding duties to avoid the astronomical costs of creches.
But even more than that, there is the casual demonisation of grandparents who must feel like they can't catch a break.
I learned more from my two Nanas than from any other women I've ever known, and many people will share that debt of gratitude.
But more important than the injured loyalties of those who are still protective of their own grandparents, whether they are alive or not, grandparents are sometimes the only people keeping an eye out for the children.
A friend of mine volunteers for a well known charity in the north inner city and he will frequently point out that, when it comes to addiction issues and the chaotic lifestyles of some parents, it's the grannies who keep the family together and the kids fed and going to school.
In fact, after spending a lifetime paying taxes and doing their best, many of our grandparents are still doing a service to their nation, and saving the State money, by intervening and looking after kids who would otherwise either turn feral or be removed and placed into care.
There was a real poverty of spirit in that report, and it was bizarrely, nonsensically nasty about a specific demographic which contributes far more than it takes.
The people involved call themselves doctors. With doctors like that, a second opinion is always advisable.