ARG-002

A recently issued twenty-year study on headaches suffered by the residents of Mentia investigated the possible therapeutic effect of consuming salicylates. Salicylates are members of the same chemical family as aspirin, a medicine used to treat headaches. Although many foods are naturally rich in salicylates, food-processing companies also add salicylates to foods as preservatives. The twenty-year study found a correlation between the rise in the commercial use of salicylates and a steady decline in the average number of headaches reported by study participants. At the time when the study concluded, food-processing companies had just discovered that salicylates can also be used as flavor additives for foods, and, as a result, many companies plan to do so. Based on these study results, some health experts predict that residents of Mentia will suffer even fewer headaches in the future.


Write a response in which you discuss what questions would need to be answered in order to decide whether the prediction and the argument on which it is based are reasonable. Be sure to explain how the answers to these questions would help to evaluate the prediction.


According to a recently issued study regarding the therapeutic effects of salicylates, some health experts predict that the residents of Mentia will suffer from fewer headaches in the future due to an increase in the usage of salicylates in food and commercial products. While there could be some correlation between a decreasing trend in average number of reported headaches and the use of these salicylates, certain questions must be posed and answered before we can decide if the health experts’ prediction is reasonable, as the strength of this prediction could fluctuate drastically depending on the answers to these questions.


To begin with, the prompt mentions that salicylates are members of the same chemical family as aspirin, and, as we all know, aspirin is frequently used to treat headaches. Does the fact that these two substances belong to the same family indicate that they possess the same therapeutic effects? We already know that aspirin can successfully alleviate pain from headaches, but can the same results be manifested in the people who consume salicylates? As there is no specific data to provide foundation for this claim, we must take a closer look at these questions and evaluate the weight the answers could have in relation to the claim. If salicylates do not possess the same pain alleviating abilities as aspirin, then it is likely that the health experts’ prediction will be incorrect; however, if they do possess similar abilities, then said prediction would have a sturdier foundation. Therefore, the answers to these questions will be of vital importance as we take further steps to determine the accuracy of the health experts’ prediction.


Additionally, we must ask if the decrease in reported headaches could be correlated to anything besides the salicylates, such as healthy eating, regular exercise, or the quitting of alcohol consumption and smoking. We must ask this question, for if there are any other factors influencing the trend of headaches, then doubt would be casted upon the above-mentioned prediction. Minor or major adjustments to one’s diet and lifestyle, such as the addition of vitamin and nutrient rich fruits and vegetables or daily exercise, could be the real antecedents to fewer headaches, which could significantly hinder the progression of the health expert’s prediction. If this were not to be the case, and the consumption of salicylates is proved to be the true impetus behind the headache trend fluctuation, then the prediction would be strengthened.


Assuming that the salicylates are behind the overall decrease in headaches, we still need to question the amount of salicylates needed to assuage the pain caused by headaches. Do people need to ingest large amounts of the substance, and, if so, would the amount they get from foods be sufficient to achieve this healing result? Would companies need to add more salicylates to their products before a noticeable, more widespread change could be observed? Furthermore, another easily overlooked question is whether the people who need to consume salicylates find the flavor of the products that contain trace amounts of it appetizing or not. If they do not find these food items to be appetizing there is little chance that they will purchase them and proceed to consume them. Even if we were to put more of the substance into food products and told people that the product would benefit their health, it would still be unlikely that they would spend money on something they would not eat out of their own volition. Therefore, the veracity in the prediction made by the health experts rests in the answers to these questions; it is with the answers to these questions that we can further assess the development of said prediction.


Only after those questions are adequately addressed can we effectively evaluate the author’s argument and reach a logically sound conclusion.

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