The following memo appeared in the newsletter of the West Meria Public Health Council.

"An innovative treatment has come to our attention that promises to significantly reduce absenteeism in our schools and workplaces. A study reports that in nearby East Meria, where consumption of the plant beneficia is very high, people visit the doctor only once or twice per year for the treatment of colds. Clearly, eating a substantial amount of beneficia can prevent colds. Since colds are the reason most frequently given for absences from school and work, we recommend the daily use of nutritional supplements derived from beneficia. We predict this will dramatically reduce absenteeism in our schools and workplaces."

Write a response in which you discuss what questions would need to be answered in order to decide whether the recommendation is likely to have the predicted result. Be sure to explain how the answers to these questions would help to evaluate the recommendation.

In this report, the author alleges the efficiency of nutritional supplements derived from beneficia in preventing colds and further asserts the capability of the supplement to lower absenteeism in local schools and workplaces. To buttress his/her recommendation, the author cites a study showing high consumption of the plant beneficia and low doctor-visiting frequency in Meria. We are also informed that colds are the most frequently given reason for absences from local school and work. While this may be the case, there are a number of questions regarding his lines of reasoning that requires further analysis. The argument could end up being pretty convincing or invalid in the end, depending on the answers to those questions.

To start with, while the author provides information concerning the high consumption of the plant beneficia and less frequent medical visits for the treatment of colds in Meria, we need to know the casual relationship between the former and the latter. For example, we need to know whether high consumption of the plant beneficia in Meria means that people eat a large amount of the plant; in addition, detailed proof will be of great significance to determine whether people visit doctors infrequently because of a lower incidence of catching colds as opposed to other reasons, such as excessively high hospital fees. If people do eat a massive amount of the plant and catch colds less often, then the plant’s efficiency in preventing colds can be confirmed and the author’s recommendation is thereby more convincing.

In addition, although the writer claims that the most frequently given reason for absence from local school and work is colds, we need to ask whether people asking for absence have lied about the reasons. If colds do play a crucial role in absenteeism, then we are disposed to believe that the author’s conclusion is advisable. Otherwise, we remain doubtful of the recommendation given in the argument.

In spite of the plant’s efficiency in preventing colds as well as the contribution colds make towards local absenteeism, it would be of great help to know whether elements in beneficia remain functional after a series of artificial processes. In addition, the author would benefit from clarifying the relationship between the usage of the nutritional supplement and its efficiency in preventing colds. If it is the body of the plant instead of the supplement derived from the plant that prevents colds, or artificially processed medicine lags in efficiency, or overuse of the nutritional supplement is found to be counterproductive, then the author’s conclusion is weakened and the recommendation should therefore be rejected. Otherwise, it should be encouraged.

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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