First, it's amazing how standards have increased. They performed chronic, in vivo, two-photon imaging over nine months, and used a dopaminergic-specific GFP line, and all they got was a Journal of Neuroscience paper. Now, there are reasons it's only J. Neuroscience: they counted cells bodies, not spines, and as everyone knows, cells exist for their spines to be counted; and their only non-control result was a 13% increase in dopaminergic neuron number in the olfactory bulb (below, lower panel).
|c. Gains and losses of dopaminergic neurons in the olfactory bulb. Note the super-significant ** (p<0.01!!!) at the third time point. d. Overall change in dopaminergic neuron number. 13%!.|
Extra *s are not inherently dumb, but they reflect imprecise thinking. In science, we can't hope to be that certain (p <0.01). We can only observe until we're pretty sure, then wait for independent verification. I worry that people who note **s when they're not meaningful might be prone to noticing *s when they don't exist.