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A study of high blood pressure treatments found that

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A study of high blood pressure treatments found that [#permalink] New post 21 Jul 2013, 20:44
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A study of high blood pressure treatments found that certain meditation techniques and the most commonly prescribed drugs are equally effective if the selected treatment is followed as directed over the long term. Half the patients given drugs soon stop taking them regularly, whereas eighty percent of the study's participants who were taught meditation techniques were still regularly using them five years later. Therefore, the meditation treatment is the one likely to produce the best results.
Which of the following, if true, most seriously weakens the argument?

A. People who have high blood pressure are usually advised by their physicians to make changes in diet that have been found in many cases to reduce the severity of the condition.
B. The participants in the study were selected in part on the basis of their willingness to use meditation techniques.
C. Meditation techniques can reduce the blood pressure of people who do not suffer from high blood pressure.
D. Some of the participants in the study whose high blood pressure was controlled through meditation techniques were physicians.
E. Many people with dangerously high blood pressure are unaware of their condition.


The conclusion states that since people who choose meditation are less likely to abandon it, meditation is the one likely to produce better results.

I wanted to ask you about other potential weakeners:

1) Meditation takes more than 10 years to show results , but most people who practice meditation are unlikely to continue for so long.

2)The people who discontinued their medication treatment did so because they were relieved of their symptoms.

3) The recommended duration for meditation is 10 years,almost twice as long as that of medications.
[Reveal] Spoiler: OA

Last edited by Zarrolou on 21 Jul 2013, 21:58, edited 1 time in total.
Renamed the topic.
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Re: A study of high blood pressure treatments found that [#permalink] New post 21 Jul 2013, 22:24
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First as you say: "The conclusion states that since people who choose meditation are less likely to abandon it, meditation is the one likely to produce better results."

The correct answer
B. The participants in the study were selected in part on the basis of their willingness to use meditation techniques.
shows that the data on which the conclusion is based on is not reliable, so the whole conclusion is weakened.

12bhang wrote:
The conclusion states that since people who choose meditation are less likely to abandon it, meditation is the one likely to produce better results.

I wanted to ask you about other potential weakeners:

1) Meditation takes more than 10 years to show results , but most people who practice meditation are unlikely to continue for so long.

2)The people who discontinued their medication treatment did so because they were relieved of their symptoms.

3) The recommended duration for meditation is 10 years,almost twice as long as that of medications.


1)"Meditation takes more than 10 years to show results" => so the 5 year comparison is not relevant in terms of results. (the mediation will have none)
"but most people who practice meditation are unlikely to continue for so long."=> my main concern here is the wording. The passage talks about clear percentages (50% and 80%), if "most people" were replaced with a percentage, and "likely" were removed, then this could be a weakener.

2)Not a good weakener. We do not know weather blood pressure disappears if the symptoms are gone, or remains nonetheless.

3)The "recommended duration" of the treatment is not relevant. We cannot infer something like "recommended duration"==>"duration necessary to see benefits".
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Re: A study of high blood pressure treatments found that [#permalink] New post 21 Jul 2013, 23:05
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12bhang wrote:
A study of high blood pressure treatments found that certain meditation techniques and the most commonly prescribed drugs are equally effective if the selected treatment is followed as directed over the long term. Half the patients given drugs soon stop taking them regularly, whereas eighty percent of the study's participants who were taught meditation techniques were still regularly using them five years later. Therefore, the meditation treatment is the one likely to produce the best results.
Which of the following, if true, most seriously weakens the argument?

A. People who have high blood pressure are usually advised by their physicians to make changes in diet that have been found in many cases to reduce the severity of the condition.
B. The participants in the study were selected in part on the basis of their willingness to use meditation techniques.
C. Meditation techniques can reduce the blood pressure of people who do not suffer from high blood pressure.
D. Some of the participants in the study whose high blood pressure was controlled through meditation techniques were physicians.
E. Many people with dangerously high blood pressure are unaware of their condition.


The conclusion states that since people who choose meditation are less likely to abandon it, meditation is the one likely to produce better results.

I wanted to ask you about other potential weakeners:

1) Meditation takes more than 10 years to show results , but most people who practice meditation are unlikely to continue for so long.

2)The people who discontinued their medication treatment did so because they were relieved of their symptoms.

3) The recommended duration for meditation is 10 years,almost twice as long as that of medications.


Hi 12bhang

Thanks for raising good questions!

In order to "evaluate" your potential options, let analyze the original stimulus first:

ANALYZE THE STIMULUS:

Fact: meditation techniques and the most commonly prescribed drugs are equally effective to treat high blood pressure if the selected treatment is followed as directed over the long term.
Fact: Half the patients given drugs soon stop taking them regularly, whereas eighty percent of the study's participants who were taught meditation techniques were still regularly using them five years later.
Conclusion: The meditation treatment is the one likely to produce the best results.

Assumption: The more people use the selected treatment for long term, the better results the selected treatment produces.

To weaken the conclusion, you need to show that more people use meditation for long time is not because the treatment produces better results. (probably, because people like using it, or are willing to follow....)

YOUR POTENTIAL OPTIONS:

1) Meditation takes more than 10 years to show results , but most people who practice meditation are unlikely to continue for so long.
This options wants to say almost people cannot follow the meditation techniques until it shows results. Does it weaken the conclusion?
- In order to weaken the conclusion, you should demonstrate "more people following the treatment does not mean the treatment is the best". However, this option just shows that almost people cannot follow the treatment. The "good" weakener is the one which still sticks to the stimulus (people are able to follow the treatment for long term - the first sentence clearly says "a study found that....") and show the weakness of the conclusion. This option, however, says "people cannot follow.." ==> It violates the stimulus. So I would say this option is not a weakener per GMAT standards.
- In addition, GMAT hardly considers an extreme option (option with most, almost, all, every...) a correct answer.

2)The people who discontinued their medication treatment did so because they were relieved of their symptoms.
Does not help to weaken the conclusion, because it's out scope. The fact that "people discontinued their meditation because they were relieved.." does not attack the conclusion at all.

3) The recommended duration for meditation is 10 years, almost twice as long as that of medications.
This option is also not a weakener. This option does not attack the point "The more people use the selected treatment for long term, the selected treatment is the best". It just says how long each treatment will take. what if meditation is "really" good, so a lot of people will follow it for 10 years. Otherwise, drugs even take half time, but produce worst result, so a lot of people discontinue using them. ==> If that's the case (meditation is actually better than drugs), (3) cannot be a weakener.

Hope it helps.
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Re: A study of high blood pressure treatments found that [#permalink] New post 22 Jul 2013, 02:44
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12bhang wrote:
A study of high blood pressure treatments found that certain meditation techniques and the most commonly prescribed drugs are equally effective if the selected treatment is followed as directed over the long term. Half the patients given drugs soon stop taking them regularly, whereas eighty percent of the study's participants who were taught meditation techniques were still regularly using them five years later. Therefore, the meditation treatment is the one likely to produce the best results.
Which of the following, if true, most seriously weakens the argument?

A. People who have high blood pressure are usually advised by their physicians to make changes in diet that have been found in many cases to reduce the severity of the condition.
B. The participants in the study were selected in part on the basis of their willingness to use meditation techniques.
C. Meditation techniques can reduce the blood pressure of people who do not suffer from high blood pressure.
D. Some of the participants in the study whose high blood pressure was controlled through meditation techniques were physicians.
E. Many people with dangerously high blood pressure are unaware of their condition.


The conclusion states that since people who choose meditation are less likely to abandon it, meditation is the one likely to produce better results.

I wanted to ask you about other potential weakeners:

1) Meditation takes more than 10 years to show results , but most people who practice meditation are unlikely to continue for so long.

2)The people who discontinued their medication treatment did so because they were relieved of their symptoms.

3) The recommended duration for meditation is 10 years,almost twice as long as that of medications.


Good inputs from the community members so far. Let me add my two cents.

First of all, we need to understand what a weakener can or cannot attack. A weakener cannot attack the information given i.e. premises. So, if it is given that the study found that both drugs and meditations techniques are equally effective when followed over the long run, we cannot say directly "No. They are not equally effective when followed over the long run". However, what we can do is that we can list a flaw in the methodology of the research in finding the effectiveness of drugs and meditation techniques.

Similarly, if it is given that the study found x% people kept using drugs and y% kept using meditation techniques, we cannot say "No. less than x% used drugs OR less than y% used meditations techniques". However again, what we can do is find a flaw in the methodology used to arrive at the numbers or as this question does - make the numbers irrelevant by suggesting that the initial sample for the study was not representative.

Now, coming back to the weakeners suggested:

1. Meditation takes more than 10 years to show results , but most people who practice meditation are unlikely to continue for so long. - This is not a weakener. The conclusion is comparison between drugs and meditation techniques - who is the best one out there? (Remember, the conclusion is finding out the best between the two; not finding the one that cures. May be none of them cures completely). This option statement only talks about meditation techniques and suggest that they cannot cure. However, what about drugs? Can they cure? More importantly, can drugs cure better than meditation techniques? This statement does not suggest anything in this regard.

2. The people who discontinued their medication treatment did so because they were relieved of their symptoms - Not a weakener. We are given that both drugs and meditation techniques are equally effective. This presents information that goes against the information given.

3. The recommended duration for meditation is 10 years,almost twice as long as that of medications - Not a weakener. Goes against the passage. The passage does not differentiate between the duration of drugs and of meditation techniques.

Hope this helps :)

Thanks,
Chiranjeve
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Re: A study of high blood pressure treatments found that   [#permalink] 22 Jul 2013, 02:44
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