I would argue that if even those research papers could not be replicated, an anecdote is all but worthless.
Statistics are themselves misleading - there are whole books on the subject (oh no! an anecdote! better close your mind now). They are highly contextual, but the popular press excels are stripping that context and proclaiming absurd extremes. Anecdotes are excellent context, putting statistics into perspective.
Another idiotic strawman argument.