Tuesday, October 26, 2010

The Failure of Scientific Research

There is a fascinating article in the November edition of The Atlantic magazine about the work of Dr. John Ioannidis. His research was originally published PLoS Medicine in 2005 (I'm surprised I haven't run across it sooner). The title of the current article about his work should give you an idea of what it's about: Lies, Damned Lies and Medical Research.

The bottom line? Dr. Ioannidis's research and analysis found that 80% of the most common type of medical research, the non-randomized trial, turns out to be wrong. The so-called gold standard of research, randomized trials, are in error up to 25% of the time. Even large, randomized trials (often called the platinum standard of medical research) was found to be wrong up to 10% of the time.

What was especially interesting was how many years incorrect medical information continued to be accepted by doctors as normal medical treatment, frequently a dozen years or more.

And doctors wonder why patients are confused? Is anyone surprised that medical research involving prescription drugs was the worst for credibility? Is it any wonder that patients are more interested in therapies that have been used for decades, hundreds or even thousands of years instead of the best of "modern" medicine?

Here's a link to: Lies, Damned Lies and Medical Research.

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