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Lies, Damned Lies, and Medical Science

Susan Notes:

This is a snippet from an article in The Atlantic, November 2010. Probably you can't read it online if you aren't a subscriber. They won't let me post the whole thing. And we should support publications that support this type of work. Use this info the next time someone tells you teaching should be more "scientific"--like medicine.

Ask yourself why our corporate politicos don't attack medicos the way they attack teachers.


Much of what medical researchers conclude in their studies is misleading, exaggerated, or flat-out wrong. So why are doctorsâ€"to a striking extentâ€"still drawing upon misinformation in their everyday practice? Dr. John Ioannidis has spent his career challenging his peers by exposing their bad science.

By David H. Freedman


. . . . Dr. John Ioannidis is what's known as a meta-researcher, and he’s become one of the world’s foremost experts on the credibility of medical research. He and his team have shown, again and again, and in many different ways, that much of what biomedical researchers conclude in published studiesâ€"conclusions that doctors keep in mind when they prescribe antibiotics or blood-pressure medication, or when they advise us to consume more fiber or less meat, or when they recommend surgery for heart disease or back painâ€"is misleading, exaggerated, and often flat-out wrong. He charges that as much as 90 percent of the published medical information that doctors rely on is flawed. His work has been widely accepted by the medical community; it has been published in the field’s top journals, where it is heavily cited; and he is a big draw at conferences. Given this exposure, and the fact that his work broadly targets everyone else's work in medicine, as well as everything that physicians do and all the health advice we get, Ioannidis may be one of the most influential scientists alive. Yet for all his influence, he worries that the field of medical research is so pervasively flawed, and so riddled with conflicts of interest, that it might be chronically resistant to changeâ€"or even to publicly admitting that there's a problem. . . .

— By David H. Freedman
The Atlantic
2010-11-01
http://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2010/11/lies-damned-lies-and-medical-science/8269


INDEX OF RESEARCH THAT COUNTS


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