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Beware the Hype of New Medical Studies

Susan Notes:

Here is the opening of the Julia Belluz article that's quoted below:


In 2003, researchers writing in the American Journal of Medicine discovered something that should change how you think about medical news. They looked at 101 studies published in top scientific journals between 1979 and 1983 that claimed a new therapy or medical technology was very promising. Only five, they found out, made it to market within a decade. Only one (ACE inhibitors, a pharmaceutical drug) was still extensively used at the time of their publication.

One.

Julia Belluz is a National Magazine Award-winning journalist covering medicine and public health for Vox.com.

She brings back memories of why Gerald Bracey is so missed. We are in great need of debunker of education 'research.'

By Kevin Drum


Julia Belluz thinks the democratization of medical research may have gone too far:

I often wonder whether there is any value in reporting very early research. Journals now publish their findings, and the public seizes on them, but this wasn't always the case: journals were meant for peer-to-peer discussion, not mass consumption.

Working in the current system, we reporters feed on press releases from journals and it's difficult to resist the siren call of flashy findings. We are incentivized to find novel things to write about, just as scientists and research institutions need to attract attention to their work. Patients, of course, want better medicines, better procedures â€" and hope.

But this cycle is hurting us, and it's obscuring the truths research has to offer.

The truth, Belluz says, is that virtually all initial studies of promising new therapies fail to pan out. Only 6 percent of new journal articles each year are well-designed and relevant enough to inform patient care. Of these, only a fraction end up in a product that successfully makes it to market.

Dr. Oz may be the face of bad medical advice, but the fact is that it's all around us. We're all desperate for curesâ€"I'd certainly like to see one for multiple myelomaâ€"but most of them just don't go anywhere. Belluz has more about the siren call of new miracle cures here.

Kevin Drum is a political blogger for Mother Jones.

— Kevin Drum
Mother Jones
2015-03-23
http://www.motherjones.com/kevin-drum/2015/03/beware-hype-new-medical-studies


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