Curated by: Luigi Canali De Rossi

Thursday, July 14, 2005

Validity Of Medical Research Facts? One Third Of Published Reports Publicly Contradicted

Are you listening and believing to what your doctor or turn-of-the-day medical expert tells you, just because she can quote or show you a reference to an official research study?

If the Journal of the American Medical Association is worth any of your trust, the advice being sent is that you better take some time and review ANY medical information before setting yourself up for being sliced up or cured with medicines of any kind.

Photo credit: Carlos Paes

Yes, though you may not like it, starting to use your head again, while taking greater personal responsibility for your health choices, may be the best cure of all. Dig the information that interests you and start studying yourself instead of blindedly trusting what the "specialists" and experts tell you. Use them as an additional source of info, but maintain control of who is the one to decide what is true and best to do.

In essence, "dig deep" before selling your beliefs to the supposed "facts" served by those few having medical university certificates and/or such enormous financial clout and interests to have direct access to you via all the traditional media channels.

According in fact to a major research report recently published by the Journal of the American Medical Association, of 49 highly cited original clinical research studies,

  • 7 (16%) were contradicted by subsequent studies,

  • 7 others (16%) had found effects that were stronger than those of subsequent studies,

  • 20 (44%) were replicated, and

  • 11 (24%) remained largely unchallenged.
  • Hard to believe?



    The research study covered all original clinical research studies published in 3 major general clinical journals or high-impact-factor specialty journals in 1990-2003 selecting only those ones that were cited more than 1000 times in the literature were examined.

    Still surprised? Read on.

    In good substance, as posted this morning by Slashdot, "about a third of all major studies from the last 15 years were subsequently shown to be inaccurate or overblown."

    The doctor who conducted the research, John P. A. Ioannidis, examined research in the New England Journal of Medicine, JAMA and Lancet -- prominent journals whose weekly studies help feed a growing public appetite for medical news.

    "Experts say the report is a reminder to doctors and patients that they should not put too much stock in a single study and understand that treatments often become obsolete with medical advances."

    But the best quote on the story comes from yesterday's CNN article "Research: Third of study results don't hold up" where Dr. Ioannidis is reported saying that "scientists and editors should avoid "giving selective attention only to the most promising or exciting results" and should make the public more aware of the limitations of science.

    "We all need to start thinking more critically."

    I couldn't agree more.

    Contradicted and Initially Stronger Effects in Highly Cited Clinical Research
    John P. A. Ioannidis, MD
    JAMA. 2005;294:218-228.

    For more information on thorny and not publicly discussed health topics, bogus medical research, counter-information and reporting on the developments of internaitonal laws affecting your access to personal health remedies please see this sites:
    Health Supreme
    Share The Wealth
    Consensus(in Italian)

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posted by Robin Good on Thursday, July 14 2005, updated on Tuesday, May 5 2015

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