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 In Loving Memory of My Beautiful Son

Michael

Born 21/9/1991 Passed On 29/9/2008

 

Michael in America January 2008
Little or no Evidence Supports Conventional Medical Treatment  , Gardasil, Avastin

Anti-anemia drug darbepoetin alfa no better than placebo for cancer patients,

Why You Can’t Trust Most Studies on Health
 
According to a new analysis, with so many scientific papers and so few pages available in the most prestigious journals, the “winners” could be the ones most likely to oversell themselves rather than the best science. In other words, they are likely to be the ones that trumpet dramatic or important results -- results that often later turn out to be false.

Hundreds of thousands of scientific researchers are hired, promoted and funded according not only to how much work they produce, but also to where it gets published. Prestigious journals boast that they are very selective, turning down the vast majority of papers that are submitted to them. The assumption is that they therefore publish only the best scientific work.

A study of 49 papers in leading journals that had been cited by more than 1,000 other scientists -- in other words, well-regarded research -- showed that within only a few years, almost a third of the papers had been refuted by other studies. And the “hotter” the field, the greater the competition and the more likely it is that published research in top journals could be wrong.

There also seems to be a bias towards publishing positive results. A study earlier this year found that among the studies submitted to the FDA about the effectiveness of antidepressants, almost all of those with positive results were published, whereas very few of those with negative results were.
 
Natural Body Butter

 
Dr. Mercola's Comments:
This is the second study by Dr. John Ioannidis, an epidemiologist at Ioannina School of Medicine, Greece, to show that much scientific research is highly questionable. Back in 2005 Dr. Ioannidis showed that there is less than a 50% chance that the results of any randomly chosen scientific paper will be true.

“Simulations show that for most study designs and settings, it is more likely for a research claim to be false than true,” according to the study.

He noted problems with experimental and statistical methods as the main culprits, including factors such as small sample sizes, poor study design, researcher bias and selective reporting. The new study, meanwhile, suggests that economic conditions, such as oligopolies, artificial scarcities and the winner’s curse, are largely to blame for incorrect research.

The author’s write:

 
“This essay makes the underlying assumption that scientific information is an economic commodity, and that scientific journals are a medium for its dissemination and exchange.

While this exchange system differs from a conventional market in many senses, including the nature of payments, it shares the goal of transferring the commodity (knowledge) from its producers (scientists) to its consumers (other scientists, administrators, physicians, patients, and funding agencies). The function of this system has major consequences.

Idealists may be offended that research be compared to widgets, but realists will acknowledge that journals generate revenue; publications are critical in drug development and marketing and to attract venture capital; and publishing defines successful scientific careers.”
 

Because of the way this system runs, journals may be more likely to publish studies that show dramatic results, positive results, or results from “hot” competitive fields. None of this, of course, has anything to do with scientific merit or accuracy.

Who Funded the Study

One of the key take homes here is to track down who financed the study. This can be challenging as many times the drug companies will fund studies through organizations they own or control but are not formally associated with.

The reason you want to do this is likely very obvious as it’s well known that studies funded by industry or conducted by researchers with industry ties tend to favor corporate interests. For instance, studies published in psychiatric journals are increasingly funded by drug companies, and the results of these studies often favor drugs.

When researchers from the Beth Israel Medical Center in New York City examined four journals -- American Journal of Psychiatry, Archives of General Psychiatry, Journal of Clinical Psychiatry and Journal of Clinical Psychopharmacology -- they found drugs were favored in roughly:

 
• Eight out of 10 studies funded by the company that makes the drug.

• Five out of 10 studies not funded by industry.

• Three out of 10 studies conducted by competitors of the drug's maker.
 

So it seems only fair that disclosing these conflicts of interest would be an effective way to allow readers to judge a study’s true credibility. Yet, studies published in medical journals, even those with sterling reputations, are still suspect.

For example, the Associated Press uncovered that three authors of a study on padded hip protectors, published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), had received research money from makers of bone-strengthening drugs.

Although JAMA has strict rules about financial disclosure, they maintained that the authors had done nothing wrong in not disclosing the ties because the study did not mention bone drugs, nor recommend them.

What Can You Learn From This?

When evaluating health news, it is wise to be cautious even if it’s published in a scientific journal. Remain skeptical but open -- even if it is something I am saying, you simply need to realize YOU are responsible for your and your family’s health, not me and certainly not drug companies trying to sell their wares and convince you to take dangerous strategies like flu shots.

Since it is very well established that most prescribed drugs do absolutely nothing to treat the cause of disease it would be prudent to exercise EXTREME caution when evaluating ANY new drug claim, as it will more than likely be seriously flawed or biased -- and is highly likely not in your or your family’s best long-term interest to take the drug.

So be careful out there when the media tells you about the latest and greatest in health. Carefully check out the source and research methods for yourself, and determine if it meshes with your own common sense, experience, and intuition

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