Lies, Damned Lies, and Medical Science

http://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2010/11/lies-damned-lies-and-medical-science/8269

Lies, Damned Lies, and Medical Science

By DAVID H. FREEDMAN

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

Ioannidis … [is] 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 studies-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 pain-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 change-or even to publicly admitting that there’s a problem. …

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*snip*
Very worthwhile, read the whole thing.
Another set of good reasons why we should not be handing over the keys to the National Treasury to the AMA, MD’s, HMOs and Hospital System. Official medical quackery about to stage the world’s largest heist.

One Response to “Lies, Damned Lies, and Medical Science”

  1. David Dressler, BA, RMT Says:

    Striking and true. I am in an alternative medical field in Canada and do freelance writing including investigative journalism. I had occasion to expose a BC Medical Association (BCMA) conspiracy (is the only word for it) to eliminate complementary and alternative therapies (CAM) from our medicare system in British Columbia in the year 2000. In the course of that investigation, I spoke with Dr. Kerr White, who is the acknowledged “father” of so-called Evidence-Based Medicine (EBM). The BCMA and College of Physicians and Surgeons of BC at the time (1999) were saying that only conventional medicine was proven safe and effective and that “alternative therapies” were of “unproven value and safety”. The implication being that services that were unproven should be removed from our medicare system.

    The irony was that Dr. Kerr White, who began the EBM movement, told me personally that only “10-15% of all medical procedures had been proven to do more good than harm.” Indeed, more than 100,000 people die every year in the US from correctly applied medical procedures!

    So, in light of Dr. John Ioannidis’ revelations, I just want to say “amen”, but if it is true that this kind of damning evidence draws crowds of medical practitioners to his talks, why isn’t there a momentous revolution within medicine?

    Think of this: if 85% of all medical procedures–drugs and surgeries–are of unknown safety and efficacy, and hundreds of thousands die yearly due to medical mistakes, how does one account for the celebrity popularity of medical doctors in general? Think of the afternoon TV show “Doctor Doctor”, which opens every day sounding like a rock concert. And, if you were a medical doctor, knowing these dismal figures, how would you feel going to work every day? Again: why isn’t there a change happening that matters in the profession?

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