Wednesday, 14 March 2012

Bad Science

Lies, Damned Lies, and Medical Science, By DAVID H. FREEDMAN, The Atlantic, November 2010.

"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." ......................

"Please read the whole article, it is very interesting"


Dr. John Ioannidis 
"This article is a fascinating read and was sent to me by the the Measurement Sage, Prof. Jeremy Hobart, in Plymouth. This is relevant to the field of MS."

6 comments:

  1. In my experience MS comes with friends and family recommending all sorts of treatments, cures, etc from bad science and non-science. Dealing with them is quite stressful.

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  2. Reading the article, for Phase II/III clinical trials will be wrong approximately 10% of the time. What time of oversight do regulatory bodies require for the drug trials? Do they have to submit the trial design w/ outside oversight before recruiting participants? etc...

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  3. Re: "In my experience MS comes with friends and family recommending all sorts of treatments, cures, etc from bad science and non-science. Dealing with them is quite stressful."

    I hope this blog can help you with your queries and reduce your stress levels. Most of the miracle claims are quackery; some are hypotheses that need to be tested properly in well designed clinical trials.

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  4. Re: "Do they have to submit the trial design w/ outside oversight before recruiting participants?"

    Yes, most large industry funded trials are scrutinised by the EMA and FDA before they start recruiting. This is one of the services the regulatory agencies offer to make sure that trials are ethical, address an unmet need and deliver on their primary outcome.

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  5. Great article, thanks.

    I’ve come to accept that making a ‘fool proof’ decision on which treatments to take, or not take, is a practical impossibility.

    At the Barts research day recently some of the drug trial results presented seemed to me to be somewhat hard to assess.

    In the FREEDOMS Fingolimod trial the annualized relapse rate of the placebo group was 0.40 vs 0.18 in the 0.5mg group ‘showing’ the drug reduced relapses by 52%. In the Teriflunomide trial the annualized relapse rate of the placebo group was 0.54 vs 0.37 in the 7mg group ‘showing’ the drug reduced relapses by 31.2%. An annualized relapse rate of 0.37 in the treated group is clearly very close to the 0.4 in the placebo group in the FREEDOMS trail.

    Furthermore, the patients on just beta interferon in the alemtuzumab study had a relapse rate of 0.46, higher than the FREEDOMS placebo group.

    RRMS being so variable from person to person and from one period to the next further adds to the difficulty of reaching firm conclusions about treatments even in properly blinded studies.

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  6. I agree whole heartedly John, the only thing i can take from all this is that most of the MS drugs are not actually doing anything to help as stated in this report... http://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/health-and-families/health-news/ms-drug-trial-a-fiasco-ndash-and-nhs-paid-for-it-1991104.html

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