Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Govt finally questioning medical studies

We have talked before about the yes-no-maybe, no yes, maybe no, quality of health findings. Eat this, no, don't, OK, some, etc. Just today I saw a study that said "good" cholesterol can hurt your heart. What did it amount to? Don't know.

Dr. Francis Collins, director of the National Institutes of Health--in a story on Reuters by Sharon Begley, a reporter I respect--said it's a waste of time and money to try to build on faulty studies. (Nature Magazine, Feb).

Too many journals are looking for sensational stuff--the kind of thing that is most likely to be "phantoms"--meaning the results cannot be reproduced by another team.

Scientists at Amgen, according to this, could only confirm 6 of 53 landmark cancer studies in 2011.

Either the original claim was wrong or the scientists goofed.

So the NIH is creating a mandatory course in study design for in-house scientists.

For one thing, it's really not OK to report the one study with a finding you like and not mention all the others with a different result.

Yes--this whole area could use work. Someone should do a study.

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