"Lies, Damned Lies, & Med. Science" about med research

Discussion in 'Fibromyalgia Main Forum' started by victoria, Oct 26, 2010.

  1. victoria

    victoria New Member

    Interesting adn sobering article about ALL medical research...


    Lies, Damned Lies, and Medical Science
    (some excerpts, it is a long article)

    "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.

    "... He first stumbled on the sorts of problems plaguing the field, he explains, as a young physician-researcher in the early 1990s at Harvard. At the time, he was interested in diagnosing rare diseases, for which a lack of case data can leave doctors with little to go on other than intuition and rules of thumb. But he noticed that doctors seemed to proceed in much the same manner even when it came to cancer, heart disease, and other common ailments. Where were the hard data that would back up their treatment decisions?

    "There was plenty of published research, but much of it was remarkably unscientific, based largely on observations of a small number of cases. A new “evidence-based medicine” movement was just starting to gather force, and Ioannidis decided to throw himself into it, working first with prominent researchers at Tufts University and then taking positions at Johns Hopkins University and the National Institutes of Health.

    "“Maybe sometimes it’s the questions that are biased, not the answers,” he said, flashing a friendly smile. Everyone nodded. Though the results of drug studies often make newspaper headlines, you have to wonder whether they prove anything at all. Indeed, given the breadth of the potential problems raised at the meeting, can any medical-research studies be trusted?

    "...we expect more of scientists, and especially of medical scientists, given that we believe we are staking our lives on their results. The public hardly recognizes how bad a bet this is. The medical community itself might still be largely oblivious to the scope of the problem, if Ioannidis hadn’t forced a confrontation when he published his studies in 2005.

    Ioannidis initially thought the community might come out fighting. Instead, it seemed relieved, as if it had been guiltily waiting for someone to blow the whistle, and eager to hear more. David Gorski, a surgeon and researcher at Detroit’s Barbara Ann Karmanos Cancer Institute, noted in his prominent medical blog that when he presented Ioannidis’s paper on highly cited research at a professional meeting, “not a single one of my surgical colleagues was the least bit surprised or disturbed by its findings.”

    " 'Science is a noble endeavor, but it’s also a low-yield endeavor,” he says. “I’m not sure that more than a very small percentage of medical research is ever likely to lead to major improvements in clinical outcomes and quality of life. We should be very comfortable with that fact.' ”

  2. AllWXRider

    AllWXRider New Member

    Many products are designed to break soon.

    Also, Jesus said, "Only the sick need a doctor", so if everyone is sick, everyone needs a doctor. So let's make sure everyone is sick, and stays sick. Get everyone on RX meds and lots of them.

    Better yet, "End of Useful Life" clauses in Obamacare. They have that in the Netherlands, "Euthanasia" it's called. All of us are at an End of Useful Life, watch how ObamaCare drops us like a rock.
  3. victoria

    victoria New Member

    is that there are so many conflicting studies, no matter the subject, whether it is supplements or patent meds or whatever. This study was not saying NOTHING can be cured.... just that there is a lot of grey areas.

    I found it extremely refreshing to see the subject handled in an even-handed way.
    [This Message was Edited on 10/26/2010]
  4. victoria

    victoria New Member

    Nothing wrong with people making $$ whether in medicine, science, whatever... not the point of the article... imho. It is so easy to get off topic on this subject... which is really that overall there is a lot of fallibility.... plz don't start arguing, whether we're actually friends or "just" comrades in arm with these diseases!

    ETA: just wanted to point out that they were talking about conflicting evidence re supplements too, actually talked about that first, in the article. So... no conflict of interest in this article, which is why I posted it.[This Message was Edited on 10/26/2010]
  5. gapsych

    gapsych New Member

    The above article makes sweeping generalizations and panders to people who are just chomping at the bit to bash science and medicine. The data that Ioannidis uses is based on several statistical flaws.

    Science is not perfect, but it is the best thing we have available.

    Here is one good source of information:



    From: http://www.bepress.com/jhubiostat/paper135/


    A recent article in this journal (Ioannidis JP (2005) Why most published research findings are false. PLoS Med 2: e124) argued that more than half of published research findings in the medical literature are false. In this commentary, we examine the structure of that argument, and show that it has three basic components:

    1)An assumption that the prior probability of most hypotheses explored in medical research is below 50%.

    2)Dichotomization of P-values at the 0.05 level and introduction of a “bias” factor (produced by significance-seeking), the combination of which severely weakens the evidence provided by every design.

    3)Use of Bayes theorem to show that, in the face of weak evidence, hypotheses with low prior probabilities cannot have posterior probabilities over 50%.

    Thus, the claim is based on a priori assumptions that most tested hypotheses are likely to be false, and then the inferential model used makes it impossible for evidence from any study to overcome this handicap. We focus largely on step (2), explaining how the combination of dichotomization and “bias” dilutes experimental evidence, and showing how this dilution leads inevitably to the stated conclusion. We also demonstrate a fallacy in another important component of the argument –that papers in “hot” fields are more likely to produce false findings.

    We agree with the paper’s conclusions and recommendations that many medical research findings are less definitive than readers suspect, that P-values are widely misinterpreted, that bias of various forms is widespread, that multiple approaches are needed to prevent the literature from being systematically biased and the need for more data on the prevalence of false claims.

    (caps mine)
  6. victoria

    victoria New Member

    most/many of the studies.

  7. quanked

    quanked Member

    Not too socialist for me! As if this US of A does not have socialistic programs that most want protected! We will not discuss the welfare programs for the multi-national corps. ; )

    [This Message was Edited on 10/26/2010]
  8. darrenc89

    darrenc89 New Member

    The idea that medical doctors propagate illness to perpetuate their income is ludicrous, fear mongering. Illness is part of the human condition; as long as human's exist, there will be more than enough sickness available for doctors to treat.

    I don't know what things are like in America, but in Australia we have a massive doctor shortage. Most doctors are overworked and have more patients than they can manage; they certainly have no need to "maintain illness" or hide away remedies to keep sick people sick.

    PS: there is far more money to be made in a cancer "cure" than there is in palliative care, and the developments in medical research over the past 50 years have been MEGA-significant.


    Certificate III in Fitness
    Certificate IV in Fitness
    Registered Personal Trainer and Fitness Professional (Australia)
    Bachelor of Nursing
    Medical student (current)
    Long time FM and CFS sufferer
  9. Mikie

    Mikie Moderator

    When I first started my online research into our illnesses is that we are basically on our own in selecting treatments. Everything my docs and I have done was done empirically but based on a lot of info from different docs who specialize in our illnesses. I found no doc who claimed to know exactly what our illnesses are nor exactly how to treat them. No one claimed a cure. I think it is extremely difficult, if not impossible to make diagnoses of what ails us. I cared less about naming my conditions than I did about treating them.

    Over ten years, I did make remarkable progress and spent the last two and one-half years working part time. Unfortunately, it was a little blood pressure pill which took me down again. I had tried many and the side effects were too great. This last one decreased norepinephrine to the point I wasn't able to sleep well. I grew more and more exhausted and finally, I had to retire. My doc and I have cut down on the BP med, and added another with no side effects, to the point that I am slowly getting good sleep again. Unfortunately, finding just the right dose took more than nine months, an eternity without decent sleep. I am slowly getting back to feeling better but while I was so run down, a chronic bacteria infection and a chronic viral infection reared their ugly heads.

    I know it is important to try to establish criteria by which to diagnose us, especially in medical circles. I hope researchers continue to look for ways in which to identify what does ail us. In the meantime, my suggestion is learn all one can about these illnesses, which have a lot of overlapping symptoms, and start trying to treat the worst symptom first. Once that's under control, go to the next-worst symptom and so on. Not everything works for everyone but one never knows until one tries whether a treatment will provide relief.

    Victoria, thanks for sharing this article. I agree that often docs don't even know what to ask.

    My heart and prayers go out to everyone because I know how hard it is to live with our illnesses.

    Love, Mikie
  10. fight4acure

    fight4acure Member

    On the flip side, many of the past research articles were done with much confirmation biases, including a lot of the research studies saying that CFS and/or FMS and/or GWS was all in our heads. Today's research is somewhat flawed, but not nearly as bad as previous research done. Today's standards of research is often based on high ethical standards as well as strong standards of proof. However, there are some who are still in the stone age and want to confirm their biases of FMS and/or CFS to be completely in our heads. They are the best liars around!

    Fight4acure! Fight2Educate! :)

    P.S. I also sort of, half@ss agree with this article because... look at all of the darn money spent on all of the research on CFS & FMS. Nobody was collaborating at all, and people were conducting studies that copied other university studies, etc. None of their past research truly amounted to any relief for those of us suffering endlessly with these chronic painful illnesses. However, the research on some have helped us, in the present that is, as Lyrica has helped me somewhat, at least for some time. Valtrex helped me somewhat at least for some time. Too bad they do not collaborate and have one person or a group council in charge of how money is being spent on the research of these painful diseases, and make sure that the outcomes are going to be beneficial for us in the long-run. The best liars are those who do not do research that is helpful to us patients.

    [This Message was Edited on 10/27/2010]
  11. victoria

    victoria New Member

    glad to see you back, hope you are doing better?

    Y, no fair, I can't call you an easy nickname... nicknames aside LOL, let us know at the lounge or at least somewhere on Chitchat how you're doing?

    Replica research on things that have been proven over & over beyond a doubt, I wonder how it gets funded. One problem that I can see the most diligent researchers having difficulty with is unconscious bias, it's bad enough with conscious biases.

    And then you have the agendas of certain agencies... private and gov't.

    I think a lot of seemingly unconnected research can often be pulled together by someone who can connect dots... which may be happening finally with CFIDS/FM/ME at least to some degree. I do think it is a "soup". tho many still want to call us all "head cases"

  12. victoria

    victoria New Member

    could we take the topic of $$ to another thread? I too have seen/been seen by compassionate doctors, personally.... but this is getting mixed up here...
  13. fight4acure

    fight4acure Member

    Thanks for the response on my response. I haven't been on the chit chat boards, nor this board, in a long time. I keep coming back and fading out really quickly. I have nothing against this board, as it has been a blessing for me, especially meeting you all and sharing so much! But, there are times when I need some alone time, and unfortunately, I don't know what causes me not to want to vent on here, other than whatever is vented is permanent online info. Yet still, I care little about that and more about what's going on with us. I shall enter the land of chat when I get a few things in order again, maybe in a few days, as I hardly have enough energy to do much.

    Fight, Fighty, Fight4acure, Fight2Educate, Someone other than Prince, someone other than the president, SOT - the singer Carrie Underwood, SOT - Elvis, LOL!
  14. TigerLilea

    TigerLilea Active Member

    I agree with you. In any country with national health care, doctors most definitely are not in it for the money. We certainly have a doctor shortage here in Canada so the faster they can get you cured, the better for them.
  15. gapsych

    gapsych New Member

    Scientist can learn from negative studies. For example,the negative studies along with the positive studies for XMRV will be examined to see what is really happening with XMRV or the strings of RVs.

    This is the way science works.

    The author makes a point but then he uses the wrong kind of statistics that don't prove his theory.

    I'll take my chances with science.

    [This Message was Edited on 10/27/2010]