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News Link • Health and Physical Fitness

Can You Trust What Medical Journals Publish?

•, By John Dale Dunn

There is another important problem with medical research as reported in medical journals and then often expanded by the lay press as big news: that medical journal articles are often proven wrong for unreliable results or promotion of treatments that are not beneficial or not any more efficacious than treatments they propose to replace.

I was reminded recently of this problem by an article in Emergency Medicine News, a medical specialty newspaper, that reported on a study by Dr. Vinay Prasad, a comprehensive review of randomized clinical trials in the Journal of the American Medical Association, The Lancet, and the New England Journal of Medicine identifying 396 medical reversals.  Reversals are cases where medical journal articles are found to be faulty, misleading and just plain wrong.

When high-flying medical researchers on environmental issues use bad methods and report false results, it is motivated by political agendas usually, but when medical researchers report what end up being unreliable results in other areas, it is often due to biases and fallacious thinking and lack of effort to assiduously test their results and repeat them to assure that the hypothesis is valid and reliable and the results are testable and verified.

1 Comments in Response to

Comment by Ed Price
Entered on:

We absolutely don't know, and can't trust, what the medical journals are saying. If we want to know rather than simply trusting, we need reports of whatever tests have been done, doers of the tests - if they are double blind studies, all the tested subjects - everyone under oath on the stand, with the death penalty for lying (because this is so important). Only then can we start to trust.