Tag Archives: testing

THINK Road Sign

Health treatments, testing and research: time to rethink?

Headline: An aspirin a day may not keep the doctor away.  Headline: Cholesterol meds raise diabetes risk in women: study.  These and other health-related updates have worked their way through the media just this month.  The news isn’t very reassuring to consumers.

It’s possible that almost 50% of established medical care standards are wrong. That disquieting stat is included in a commentary published in JAMA, Journal of the American Medical Association (Jan. 4), “Reversals of established medical practices: Evidence to abandon ship”.

John Ioannidis, MD, director of the Stanford Prevention Research Center and senior author of the commentary believes that many current practices are entrenched in the system even though current evidence does not necessarily support their continued use.  The benefits just aren’t there.  He thinks it’s time for a reality check.

And it is not just treatment he’s questioning.  Certain testing procedures appear to be counterproductive as well.  His work with biomarkers (something indicating a particular disease) is mentioned in the January edition of Wired Magazine.  His conclusion is that these indicators can be misleading. Writer, Jonah Lehrer, offers some interesting statistics of his own in “Trials and Errors: Dead-end experiments, useless drugs, unnecessary surgery”. 

The concern centers on causation, correlation and fact.  They are not the same. All of the data collected during an examination can be confusing. Continue reading