Good science in medicine
In this sections are included articles relevant to the scientific basis of Medicine.
Cancer Council Australia : Position Statement - Complementary and alternative Therapies:
Comment: A most comprehensive and credible document by the peak Australian, body the Cancer Council, highlights the very few benefits and the significant dangers of CAMs in cancer therapy.
Comment: This is a series of articles that investigates how evidence is used in a variety of health and science policy domains, specifically considering the ways in which it is has been used (or misused) and represented (or misrepresented) in relevant laws, policies and regulations, in addition to the numerous challenges and barriers to its use in policy development. Articles published in this series were invited from delegates at the meeting "Using and Abusing Evidence in Science and Health Policy" held in Canada in 2012.
A letter to the TEDx community on TEDx and bad science:
Comment: This letter gives clarification of what constitutes good and bad science.
From trust us we’re doctors to the rise in evidence-based medicine:
Comment: The birth of EBM, which now combines both systematic reviews and meta-analysis, was both painful and protracted. This tells us much about the nature of medicine and the identity of medical practitioners.
What is (and what isn’t) clinical evidence, and why is the distinction important?
Comment: Prof Edzard Ernst discusses the role of clinicians where reliable scientific evidence and experience should be used to maximize the benefits of both placebo and their medicines, to helping patients.
Beginning of the end for cancer?:
Comment: The first results of the most comprehensive genetic survey of cancer ever to be undertaken by an international consortium of researchers have just started to come in. The consortium is mapping mutations of different types of cancers with the aim of better targeting treatment and may mean that cancer's reign as one of our most devastating diseases may be over sooner rather than later.
How do we know what works? Systematic research reviews:
Comment: Systematic reviews are essential for making sense of research and helping consumers, practitioners and policy makers identify what works or doesn’t work. They also have a vital role in identifying uncertainties and priorities for future research.
Against Homeopathy - a utilitarian perspective*:
Comment: Kevin R Smith, a senior lecturer at Abertay University in Scotland, balances the therapy’s potential benefits of non-invasiveness, cost-effectiveness, holism, placebo effects, and agent autonomy against failure to seek effective health care, wastage of resources, promulgation of false beliefs and weakening of commitment to scientific medicine. Smith concludes that “homeopathy is ethically unacceptable and ought to be actively rejected by health care professionals.
The role of anecdotes in science-based medicine; (US):
Comment: Dr. Novella is an academic clinical neurologist at Yale University School of Medicine and is the president and co-founder of the New England Skeptical Society. He also acts as the host and producer of the popular weekly science podcast, The Skeptics’ Guide to the Universe. He is also a senior fellow and Director of Science-Based Medicine at the James Randi Educational Foundation (JREF), a fellow of the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry (CSI) and a founding fellow of the Institute for Science in Medicine.
Comment: A complete PhD thesis on why people go to CAMs. A scholarly work with relevant resources.
Comment: Addresses the role of GPs in advising patients on the potential problems with CAMs.
History of Medicine and its adversaries:
In 1886, Ludwig Bucks compiled a list of unregistered practitioners, which provides an insight into the wide scope of Australian alternative practitioners of the 19th century. These included hydropathists, electrotherapists, homeopaths, oculists, phrenologists, chemists, herbalists, makers of patent medicine and vendors of books and pamphlets.
(*) These are .pdf files, click on the name to download.