Sunday, February 23, 2014

Battling Bad Medicine - What You're Missing from The Title of this Article

In the video TED talk (link below), Ben Goldacre discusses some of the problems with research discoveries in our day and age.  What really gets to me is that, obviously not all studies can be accurate.  But when I see them in the title of an article, I often take it for granted - seldom do I actually read the article, and even if I do, so much information is being withheld.  It would be interesting to see if a study could possibly be done on the effect of title reading - how does it affect people's minds, and do they discuss the title as if they actually believe in it? 

Anyway, that's similar to some of the issues addressed by Goldacre.  Apparently, there was once a study that determined that eating salads and vegetables could increase the lifespan, but since green-eaters often engage in many healthy habits anyway, it is impossible to know if the vegetables actually do this.  Not all factors can always be considered, and in some studies, very few are at all, which is why they're inaccurate.  More importantly, Goldacre mentions that drug companies often withhold information from being released.  I loved Goldacre's analogy to this - if you flip a coin numerous times and withhold 50% of the data, it is possible to convince another person that the coin has two heads.  So how come the government can't force them to release the data?  Is anything really that accurate at all, as far as we know?  Feel free to comment AND watch the video!

http://www.ted.com/talks/ben_goldacre_battling_bad_science.html

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