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evidence-based medicine: anything but evidence-based


Evidence-Based Medicine

“It is an old maxim of mine that when you have excluded the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth.  There is nothing like first-hand evidence.” Sherlock Holmes

The great British detective Sherlock Holmes was all about the evidence, which always led him to a solution for whatever mystery he was trying to decipher.  What would he find if he looked at the evidence that’s put forth by the scientific community in today’s so-called “EVIDENCE-BASED MEDICINE“?  He would find a disaster, the magnitude of which becomes greater with every passing day. 

To give you some perspective, a person on the FUNCTIONAL MEDICINE BOARD I am part of (a brilliant Ph.D researcher WHO GUEST-POSTED ON MY SITE a few months ago but wants to remain anonymous) said this about the state of things in the field of biomedical research just yesterday.

“I knew it was bad, but didn’t realize it was this bad, the numbers are staggering, really makes you question most of the biomedical research more than you probably already do. One day I hope people start requiring a study to be at least reproduced once in another lab on different equipment before they start making outrageous claims, recommendations, prescribing, etc.  At least it sounds like there is a movement in the right direction, but I think it will be slow and don’t see a paradigm shift any time soon.”

He was describing the podcast from yesterday’s issue of the oldest scientific journal in America (Scientific American) titled Out with the Bad Science, which consisted of Richard Harris discussing his book, Rigor Mortis: How Sloppy Science Creates Worthless Cures, Crushes Hope and Wastes Billions. 

Although Harris believes the root of the problem is not enough tax dollars for the NIH, I would argue that this is not the root of the problem (they have had their funding increased 10 billion dollars in the last five years), the problems with “the culture” run much deeper — a point brought out in Lev Facher’s article in STAT from earlier this week (Series of Ethical Stumbles Tests NIH’s Reliance on Private Sector for Research Funding). 

“NIH officials told STAT this week the agency is completing a plan to ensure better ethical compliance and better delineate the actual process for private-sector collaboration. The officials said the plan will be presented to an advisory committee in December.”

You can promise all you want but when there is billions of dollars of pharmaceutical money on the table, mouth’s get dry, palms get sweaty, and the best laid plans seem to change midstream; usually according to the whims of whichever industry happens to be supplying the funding.  Lest you think I am being mean-spirited or critical for the sake of being critical, remember back to the post I put up just two short weeks ago about the amount of money being shuffled to the people on the boards who make the guidelines (HERE). 

Call it bribery or call it lobbying, I don’t care.  Everything is tainted and the well is poisoned.  We saw this with the ridiculous alcohol research that manufactures recently paid the NIH to do, as well as the NIH concussion research that was bought and paid for by the NFL (REPEATED BLOWS TO THE HEAD?  NO PROBLEMO). Ah shucks, just another day in the life of evidence-based medicine!

I’ve also shown you how this untrustworthy research is occurring — the mechanisms that make things look valid on the surface but hide the rotten center.  For instance, half of all medical studies are “INVISIBLE & ABANDONED” in order to hide unwanted or unintended results.  The other half cannot be reproduced or verified (HERE) — a cornerstone of the scientific method — the thing that makes science scientific.  If you like our regular evidence-based medicine column on this site, be sure to like, share, or follow on FACEBOOK.


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