July 21

Reporting bias and medical studies


An informative article appeared in the current issue of the Journal of the National Cancer Institute. The gist of the paper is that many so-called “proven” prognosticators are much less reliable than the experts would have us believe thanks to reporting bias. Check out the write up on MedicineNet.com.

The problem is not that the scientific studies that are published and ‘visible’; are flawed,” explained senior study author Dr. John Ioannidis, chairman of the department of hygiene and epidemiology at the University of Ioannina’s School of Medicine in Greece. “The main issue is that besides these studies, there are probably many other studies addressing the same or similar questions, but these happen to find less strong [‘less exciting’] results, and thus remain unpublished or far less visible, even to experts.

Remember this article the next time someone touts you on the idea that the Lipid Hypothesis has been proven.

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  1. I was doing some perusing of your old blogs and found that there is a bad link in this [Reporting bias and medical studies – July 21, 2005] one. The link “Lipid Hypothesis” in the last line returns an error page. Thought you might like to know and get someone to fix it.
    This one, too. Thanks again.

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