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Know Your Chances

This book has been shown in two randomized trials to improve people's understanding of risk in the context of health care choices.

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Animal Studies

‘Ask for Evidence’ information about the relevance and limitations of animal studies for promoting human health.

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Sunn Skepsis

Denne portalen er ment å gi deg som pasient råd om kvalitetskriterier for helseinformasjon og tilgang til forskningsbasert informasjon.

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Dodgy academic PR

Ben Goldacre: 58% of all press releases by academic institutions lacked relevant cautions and caveats about the methods and results reported

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How do you regulate Wu?

Ben Goldacre finds that students of Chinese medicine are taught (on a science degree) that the spleen is “the root of post-heaven essence”.

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Screen test

Ben Goldacre notes that even if people realize that screening programmes have downsides, people don’t regret being screened.

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The certainty of chance

Ben Goldacre reminds readers how associations may simply reflect the play of chance, and describes Deming’s illustration of this.

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Publish or be damned

Ben Goldacre points out the indefensible practice of announcing conclusions from research studies which haven’t been published.

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Weasels Are on the Loose

Weaseling is the use of certain words to weaken a claim, so that the author can say something without actually saying it and avoid criticism

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Testing Treatments

Testing Treatments is a book to help the public understand why fair tests of treatments are needed, what they are, and how to use them.

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Eureka!

Cherry picking the results of people in sub-groups can be misleading.

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Composite Outcomes

Fair comparisons of treatments should measure important outcomes and avoid dependence on surrogate outcome measures.

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Biomarkers unlimited

Fair comparisons of treatments should measure important outcomes and avoid dependence on surrogate outcome measures.

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Goldilocks

Cartoon and blog about how poorly performed systematic reviews and meta-analyses may misrepresent the truth.

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Cherry Picking

Cherry-picking results that only support your own conclusion may mean ignoring important evidence that refutes a treatment claim.

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Forest Plot Trilogy

Synthesising the results of similar but separate fair comparisons (meta-analysis) may help by yielding statistically more reliable estimates

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False Precision

The use of p-values to indicate the probability of something occurring by chance may be misleading.

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Does it work?

People with vested interests may use misleading statistics to support claims about the efects of new treatments.

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Alicia

Earlier testing is not always better, and can lead to overdiagnosis and overtreatment.

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Peer-Review

Even quality control steps, such as peer-review, can be affected by conflicts of interest.

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Gertrud

Exaggeration and hopes or fears can lead to unrealistic expectations about treatment effects.

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Soy Lattes

Just because two things are associated, doesn't mean one thing caused the other.

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DISCERN online

A questionnaire providing a valid and reliable way of assessing the quality of written information on treatment choices.

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Means vs. Medians

Keith Bower’s 3-min video explaining how means (averages) and medians can be presented misleadingly.

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The placebo effect

A video by NHS Choices explaining what the placebo effect is, and describing its role in medical research and the pharmaceutical industry.

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Mother’s kiss

Low-tech approaches can have dramatic effects too. Young children sometimes place small objects – plastic toys or beads, for example […]

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Breast cancer

The treatment of breast cancer provides another example of professional uncertainty. There is considerable variability in the use of surgery, […]

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Mutilating surgery

Until the middle of the 20th century, surgery was the main treatment for breast cancer. This was based on the […]

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Unnecessary research

In this sub-section: Respiratory distress in premature babies Stroke Aprotinin: effect on bleeding during and after surgery Introduction: This sub-section […]

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Bad research

In this sub-section: Psychiatric disorders Epidural analgesia for women in labour Introduction: This sub-section contains examples of bad research, where […]

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Good research

In this sub-section Stroke Pre-eclampsia in pregnant women HIV infection in children Introduction: This sub-section contains examples of good research, […]

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Information and consent

Requirements relating to provision of information and consent for studies are one of the ways in which the regulatory system […]

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Is one study ever enough?

The simple answer is ‘hardly ever’. Very seldom will one fair treatment comparison yield sufficiently reliable evidence on which to […]

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Comparing like with like

In this sub-section Comparisons are key (this page) Treatments with dramatic effects Treatments with moderate but important effects Comparisons are […]

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When practitioners disagree

In this sub-section Introduction (this page) Caffeine for breathing problems in premature babies Antibiotics in pre-term labour Breast cancer Introduction […]

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Is anyone normal?

Whole-body CT scans Among the tests on offer at private clinics are whole-body computed tomography (CT) scans to look at […]

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Diethylstilboestrol

At one time, doctors were uncertain whether pregnant women who had previously had miscarriages and stillbirths could be helped by […]

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Introduction

‘There is no way to know when our observations about complex events in nature are complete. Our knowledge is finite, […]

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Herceptin

Commercial companies are not alone in trumpeting the advantages of new treatments while down-playing drawbacks. Professional hype and enthusiastic media […]

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Mechanical heart valves

Drugs are not the only treatments that can have unexpected bad effects: non-drug treatments can pose serious risks too. Mechanical […]

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Avandia

2010 saw another drug – rosiglitazone, better known by the trade name Avandia – hitting the headlines because of unwanted […]

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Thalidomide

Thalidomide is an especially chilling example of a new medical treatment that did more harm than good. [1] This sleeping […]

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