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Lies, Damned Lies, and Medical Science
Key Excerpts from Article on Website of The Atlantic

The Atlantic, November 1, 2010
Posted: November 4th, 2019

Can any medical-research studies be trusted? That question has been central to [Dr. John] Ioannidiss career. Hes whats known as a meta-researcher, and hes become one of the worlds foremost experts on the credibility of medical research. He zoomed in on 49 of the most highly regarded research findings in medicine over the previous 13 years, as judged by the science communitys two standard measures: the papers had appeared in the journals most widely cited in research articles, and the 49 articles themselves were the most widely cited articles in these journals. Of the 49 articles, 45 claimed to have uncovered effective interventions. Thirty-four of these claims had been retested, and 14 of these, or 41 percent, had been convincingly shown to be wrong or significantly exaggerated. If between a third and a half of the most acclaimed research in medicine was proving untrustworthy, the scope and impact of the problem were undeniable. Even when the evidence shows that a particular research idea is wrong, if you have thousands of scientists who have invested their careers in it, theyll continue to publish papers on it, he says. Its like an epidemic, in the sense that theyre infected with these wrong ideas, and theyre spreading it to other researchers through journals. Of those 45 super-cited studies that Ioannidis focused on, 11 had never been retested. Perhaps worse, Ioannidis found that even when a research error is outed, it typically persists for years or even decades.

Note: For more along these lines, read the revealing comments of Marcia Angell, former editor-in-chief of the New England Journal of Medicine, on the massive corruption she found in the medical industry. For more, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on corruption in science from reliable major media sources.

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