Testing Treatments: Nine Questions For the Authors

From this comment (thanks, Elizabeth Molin) I learned of a British book called Testing Treatments (pdf), whose second edition has just come out. Its goal is to make readers more sophisticated consumers of medical research. To help them distinguish “good” science from “bad” science. Ben Goldacre, the Bad Science columnist, fulsomely praises it (“I genuinely, truly, cannot recommend this awesome book highly enough for its clarity, depth, and humanity”). He wrote a foreword. The main text is by Imogen Evans (medical journalist), Hazel Thornton (writer),  Iain Chalmers (medical researcher), and Paul Glaziou (medical researcher, editor of Journal of Evidence-Based Medicine).

To me, as I’ve said, medical research is almost entirely bad. Almost all medical researchers accept two remarkable rules: (a) first, let them get sick and (b) no cheap remedies. These rules severely limit what is studied. In terms of useful progress, the price of these limits has been enormous: near total enfeeblement. For many years the Nobel Prize in Medicine has documented the continuing failure of medical researchers all over the world to make significant progress on all major health problems, including depression, heart disease, obesity, cancer, diabetes, stroke, and so on. It is consistent with their level of understanding that some people associated with medicine would write a book about how to do something (good science) the whole field manifestly can’t do. Testing Treatments isn’t just a fat person writing a book about how to lose weight, it’s the author failing to notice he’s fat. Continue readingTesting Treatments: Nine Questions For the Authors”