AddThis Feed Button "Frequently Copied, Never Duplicated"

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Persistent Pet Peeve

I read hundreds of research reports every month as part of continuing education. Most often I find, when it comes to natural health care, an almost 100% attack on this credible field, completed through manipulation of the science.

This gives way to the major myth, another persistent pet peeve, that there is no adequate science backing the use of supplements and herbs or other natural treatments.

I've posted comments in the past years that I've managed this blog, hopefully to awaken your thinking to fact, not folly.

Now today here is a very valid comment on this topic of junque science and how it is woven to become relied upon by the majority in mainstream medicine.

Remember, it is incumbent on the "publish or perish" model to publish in order to CYA in the ivory towers of academia. It keeps your status quo up to measure and that paycheck rolling in, but at what price to integrity?

I am always pleased - and relieved - to see that others are making similar observations.
Scientific Fact or Falsified Fiction?
By Robert Watson, President/CEO
At our company, we hold the word research in high esteem. Consequently, it frustrates me when I hear that researchers appear to have manipulated a study to reach their desired conclusion. This has happened a number of times throughout the years, usually by “scientists” who have a prejudice against alternative medicine.

Most recently, an example of one of these flawed reports, titled “A systematic review of randomised clinical trials of individualised herbal medicine in any indication” (Postgrad Med J. 2007;83:633–637) made headlines around the globe. The study, a review of the medical literature, was by a group of British researchers who sought to determine the efficacy of individualized herbal medicine, which combines blends of herbs specific to each patient rather than using a one-size-fits-all approach.

At first glance, based on the words “systematic review” in the study’s title, it seemed as if the scientists reviewed hundreds or even dozens of studies. In reality, they reviewed only three studies! They took the initial 1,345 credible studies they had found in the peer reviewed medical literature and weeded out 98.8 percent by using criteria that guaranteed any of the positive studies—including those demonstrating herbal safety—would be eliminated.

Another flaw revolves around the use of “any indication” in the paper’s title. The three studies included in the review focused on the use of herbs in irritable bowel syndrome, knee osteoarthritis and breast and colon cancer. The results of these studies cannot be extrapolated to “any indication.” Furthermore, the short study duration—10 weeks for the knee osteoarthritis trial, 16 for the IBS trial and 12 weeks to 6 months for the breast and colon cancer study—is not a true reflection of efficacy.

It’s surprising, therefore, that the researchers felt justified in concluding, “Individualised herbal medicine… has a very sparse evidence base and there is no convincing evidence that it is effective in any indication.”

Researchers need to remember that they are supposed to be objective observers reporting on the facts, not authors of creative works of fiction.

No comments: