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Medical studies selectively reporting positive findings

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chrisshepherd Offline referral

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Feel like you’ve heard a lot of good news about medical news recently? You’re right, but don’t believe everything you hear.

According to a new study, “animal research is riddled with bias that allows too many treatments to advance to human trials.” This means that while a new medicine or treatment may sound good during the animal experimentation stage, consumers should be aware that these accounts can be misleading.

Too many significant results being published

Thousands of experiments on animals are done each year, and in an effort to establish the validity of their published results, a few researchers analyzed data collected from experiments funded to concoct treatments for Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, and other similar neurological diseases. John Ioannidis, an epidemiologist from Stanford University, summed up their findings in a few succinct words: “There’s just too many significant results out there.”

The practice of selective reporting

In fact, out of 160 of the treatments the team of researchers looked at, only 8 of them should have been advanced to human trials. A similar outcome was found when they analyzed treatments developed to help stroke victims. Ioannidis concluded, “Something is obviously wrong. Apparently what is happening is there are just too many studies being done that are being selectively reported, either having negative results suppressed or having the analysis presented in a way that the results would look positive even though they are really negative.”

However, Ioannidis emphasized that he’s not accusing these companies of fraud; rather, he’s saying there is a problem with those who report the results. The reporting agencies may be purposely highlighting positive findings instead of negative findings.

Ioannidis and his team are not the only ones publishing such results. In 2008, Oregon Health and Science University found that “the published literature on antidepressants made it seem that 94% of studies showed positive results, despite analysis by the Food and Drug Administration that showed little more than half produced positive results.”

Publishers partly to blame

In essence, researchers have discovered that in truth, universities, publishers, and peer review boards are to blame for the unintentional dissemination of what could be called false information. Journals are most interested in reporting significant findings, which is why studies who can report such things are favored over those that just report marginal results.
marcus_avrelius Offline referral

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Pretty interesting share!

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