Feeds

One in three medical studies is dodgy

Results exaggerated, or just flat out wrong

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Intelligent flash storage arrays

A major review of medical research has revealed that in nearly one-third of cases, research results were found to be potentially exaggerated, or were totally contradicted by later studies.

The study, published in the Journal of the American Medical Association examined research findings published in three medical journals between 1990 and 2003. The sample included 45 high profile studies of drugs that claimed a particular treatment or drug was effective.

The Associated Press reports that studies found to be unreliable included indications that Vitamin E could prevent heart attacks; that hormone pills provided protection against heart disease in menopausal women, when the reverse was later shown to be the case; and that nitric oxide boosted survival chances in cases of respiratory failure.

In almost all cases, the research that cast doubt on or overturned findings, was a larger, better organised project than the original.

Study author and researcher at the University of Ioannina in Greece, Dr. John Ioannidis, told AP: "Contradicted and potentially exaggerated findings are not uncommon in the most visible and most influential original clinical research."

He added: "There's no proof that the subsequent studies ... were necessarily correct."

However, since none of the treatments later challenged has been adopted as the standard medical recommendation, it is probably a little early to panic. However, as the Editors of the JAMA stress, it is a reminder that one study does not constitute proof that a treatment works.

And as Ioannidis adds: "We all need to start thinking more critically." ®

Related stories

Doctors and technology: do they mix?
Diabetics get 'Intel Inside'
New guidelines complicate US stem cell research

Intelligent flash storage arrays

More from The Register

next story
Boffins who stare at goats: I do believe they’re SHRINKING
Alpine chamois being squashed by global warming
Comet Siding Spring revealed as flying molehill
Hiding from this space pimple isn't going to do humanity's reputation any good
Experts brand LOHAN's squeaky-clean box
Phytosanitary treatment renders Vulture 2 crate fit for export
LONG ARM of the SAUR: Brachially gifted dino bone conundrum solved
Deinocheirus mirificus was a bit of a knuckle dragger
MARS NEEDS WOMEN, claims NASA pseudo 'naut: They eat less
'Some might find this idea offensive' boffin admits
No sail: NASA spikes Sunjammer
'Solar sail' demonstrator project binned
Carry On Cosmonaut: Willful Child is a poor taste Star Trek parody
Cringeworthy, crude and crass jokes abound in Steven Erikson’s sci-fi debut
prev story

Whitepapers

Cloud and hybrid-cloud data protection for VMware
Learn how quick and easy it is to configure backups and perform restores for VMware environments.
A strategic approach to identity relationship management
ForgeRock commissioned Forrester to evaluate companies’ IAM practices and requirements when it comes to customer-facing scenarios versus employee-facing ones.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Three 1TB solid state scorchers up for grabs
Big SSDs can be expensive but think big and think free because you could be the lucky winner of one of three 1TB Samsung SSD 840 EVO drives that we’re giving away worth over £300 apiece.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.