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Health news:
 
June 2010 - Dec 2013

Minimizing breast cancer risk

May 2010

Time to move beyond salt ?

Salt hypothesis vs. reality

Is sodium bad?

April 2010

Salt studies: the latest score

From Dahl to INTERSALT

Salt hypothesis' story

March 2010

Salt war

Do bone drugs work?

Diabetes vs. drugs, 3:0?

February 2010

The MMR vaccine war: Wakefield vs. ?

Wakefield proceedings: an exception?

Who's afraid of a littl' 1998 study?
 

January 2010

Antibiotic children

Physical activity benefits late-life health

Healthier life for New Year's resolution

 

December 2009

Autism epidemic worsening: CDC report

Rosuvastatin indication broadened

High-protein diet effects

 

November 2009

Folic acid cancer risk

Folic acid studies: message in a bottle?

Sweet, short life on a sugary diet

 

October 2009

Smoking health hazards: no dose-response

C. difficile warning

Asthma risk and waist size in women

 

September 2009

Antioxidants' melanoma risk: 4-fold or none?

Murky waters of vitamin D status

Is vitamin D deficiency hurting you?

 

August 2009

Pill-crushing children

New gut test for children and adults

Unhealthy habits - whistling past the graveyard?

 

July 2009

Asthma solution - between two opposites that don't attract

Light wave therapy - how does it actually work?

Hodgkin's lymphoma in children: better alternatives

 

June 2009

Hodgkin's, kids, and the abuse of power

Efficacy and safety of the conventional treatment for Hodgkin's:
behind the hype

Long-term mortality and morbidity after conventional treatments for pediatric Hodgkin's

 

May 2009

Late health effects of the toxicity of the conventional treatment for Hodgkin's

Daniel's true 5-year chances with the conventional treatment for Hodgkin's

Daniel Hauser Hodgkin's case: child protection or medical oppression?

April 2009

Protection from EMF: you're on your own

EMF pollution battle: same old...

EMF health threat and the politics of status quo
 

March 2009

Electromagnetic danger? No such thing, in our view...

EMF safety standards: are they safe?

Power-frequency field exposure
 

February 2009

Electricity and health

Electromagnetic spectrum: health connection

Is power pollution making you sick?

January 2009

Pneumococcal vaccine for adults useless?

DHA in brain development study - why not boys?

HRT shrinks brains

NEWS ARCHIVE
2009
2008
2007

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February 2007

Evidence-based medicine

It may be hard to believe, but the idea of evidence-based medical practice (also, "scientific medicine") - in the sense of relying on the actual performance data - has been soundly formulated as little as 35 years ago (Archie Cochrane's 1972 book). An article in the Time magazine (February 2007) addresses its importance and controversy.

What is it that makes evidence-based medicine (EBM) important to an ordinary person like you and I?

 Does the "evidence-based" title of this new medical approach mean that "regular" medicine ignores evidence? Not really. But medical evidence can be anything from more or less limited clinical experience of individual medical practitioners, to a drug manufacturers' pre-marketing study - neither proven very reliable - and to large and small post-marketing trials.

It is mainly the first two forms of evidence that dominated before evidence-based medicine recognized large randomized controlled trials as a single most reliable indicator of efficacy.

In other words, what EBM has changed in medicine is introduction of the

"evidence quality" criteria.

What this means to you is that whenever you are being recommended certain treatment, you ought to ask about quality of the evidence the recommendation is based on. While there is more than a single possible categorization, evidence quality generally ranks as follows, top to bottom:

large randomized controlled trials - properly designed - followed by

non-randomized trials and smaller group studies, with the

opinion of respected authorities based on evidence other than the above two, trailing at the end.

Beware of poorly designed trials and studies. Not seldom they are purposely manipulated in order to give desired result. Notorious example are pre-marketing studies by drug manufacturers, as well as studies financed by an "interested party". Recent widely publicized "studies" alleging that use of antioxidants invites death, or "slightly" higher risk of prostate cancer for those who use (unspecified) multivitamin more than once a day, may have been constructed by computer scanning past statistical data and selectively aggregating such data sources within which a certain (negative) outcome is higher due to some other, hidden factors.

Often times, the media uses such a piece of questionable information for sensationalistic headlines.

Opponents of EBM say that it unduly demotes individual aspect, both, that of practitioner and of patient. In other words, that what is good - or not good - statistically (for a large group of people),

is not necessarily so for the individual patient.

This would be, actually, great point, if it only wouldn't be used so selectively. The fact is that the entire allopathic medicine is guilty of that sin, by choosing to treat the symptom, rather than the patient.

That brings us to the main point: even if your suggested therapy is supported by first-grade evidence, it doesn't mean you should go along and accept it for that reason alone. It still may not work for you, and might even make things worse. What you need is a therapy based on your

individual biochemistry, lifestyle, environment
and complete medical history.

This is where true medicine should be heading.

Statistical medical evidence has just as much of individual applicability as any other statistical data: none. Its real function is in determining group response, or effectiveness. Its real value is in debunking deadly errors of the shot-in-the-dark symptom-treating same-for-all medical practice. By exposing only the two of its big blunders - hormone replacement therapy and anti-arrhythmia drug Tambocor - in independent post-marketing studies, it has already saved many thousands of lives.

As long as symptom-treating business-minded medicine dominates, evidence-based medicine will be for many making the difference between life and avoidable suffering and death.  R

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