DC's Improbable Science

Truth, falsehood and evidence: investigations of dubious and dishonest science

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Entries Tagged as 'RCT'

Food the Forgotten Medicine: More bait and switch from the “College of Medicine”

August 21st, 2016 · 16 Comments

‘We know little about the effect of diet on health. That’s why so much is written about it’. That is the title of a post in which I advocate the view put by John Ioannidis that remarkably little is known about the health effects if individual nutrients. That ignorance has given rise to […]

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Tags: anti-oxidant · Anti-science · antioxidant · antiscience · Bait and switch · CAM · causality · College of Medicine · Continuing med education · corruption · Cyril Chantler · Foundation for Integrated Health · fraud · Graeme Catto · herbal medicine · Michael Dixon · naturopathy · nutribollocks · nutriceuticals · nutrition · nutritional therapy · Pittilo · placebo · Prince Charles · Prince of Wales · Prince's Foundation · Public relations · quackademia · Quackery · randomisation · randomization · RCT · red meat · regression to the mean · Royal Society of Medicine · RSM · supplements · University of Westminster · Vitamin · Westminster university

Placebo effects are weak: regression to the mean is the main reason ineffective treatments appear to work

December 11th, 2015 · 22 Comments

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“Statistical regression to the mean predicts that patients selected for abnormalcy will, on the average, tend to improve. We argue that most improvements attributed to the placebo effect are actually instances of statistical regression.”
“Thus, we urge caution in interpreting patient improvements as causal effects of our actions and should avoid the conceit of […]

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Tags: acupuncture · CAM · placebo · publishing · quackademia · random · randomisation · randomization · RCT · regression to the mean · reproducibility · statistics

Two more cases of hype in glamour journals: magnets, cocoa and memory

November 2nd, 2014 · 5 Comments

In the course of thinking about metrics, I keep coming across cases of over-promoted research. An early case was “Why honey isn’t a wonder cough cure: more academic spin“. More recently, I noticed these examples.
“Effect of Vitamin E and Memantine on Functional Decline in Alzheimer Disease".(Spoiler -very little), published in the Journal of the […]

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Tags: Academia · altmetrics · Alzheimer's · Bad journalism · badscience · false discovery rate · Journalism · public engagement · Public relations · Public understanding · publishing · randomisation · randomization · RCT · science · science communication

We know little about the effect of diet on health. That’s why so much is written about it

November 18th, 2013 · 21 Comments

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One of my scientific heroes is Bernard Katz. The closing words of his inaugural lecture, as professor of biophysics at UCL, hang on the wall of my office as a salutory reminder to refrain from talking about ‘how the brain works’. After speaking about his discoveries about synaptic transmission, he ended thus.

"My […]

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Tags: badscience · Bernard Katz · nutribollocks · nutrition · nutritional therapy · randomisation · randomization · RCT · regulation

Ben Goldacre’s Bad Pharma. Buy it now. Then do something.

September 25th, 2012 · 16 Comments

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This is a very important book.
Buy it now (that link is to Waterstone’s Amazon don’t pay tax in the UK, so don’t use them).
When you’ve read it, do something about it. The book has lots of suggestions about what to do.

Stolen from badscience.net

Peter Medawar, the eminent biologist, in his classic book Advice to […]

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Tags: Academia · badscience · Big Pharma · BMJ · CAM · Clinical trials · Continuing med education · corruption · Freedom of Information Act · randomisation · RCT · Universities

Why philosophy is largely ignored by science

October 28th, 2011 · 30 Comments

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I have in the past, taken an occasional interest in the philosophy of science. But in a lifetime doing science, I have hardly ever heard a scientist mention the subject. It is, on the whole, a subject that is of interest only to philosophers.

It’s true that some philosophers have had interesting things […]

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Tags: Academia · philosophy · randomisation · randomization · RCT

Acupuncturists show that acupuncture doesn’t work, but conclude the opposite: journal fails

May 31st, 2011 · 64 Comments

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One wonders about the standards of peer review at the British Journal of General Practice. The June issue has a paper, "Acupuncture for ‘frequent attenders’ with medically unexplained symptoms: a randomised controlled trial (CACTUS study)". It has lots of numbers, but the result is very easy to see. Just look at their Figure.

There […]

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Tags: acupuncture · CAM · randomisation · randomization · RCT · TCM · Traditional Chinese medicine · Uncategorized

King’s Fund reports on alternative medicine: little consensus and less progress

September 2nd, 2009 · 19 Comments

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The King’s Fund recently published Assessing complementary practice Building consensus on appropriate research methods [or download pdf].

It is described as being the “Report of an independent advisory group”. I guess everyone knows by now that an “expert report” can be produced to back any view whatsoever simply by choosing the right “experts”, […]

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Tags: Academia · acupuncture · Adrian Eddleston · antiscience · badscience · CAM · Chinese medicine · chiropractic · CHRE · Cyril Chantler · Department of Health · Fair trading · Foundation for Integrated Health · General Chiropractic Council · George Lewith · Harry Cayton · herbal medicine · homeopathy · HR bollocks · HRH · Human resources · King's Fund · National Institutes of Health · NIH · Prince Charles · Prince of Wales · Prince's Foundation · randomization · RCT · regulation · Richard Lilford · Stephen Holgate

Diet and health. What can you believe: or does bacon kill you?

May 3rd, 2009 · 58 Comments

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This article has been reposted on The Winnower, and now has a digital object identifier DOI: 10.15200/winn.142934.47856
This post is not about quackery, nor university politics.  It is about inference,  How do we know what we should eat?  The question interests everyone, but what do we actually know?  Not as much as you might […]

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Tags: CAM · cancer · causality · cohort · Michael Marmot · nutribollocks · nutrition · randomisation · randomization · RCT · WCRF