“Medical Practices Lack Solid Scientific Support”

In September of 2020, shocking headlines stated, “Only 1 in 10 medical treatments is backed by high-quality evidence.” Most believe that the treatments prescribed by their doctors are supported by high-quality scientific studies but that is far from being true. An analysis in the Journal of Clinical Epidemiology, concluded that only 9.9 percent of recommended treatments had high-quality evidence according to the gold-standard method for determining whether they provide high or low-quality evidence, called GRADE (grading of recommendations, assessment, development and evaluation). Using the same system, 37 percent had moderate, 31 percent had low, and 22 percent had very low-quality evidence. Lack of high-quality evidence, according to GRADE, means that future studies might overturn the results. Studies that are “blinded” – in which patients don’t know whether they are getting the actual treatment or a placebo – offer higher-quality evidence than “unblinded” studies. Blinding is important because people who know what treatment they are getting can experience greater placebo effects than those who do not know what treatment they are getting. Many poor-quality trials are being published. It is estimated that there are currently 25 thousand medical/scientific journals turning out over one million publications annually. It is also estimated that 50% of these papers have reached the wrong conclusions. The tsunami of trials published every year, combined with the need to publish in order to survive in academia, has led to a great deal of rubbish being published.

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