In 2003, researchers writing in the American Journal of Medicine discovered something that should change how you think about medical news. They looked at 101 studies published in top scientific journals between 1979 and 1983 that claimed a new therapy or medical technology was very promising. Only five, they found out, made it to market within a decade. Only one (ACE inhibitors, a pharmaceutical drug) was still extensively used at the time of their publication.
But you’d never know that from reading the press. Take a recent miracle procedure for multiple sclerosis. Multiple sclerosis, or MS, S is a degenerative disease with no cure. In sufferers, the immune system attacks the protective layer around the nerves, disturbing the communication between brain and body — and causing a cascade of devastating symptoms: unsteady and jerking movements; loss of vision, bladder and bowel control; and eventually, early death.
It’s a fact that all studies are biased and flawed in their own unique ways. The truth usually lies somewhere in a flurry of research on the same question.
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