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Thread: "...the medical literature contained nothing really worth reading"

  1. #1
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    "...the medical literature contained nothing really worth reading"

    "The Median Isn't the Message" by Stephen Jay Gould

    http://www.cancerguide.org/median_not_msg.html

    This is a tale of statistics which is only one issue out of many that illustrates the limitations of the medical literature.

    I note that the three known researchers here in this little sandbox, two of whom are in the medical field, are among the most sanguine about the limitations of the medical literature.

    I also note that those with no training view the medical literature as near gospel and that it can be understood at its deepest levels by literally anyone.

    There is a reason that explains both observations.
    Sharon, mother of identical twin girls with scoliosis

    No island of sanity.

    Question: What do you call alternative medicine that works?
    Answer: Medicine


    "We are all African."

  2. #2
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    Gould was a phenomenal writer and this is one of his best works. I highly recommend that folks take the time to read it and keep it bookmarked to share in the unfortunate event they know someone who might benefit from his story.

    But, I don’t think it illustrates so much the limitation of the medical literature as it illustrates the limitations we (lay people) have with regard to interpreting and understanding it.

    As has often been the case Sharon, your posts have pointed me in some interesting directions. Here, I was going to link to a book “Love, Medicine and Miracles”, that I felt (and still do actually) may be helpful to those who find themselves in a similar situation as Dr. Gould. When reading through the reviews, I came upon an interesting review offered by a physician. He offers his views on anecdotal evidence and that discussion (see review by Benjamin Walker) is perhaps even more relevant to scoliosis treatments and discussions on this forum. In particular, see the last paragraph. Also interesting are the 3 comments. Fascinating reading. (Note: this is a review about the book Love Medicine and Miracles, not the Gould Essay - hope I'm not hijacking the thread - it is somewhat related)

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by concerned dad View Post
    But, I don’t think it illustrates so much the limitation of the medical literature as it illustrates the limitations we (lay people) have with regard to interpreting and understanding it.
    That's another key point that would benefit some around here. It is passing strange that we even have to point out that lay people might just might be missing something and that something is very likely the boat.

    I disagree that it is helpful to encourage lay folks in thinking they are getting to the bottom of anything absent a level of effort akin to getting a doctorate, doing a post doc, and having years of experience.

    As has often been the case Sharon, your posts have pointed me in some interesting directions. Here, I was going to link to a book “Love, Medicine and Miracles”, that I felt (and still do actually) may be helpful to those who find themselves in a similar situation as Dr. Gould. When reading through the reviews, I came upon an interesting review offered by a physician. He offers his views on anecdotal evidence and that discussion (see review by Benjamin Walker) is perhaps even more relevant to scoliosis treatments and discussions on this forum. In particular, see the last paragraph. Also interesting are the 3 comments. Fascinating reading. (Note: this is a review about the book Love Medicine and Miracles, not the Gould Essay - hope I'm not hijacking the thread - it is somewhat related)
    That was fascinating. The placebo effect is real (ETA: on things that it can affect. That doesn't include the universe of conditions out there.)

    Never worry about hijacking any thread. You always add light to the discussion and you are welcome to play through on "my" threads any day.
    Last edited by Pooka1; 10-28-2009 at 11:50 AM.
    Sharon, mother of identical twin girls with scoliosis

    No island of sanity.

    Question: What do you call alternative medicine that works?
    Answer: Medicine


    "We are all African."

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