Topic:  Research Fraud

For someone who has been a part of many clinical trials, I will be the first to admit that I have very little training in research design or statistics.  Oh, the hours I’ve spent surreptitiously curled up on the sofa of a doctors’ lounge or my own apartment, thinking that somebody paid somebody a lot of money to write “science” so I could figure out how and why I would know things.  It pretty much worked. There were a few mentions of statistics at my delightfully thorough prep school, but there was not so much as a word at medical school.  The research types were always hanging around medical school settings — their brains rented and services bought by the medical side of things — as they did not make much money.  We did receive some wonderful instruction from clinicians as to how to evaluate research literature and decide how to apply it to our practices.

I have a vivid memory of an endearing shy and spindly instructor during a course required for incipient biologists at Boston University.  He had Jewish afro hair, coke bottle bottom glasses, and a more than passing resemblance to a young Woody Allen.  Oh, how he despaired that we were mostly going to be money-chain doctors as opposed to truth-chasing scientists. I remember that once, and only once, did he reach fiery intensity in that class. “Nothing will be published unless the probability that it actually shows what it is supposed to show is greater than 19 out of 20, that means p>.05.  But nobody wants to admit what that really means.” Oh, how silent we were, on the edge of our chairs. Read more on Research Fraud Isn’t Reported To The Public…

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