Around the Blogs, Vol. 48: Health & Medicine Issue

1. Subjective SES is poorly correlated with objective SES and explains susceptibility to the common cold better than the latter.

2. Seth Roberts on "the problem with evidence-based medicine". He makes two potentially important points: (a) The preference for EBM over clinical experience is not itself evidence-based; (b) the statistical tests used for assessing the effect of a procedure is biased towards null results. These are more connected in his post than I've made them look, so read the whole thing. Is he right? I don't know.

3. "Small genetic effects do not preclude drug development"


pj said...

I would have thought there's been a very good experiment to test the difference between "The preference for EBM" and "clinical experience" - the comparison of modern medicine and homeopathy.

While I agree that clinical experience still has a place in medicine, that place is not in completely ignoring the results of massive clinical trials because a patient once felt better when you gave them drug X.

LemmusLemmus said...

Although I do think Roberts puts too much weight on nonstandard evidence, I'm pretty sure he wouldn't advocate what you describe in your second paragraph.

As for homeopathy, I thought a bigger problem was a disregard of evidence per se in favour of what Hahnemann's holy books say. But maybe I'm wrong.

pj said...

They actually have a method for generating new treatments in homeopathy - it's called a 'proving' - you give the therapy to someone and see what symptoms it causes - and now it treats whatever those symptoms are.