A quick read from NPR: “Should You Trust That New Medical Study?” No.
Here’s an excerpt:
As historian of science Naomi Oreskes says …, “What makes it news is that it’s new…My view would be that brand new results would be the most likely to be wrong.”
… We should infer the efficacy of a new drug or the benefits or harms of foods from a sample of studies, not a single new one. Of course, most people don’t have the time or the inclination to go through the exercise. When it comes to health, we want to believe in a new cure, for obvious reasons. Our skepticism must be doubled precisely to prevent being misled by hope. (Although hope and a positive attitude are known contributors to healing.) The responsibility, thus, rests with scientists and the media to promote the news carefully — and with the general consumer to keep the news in perspective.
Unrelated link: Nuts Associated with Improved Longevity (from NY Times)
Related blog posts:
- How to Understand Scientific Studies | gutsandgrowth
- Why I have always liked Arthur Caplan… | gutsandgrowth
- Alan Alda (aka Hawkeye Pierce) on Communicating Science …