This really should be a straightforward question to which the answer should be 'information that is confirmed as reliable by the application of accepted evidence.' But what is accepted evidence?
For evidence to be considered reliable it must be such that it can be definitively proven by science or has been reviewed by a sufficient number of peers - other experts in the field – who agree that it accurately represents what it seeks to suggest or prove. One of the most researched medical topics is likely to be the pathogenesis of endometriosis which is evolving as a complex multifactorial disease involving impaired immune and endocrine systems. Understanding is being gained in parts that are gradually being fitted together in the hope that ultimately the connecting piece of the jigsaw will be revealed. But at this moment in time no one, however learned they may be, knows the answer to the pathogenesis of endometriosis.
There are many theories as to the possible sources of potential tissue that becomes modified into endometriosis but none has yet been proven. Many factors and processes have now been identified as involved in the pathogenesis of endometriosis and our understanding is based on what is considered most likely in the light of such findings by the experts who study the disease. Like the balance of probabilities in a legal case in the absence of concrete proof. Once peer-reviewed and accepted for publication the many recent papers on the pathogenesis of endometriosis stand as accepted evidence-based information until proven otherwise and such papers are always careful to refer to what ‘might’ be the case or what is considered ‘likely’ to be the case. There will not be one accepted paper that claims a definitive answer to the pathogenesis of endometriosis because, as yet, none exists.
It is therefore alarming to find sources that are not evidence-based making claims to definitive facts about the pathogenesis of endometriosis. This seems to be especially prevalent on Facebook with such claims being made that endometriosis does not progress, we are born with all our endometriosis, retrograde menstruation is now outdated and once removed endometriosis cannot recur. The fact is that no one in the world is qualified to make these statements, not even a true expert working at the forefront of the field and, most importantly, such a person would not attempt to do so. In addressing these particular claims by reference to the many published evidence-based articles on the pathogenesis of endometriosis as at 2014, all are contrary to current expert understanding.
in my view the most important qualities of a true scientist are an insatiable thirst for knowledge born out of genuine curiosity, an ability to consider all point of view objectively, to accept that others might be right and they might be wrong and, most importantly, the humility to recognise their place in the scheme of things. I am not a religious person but I came across a wonderful book called 'Look at your world' by an American reverend called Paul H Dunn. Here are some of my favourite quotes:
'So what is this thing called humility? It's the realisation - not with pain, but with joy - that all virtues and abilities are not lodged in yourself; it's that sudden insight that every soul in this world can be your teacher no matter how low his light burns.'
'The job of humility is not to make us feel small, but to expand our capacities for appreciation, awe, delight; to stand silent before all we do not know - and then get on with the work of finding out.'
The purpose of this post is to warn people to be careful as to what they believe posted in endometriosis groups. If a definitive claim is made about the pathogenesis of endometriosis such as those above then they will necessarily be unfounded since no one yet has the understanding to make such claims. Question what you are told and ask for references to published evidence-based peer-reviewed information in order to come to your own conclusions. Don't accept references to articles written by individuals (even professionals) who might have made such claims on their own private website reflecting their own personal opinion, since such personal opinion is not reliable evidence.