"What Doctors Don't Know About the Drugs They Prescribe" by Ben Goldacre

"What Doctors Don't Know About the Drugs They Prescribe" by Ben Goldacre

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"What Doctors Don't Know About the Drugs They Prescribe" by Ben Goldacre

" . . . a cancer at the core of evidence-based medicine."

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Published on Sep 27, 2012 β€” When a new drug gets tested, the results of the trials should be published for the rest of the medical world β€” except much of the time, negative or inconclusive findings go unreported, leaving doctors and researchers in the dark. In this impassioned talk, Ben Goldacre explains why these unreported instances of negative data are especially misleading and dangerous.

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What doctors don't know about the drugs they prescribe | Ben Goldacre:

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Transcript: ted.com/talks/ben_goldacre_...

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31 Replies

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  • Ben Goldacre unpicks dodgy scientific claims made by scaremongering journalists, dubious government reports, pharmaceutical corporations, PR companies and quacks.

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    Supplemental Ben Goldacre links/ resources for further research:

    πŸ”Ž "Ben Goldacre" Google search results: google.com/search?as_q=&as_...

    πŸ“– Book "Bad Science" by Ben Goldacre: amazon.co.uk/d/Books/Bad-Sc...

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  • πŸ“Ή Ben Goldacre: Battling Bad Science (TEDGlobal 2011): ted.com/talks/ben_goldacre_...

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    πŸ“„ Transcript: ted.com/talks/ben_goldacre_...

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  • On a related (& lighter?) note, here's John Oliver's take on stateside:

    Marketing to Doctors: Last Week Tonight with John Oliver:

    vimeo.com/119203594

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  • This was a really good one! Now I understand why it is so hard to find research on the negative effects of RA meds and how in fact they affect our organs. Research on the effect of mtx on the gut and understanding what is happening is impossible to find. Seems like only research done on mice.

    paddisonprogram.com/methotr...

    Does make you a bit suspicious πŸ€”

  • Exactly, Simba1992! πŸ‘ [This is what shakes me to the core 😳 😣 . . . And, how do I/ we undo the damage that's been done β€” not only by disease itself, but (unknowingly) by the med 'cocktails' πŸ’Š πŸ’‰ 🍹 themselves . . . πŸ€” Mind you, not a wheel-spinning 'blame game', but a HOW-the-hell-do-we-undo-the-damage type of situation? πŸ€” And, how do we minimise/ avoid this happening to others? πŸ€” Yes, it's a risk/ rewards balance βš– when meds (or anything) is introduced, yet what do long-timers do when options have narrowed down & eventually go 'poof' πŸ’­ ? πŸ€” What do we do?! (Game over? Go in the corner & suffer in silence? 😳 😩 😧 ) Lot's of questions & serious concerns for the loooong haul. πŸ™ 🌺 πŸ€ 🌞 ]

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  • Bad science is a great book and an eye-opener for those that think a study, any study is 'evidence' of something.

    Scientists are human too, and as such are prone to the same foibles as the rest of us, self-preservation, confirmation bias, vested interest etc etc. Let's face it it's hard to publish something that proves you are wrong and it's hard for a commercial entity to publish something that will have a negative impact on sales of one of its products, possibly writing off millions in the process.

    Bad Science also shows you how to critically read studies so you can decide for yourself if they are good quality (or not).

  • Hear, hear!! πŸ‘‚ πŸ‘‚

    Beautifully 🌺 said, PFKAAde! πŸ™ πŸ‘

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  • While I wish I could manage my disease with alternative treatments and find it incredibly hard to trust pharmacutical companies or research studies paid for by those companies there's still a flip side to this.

    What happens when alternative regiments fail you? What happens if you wait to long trusting that natural means is the way to go?

    Here is one example, from an article I read and although its a different disease the sentiments still apply.

    Steve Jobs died regretting that he had spent so long attempting to treat his cancer with alternative medicine before agreeing to undergo surgery.

    Jobs died after a pancreatic tumour spread elsewhere, having delayed operations and chemotherapy for nine months after the disease was discovered in October 2003.

    In spite of pleas from family and friends, he tried to cure himself through acupuncture sessions, drinking special fruit juices, and using other treatments he found on the internet.

    Some cancer experts have said that Mr Jobs may have extended his life or even survived if he had promptly tackled his cancer aggressively with scientifically proven medical treatments.

    No one wants to take prescribed medicine-no one that I know anyway. If my type of RA wasn't erosive maybe I'd give alternative treatments another chance but knowing that things can go south pretty quickly thats when Bad Science just turned good.

  • Well said, Lucy11, no disagreement here. πŸ‘ πŸ™ 🌺 πŸ€ 🌞

  • I found Dr McDougall's take on why steve jobs died very illuminating. It discusses the criticism of steve's alternative therapy searches, even from family I think, not working for him, or not.

  • It's one thing if Dr. McDougall had Steve Jobs medical records and quite another to speculate. One thing is clear, alternative treatments failed Steve Jobs. The only way that his rare type of pancreatic cancer remotely had a chance of going into remission was through surgery and aggressive chemotherapy.

    The only take away that I need to know is proof, through his Biographer, that he he regretted waiting too long to have the surgery. That speaks volumes to me.

  • You don't need his medical records to see he lived many many years successfully on a vegan diet with cancer before diagnosis first occured. Only after diagnosis could an operation be performed.

  • Shall we also state now that there have been others who also lived many successful years with a slow growing cancer that were NOT on a vegan diet?

  • yes please.

    So the next question is whether there is any truth in the matter of the rate of growth of the tumor, which Dr McDougall argues, according to the evidence available, was slowed. If there is some truth to that, then the questions are by how much, and why.

  • Actually, let's pick which eccentricity toward food helped slow his tumor.

    westonaprice.org/health-top...

  • Yes, we could go on for hours. So many posts and blogs from every perspective. As Rudyard Kipling said, East is East...

  • Actually, there would be no need to go on for hours as its pretty clear that he didn't always follow a vegan diet and was at times a fruitarian, pescatarian, etc. Which pretty much debunks McDougalls claim and that was the whole point of your comment, no?

  • I used to work with a strict vegetarian who ate meat at each of her birthdays. But back on thread, not sure how his dietary changes debunks anything. I try to be vegan and oil free, but achieving those in an curry takeaway can be challenging.

  • Wow, ok so you don't see how his eating habits were all over the place and there's no telling what slowed his tumor other than maybe it being a slow growing tumor. I think this is were you should have said touchΓ© and moved on.

    The guy regretted not following the advise of his doctors. I'd hate for others with an aggressive, erosive RA to regret not following the advise of their doctors either.

    All the best.

  • I see how his eating habits were far from stable. I also see many misreadings on how his diet may have helped or hindered him. It is very difficult to judge from where we stand, life is full of misconceptions and untruths.

    After all here I am healthier than I have ever been in my life. In fact I have just spent 36 hours very intensive Bikram yoga training with a yoga champion, Kristin Bergman

    who has helped me specifically with strategies to open up my hips and shoulders. My high point was doing back bends against a wall, something I said to Kristin at the outset, "I'll never do that!". My low point was failing to get either leg onto ballet bars. In the middle were repeated lunges at pace. Could I have begun this process without changing my dietary lifestyle I don't think so, in fact I will go so far as to say I know so.

    If I had followed the advice of my doctors, my rheumy, even this charity by staying with something close to the Mediterranean diet I can categorically state I would still be hobbling round with one or more walking sticks - at best, probably with a cocktail of drugs weekly. Whereas, because I am so well, I have accelerated my tapering down of MTX to be clear in July.

    On top of everything else my mind is so totally sharp, not a sign of brain-fog anywhere. I don't think I am going to invent anything as successful as the iPad anytime soon, but I might just have a go. Or perhaps I might just be able to do yoga a bit like Kristin for my 100th birthday. If I do I'll upload a video to youtube for everyone here to watch (in 35 years time!)

  • Excellent discussion, Lucy11 & Andyswarbs. πŸ‘ πŸ‘

    Thank you kindly. πŸ™

    Appreciate both references (Dr. McDougall & Weston A. Price) & the Kristin Bergman Yoga video. πŸ‘

    Gives much to think about πŸ€” β€” weigh in balance βš– . πŸ‘

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    Off SJ topic, but cancer-related, just learned about Kris Carr ( kriscarr.com ) who's 'living with' cancer ( 2017 Food Revolution Summit: April 29 (Sat.) to May 7 (Sun.): healthunlocked.com/nras/pos... ) [Parallels autoimmuners 'living with' autoimmune illnesses. πŸ€” πŸ‘ ]

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    On a lighter note, just glad SJ called the company 'Apple' 🍎 β€” not Banana, or Broccoli, or Methotrexate . . .

    How odd it would have been to refer to

    our 'Banana phone' πŸŒπŸ“± . . .

    or our 'Broccoli watch' 🌳⌚️ . . .

    or our 'Methotrexate laptop' πŸ’Š πŸ’» . . .

    Or β€” 'Cruciferous accessories' . . . 😯

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    😳 πŸ™ƒ 😁

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  • B🐞gger all!! 😯 πŸ™ƒ πŸ˜‚

    Just re-listened to Dr. John McDougall's presentation "Why Did Steve Jobs Die?" youtube.com/embed/81xnvgOlHaY , andyswarbs .

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    It led down an interesting path. πŸ€”

    Towards end (~ minute 40) of Dr. McDougall's presentation, he references:

    β€’ His newsletter, "Why Did Steve Jobs Die?"*

    β€’ Walter Issacson's NPR interview**

    β€’ Walter Issacson's "60-Minutes" interview ***

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    Here are links to source content of each reference:

    * Dr. John McDougall's newsletter, "Why Did Steve Jobs Die?" drmcdougall.com/misc/2011nl...

    ** Walter Issacson's NPR interview (~minute 30:45), "Jobs' Biography: Thoughts On Life, Death and Apple": npr.org/2011/10/25/14165365...

    *** Walter Issacson's "60-Minutes" interview" (~minute 7:30):

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    Draw what conclusions you will. πŸ€”

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  • Perhaps of additional interest, are 2 other Walter Issacson's (SJ's biographer) retelling of Steve Jobs illness & dietary practices after an audience member's queries:

    β€’ Walter Isaacson talks about Steve Jobs β€” The Aspen Institute (~minute 43:40):

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    β€’ A talk by Walter Isaacson β€” Ananta Aspen Centre (~minute 47:00 & ~minute 54:00):

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    Again, listen & come to your own conclusions.

    Most fascinating. πŸ€” πŸ€“

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    In reference to Dr. McDougall, all I can say is:

    "The dude abides." πŸ‘ πŸ˜ƒ :

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    πŸ™ πŸ€ 🌺 🌞

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  • For clarity:

    Should anyone mistakenly conflate what Steve Jobs (SJ) is said to have 'practiced' dietarily (according to the Weston A. Price article) & to imagine it's remotely what a balanced Whole Foods Plant-Based Diet/ Lifestyle (PP process) is for RA/ Autoimmune healing, you'd be terribly mistaken/ misled.

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    Please, kindly, don't confuse the 2.

    They're nothing alike.

    Vastly different approaches.

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    For a realistic look at the actual balanced dietary practices of PP (which is just 1 type of RA/ Autoimmune-tailored diets), merely view Quinoa, Buckwheat, Sweet Potatoes, Leafy Greens, . . . 'Baseline Phase' of PP Diet Fulfills Nutritional Requirements (Diverse & Complete): healthunlocked.com/nras/pos... to see the (vast) differences in approaches.

    Everything you need to know is there & is self-evident of PP's healthy, balanced approach in contrast to SJ's imbalanced approach as noted in the Weston A. Price article, "iVegetarian2: The Eating Disorders of Steve Jobs" ( westonaprice.org/health-top... .

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    Merely reading the list from the Weston A. Price article, reveals the extreme, 'quirky' (imbalanced) dietary habits that SJ is said to have practiced.

    It's in no way comparable to any balanced Whole Foods Plant-Based Diet/ Lifestyle (PP process) that I'm aware of. 😳

    And, it absolutely does not reflect the PP process that I've learned (& continue to practice).

    [I know of no PPers practicing 'extreme', 'quirky', or imbalanced methods. πŸ™ƒ 😳 ]

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    I'm explicitly, plainly stating this so that no one mistakenly infers that SJ's odd practices (noted in the Weston A. Price article) are in any way reflective of the actual dietary practices recommended by reputable, responsible Whole Foods Plant-Based Diet/ Lifestyle practitioners (or PPers). πŸ™

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  • Something to think about or should I say something scary to think about. Dr. Ben Goldacre is British physician, academic and science writer. As of March 2015, he is a Senior Clinical Research Fellow at the Centre for Evidence-Based Medicine, part of the University of Oxford's Nuffield Department of Primary Care Health Sciences.

  • That's a good thing, no?

    Someone that understands the medical profession, evidence based medicine, and the pitfalls therein, is ideally placed to decide if something is actually 'evidence based'.

    Or am I missing something?

  • Yes I think it's a good thing. Educating the public about the good & bad from a Senior Clinical Research Fellow at Oxford is very eye opening, It is something everyone needs to hear and learn. It just scares me, sometimes the truth is hard to swallow.

    Usually people who go on stage talking negatively about meds don't have the credentials....this man does. I take my hat off to him, but it does scare me to think what I am putting in my body.

  • Sorry I misunderstood and thought you were saying it's scary that he does that job.

    Totally agree it's scary when someone that knows what they're talking about tells you things aren't quite as they seem!

  • No worries.

    I do read and follow as many University clinical trials as I can. If I find a published trial boring to read, I will only read the conclusion. In the conclusion it always states if it is or isn't proven. Some people assume all published trials are proven, as evidence. Not so.

  • If you read the whole of his books then you can see that he is able to balance out the issues. And it's clear that his aim is to make things better as he believes that medicine should be a force for good. He is also helpful as differentiates approaches, so now I look for Cochrane studies rather than ones studying a handful of people.

    His book Bad Pharma is good too. Again a lot of the flaws are down to human nature rather than major conspiracies as PKAAde points out above. And he makes good suggestions - so specifically says that NRAS should be lobbying drug companies about high costs of biologicals not just lobbying government to pay those high prices.

  • Yes, Canadian medical association states " the Cochrane studies are of better quality than other reviews and due to their standardized methodologies, was "the best single resource for methodologic research and for developing the science of meta-epidemiology.."

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