Media Tells Medical Fairytales

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“Our love of ‘significance’ pollutes the literature with many a statistical fairy-tale.”

~ Richard Horton, Editor in Chief of The Lancet

Richard Horton, BSc MB FRCP FMedSci

Richard Horton, BSc MB FRCP FMedSci

You might expect Fox News or CNN or SOME mainstream news show to report it when a statement like the one above gets published by the Editor in Chief of the world’s most prestigious medical journal. Sorry to disappoint. Despite his extraordinary qualifications as Editor in Chief of The Lancet, Richard Horton’s published statement has been virtually ignored by mainstream media channels.

You can read the entire full page statement here or just search online for the title, “What is medicine’s 5 sigma?” But you won’t find it on any of your trusted mainstream news media websites. I checked the major five and nothing… see the screenshots below my blogpost. Meanwhile, here’s a taste of what Horton openly declared:

“Much of the scientific literature, perhaps half, may simply be untrue. Afflicted by studies with small sample sizes, tiny effects, invalid exploratory analyses, and flagrant conflicts of interest, together with an obsession for pursuing fashionable trends of dubious importance, science has taken a turn towards darkness.”

Wow! Mr. Horton is quickly becoming my new hero. While the mainstream medical industry continues to pay off healthcare hit-men Lancet article by Hortonlike Stephen Barrett, MD (www.quackwatch.com) to marginalize much safer holistic health modalities (their competition) as “quackery”, Horton is standing up and telling the truth.

Could he lose his job? Follow the money! It will probably depend on how much financial support The Lancet journal relies upon from advertising sales and other not-so-obvious funding sources. Since the World Bank, The Robert Koch Institute, the Breast Cancer Campaign and other seemingly innocuous organizations (many of which have no obvious connection to health care) seem to be funding the submission of research articles, my guess is that his career might indeed be in jeopardy. Time will tell.

He didn’t mince words, “The apparent endemicity of bad research behavior is alarming. In their quest for telling a compelling story, scientists too often sculpt data to fit their preferred theory of the world. Or they retrofit hypotheses to fit their data.”

Many of the pharmaceutical-sponsored studies he refers to were designed to develop drugs and vaccines that supposedly help people. These same studies are used to educate medical students and train medical staff.  So your doctor is not lying to you, he has just been trusting faulty information and calling it fact, because it is supposedly “evidence-based”.

Want more “evidence” of the medical research scam? Longtime Editor-in-Chief of another most prestigious peer-reviewed medical journal, Harvard-trained physician Dr. Marcia Angell stated in her book, “It is simply no longer possible to believe much of the clinical research that is published, or to rely on the judgment of trusted physicians or authoritative medical guidelines. I take no pleasure in this conclusion, which I reached slowly and reluctantly over my two decades as an editor of the New England Journal of Medicine (NEMJ).”

And don’t expect your doctor to be apprised of the situation unless s/he took time to read Horton’s shocking comments. He wrote them after attending a conference about how reproducible and reliable biomedical research is, in London, where the participants were forbidden to disclose what they heard or learned there! Horton began his article by quoting another participant: “A lot of what is published is incorrect.” followed by his own admission that he was “not allowed to say who made this remark, because we were asked to observe Chatham House rules [of confidentiality]. We were also asked not to take photographs of slides.”

So if you think there is not a conspiracy to withhold important facts and information from you, think again! Oh, right, it’s not a conspiracy, it’s just the rule.

“Can bad scientific practices be fixed?” Horton asks later in his article. “Part of the problem is that no-one is incentivized to be right.”

There are however, quite rich incentives for “proving” that your (research-sponsor’s) hypothesis about a profitable drug or vaccine is right.

Fairy tales have a place in the world, for sure, but not in a doctor’s office, where innocent lives are depending on honest science!  But that’s just my humble opinion. What’s yours? Who are you gonna trust?

Please leave comments below these screenshot graphics, which show that four major news outlets published nothing about this very important development… NOTHING!

USA Today search for Horton Lancet Fox News re Horton Lancet story  MSNBC search for Horton Lancet storyCNN search for Horton Lancet story

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