Tag Archives: evidence based medicine

Humans Are Bad At Making Predictions

“The human mind tends to suffer from a number of well-documented cognitive failings and biases that distort our ability to predict accurately. We tend to give too much weight to unusual events that seem salient…Once we form a mistaken belief about something, we tend to cling to it. As new evidence arrives, we’re likely to discount disconfirming evidence and focus instead on evidence that supports our preexisting beliefs.” (p. 112)

Evidence Based Medicine and the Aristotelian Approach

“…How do medical myths persist among practicing physicians? Part of the persistence comes from the idea that new studies aren’t really needed. There’s that old Aristotelian pull. The whole idea of empirical testing goes against the Aristotelian approach that has been a guiding principle of research. Under this approach, researchers should first try to understand the nature of the disease. Once you understand the problem, a solution will become self-evident…Instead of focusing on the front-end knowledge about the true nature of disease, [evidence-based medicine] shows the power of asking the back-end question of whether specific treatments work…The Aristotelian approach can go seriously wrong if doctors embrace a mistaken conception or model for how an ailment operates.” (p. 88-89)

Research Says Physical Exams Are Unnecessary, Yet Physicians Persist in Doing Them

“Even when statistical studies exist, doctors are often blissfully unaware of–or, worse yet, deliberately ignore–statistically prescribed treatments just because that’s not the way they were taught to treat. Dozens of studies dating back to 1989 found little support for many of the tests commonly included in a typical annual physical for symptom-less people. Routine pelvic, rectal, and testicular exams for those with no symptoms of illness haven’t made any difference in overall survival rates. The annual physical exam is largely obsolete. Yet physicians insist on doing them, and in very large numbers.”