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What makes a medical study reliable in your eyes?

 
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thegiver




 
 
 


Post  Tue, Jul 09 2019, 12:35 am
Willing to hear objective and subjective ideas.

Thanks!!
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rachel6543




 
 
 


Post  Tue, Jul 09 2019, 12:51 am
To start with - who is funding the study. The funding source can potentially caused biased results. Also, who is running the study.

The size of the study. The larger the sample the size, the data is probably more reliable.

The length of the study. A longer medical study would probably be more reliable than a shorter one, depending on what is being studied.
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ora_43




 
 
 


Post  Tue, Jul 09 2019, 1:06 am
1. The study itself. This is the main one. How was it conducted - who were the participants, what exactly was measured (and how does it relate to the phenomenon they're looking at), what questions were asked, etc.

If a study isn't reliable usually you can see signs in the paper itself. Eg with one study on vaccines I saw, the researchers were supposedly looking at childhood illness/mortality in the general population, but the actual variable used was childhood illness/mortality among children who'd been reported ill by their parents. That doesn't make any sense.

2. Do other people get similar results?

A study can be "good" (everything done right, great research team, etc) but ultimately the test of whether the results are reliable is whether the results are consistent.

Even the best researchers can stumble across a group of participants that are outside the statistical norm in some way. Eg if 20 groups of researchers all look at 30 participants to test whether, say, the flu vaccine causes headaches - statistically speaking at least 1 group of researchers will find that the vaccine causes headaches even if it doesn't, just because their group happened to be the most headache-prone of the 20.

3. Reputable journal.

4. Reputable author.
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LovesHashem




 
 
 


Post  Tue, Jul 09 2019, 1:53 am
Back in grade school we learned a study needs to be repeatable.
If you can't repeat the study and get the same or similar results; it's flawed.
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amother




Amber


Post  Tue, Jul 09 2019, 7:53 am
It’s not that the studies aren’t reliable. The problem is that the studies that should be done before mandating a product for everyone aren’t being done.
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amother




Silver


Post  Tue, Jul 09 2019, 8:21 am
amother [ Amber ] wrote:
It’s not that the studies aren’t reliable. The problem is that the studies that should be done before mandating a product for everyone aren’t being done.


At that stage it’s called testing. And of course it is done.
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amother




Lavender


Post  Tue, Jul 09 2019, 8:28 am
amother [ Amber ] wrote:
It’s not that the studies aren’t reliable. The problem is that the studies that should be done before mandating a product for everyone aren’t being done.


That's not OPs question.

What studies should be done before mandating a product for everyone is a policy question, not a medical reliability question.
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amother




Lavender


Post  Tue, Jul 09 2019, 8:31 am
thegiver wrote:
Willing to hear objective and subjective ideas.

Thanks!!


Peer reviewed.
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southernbubby




 
 
 


Post  Tue, Jul 09 2019, 9:08 am
amother [ Amber ] wrote:
It’s not that the studies aren’t reliable. The problem is that the studies that should be done before mandating a product for everyone aren’t being done.


Usually the proof is in the pudding. A product can be tested on 10K people and look just fine but a different picture emerges when it's used on millions of people.
As far as mandates, there definitely should be some, even if we don't know what impact that the measles vaccine that we give babies will be on that person's old age. It does look like people who don't want to even give those shots that would make them safe to be in a room with, are able to opt for home schooling and be self employed. The state should not eliminate the option to home school.
Monovalent vaccines would probably be better for anti-vaxers who are not against the concept but who oppose the fact that new vaccines are constantly formulated, added to the schedule, and mandated but not tested long term for possible interactions or product build up.
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amother




Amethyst


Post  Tue, Jul 09 2019, 9:13 am
I am not anti vax, but as the years go by, I have less and less faith in medical studies in general.
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southernbubby




 
 
 


Post  Tue, Jul 09 2019, 9:26 am
amother [ Amethyst ] wrote:
I am not anti vax, but as the years go by, I have less and less faith in medical studies in general.


I think that we have to accept that as time goes on, today's wonder drug will be tomorrow's poison as few drugs from 100 years ago would still be prescribed today in the same form.
At the same time, we still have to live in the society that exists today.
My anti-vax friends, which may not represent all anti-vaxers, use many alternative treatments that are not studied in any reliable way and they rely on these treatments sometimes completely.
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JoyInTheMorning




 
 
 


Post  Wed, Jul 10 2019, 9:48 am
I wanted to expand on what ora43 said above. It's very important to make sure that the journal in which the study was published is reputable. I've noticed that many of the "studies" that the anti-vax posters cite are either not published at all, or self-published (e.g., on a website that anyone can put up), or are published in a predatory journal.

For example, among the many posts of dubious value that have been posted in the "Do you actually know anyone who was vaccine injured?" thread was a post by amother teal citing two articles that supposedly showed that additives to vaccines are dangerous. (See page 6 of that thread, 6th post on that page.) These articles don't report new research; they are essentially ramblings that cherry-pick and misinterpret other work to try to support a highly suspect hypothesis. Not surprisingly, both articles have been published in suspected "predatory" journals. These are journals that have "open access" models, where authors pay high fees to publish their own work, and where reviewing quality is very low.

I've pointed this out before, regarding an article that has been cited several times by anti-vaxers. That's the article that supposedly cites a higher correlation of speech disabilities and/or autistic behavior among vaxxed kids. Not only is the study laughably poor (self reporting; from a group of home schoolers that is more likely to have kids with problems than the general population; conflating of speech problems and autism, which are two different issues); not only was it retracted TWICE!; but it was also published by a predatory journal. Yet even after I pointed it out on imamother, that study has been cited again, by less-than-honest anti-vaxxers who will grasp at any straw to defend their behavior.

There are some open access journals that are okay, but in general, if a scientist has to pay someone to publish his work, it is suspect.

[And I pop out again now, regretfully.]
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JoyInTheMorning




 
 
 


Post  Wed, Jul 10 2019, 10:16 am
Regarding the general topic of the thread, you might want to look at a book that explains how to design an experiment. Here is an example I found on Amazon that from the reviews appears accessible to anyone willing to take the time to understand it. (That is, it seems not to be assuming a lot of previous coursework in math and statistics.) https://www.amazon.com/Experim.....=UTF8

The second edition is expensive. The first edition is available for much less. I just ordered myself a used copy of the first edition for $6.
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farm




 
 
 


Post  Wed, Jul 10 2019, 10:32 pm
I don’t get it. Who says your eyes are qualified to answer this question?
There are accepted standards in order for new molecular entities to be approved for medicinal use in the USA by the FDA. And there are varying standards for post market surveillance studies, new drug versus standard of care, drug in unindicated/off label disease state, etc. In addition, without a basic education in biostatistics, where one learns concepts such as power (to ensure the study population is large enough to test the hypothesis), parametric and nonparametric statistical tests, alpha and beta error, etc. how can you possibly contribute a meaningful answer to this post?
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amother




Wine


Post  Thu, Jul 11 2019, 11:40 am
farm wrote:
I don’t get it. Who says your eyes are qualified to answer this question?
There are accepted standards in order for new molecular entities to be approved for medicinal use in the USA by the FDA. And there are varying standards for post market surveillance studies, new drug versus standard of care, drug in unindicated/off label disease state, etc. In addition, without a basic education in biostatistics, where one learns concepts such as power (to ensure the study population is large enough to test the hypothesis), parametric and nonparametric statistical tests, alpha and beta error, etc. how can you possibly contribute a meaningful answer to this post?

Do vaccines undergo this rigorous process? I understand that new vaccines are often tested against old vaccines and if the rates of adverse reactions aren't much different, they get appoved. But that doesn't prove the safety of giving the new vaccine IN ADDITION to the rest.
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