by aajonus vonderplanitz, ph.d. nutrition
Dr. Ioannidis started his medical career at the beginning of the evidence-based medical movement and gravitated away from new research. He began assessing the validity of previous research. Systemic inaccuracy emerged consistently at every level, and revealed that most studies were biased. As an expert statistician, Ioannidis carefully assembled a team who spent ten years exploring the problem before publishing their astonishing conclusions.
They discovered that with normal levels of researcher-bias, generally imperfect research techniques and a common tendency to focus on novel rather than plausible theories, wrong findings are inevitably normal. Also, they found that scientific journals are strongly biased towards publishing the most novel claims and lack effective safeguards for rejecting inaccurate studies.
Their research showed that 80% of common nonrandomized studies, 25% of the "gold-standard" randomized trials, and nearly 10% of "platinumstandard" large randomized trials were incorrectly executed.
To highlight the inability to eliminate bad research, Dr. Ioannidis’ team focused on the 49 most highly regarded and cited research papers published in the 13 years prior to this study’s inception. Forty-one percent were disproved when tested, and 24% hadn't even been retested. Upon further examination, in 3 of the studies which were firmly disproved during retesting, they found scientists recited the original inaccurate study, in one case for at least 12 years after it was discredited.
To be that pervasive amongst people who have such adept minds, we must conclude that it is purposeful. What would be the purpose? Successful scientific careers depend upon research being funded and published. That motivates scientists to pursue and produce results that will be funded. Who funds most research?
Scientific journals like to publish new and exciting research. They utilize a vetted peer review process that is frequently commandeered by scientists in pursuit of career advancement. Worst are drug studies funded by pharmaceutical companies and commonly corrupted by a much stronger financial conflict of interest than merely academic and social praise, and power. Monetary gain is what we are taught to achieve in schools and business. We are conditioned to believe the bottom-line (economics) is always more important than other people’s welfare. Our politicians and corporate leaders are proof in the pudding.
It is easily understood that many medications originally shown to be safe and effective in large randomized control trials were found to be dangerous such as Vioxx, Zelnorm, and Baycol which were taken off the market after they did extensive harm to people. Science, by definition, is supposed to rely upon continual retesting of previous results by other scientists to protect against erroneous conclusions. Dr. Ioannidis stated, "[the] odds that anything useful will survive from any of these studies are poor."
From my experience, 99% of medical information is wrong and will maintain or even generate illness rather than health. Doing the opposite of anything the medical profession proclaims, 99% of the time my body generates excellent health.