Epidemiology trials, how valuable?

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We read in the paper so often that “X” will prevent prostate cancer and then he next year we read that “X” does not show a link to prostate cancer. Many of these studies are epidemiological studies. Gary Taubes discusses why this happens in a recent New York Times article

A quote from the article says, “Richard Peto, professor of medical statistics and epidemiology at Oxford University, phrases the nature of the conflict this way: ‘Epidemiology is so beautiful and provides such an important perspective on human life and death, but an incredible amount of rubbish is published,’ by which he means the results of observational studies that appear daily in the news media and often become the basis of public-health recommendations about what we should or should not do to promote our continued good health.”

Since we are active in educating the public about prostate cancer we should teach ourselves about how to separate good science from bad. Not always easy to do. An ounce of skepticism is always helpful.

By | 2007-09-29T11:28:34+00:00 September 29th, 2007|Tools for Activists, Treatment News|2 Comments

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  1. Phil Olsen September 29, 2007 at 5:06 pm

    I would like to see a “SNOPES FOR PCa” site to provide an easy verification or denial of prostate lore.

  2. Ann F. October 1, 2007 at 1:18 am

    One reason the problem arises in interpreting epidemiology studies is we are using the same type of measure as in a drug trial. We keep seeking for that ONE MAGIC thing that will do it all.

    My experience tells me that answers are MUCH more complex. Solutions are too. It is not one amazing substance that will resolve prostate cancer but a combination of drugs, substances, lifestyle changes and much more.

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