Two Reasons Good News From Medical Trials is Often Overturned Later

October 27, 2012
4 Views

Medical trials that claim large effects from treatment are often followed by much less impressive results the more they are replicated or tried out in the real world. A new study reports two factors behind this, one of which is obvious, the other less so.

Medical trials that claim large effects from treatment are often followed by much less impressive results the more they are replicated or tried out in the real world. A new study reports two factors behind this, one of which is obvious, the other less so.

The first factor is that trials showing big effects are often performed with few trial participants. The small sizes make it a lot more likely that the results are based on chance. Follow-up studies tend to show a regression to the mean as the effect of chance is reduced. That’s the obvious one.

The other factor is that many of the large-effect studies are based on intermediate endpoints, such as lowering cholesterol, rather than more meaningful outcomes such as extension of life or prevention of heart attack.

In general patients and doctors should be skeptical when they hear about a trial showing great results. Look to see if it’s a big or small trial and what endpoint is being measured.

 


You may be interested

3 Surprising Facts About the American Healthcare System
Uncategorized
0 shares123 views
Uncategorized
0 shares123 views

3 Surprising Facts About the American Healthcare System

Ryan Kh - May 24, 2017

The status of American healthcare has been in the news frequently over the past several months due to the new…

SEO vs Paid Search vs Social Media – Which is Better for Healthcare Marketing
eHealth
0 shares252 views
eHealth
0 shares252 views

SEO vs Paid Search vs Social Media – Which is Better for Healthcare Marketing

Rehan Ijaz - May 23, 2017

Digital media has transformed marketing practices in just about every industry. Healthcare marketing has surprisingly been affected by the digital…

New Protein Could Aid in Therapy for Mesothelioma
Medical Innovations
0 shares1246 views
Medical Innovations
0 shares1246 views

New Protein Could Aid in Therapy for Mesothelioma

jennacyprus - May 22, 2017

In the world of oncology, there’s a common consensus that cancer rarely has a single cause. Instead, the majority of…