In 1992 a new push to bring “Evidence-Based Medicine” started to become popular.
The goal seems to make sense – doctors should use treatments that have been proven by the highest standards of research.
If there is no double-blind study showing that a particular treatment is effective, then doctors shouldn’t recommend it.
Not only was this being used by doctors, but also as an excuse by insurance companies to deny coverage of any experimental treatment options.
And it is being used to push drugs and treatments that just don’t really make a difference in the real world.
Take for instance statins or cholesterol-lowering drugs.
The evidence shows that they stop heart attacks. But unless your doctor really takes the time to dig deep into the statistics, he will not know this risk is only reduced by less than 1%. For more information on the problem with statin drugs, see this story in Freedom Health News.
“Medicine is an art of probabilities or at best a science of uncertainty,” said Sir William Osler, former head of the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine.
Among the problems created by the idea of Evidence-Based Medicine is it doesn’t provide any understanding of an individual patient’s needs or promote the wisdom and experience of the doctor.
It turns the art of medicine into a cookbook and treats doctors the same as auto mechanics.
One of the central premises of Evidence-Based Medicine is that only Randomized Control Trials (RCT’s) count to make good decisions.
The problem with this was well-summarized here by David Kirby:
“Epidemiological analysis is notoriously susceptible to misinterpretation, and even manipulation. Two sets of researchers can extract diametrically opposed results from the same data.”
The most interesting result of this was The Cholesterol Hypothesis pushed by Ansel Keys when he published his famous Seven Country Study.
He made the case that eating cholesterol leads to heart attacks.
But when others looked at the same data, they concluded that eating sugar was the cause of heart attacks.
To make matters worse, Big Pharma doesn’t always publish all the data they have on a drug, especially if their trials show that a drug doesn’t work.
For instance, a vaccine company wanted to make the case that giving expectant mothers the flu vaccine was a good idea.
They gave the vaccine to 159 expecting mothers in Bangladesh.
After the children were born, only six got the flu, while from the children of the 157 whose moms did not get the vaccine, 16 got sick.
The numbers were sold as evidence that the shot reduced influenza by 63%.
But did it really?
What it really showed was 94% of the children treated by the vaccine received no benefit at all.
Four still got the flu despite the treatment.
And it ignored all the potential risk of subjecting the infants to the mercury, aluminum, and formaldehyde in the vaccines.
No one followed the group of infants to see if there were any long-term harms that might happen to possibly stop ten cases of the flu.
When the study was subjected to greater scrutiny, the results were even worse:
“Cochrane Collaboration systematic review of influenza vaccines, it was concluded that influenza vaccines in adults have only a modest effect. There was ‘no evidence that they affect complications, such as pneumonia, or transmission.’
Reliable evidence was ‘thin’ and there was evidence of widespread manipulation of conclusions and spurious interpretation of the studies reviewed. These included 15 out of 36 trials funded by Industry and 4 that had no source of funding declaration.”
In other words, the so-called evidence model actually does not prove much of anything and while it might help the pharmaceutical companies, it doesn’t provide much benefit to patients who also do not know if the so-called cure might be creating harm.