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New and Featured

February 16, 2015

Goldacre on NewsNight

Benjamin Goldacre on BBC Newsnight: Democracy needs evidence

Dr. Ben Goldacre, noted for his vociferous criticism of the pharmaceutical industry, contends in this BBC clip that "bad evidence" is used in politics, as well


Absolutely MaybeAmy Abernethy, MDIOM Report
Hilda Bastian: 5 Key things to know about meta-analysisDr. Amy Abernethy, Professor of Medicine at Duke University and Director, Duke Cancer Care Research Program: Can Patient Data Have a Second Life?The Institute of Medicine: Sharing Clinical Trial Data: Maximizing Benefits, Minimizing Risk.
In this short but informative blog post, noted blogger and cartoonist Hilda Bastian explains 5 important concepts related to meta-analysis which should be heeded by anyone drawing conclusions from them!

Dr. Abernethy, a specialist in oncology and palliative care, describes her experiences in clinical trials and the desire she sees in patients to have their data used in a way which is meaningful, to be treated as "a treasure". She advocates for the consultation of trial participants to determine how they see their information contributing to medicine, as well as searching for ways to re-purpose data from discontinued trials, rather than casting it aside.

Dr. Abernethy spoke on the same topic in 2013 at ScienceOnline, in a lecture available here.

The Institute of Medicine recently released its report, Sharing Clinical Trial Data: Maximizing Benefits, Minimizing Risk. This publication represents a significant endorsement of the ideas central to patient-centered and evidence-based medicine! Available online: Report Brief (PDF); Key Figures (PDF); Report webpage (link). 

For further reading, you might enjoy this opinion piece written for Forbes, Why Transparency And Data Sharing In Clinical Trials Matterswhich discusses the report, its implications, and even references Cochrane!


Vox Media

Peter Gotzsche

 Lillie Shockney- The Value of Patient Advocacy in Laboratory Research

Meet Ben Goldacre - The Anti Dr. Oz

The Pharmaceutical Drug Epidemic

Lillie Shockney, a nurse and Associate Professor at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, recently gave a talk on the ways in which patient advocacy can make clinical research transparent and meaningful to patients and their families. Her personal experiences inform a viewpoint which prioritizes clear communication and attention to quality of life issues when involving patients in research projects.
See the slides from the presentation here (PDF).
Vox Media profiles Dr. Ben Goldacre, the "anti-Dr. Oz", in an interview which outlines Dr. Goldacre's accomplishments and career. Many already know about Dr. Goldacre's efforts to combat "bad science" and nefarious claims by pharmaceutical companies which affect our daily health decisions. For others, this will serve as a brief introduction to a remarkable doctor and advocate for evidence-based medicine.
Find more about Dr. Goldacre in our TedTalks.
Nordic Cochrane Centre's Peter Gotzsche on the Daily Show with Jon Stewart: Dr. Gotzsche, a recent guest on the Daily Show, lifted the veil on the shady practices of big pharma in this clip. A humorous take on a serious topic!


gordon guyatt onstageBen goldacre onstageBen goldacre onstage
Gordon Guyatt: Is Canadian Health Care Unsustainable?Ben Goldacre: What doctors don't know about the drugs they prescribeBen Goldacre:  Battling Bad Science

Dr. Guyatt, a pioneer in the field of evidence-based medicine, discusses the current state of Canada's universal public health system, analyzing its burden on the country's finances in comparison with public health expenditures in other nations.



When a new drug gets tested, the results of the trials should be published for the rest of the medical world -- except much of the time, negative or inconclusive findings go unreported, leaving doctors and researchers in the dark. In this impassioned talk, Ben Goldacre explains why these unreported instances of negative data are especially misleading and dangerous.

Every day there are news reports of new health advice, but how can you know if they're right? Doctor and epidemiologist Ben Goldacre shows us, at high speed, the ways evidence can be distorted, from the blindingly obvious nutrition claims to the very subtle tricks of the pharmaceutical industry.


Ben goldacre onstagejer thorp onstagedavid mccandless onstage
Teaching science by bad example: Q&A with Ben Goldacre

Jer Thorp:  Make Data More Human     

David McCandless:  The Beauty of Data Visualization 

TED’s Ben Lillie speaks with Ben Goldacre about how to read newspapers, the power of the placebo effect, and how people really want to learn if given the chance.                  

Jer Thorp creates beautiful data visualizations to put abstract data into a human context.                            


David McCandless turns complex data sets into beautiful, simple diagrams that tease out unseen patterns and connections.

Free Online Courses

David Sackett
  • Dr. David Sackett  - As the founder of Canada's first department of clinical epidemiology at McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario in 1967, Dr. Sackett has made significant contributions to how we measure the presence of diseases in populations, and in particular how we assess the effectiveness of various forms of treatment.



preventing overdiagnosis conference logo

Series: Dartmouth College- Preventing Overdiagnosis 2013: Winding back the harms of too much medicine 

A video presented by Dartmouth College in conjunction with the BMJ, Consumer Reports, and Bond University, this conference addresses the issue of overdiagnosis in medical practice. Growing scientific evidence shows that many people are being overdiagnosed for conditions as varied as asthma, breast cancer, low bone density and high blood pressure. The speakers address the emerging question: have the boundaries defining illness been pushed too wide?

 NaRCAD conference logo

Series: National Resource Center for Academic Detailing: The First National Conference on Academic Detailing (November 7-8, 2013)

UCTV logo

Series: UCSF Marketing of Medicines: Critical Skills for Clinicians

The Schools of Pharmacy and Medicine at UC San Francisco present this progressive conference on the Marketing of Medicines. The pharmaceutical industry spends billions annually on marketing. Health care professionals tend to believe they are not influenced by the drug industry, but studies indicate otherwise.

american thoracic society logoGordon Guyatt:  The GRADE Approach (12-part series)


YouTube linkIs evidence-based medicine still the leading force in improving patient care?
A debate featuring Dr. Gordon Guyatt and Dr. Victor Montori. 
YouTube link

Power of the test, p-values, publication bias and statistical evidence -A discussion of statistical evidence and why you might not get results significant enough to reject your null hypothesis even if your alternative hypothesis is correct.



Iain Chalmers:  Fundamental Failings in Clinical Research - Sir Iain Chalmers rips into clinical researchers for not understanding what is know, not stating clearly what their research adds, and not publishing negative or 'disappointing' results.Peter Doshi: Lessons from Tamiflu experience- Dr. Doshi explains what lessons were learned from the Tamiflu case.

Gordon Guyatt:  Overview of meta-analysis and methods -Gordon Guyatt explains meta-analyses and the methodologies to use when conducting a meta-analysis

Peter Gotzsche: Deadly Medicines and Organized Crime- Dr. Gotzsche explains the ways in which the pharmaceutical industry practices "gangsterism", presenting themes from his new book.

Paula Williamson- Improving Health by Improving Trials- Paula Williamson, a professor at the University of Liverpool's Institute of Translational Medicine, discusses shortcomings in current methodology in conducting clinical trials and discusses how these problems might be overcome.



Miscellaneous Videos

discussion photodiscussion photo
James McCormack- Viva La Evidence  From a perinatal trials register, through ODPT and CCPC, to the Cochrane LibraryEvidence Based Medicine: An Oral History
In a YouTube video, James McCormack presents a musical take on evidence-based medicine- adapted from a familiar tune!

Iain Chalmers and Mark Starr discuss the origins and evolution of the online Cochrane Library, which made modern evidence-based medicine a reality!

A group of leaders in the area of evidence based medicine, including Iain Chalmers, Gordon Guyatt, and Brian Haynes, discuss the past, present, and future of the movement.


chalmers photoIain Chalmers:  The Life Scientific [mp3] - Trained as a physician, Sir Iain Chalmers became a champion for treatments based on the best available evidence and the first director of The Cochrane Collaboration.
 glasziou photoPaul Glasziou: Research: Increasing Value, Reducing Waste [mp3] - In a podcast, Paul Glasziou, Professor of Evidence-Based Medicine at Bond University, discusses a new Lancet series about optimizing medical research





Useful Websites

  • : A platform for patients to learn about diseases and treatments from one another.

  • Testing Treatments Interactive : An educational and collaborative website whose principal aims are:
    1. to help people to understand the importance of fair tests of treatments
    2. to make this knowledge accessible to as many people as possible, and
    3. to help them to share their own knowledge and experiences of fair tests of treatments in a safe and constructive forum.




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