Top 5 Things to Remember When Reading Stories About "Cures" and "Breakthroughs" and Medical Marts

Submitted by Norm Roulet on Sun, 03/16/2008 - 21:28.

Headlines in current Cleveland media promote a Medical Mart and Convention Center to cure our ill economy. The Plain Dealer quotes Cuyahoga County Commissioner Jimmy Dimora saying "We're looking for a tremendous economic boon - something we haven't had for many years here".... and fellow Commissioner Tim Hagan saying "This is a turning point and a defining moment for this community". Such bold claims make me think of The Top 5 Things to Remember When Reading Stories about Alzheimer’s Disease “Cures” or “Research Breakthroughs”:


  1. Look beyond the facile language used in headlines... Refuse to be seduced by sensationalism: if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is
  2. Know the background of those claiming the breakthrough... Remember that researchers have their careers and funding bound up in the work they are doing and are not likely to give modest assessments.
  3. Be aware of the type of study that has produced the data... Much of the data that makes its way into news headlines... can be distorted by various confounding factors
  4. Don’t be seduced by the power of RCTs... the effect sizes of RCTs are often small and exaggerated by the authors, especially in studies supported by the drug companies
  5. Don’t let hope become hype... Are you inclined to trust the information because it seems sound and logical, or because you want to believe it?


These warnings are offered "with the hope of protecting readers against sensationalism and false hope"... from The Myth of Alzheimer's, an extremely insightful virtual "Community Offering News, Knowledge and Hope for Brain Aging", produced by Peter Whitehouse, M.D. Ph.D. and Danny George, M.Sc., local authors of a recent book by the same title.

In the medical industry, $ billions can change hands based on misleading or questionable  claims. The Medical Mart and Convention Center are part of the Medical Industry, and the public must be protected against sensationalism and false hope for them. Consider these 5 things as you watch this story develop, to avoid the hype and not misplace your hope.

Unfortunately, our county commissioners already taxed us to pay for their false prescription, so we can't escape the side effects to come... get ready to sweat, puke and be robbed blind.