One Third of Studies Dodgy

From the September-October 2005 Trumpet Print Edition

Drugs make life better—or so the television says. Americans are barraged daily with commercials telling us that relief (accompanied by unpleasant side effects) is only a pill away.

But some of that assurance was undercut recently by research showing that one third of medical study results don’t hold water.

In a review of major studies from 1990 to 2003 published in the July 13 Journal of the American Medical Association, nearly one third of the original results were later found to be seriously flawed. In one case, “Hormone pills were once thought to protect menopausal women from heart disease but later were shown to do the opposite” (Associated Press, July 13). Another study found that nitric oxide does not actually improve survival in patients with respiratory failure, contrary to previous claims.

According to Dr. John Ioannidis, who authored this study, “Contradicted and potentially exaggerated findings are not uncommon in the most visible and most influential original clinical research.”

But even when the studies are 100 percent correct, drugs still don’t deal with the root causes of illness. To learn more about those causes, we invite you to read our November 2003 article “Will Pills Solve Our Ills?” on