Saturday, 22 September 2012

Rude awakening

I had to link to this amazing article. It so beautifully expresses not only its central point, which is the mis design and reporting of clinical trials of drugs by pharmaceutical companies, to distort findings in favour of efficacy and safety.

So applicable to the way quack techniques have been used maintain a state of delusion on the feasibility of weight loss dieting as weight regulation-temporary or permanent.
Drugs are tested by their manufacturers, in poorly designed trials, on hopelessly small numbers of weird, unrepresentative patients, and analysed using techniques that exaggerate the benefits.
[Emphasis mine]

Wow, just wow. Absolute gold.

I need say little more.

Except..... we the public have participated in a natural experiment which was supposed to have stopped fattening of nations in its tracks by now. Not "lose weight" or get healthy, fit, whatever.

But to go from fat --------------------------------------------------> to SLIM.

So any nonsense where 100 fat women report to have their weight (loss) is monitored every month and at the end they've lost an average of 5lbs in a year does not equal 'proof' that a fat person holds slimness in their hands.

Yet, I feel a bit wary of using it to illustrate this point. Even though the article is well worth reading on its own terms, it's nothing new. But I know, the writer Ben Goldacre would be against a clear acknowledgement of  the facts.

Which is the strange thing about fatness, the way that the most harried and de-legitimized are the ones who end up representing something approaching rationality in all this. Those who see themselves as in the vanguard of it, cannot or do not want to see it.

I'm sure plenty of people don't like close scrutiny of drugs prescribed to regulate behaviour. 

I can't pretend the extent of this, doesn't in part explain the gullibility with regards to other matters such as the case of dubious drug trials. Why should we expect those who fund them and manufacture the drugs they test to use the process to their advantage, if no one's checking that they aren't?

Its a rude awakening for sure.

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