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Seeking Truth in Medicine

Beaker & Bunsen prove the Big Bang

Critical analysis of medical information is not unique to Aerospace Medicine or any of the other sub-categories of medicine typically covered by Go Flight Medicine (GFM). However, a discussion on the process of acquiring medical knowledge is important for both readers and writers of medical literature to consider. Wading through the countless number of scientific studies, news headlines, blog posts, and other ‘expert opinions’ in medicine is a dizzying proposition to doctors, let alone laypeople. The tremendous success of the $60 billion vitamin, herbals, and supplement industry is evidence of the difficulty that the public has in deciphering true medical efficacy from expensive treatments with no measurable effectiveness.

I recently listened to a TED talk by epidemiologist and medical doctor, Ben Goldacre, titled ‘Battling Bad Science’.  It’s worth listening to.  There is a lot of rigorous, useful science that allows humans to discover truths about the world in which we inhabit.  In some cases the scientific method may only allow the researcher to find an association between multiple variables.  In other rarer cases, the scientist may have high confidence that a particular cause-effect relationship has been identified.  Unfortunately, there is also a lot of bad science out there.  Even more confusing is the process of polluting good science with inaccurate interpretation.   Watch Dr Goldacre’s discussion on this topic below.


Throughout the writings within GFM, the aim is to avoid conjecture in favor of evidence-based medicine. When claims are made, references will be provided whenever possible. If you happen to stumble across and read a GFM post and find that this standard has not been meant, please ‘Contact Us‘ or leave a comment under the suspected post.

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