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Friday, July 3, 2015

What is good research?

Research based on scientific evidence, where a treatment is rigorously tested in clinical trials with large numbers of people, is the best way of finding out whether a treatment is having a real effect, and whether it is safe.
Clinical trials assess whether a potential treatment works better than a current approved treatment (if there is one) or a placebo. They also look forside effects that might be associated with potential treatments.
Getting a treatment through clinical trials can take years and it can be very frustrating to wait for this to happen, but there are good reasons for research to take so long.
Find out about:

The placebo effect

The placebo effect is a well documented phenomenon. Research has shown that when people take a ‘dummy’ treatment that they think might work, some of them will experience an improvement in their condition.  This improvement in symptoms is known as the placebo effect.
Doing controlled clinical trials is the best way to determine whether a treatment has a true effect on people (rather than a placebo effect).

Anecdotal evidence

Anecdotal evidence (what people say) can seem very convincing, especially with the increase in the number of people posting videos on the internet before and after having treatments.
Although there may be some very convincing anecdotal evidence, there are several reasons why anecdotal evidence is not considered as reliable as data from clinical trials:
  • We have no way of knowing how many people are seeking treatment, whether the treatment they are getting is the same across the board, or how many people undergoing treatment are reporting improvements in their symptoms
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