Biased forum

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Giz
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Re: Biased forum

Post by Giz » Mon Jun 06, 2011 4:08 pm

Dinky wrote:Even if journals are incorrect / evidentially findings from scientific investigations are published, the whole point is that to publish something that does not work puts your reputation and credibility at stake. Also, the ideas of journals is such that peers in the scientific community use the information and repeat the experiments (review the information) as way to validate the methods....these may eventually become standardised methods e.g in pharmacopeias which the pharma industry use. Perhaps I am being very naive, or the company I work for does things properly?!?!?!
Yeah.. You know you would think that wouldn't you.. We all know that certain people who's studies have been refuted have been thrown out to the wolves, but not all of them.. They guys tha said depression was caused by seratonin.. Their hypothesis, the basis for all SSRI & SNRI drugs was refuted in 1983..
And then there's all those major researchers done for fraud every day, the companies who keep drugs on sale literally until the costs of paying out on compensation outweighs the profit from said drug..

If your study is in line with what you are supposed to say, your fall from grace will be limited. If it goes against the grain, you will be known about by everyone who will listen.. Most people don't know that the guy who linked HIV to AIDS was later done for scientific fraud, but they all know Andrew Wakefield and the famous MMR study, and even at that the facts were misrepresented, if anything the way he was treated after linking a certain type of intestinal damage to the MMR jab (which just so happened to be common in those with autism) would have given him reason to think he was on to something.. After all, we all know mercury is a neurotoxin than certainly isn't that good for you, and aluminium is related to dementia and Alzheimer's, they're both found in that vaccine.. But that wasn't even touched on..

The sad truth is that not all of these transgressions are treated equal. As I pointed out above, pharmaceutical companies are permitted to break the law and set up shell companies to take the hit for them, they are literally deemed too big to fail. And they are some of the largest contributors to presidential campaigns, they have more of a say on our food supply than each country does..
The initial intentions of pharmaceuticals were obviously honourable, but when companies get that large, and are exposed to be using such underhand methods to keep themselves that big, it is prudent to keep your wits about you. After all, it's your health that pays the price if you get put on a drug that may have a terminal side effect.
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Re: Biased forum

Post by Street Spirit » Mon Jun 06, 2011 4:13 pm

I worked for a University department doing contract research as the Quality Assurance officer under Good Laboratory Practice, which in the UK was a scheme set up by the Department of health for assuring the quality of research commissioned and carried out by non government companies, inc the pharma industry.
Admittedly this was 13 years ago but the amount of QA that had to be performed was onerous and we were inspected regularly by the DoH. Meanwhile in the rest of the uni research carried out under gov grants had very little if any QA.

I would be very surprised if there was any fiddling of the data occuring under my watch because it was all too tightly controlled. On the whole, I would say that it is harder to fiddle contract research than Gov funded research.

The problem with Gov funded research is that if/when the money runs out people lose their contracts/jobs, so the pressure to get the 'right' result is extreme. Most scientists are pretty honest though, but I would be surprised if it didn't occur to the odd one to massage the figures. Most people who read a lot of papers get a feel if a paper is a bit dodgy and so if you are wise you read as many papers on that subject as you can, to see what others say. All research should be repeatable. Of course there can be problems with peer review, if the reviewer doesn't agree or has problems with the research group then that can cause issues. Also I have seen mistakes in papers slip through unchallenged. There is a recent paper on rat colour genetics with three glaring errors in it that the reviewer seems to have missed.

However, this is still much better than no review at all! What do you suggest?

In the time I have been involved in science I have only twice been asked by a client to 'fiddle de data'. One was a guy from a water treatment company who couldn't believe that the property still had legionella after treatment but the other one was a major environmental organisation. :roll:

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Re: Biased forum

Post by Street Spirit » Mon Jun 06, 2011 4:18 pm

Giz wrote:If your study is in line with what you are supposed to say, your fall from grace will be limited. If it goes against the grain, you will be known about by everyone who will listen.. Most people don't know that the guy who linked HIV to AIDS was later done for scientific fraud,

I take it you are not suggesting that AIDS isn't preciptated by HIV?

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Re: Biased forum

Post by Midnight Rose » Mon Jun 06, 2011 5:48 pm

A know of a few people getting caught for fiddling data! None was medical research though!
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Re: Biased forum

Post by Giz » Mon Jun 06, 2011 6:03 pm

I'm not suggesting anything. But if you would like to ask Steven Ransom and Phillip Day they could provide you with all of the information you would like to see on that subject. They are the guys who researched all of the evidence. It's something I have barely scratched the surface on and so would not feel comfortable discussing in detail as I am not sufficiently educated about it. Save it to say the researcher was done for fraud (I cannot remember whether it was on that specific point of research). The book is called World Without Aids, I have only read excerpts..

There are massive court cases involving the pharmaceutical giants and their drugs, and what you or I would consider to be rather hefty fines handed out, and drug companies get to set up shell companies to take the hit for them. So it does go on unfortunately.. Then there's the ghostwriting and unlicensed doctors like Stephen Barrett signing off on papers..

I'm not saying it happens everywhere, that would be a fallacy. But it does happen. In a very generalised (but obviously not applicable to all) way, the larger the company, the looser the morals and ethics become.. Like the authors of Harlot Plc wrote, being good doesn't pay.. It was a satire, but it was quite accurate when you look at the majority of the huge corporations on the planet, not just the pharmaceutical giants. Look at monsanto, their terminator seeds are causing Indian farmers to kill themselves in the hundreds of thousands as monsanto pushes them further into poverty due to high overheads and low yeilds and then on top of that the chemicals destroy the soil so you can't use it for conventional crops afterward.. But they're still pushing it on the whole world as an answer to food shortages.. Not to mention there's no long term evidence that it's safe when ingested..

We have a nuclear electricity company (in a country famed for it's safety and efficiency, guess that's a massive fallacy too) doing their best to say "move along, nothing to see here" when they had 3 meltdowns in progress.. Everyone I knew could see it from march 16th, 5 days in.. But it took over 2 months for them to be forced to admit it..

It can happen anywhere. It's being shown that in medical literature (on both sides by the way, some of the studies done on natural things are bogus too) it's especially prevalent. Perhaps other areas of science it's not quite on the same scope because we aren't talking matters of life and death, Stephen Hawking was able to reverse his stance on black holes without too many shockwaves rippling through the globe.. But finding out that the medicine you were told you needed to take may be killing you is scary. It's very personal. And so there will always be resistance (much like I'm sure in astrophysics there were those who denounced Stephen Hawking when he changed his mind, or those who disagreed with Martin Luther when he founded the Protestant Church, to them it was personal).. There's also far more profit and so motivation within certain areas..

The point was that there is a bias. Like Richard Smith said in his article, put the name of a less prestigious institution on it, it's less likely to be reviewed. Ill give you an example which may demonstrate the bias here;
If I post a link here to say, naturalnews, mercola, credence, ANH etc it is Most frequently dismissed and links to peer reviewed studies requested. Even if those peer reviewed studies are included in the article I have posted the link to, along with several more. This shows that the bias is based upon the perception of the article posted. It also shows that the link wasn't even looked at. Which is hardly scientific.
(eg, when discussing the herbal products directive or codex no one seems to want to actually read what the ANH have said, despite the fact that these guys are mounting the legal challenge to the EU directives and actually go to Codex meetings. Many here were all happy to see what the EU had to say in their defence, but ignored the ANH challenge to it.. That's like going to a criminal trial and only listening to the defence and ignoring the prosecution!)

We all have biases. I have mine and everyone else here has theirs, I'm not levying criticism against anyone, all I would ask is that we all try to bear that in mind when approaching these subjects, because there is not one of us who actually has all the answers.
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Re: Biased forum

Post by Street Spirit » Mon Jun 06, 2011 6:24 pm

I'm old enough to remember the beginnings of GM. The use of terminator seeds was felt necessary to stop the spread of GM material into the natural environment. Many plants, especially the brassica family, are very promiscious and will cross breed with wild species quite easily.

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Re: Biased forum

Post by Dinky » Mon Jun 06, 2011 6:32 pm

Giz you are very intelligent! I am always amazed by content of your posts.

I enjoy the discussions on here, but they do tend to upset me (as I am sure MarieM gets upset), I don't like to think that I work for is something awful.
I like to think that yes, what I do for a living is 'controversial' to some people, but I grew up wanting to be a scientists and having a logically and answering seeking mind, I work in both very early stage RnD through to QA stages of pharmaceutical products. We are tightly controlled in our lab....by training, inspections, audits and regulations, but this has got me thinking, that perhaps others down the line are not as constrained. Some of our clients (mostly consultants) are little more blase (sp.) about certain things than we would not.

It is very sad, if what is been sad about the larger companies is true, I work for a small company (less than 20 employees) all we have is our expertise, lead times and credibility to prove our worth.
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Re: Biased forum

Post by Woody » Mon Jun 06, 2011 7:05 pm

Giz wrote:As for getting held up on points of language, you and I must have an error in communications here (that or someone's being a tad pedantic, I will reserve judgement on that one as a forums a difficult place to figure these things out)..
I am not being pedantic at all, unless you mean consider it pedantic to expect someone to say what they mean when they start quoting numbers, and not change what they are talking about to make it fit in the figures.
Giz wrote: I initially said what I had read, 98% of medical studies are later disproven or shown to be false, I didn't say it in those words specifically, but then when I couldn't find that article I linked Foregone Conclusions to show some of the reasons why this is true
ok, I agreed that it was ok if you couldn't find the report you first quoted, my complaint was the shifting sands and how you were interpreting reports that you were providing as actually saying something else, such as the 70% claim you made for the first report, and the 1% claim you made for the second point, which was not borne out in the actual report.

Clearly we are not going to agree on the actual context of the reports due to our individual biases. You appear to believe that all medical journals (or almost) are fabricated and incorrect, and 'everyone' knows this, where I cant understand how if all medical reports are fake, and everyone knows they are fake that there is a problem, as noone would believe anything they said, so it wouldn't matter what they said, as noone would use that research (as they know it is wrong).

However, given you get the figures you do from the reports you provide, this may go to indicate why we can't agree, as it appears I don't understand your method of interpreting those reports.

Giz wrote: this article referenced the conflict of interest of 70% of trials funded by industry,
But it didn't reference that at all. It referenced that there was a conflict of interest in many of trials funded by industry, and that 70% of trials were funded by industry. That is not even slightly the same figure.

The only way I can get that you read that from that report is that you read the report already knowing what you were going to take from it and frankly I can't see the point of reading things, if you are not prepared to listen and evaluate what they say.
Giz wrote: I also posted the article about the work of John Ioannidis who says 90% of what's in med journals falls into this shady category of "false".
I will read that in a minute - I was working earlier so I didn't get a chance to read that one. Unfortunately due to the other interpretations of reports you have done, I can't just take your word for what it says, as you were incorrect on the two I did read.
Giz wrote:How on earth does anyone NOT know about this?
I don't know - maybe our biases differ?
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Re: Biased forum

Post by Giz » Mon Jun 06, 2011 7:52 pm

@ Dinky,
I would never make the assumption that somehow every person involved in conventional healthcare is somehow dishonourable.. How ridiculous a statement would that be? I'm pretty sure every person who chooses to be a doctor chose to put themselves through the stress and strain of med school because they wanted to help people. Same as all those researchers and everyone else involved.. Their intentions are no doubt honourable. As I'm sure are yours. And mine believe it or not!

But I'm also aware that not everyone has these high morals. And that by sacrificing your morals it makes certain obstacles to success much less of a problem.. It's human nature.. It's a horrible part of human nature, but it's there..

@ Woody;
"If peer review is to be thought of primarily as a quality assurance method, then sadly we have lots of evidence of its failures. The pretentiously named medical literature is shot through with poor studies. John Ioannidis has shown how much of what is published is false [4]. The editors of ACP Journal Club search the 100 'top' medical journals for original scientific articles that are both scientifically sound and important for clinicians and find that it is less than 1% of the studies in most journals [5]. Many studies have shown that the standard of statistics in medical journals is very poor [6]."

Perhaps those statistical problems play a part :)
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Re: Biased forum

Post by Street Spirit » Mon Jun 06, 2011 9:53 pm

I would agree that Gov funded research needs more QA, but this would increase the costs by 15 -20%. I know this, because I have worked in the field and it also can be very restrictive and can stifle original ideas.

As regards only 1% of papers being a) sound and b) useful for clinicians I would take issue with b. It's hard to know what they mean by this. Do they mean useful now or useful in the future as a a building block for later important breakthroughs. As I am sure you are aware, most 'breakthroughs' only get there due to the steady build up of work from elsewhere.

As regards bad stats, that is probably right, as most biological scientists are pretty rubbish at stats, and any reseacher who can should get the advice of the stats dept before publishing. :lol:

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Re: Biased forum

Post by Midnight Rose » Tue Jun 07, 2011 3:32 pm

I'm TERRIBLE at stats... What's a p-value again?
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Re: Biased forum

Post by Alijane » Tue Jun 07, 2011 3:35 pm

Midnight Rose wrote:I'm TERRIBLE at stats... What's a p-value again?
But you are a Doctor and should know absolutely everything ...

My faith in the education system is totally shattered. :cry:

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Re: Biased forum

Post by Midnight Rose » Tue Jun 07, 2011 6:21 pm

I can't do mental athrithmatic at all and I don't know my times tables... :P

Has that shattered every illusion you have?? :lol:
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Re: Biased forum

Post by Alijane » Tue Jun 07, 2011 6:56 pm

Midnight Rose wrote:I can't do mental athrithmatic at all and I don't know my times tables... :P

Has that shattered every illusion you have?? :lol:
Every last one ... I am devastated :cry: :cry:

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