Monday 29 September, 2014 – Qskeptics

Evidence Based Medicine

Dr David King, School of Medicine, The University of Queensland

David KingMedicine has quite a chequered history. In days of yore Medicine had more conjectures than facts. It was considered more of an ‘art’ than a ‘science’. Some treatments thought to be useful were just untested folk remedies and were mysterious, problematical and sometimes deadly. Maybe they worked; maybe patients got better in spite of them, some myths are still around today.

Modern medicine is based on the scientific method, but research design suitable to test interventions in populations of patients came of age with the first randomised controlled trial (RCT) in 1948 and the subsequent development of Evidence-based medicine. RCTs overcome the problems of the placebo effect, confounding factors causing the apparent improvement, and the underlying natural history of the disease. However, there are many situations when RCTs are inappropriate or unethical and we need to build a case of evidence using trial design lower in the evidence hierarchy.

Pharmaceutical companies and policy makers have embraced EBM to legitimise their actions, but the process is open to abuse and ‘harder to detect’ biases. There is a need to understand the strengths and limitations of EBM and to develop ethical standards for the conduct and reporting of medical research.

  • Time: Dinner 6pm, meeting 7:30pm.
  • Venue: The Redbrick Hotel, Cnr Annerley and Stephens Rd, Woolloongabba.
  • Arrangements: Doors open at 6pm. No need to book – just show up!
  • Questions? For any further information please contact Bob.

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