… and other Bohemian aphorisms …
There is a quite brilliant paper from the under-advertised PLoS One which shows how, in the are of incubation periods for respiratory disease, Truth By Citation is quite strikingly different than the reality of the evidence. The networks of citations demonstrate how repetition, sometime but not always with a citation, leads to a ‘truth’ emerging which does not reflect the real picture of the evidence.
This paper joins a similar mass of information which demonstrates how information about prognostic biomarkers are dominated by the few studies which show remarkably strong associations, and rarely reference the systematic reviews that place the studies in context.
And there is are still the classic example of sudden infant death and sleeping position.
It’s these gentle reminders of the need for an overview of the evidence, and understanding that our current view of reality is just that – our current view – that persuade me that despite a decade of Archimedes there is still a requirement for us to encourage each other to seek the evidence for our actions, and then change if the evidence tells us we’re doing it wrongly.