Trust the white coat

House is usually annoyed by patients who play doctor and go look up conditions in the Internet. If I had House for a doctor, I would be reassured.


“Pharmaceutical firms conveniently provide summaries of scientific studies of their featured products, which their representatives distribute in the form of advertisements and leaflets to physicians. As a recent investigation revealed, these are not neutral summaries. The assertions in 175 different leaflets distributed to German physicians could be verified in only 8 percent of the cases. In the remaining 92 percent of the cases, statements in the original study were falsely reported, severe side effects of medication were not revealed, the period during which medication could safely be taken was exaggerated, or – should doctors have wanted to check the original studies – the cited source was not provided or was impossible to find. As a consequence, many physicians have only a tenuous connection with the latest medical research.”

in Gut Feelings by Gerd Gigerenzer

PS: In addition to the doctor supposed to know it all (but doesn’t) issue, the method put into practice by the pharmaceutical firms reminds me of the path taken by many students when they pretend to read books in order to write their essays. But those don’t harm anyone but themselves by preserving their ignorance, at least during their school years.

Well, maybe their teacher’s sanity.


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