Monday, July 11, 2011

0 Blog Log: Retraction Watch

Readers might be interested in the blog, Retraction Watch (it's listed on my right sidebar, too, and not just in this entry).

Retraction Watch is a blog with two authors - namely Ivan Oransky, the executive editor for Reuters Health, and Adam Marcus, the managing editor for Anesthesiology News - who write about scientific papers which are fully or partially retracted from different journals.

Retraction - to those uninitiated into the ways of scientific publishing - means that the authors of the paper are either found to have faulty data and/or conclusions for their paper or report it themselves, and the paper is removed.

To give a more involved definition from Wikipedia:

"A retraction is a public statement, by the author of an earlier statement, that withdraws, cancels, refutes, diametrically reverses the original statement or ceases and desists from publishing the original statement. Retractions may or may not be accompanied by the author's further explanation as to how the original statement came to be made and/or what subsequent events, discoveries, or experiences led to the subsequent retraction. They are also in some cases accompanied by apologies for previous error and/or expressions of gratitude to persons who disclosed the error to the author."

So today's Retraction Watch entry, "So how often does medical consensus turn out to be wrong?", is of particular interest to those who question the utility and basis for medical and clinical treatment recommendations.

Here is an excerpt:
"In a quote that has become part of medical school orientations everywhere, David Sackett, often referred to as the “father of evidence-based medicine,” once famously said:

Half of what you’ll learn in medical school will be shown to be either dead wrong or out of date within five years of your graduation; the trouble is that nobody can tell you which half–so the most important thing to learn is how to learn on your own. 
Sackett, we are fairly sure, was making a wild estimate when he said ”half.” But a fascinating study out today in the Archives of Internal Medicine suggests that he may have been closer than any of us imagined."
With that, you know we're off to a good start...

Read more at Retraction Watch >>>

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