Several years ago
- I was part of panel presentation at the Joint Statistical Meetings. My talk was on how to teach Statistics from an evidence-based perspective. A question came up from the audience about the quality of medical research
- and there’s a lot of cynicism in the Statistics community about this. Each comment from the audience seemed to get more negative and I stepped in to offer a counter argument. The research process has a lot of flaws
- but we have made a ton of progress in how we provide medical care thanks to the careful and rigorously designed studies that have been done. I didn’t convince anyone
- but it felt good to stand up for something I strongly believe in. Recently
- I had to look for examples of research that has changed clinical practice for the better
- and found several interesting articles.
Mareike K. Thompson
- Philip Poortmans
- Anthony J. Chalmers
- Corinne Faivre-Finn
- Emma Hall
- Robert A. Huddart
- Yolande Lievens
- David Sebag-Montefiore & Charlotte E. Coles. Practice-changing radiation therapy trials for the treatment of cancer: where are we 150 years after the birth of Marie Curie? British Journal of Cancer
- volume 119
- pages 389–407 (2018) . Available in html format or PDF format.
This article lists dozens of studies
- places them in historical context, explains some of the limitations of clinical trials (brief
- but very good!)
- and talks about the next steps.
Critical Care Reviews. Top 100 Contemporary Critical Care Studies. Available in html format.
This is a web page rather than a full article. Unlike the previous study
- this one lists a much broader range of medical practice. Only the first 40 or so studies are described
- and then only tersely. But you can get a good feel for the research just by looking at the titles of the papers.
PEDro. Top 15 Trials. Available in html format.
PEDro is a website devoted to Physiotherapy evidence. This is another web page
- and the studies are quite specialized. Each article includes a brief summary and links to an interview with one of the authors of the study.
Peter Greenwald and Barbara K. Dunn. Landmarks in the History of Cancer Epidemiology 2009 (March).69(6); 2151-2162. DOI:10.1158/0008-5472.CAN-09-0416. Available in html format or PDF format.
Cancer epidemiology is a very broad area and the authors talk about the sequential revelations of key research studies. Unlike the earlier lists
- this summary includes a large number of observational studies, such as the case-control study linking cancer cases in women to prenatal exposure to DES and the use of NHANES data to show a link between HPV and cervical cancer.