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1,500 common medical practices listed as having 'unknown effectiveness'


Medical practices

(NaturalNews) Today's mainstream medical system is often touted as a marvel of science, both state-of-the-art and highly effective, as evidenced by the fact that humans are living longer. But the reality is, hundreds of medical procedures and practices that are deemed "standards of care" have not faced proper scrutiny, and as such are simply unproven.

As reported by Prevent Disease, stopping untested medical practices from becoming industry standards seems simple enough: simply test and ensure first. But even though studies on new procedures may be carried out early, the problem is they often do not examine the right parameters or take the proper measurements. They too often look at "surrogate outcomes," because doing so is easier and quicker, rather that genuine end points, and the result has been the adoption of scores of medical procedures whose effectiveness is, at best, unknown.

The quality of outcomes and results can very often depend on who is paying for the research, and to a great extent, the "outcome" they are looking for. In fact, these are long-standing issues that taint medical research. Pressure is put on researchers to publish new findings, while medical journals tend to put forth primarily positive research results.

Funding 'research' for bought-and-paid-for results

However, the pharmaceutical and medical device industries are increasingly funding clinical trials and studies. What's more, though the government says its funding – via the National Institutes of Health – is "not commercially motivated," studies are often skewed or slanted to support a particular government interest, and this is especially true when it comes to vaccines.

So, not only do Big Pharma and other medical industries have vested interests in the initial study outcomes, especially those they are funding as a means of "researching" their own products, but once their products are approved there is almost no incentive for more long-term, in-depth research that risks overturning initial findings, and thus harming their profit margins, Prevent Disease reported.

Take pain management, which is currently a multi-billion dollar sub-industry for Big Pharma and the medical industry at large. Studies have shown that, when taken over longer periods of time, over-the-counter painkillers like ibuprofen and acetaminophen can damage kidneys, the liver and the gastrointestinal system.

Meanwhile, prescription pain medications – mostly opioids – are habit-forming and lead to overdoses. Vioxx led to dramatic increases in heart attacks and stroke before it was finally banned by the Food and Drug Administration. The FDA approved Vioxx in 1999, but the manufacturer, Merck, was eventually accused of concealing the elevated risks that were actually found in the early studies.

That said, by the time independent researchers were able to show that Vioxx boosted heart attack risks, some 20 million people had been given prescriptions. The drug was banned and withdrawn in 2004, but not before as many as 140,000 heart attacks were linked to the drug. Eventually Merck pleaded guilty to criminal charges and paid nearly $1 billion in fines.

'Medical journals are filled with interesting ideas that fail'

The thing is, research is designed to test products for efficacy and effectiveness – that's the whole purpose of conducting it. But instead it is increasingly being utilized primarily as a process that leads to eventual approval of drugs and medical devices, not as a tool to ensure that only the best drugs and products are put on the market.

"The medical journals are filled with interesting ideas that get tested and fail. That's science," Dr. Adam Cifu, M.D., of the University of Chicago and co-author of the book, Ending Medical Reversal with Dr. Vinayak Prasad, said. "The problem is when that new technology or treatment or surgery has actually gotten out and is being given to millions of people before it's found to not work.

"We spend so much time training people first and foremost in how the body works and how it breaks. So we get why things should work, and then we tend to adopt things because they should work before we know if they actually do," added Cifu, according to Prevent Disease.

Sources:

PreventDisease.com

JAMA.JAMANetwork.com

NaturalNews.com

Health.Harvard.edu

NEJM.org

NewScientist.com

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