Tag Archives: david-newman

Ideology Getting in the Way of Evidence-Based Medicine

Giving beta blockers to a person in the early stages of a heart attack makes sense: the drugs reduce oxygen consumption by calming and slowing the heart; something that is ideal during a heart attack.

However despite evidence showing that beta blockers may actually increase heart failure, the practice of administering them continues. As Dr. David Newman states in The New York Times, medical ideology regularly triumphs over evidence-based research and non-working treatments are still given to patients because they should work.

Other revelations from Dr Newman:

  • No cough remedies have ever been proven better than a placebo, either for adults or children. Yet their use is common.
  • Patients with ear infections are more likely to be harmed by antibiotics than helped. While the pills may cause a small decrease in symptoms (for which ear drops work better), the infections typically recede within days regardless of treatment. The same is true for bronchitis, sinusitis, and sore throats.
  • Back surgeries to relieve pain are, in the majority of cases, no better than nonsurgical treatment.
  • Arthroscopic surgery to correct osteoarthritis of the knee [is] no better than sham knee surgery, in which surgeons “pretend” to do surgery while the patient is under light anesthesia. It is also no better than much cheaper, and much less invasive, physical therapy.

via Overcoming Bias