A new study has shown that studies are right only about a third of the time. Medical studies at least. For example, hormone pills, once thought to protect middle-aged women from heart disease, later proved to contribute to heart attacks. And inhaling nitric oxide provides no relief from respiratory failure, though early reports said it did. A single study is not the final word, says the New England Journal of Medicine – if you can believe it. (CNN)
Experts say the report is a reminder to doctors and patients that they should not put too much stock in a single study and understand that treatments often become obsolete with medical advances. “The crazy part about science and yet the exciting part about science is you almost never have something that’s black and white,” said Dr. Catherine DeAngelis, JAMA’s editor-in-chief.
In a related story, relatives of patients who were victims of cruel medical treatments want to have lobotomy inventor Egas Moniz’s Nobel Prize revoked. Initially thought to cure some mental illnesses and erratic behavior, the procedure was successful in only 10% of the 50,000 cases from the 1930s to the ’70s. Now, of course, we have Brat Camp. It’s unlikely the Nobel committee will recant. (Times Union)
Moniz developed the lobotomy procedure in 1936 as a way to treat people with severe psychiatric illnesses, particularly agitation and depression. Through holes drilled in the skull, he cut through nerve fibers connecting the brain’s frontal lobe, which controls thinking, with other brain regions — believing that as new nerve connections formed the patient’s abnormal behavior would end…. Other doctors used a more primitive version than Moniz, punching an ice pick into the brain above the eye socket and blindly manipulating it to sever nerve fibers.