Sunday, April 24, 2016

This Is Depressing

Biomedicine facing a worse replication crisis than the one plaguing psychology.: These cancer studies don’t merely fail to find a cure; they might not offer any useful data whatsoever. Given current U.S. spending habits, the resulting waste amounts to more than $28 billion. That’s two dozen Cancer Moonshots misfired in every single year.


Don Coffin said...

"Depressing" is probably a weak descriptor. I'm an economist, and most of our research doesn't involve experimentation. But I also know that it can be hard to reproduce the statistical results from published economics papers, even when the data sets involved are available (a few journals require that authors submit their data and any programming they have used). In part, this an be because of weird coding issues; sometimes, it's because the original authors did some data transformations that don't get reported.

It's even more interesting to try to validate results by using larger or newer data sets.

Sometimes I'm surprised that we think we have learned anything. But in biomedical research, with people's lives at stake, it's more than an interesting curiosity to talk about.

Deb said...

When I read articles like this, I understand why a co-worker is urging her father (who has late-stage prostate cancer) to treat himself with large doses of vinegar, molasses, and baking soda.

Anonymous said...

This stuff is discouraging. However, the incentives to find and produce certain results are so large and perverse that we shouldn't be surprised at the results.