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The faulty statistics of complementary alternative medicine (CAM)

Pandolfi, Maurizio LU and Carreras, Giulia (2014) In European Journal of Internal Medicine 25(7). p.607-609
Abstract
The authors illustrate the difficulties involved in obtaining a valid statistical significance in clinical studies especially when the prior probability of the hypothesis under scrutiny is low. Since the prior probability of a research hypothesis is directly related to its scientific plausibility, the commonly used frequentist statistics, which does not take into account this probability, is particularly unsuitable for studies exploring matters in various degree disconnected from science such as complementary alternative medicine (CAM) interventions. Any statistical significance obtained in this field should be considered with great caution and may be better applied to more plausible hypotheses (like placebo effect) than that examined -... (More)
The authors illustrate the difficulties involved in obtaining a valid statistical significance in clinical studies especially when the prior probability of the hypothesis under scrutiny is low. Since the prior probability of a research hypothesis is directly related to its scientific plausibility, the commonly used frequentist statistics, which does not take into account this probability, is particularly unsuitable for studies exploring matters in various degree disconnected from science such as complementary alternative medicine (CAM) interventions. Any statistical significance obtained in this field should be considered with great caution and may be better applied to more plausible hypotheses (like placebo effect) than that examined - which usually is the specific efficacy of the intervention. Since achieving meaningful statistical significance is an essential step in the validation of medical interventions, CAM practices, producing only outcomes inherently resistant to statistical validation, appear not to belong to modern evidence-based medicine. (C) 2014 European Federation of Internal Medicine. Published by Elsevier B. V. All rights reserved. (Less)
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author
organization
publishing date
type
Contribution to journal
publication status
published
subject
keywords
Prior probability, Complementary alternative medicine, Bayes theorem
in
European Journal of Internal Medicine
volume
25
issue
7
pages
607 - 609
publisher
Elsevier
external identifiers
  • wos:000341432400008
  • scopus:84906938834
ISSN
1879-0828
DOI
10.1016/j.ejim.2014.05.014
language
English
LU publication?
yes
id
af3938d9-e094-46f2-bd6b-8893607b20ce (old id 4713935)
date added to LUP
2014-10-27 13:14:06
date last changed
2017-07-23 03:33:21
@article{af3938d9-e094-46f2-bd6b-8893607b20ce,
  abstract     = {The authors illustrate the difficulties involved in obtaining a valid statistical significance in clinical studies especially when the prior probability of the hypothesis under scrutiny is low. Since the prior probability of a research hypothesis is directly related to its scientific plausibility, the commonly used frequentist statistics, which does not take into account this probability, is particularly unsuitable for studies exploring matters in various degree disconnected from science such as complementary alternative medicine (CAM) interventions. Any statistical significance obtained in this field should be considered with great caution and may be better applied to more plausible hypotheses (like placebo effect) than that examined - which usually is the specific efficacy of the intervention. Since achieving meaningful statistical significance is an essential step in the validation of medical interventions, CAM practices, producing only outcomes inherently resistant to statistical validation, appear not to belong to modern evidence-based medicine. (C) 2014 European Federation of Internal Medicine. Published by Elsevier B. V. All rights reserved.},
  author       = {Pandolfi, Maurizio and Carreras, Giulia},
  issn         = {1879-0828},
  keyword      = {Prior probability,Complementary alternative medicine,Bayes theorem},
  language     = {eng},
  number       = {7},
  pages        = {607--609},
  publisher    = {Elsevier},
  series       = {European Journal of Internal Medicine},
  title        = {The faulty statistics of complementary alternative medicine (CAM)},
  url          = {http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ejim.2014.05.014},
  volume       = {25},
  year         = {2014},
}