The title is a bit misleading. It does not involve financial or non-financial conflicts of interest, but rather when clinical researchers violate the rules of a clinical trial for the perceived benefits of an individual patient. An anonymous survey reveals that this practice is quite common. Continue reading
This article offers some practical advice about when, how, and whether to become a whistle blower. Continue reading
This article discusses some of the recent research showing the prevalence of scientific misconduct, offers some explanations on why this misconduct occurs, and provides some resources. Continue reading
Many clinical trials have restrictive entry criteria to insure homogeneity of the subject pool which increases power and allows the study to proceed with a not too outrageous sample size. But what if you (or one of your patients) would really benefit from being part of the trial, but does not meet the entry criteria? This study discusses the ethical problems that ensue when a doctor is faced with such a choice. Continue reading
This is a nice example of mining the existing medical literature to discover trends and attitudes about research. The authors take too dim a view, in my opinion, of what observational studies can show, but the statistics are still interesting to follow. Continue reading
It’s hard to find good examples of well-written research grants, so this website is wonderful. It shows examples of all sorts of NIH grants (R01, R03, R15, R21, R33, R41, R42, R43, R44, K01, K08, F31) as well as sample data sharing plans, biosketches, and reference letters. Continue reading
Several years ago, I was part of panel presentation at the Joint Statistical Meetings. My talk was on how to teach Statistics from an evidence-based perspective. A question came up from the audience about the quality of medical research, and there’s a lot of cynicism in the Statistics community about this. Each comment from the audience seemed to get more negative and I stepped in to offer a counter argument. The research process has a lot of flaws, but we have made a ton of progress in how we provide medical care thanks to the careful and rigorously designed studies that have been done. I didn’t convince anyone, but it felt good to stand up for something I strongly believe in. Recently, I had to look for examples of research that has changed clinical practice for the better, and found several interesting articles. Continue reading
The Framingham Heart Study, a massive longitudinal observational study, has helped identify most of the risk factors for heart disease that we commonly accept today. This paper provides a historical overview of the study and the many valuable insights that it provided. Continue reading
Exploratory data analysis is an attitude, a state of flexibility, a willingness to look for those things that we believe are not there, as well as the things we believe might be there. John Tukey, as quoted in “Nonparametric statistical data modeling: comment.” J Am Stat Assoc 1979, 74, 121-122.
“The combination of some data and an aching desire for an answer does not ensure that a reasonable answer can be extracted from some data.” John Tukey, as quoted in “Sunset Salvo.” The American Statistician 1986, 40(1), 72-76.