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Testing Treatments: Better Research for Better Healthcare Paperback – 18 Oct 2011

4.1 out of 5 stars 18 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 199 pages
  • Publisher: Pinter & Martin Ltd.; 2nd edition (18 Oct. 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1905177488
  • ISBN-13: 978-1905177486
  • Product Dimensions: 13.5 x 1.8 x 21.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (18 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 42,836 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

Product Description

Review

I genuinely, truly, cannot recommend this awesome book highly enough for its clarity, depth, and humanity.
--Ben Goldacre, author of Bad Science

Excellent... This is a thought-provoking book and one I will keep nearby for many years. --Irene Mabbott, Nursing Standard

Excellent... This is a thought-provoking book and one I will keep nearby for many years. --Irene Mabbott, Nursing Standard

About the Author

Paul Glasziou is Director of the Centre for Evidence Based Medicine University of Oxford and editor of the journal Evidence Based Medicine (BMJ Publishing Group)

Chris Del Mar is Dean of the Faculty of Health Sciences and Medicine, Bond University and Associate Editor of Evidence Based Medicine

Janet Salisbury is Director of Biotext and responsible for the book's high quality design


Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
Testing Treatments asks the crucial question, how can we ensure that medical research effectively meets the needs of patients? It is a crucial question because all over the world, resources are wasted on poor quality research, research that only meets the needs of drug companies, and on unproven, disproven, or unnecessary treatment.

A useful complement to Ben Goldacre's Bad Science and Simon Singh's Trick or Treatment, Testing Treatments clearly lays out the principles of robust research, defining what makes a fair test, and explaining the importance of setting a study within the context of existing research. In itself, these principles do not sound particularly challenging, but the authors go on to show how the waters are muddied by vested interests, patient pester power, paternalistic clinicians, and inexcusable poor practice.

Finally, they set out a strong blueprint for a better future, asking for patients to be treated as equal partners, both as individuals requiring treatment, and as groups participating in research.

This is a readable work of great importance, with easily accessible language and interesting examples throughout the text.
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Format: Paperback
Medical research is one of those areas where everyone thinks they know a little. Images of lab rats, miraculous cures and money grabbing pharmaceutical companies compete with the day to day reality of patients and doctors trying to tackle illness. A new edition has been published of a book that tries to shed a bit of light on to the subject.
The book is aimed at the informed patient and explains how new medical treatments are researched, and how that relates to the experience of the patient being treated. The book strikes a tone that is halfway between academic text and pop science, and might seem intimidating to some, but the regular summaries of key points and personal stories mean that the reader will soon find themselves gripped.

The book takes a long view over history, covering scurvy treatments in 1747 right up to cancer trials of the present day, advocating a partnership approach between patient and doctor, and includes calls to action for professionals, patients and policy makers to ensure that questions are asked and information is shared. The reader is encouraged to look sceptically at the need for treatments and screening, and to try to see through marketing and media hype.

Ben Goldacre provided the forward to this edition, and the book continues in the spirit of his work - accessible without being over simplistic. I would have liked to have more detail, but I'm not sure how that could have been achieved without losing the ease of understanding. There is an extensive list of further reading and references at the back of the book for the reader who would like to know more, and I didn't personally feel that the scientific knowledge was shied away from in the text. Perhaps a scientist would disagree, but I went away feeling that I knew much more about the subject and that I would be a more informed patient.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
if you have an opinion on the state of healthcare today you owe it to yourself (and everyone you have debates with) to read this book.
The second edition has been updated.
I thought with a chronic condition i knew all about the big bad pharmacos queering the pitch for getting useful work done in the world of healthcare.
I now have a fuller picture of what makes useful research.
Not, as a patient blindly demanding new research into novel non-pharmaceutical treatments but requesting consistent reporting and analysis of what's gone before in order to pave the way for any new research to be able to provide meaningful results.
Asking questions before, during and after the process of bringing a treatment to where it can be made best use of surprisingly doesn't happen as often as you'd have thought and would seem to be one of the first things that needs to change.
We need regulation in the right places
Gathering of scientific data needs to and should be a cumulative exercise.
until then we'll continue wasting lives and money.
I'd heard Iain Chalmers on the radio and he sounded like a commonsense-filled, eloquent and compassionate man who helped develop Cochrane Reviews; Systematic, objective analyses of existing robust research.
...If I've understood right.
I'm not a medical professional of any sort (as you may be able to tell) but I've had my fair share of being talked at and talking to a variety of medical professionals.
I feel this book has given me an insight into the research process: it's not a black & white panto enterprise with dastardly pharma v. innocent Snow-white & Cindarella victims with no voice having unspeakable things done to them in the name of 'progress' but a far greyer affair.
I've found this book to be fascinating, eloquent and compassionate.
glad i got it.
My letters to and requests of healthcare practitioners and decision makers will take a far more useful shape now, i hope.
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By F Henwood TOP 1000 REVIEWER on 20 Dec. 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Medical research has saved countless lives and made immense contributions to human welfare. But it could be done better and it could be done fairer.

How do you know if a new treatment is effective? Is it treatment or is it trickery? The question can only be answered if the evidence used to support the claims of the benefits of a new treatment has been reached by means of a fair test.

If you are holding a trial, then you must take two groups and make sure they are like for like. The Scottish naval surgeon James Lind did just this when he demonstrated in 1747 that oranges and lemons were more effective than any of the five other treatments then prescribed for the treatment of scurvy (including sulphuric acid). He took two groups of patients, both at the same stage of the disease. He could have biased the test by giving citrus fruits to sailors at the point of death, and beyond saving, but given sulphuric acid to those less ill. That would have been an unfair test. It would have suggested that sulphuric acid was the effective treatment when it was anything but. But both groups were at the same stage of the illness in Lind's test. That's a fair test. Although we have come a long way in terms of the sophistication of the methodology, the basics are the same and as relevant as ever. You make sure that nobody knows who is getting what treatment, and that you follow up people for a proper amount of time afterwards, to see how they have turned out, because outcomes vary over time. If you stop monitoring too soon, you may miss negative outcomes that emerge over a longer period of time (again biasing results).

There are a variety of vested interests, working at cross-purposes to the application of fair tests in medical research.
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