Crowd Think and Profit in Western Medicine

It is simply no longer possible to believe much of the clinical research that is published, or to rely on the judgment of trusted physicians or authoritative medical guidelines. I take no pleasure in this conclusion, which I reached slowly and reluctantly over my two decades as an editor of The New England Journal of Medicine. “– Marcia Angel

I’ve blogged a lot on vaccines here, but I think the Crowd Think Phenomenon in Medicine goes way beyond vaccines.
Everybody who’s seriously looked into it, finds that at most 10-30% of western medicine has a scientific basis.

Then we have studies like this:
Clin Oncol (R Coll Radiol). 2004 Dec;16(8):549-60.
The contribution of cytotoxic chemotherapy to 5-year survival in adult malignancies.
Morgan G1, Ward R, Barton M.
RESULTS: The overall contribution of curative and adjuvant cytotoxic chemotherapy to 5-year survival in adults was estimated to be 2.3% in Australia and 2.1% in the USA.

And we have a recent article from the Mayo Clinic Proceedings.
They reviewed all the articles published for 10 years in a high impact journal. The majority of the articles surveyed study a new practice, but of the 27% that test an existing practice, 40% reverse the practice and 38% reaffirm. My remark on this is: 50%-50% would be what you’d expect if the result of the test were random. So this indicates they are doing no better than random in introducing new practices replacing old ones. If you go on a random walk with each step forward or backward, how long does it take before you know nothing?

IMO, Modern medicine seems mostly the result of crowd think decisions under the positive reinforcement stimulus of money. It built a cargo cult science to pretend it is scientific, and uses this to justify decisions made largely to maximize money. The participants don’t consciously understand this, but its the crowd think result. It’s exactly what you should expect to see result from randomized medical decision making, which the Mayo Clinic study showed they make, positive money reinforcement learning, which even snails are capable of, and crowd think dynamics.

Interestingly, on the other hand, the naturopaths I read or talk to, are attempting to do actual science. They read and cite the actual scientific literature. They also have a healthy pre-disposition to consider remedies that are natural and have histories of human consumption are thus pretty clearly not very toxic, thus paying attention to “first do no harm”. Not only that, almost all the remedies they consider are readily available and not expensive. In general it seems to me naturopaths I’m acquainted with are far more scientific than most doctors.

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