Evidence is king, but reader beware The misinterpretation of studies

Professionals involved in patient care need to practice evidence-based medicine and keep in mind, when reading the literature, that proper interpretation is vitally important but not always easy.


Mark Sigman, M.D.

Volume 101, Issue 5, Pages 1222–1223


Over the past two decades there has been tremendous growth in the use of evidence to direct medical care. The construct of evidence-based medicine (EBM) arose in the 1990s. A straightforward definition of EBM is use of the best evidence combined with the unique characteristics of the individual patient and the physician’s judgment to direct medical care. Initially the randomized controlled trial (RCT) was considered to be the premier study design. Since the 1990s, the RCT has been dethroned by meta-analyses which statistically combine multiple RCTs to find the “truth” that may not have been obvious with smaller individual studies.

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