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July 5, 2013 by Jeffrey Lacasse, PhD

Saving Science: It’s Time to Solve Publication Bias

Erick Turner has published an important piece in CNS Drugs entitled “Publication Bias, with a Focus on Psychiatry: Causes and Solutions.” It should be required reading for any medical student, non-medical helping professional, or practicing prescriber. Rather than being an unbiased reflection of the underlying data, the psychiatric literature is instead sort of a funhouse mirror – the published results are consistently, overwhelmingly, positive – no matter what the actual data are. The implications are enormous. Note that the methodology in such trials is often deliberately constructed to bias such trials in favor of the sponsor’s drug – even so, publication strategies are used to minimize any bad news resulting from such trials, and to maximize the impression that the drug is effective.

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