Understanding Medical Research – Part 4 – Confirmation Bias

Confirmation Bias is Necessary to Any Meaningful Research, Yet Can Blind Researchers to Conflicting Resultsconfirmation-bias-abc

Confirmation Bias is a bit of a dirty word these days. Typically it is heard amidst accusations of cherry picking the data or ignoring conflicting research. However, it is hard to conceive of anything meaningful getting done without it, so this is a two edged sword.

Understanding Medical Research – Part 3 – Interpreting Results


How to interpret the more common results found in medical research papers. What they mean, and how to spot problems.

From Benjamin Disraeli we have: “There are three kinds of lies: lies, damn lies, and statistics.”eretr

Unfortunately this applies all too frequently to the statistical results presented in medical research. While statistics does indeed have the power to elucidate, to find the proverbial needle in the haystack, it also has the power to obfuscate and deceive. One should therefore pay very close attention if there is a possible political or financial agenda associated with the research.

Understanding Medical Research – Part 2 – Types of Research


Warning: This post is a bit technical and very long. It may be more useful as a reference, should you happen upon a medical research study and want to understand some of the terminology better.

There is a vast body of medical research papers and reports available on-line. The abstract is almost always free and the paper itself is frequently free. There are two sources, PubMed ( and Google Scholar ( They both appear to have effectively all the research available on-line, but Google Scholar has one big advantage: If the full paper can be found outside a pay-wall, Google Scholar will show it. On the other hand, PubMed has a more elaborate search engine.

Understanding Medical Research – Part 1 – Spotting Doubtful Research

Four Warning Signs of Bogus or Doubtful Medical Research

Some medical research is deliberately misleading. Some supports a political agenda. Some supports a commercial agenda. Here we explain how to separatepart 1 the wheat from the chaff, or if you are a low carb type, how to find that diamond in the rough. A lot of the popular medical press, this includes major media outlets, quotes medical research results rather indiscriminately, so it helps a lot to have a sharp focus on what the actual results mean.