Monday, June 15, 2015

There is increased awareness of general problem with #scientific studies right now, with #preclinical at the crux

Over reliance on study conclusions and flaws within scientific studies is a troubling problem that is recently getting more attention, finally.

Flawed preclinical studies create false hope for patients waiting for lifesaving cures; moreover, they point to systemic and costly inefficiencies in the way preclinical studies are designed, conducted, and reported. Because replication and cumulative knowledge production are cornerstones of the scientific process, these widespread accounts are scientifically troubling.
The problems go beyond preclinical studies.  I've approached this topic before in two previous articles.
As more studies and data are revealed about this issue, the problem seems to be far worse than some may have believed.  This most recent study suggests that 50% of preclinical studies are plagued with errors which prevent their results from being reproduced.  As any high school graduate should know, reproducibility of a study's result is the cornerstone of the Scientific Method.  Anyone must be able to use the same methods of the study to find similar results.  If results cannot be reproduced, the study has no scientific value and cannot be used as a reference or source for further discovery.

To sound the alarm even louder, Nature's article Irreproducible biology research costs put at $28 billion per year cites that as much as 89% of studies may have irreproducible results.  They state,
Overall, the team [study researchers] found that poor materials made the largest contribution to reproducibility problems, at 36%, followed by study design at 28% and data analysis at 26%. The team estimates the overall rate of irreproducibility at 53%, but cautions that the true rate could be anywhere between 18% and 89%. That puts the potential economic cost of irreproducibility anywhere from $10 billion to $50 billion per year.
This is a problem that needs to be tackled.  It is costing billions of dollars, and perhaps putting lives at risk.

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