Friday, May 22, 2009

Reliable information

Here is a timely text. Stealing into print: Fraud, plagiarism, and misconduct in scientific publishing

Health care professionals, as in other professions (education, for example) rely on peer-reviewed, ethical, scientific journals, for current data to set standards, guide practices, and develop a dependable, reliable, valid and research-based treatment standards.

The editorial process is one that is independent of other influences. There are flaws, but this is the standard for the healing professions. Peers (qualified Ph.Ds, professors, nurses, doctors) read each other's research and determine if the research is valid, and was undertaken ethically and independent of, for example, pharmaceutical companies who may have paid for favourable research. There are disclosures in these journals about financial support, to determine if a drug does what it says it does, without unacceptable side effects. Unfortunately, in a rush to review research, due diligence may not happen. We know how busy these professionals continue to be.

In a news story, Elsevier unit failed to disclose journal sponsors - wtop.com 7 May 2009 ... The journal was in fact sponsored by drugmaker Merck.

"Those publications included one that heavily favored drugmaker Merck's osteoporosis drug Fosamax and the painkiller Vioxx."

I have found, however, on the WWW, many instance of this false information, some call it
hucksterism, as they take old, published data and transform them into Advertorials. Articles that not-so-subtly suggested you buy particular products.

Falsifying research data. Creative Writing foisted off on the public as truth. Shoplifting. Stealing. Cheating on taxes.Is there more of this? Or is it simply that with the WWW we hear more about it? As I said in a previous blog: I am increasingly appalled by the number, the extent and the range of advertising and propaganda, and blatant manipulation of seniors as businesses, and website managers, try to earn a buck. They take advantage of those who are ill, and frail.

Do not trust search engines to find information you trust. Ensure that they are affiliated with a trustworthy, professional association, such as an educational institution, or professional body whose reputation you can trust. Media and journalists are not the best source of information, either, as those who have even been quoted can attest. Be vigilant. Peruse, carefully, what you read. Check for your sources.

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