Tag Archives: biomedical research

Most biomedical research cannot be replicated

New studies looking at the work of scientists in the biomedical field has found that their research is difficult if not impossible to replicate, partly because much of their raw data is never made available for other researchers to review.

But over the past several years, a growing contingent of scientists has begun to question the accepted veracity of published research—even after it’s cleared the hurdles of peer review and appears in widely respected journals. The problem is a pervasive inability to replicate a large proportion of the results across numerous disciplines.

In 2005, for instance, John Ioannidis, a professor of medicine at Stanford University, used several simulations to show that scientific claims are more likely to be false than true. And this past summer Brian Nosek, a professor of psychology at the University of Virginia, attempted to replicate the findings of 100 psychology studies and found that only 39 percent of the results held up under rigorous re-testing. “There are multiple lines of evidence, both theoretical and empirical, that have begun to bring the reproducibility of a substantial segment of scientific literature into question,” says Ioannidis. “We are getting millions of papers that go nowhere.”

There’s a lot more. Read it all. It appears that much if not all of biomedical research is suspect. Their conclusions might be correct, but their methods are questionable, at best.


$28 billion spent on poor biomedical research?

The uncertainty of science: A new study suggests that $28 billion is spent on biomedical research that no one can reproduce.

I have no doubt that a vast amount of medical research is so poorly done that no one else will ever be able to replicate the results. However, the article notes that the way the researchers came up with the $28 billion figure is quite questionable, reviewing only about two dozen studies and then extrapolating their numbers across the entire research field. This is highly uncertain and should be taken with a grain of salt.