Saturday, February 26, 2011

Parachute Paper

About once a year I give the medical students and residents a talk on how to read and analyse research papers. I do my best to explain that just because there is a paper that says something, it might and most likely is just BS. We go through whether the study has a proper design, statistical analysis and if its conclusions are supported by the reaseach. At the end of the talk, I always finish by saying, when push comes to shove, trust your experience and your own observations as this is the best BS test of any paper and them I give them the Parachute Paper!

Parachute use to prevent death and major trauma related to gravitation challenge: systematic review of randomized controlled trials.
BMJ 2003;327 number 7429

As an aside, I was called to give a deposition when there was a lawsuit against one of our docs. The plaintiffs attorney kept showing me papers that he got off the internet. I gave him a condensed version of my talk and gave him a copy of the paper. They dropped the case.

1 comment:

SeaSpray said...

I'm surprised a professional wouldn't check facts and sources(no excuse with all the information readily available now) and be 100%sure BEFORE presenting as fact/evidence... and especially when causing harm to another person. Unless he was trying to BS his way thru ..hoping no one would see through it.

Your students must come away from your classes well developed in critical thinking.