The “file drawer” problem makes me sick

Growing up, my folks used to take me to a small-town doc.

For checkups and shots and anytime I got sick.

They trusted this guy. And because he spoke directly to me – and listened to me when I asked a question – I trusted him too.

Getting a lollipop in exchange for a shot seemed like an ok trade to me.

If there was something simple or natural to try to fix me up, that’s what he’d go with.

Not that he wasn’t interested in what was going on in medicine. I’m not sure where he went to school, but I can still remember all the diplomas in the exam room. Sure seemed impressive.

Today, “modern” medicine has replaced a lot of small-town simplicity. Which is fine, if it means greater access to important information, and advanced tools that can really make a difference.

But when you dig into the research like I have been these last few years, you soon discover that health research isn’t everything it’s cracked up to be sometimes.

And that’s because of the “file drawer” problem.

It’s a major threat to our knowledge… and our health.

You see, many of the clinical trials that go on are funded by interests in Big Pharma or Big Food. There’s a lot of money at stake nearly every time a trial kicks off..

But when the research comes back and it’s negative… well, guess what?

They can easily “stick it in a file” and it never sees the light of day. Scientists don’t know about it. It’s like the trial never happened.

And you’ll probably never find out about it either.

There are many examples of this. The sugar industry discovered a link between sugar and heart disease and even bladder cancer back in the late 1960s.

So they ended the study and never published it.

A drug company may do a trial on an anti-depressant, looking at how it could work with teens.

They don’t like the results… so they chuck them in the circular file.

And doctors keep prescribing…

There’s an effort underway to stop this type of nonsense. Create a national database of studies.

So if you’re a scientist and you want to do clinical research, you have to register to get started. And commit to publish the results, no matter what they are.

I don’t have a ton of confidence that this effort will get off the ground. The interests of Big Pharma are just too huge to let this happen.

But NOTHING will happen unless people demand it.

This is a worldwide effort, championed in the U.S. by the Dartmouth School of Medicine.

It’s in everyone’s health interest to know what’s happening when something is put to the test.

Not just when the study turns out the way the researchers wanted.

God Bless,

Jeff Reagan

Editor, Patriot Health Alliance

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