Questions and answersBMJ 2016; 355 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.i6701 (Published 15 December 2016) Cite this as: BMJ 2016;355:i6701
All rapid responses
In an editorial on “post-truth” society (doi:10.1136/bmj.i6467), Tracey Brown cautions that we abandon facts at our peril.
How true but equally it raises the question “What is truth”. Is “truth” something that the individual wants and believes to be the truth? Relevant to this question is a recent editorial by Dr Godlee (Too much chemotherapy
http://www.bmj.com/content/355/bmj.i6027/rapid-responses ). What patients want is to be told is that everything is going to plan - all is well. The real truth may be that therapy is not as effective as promoted. Another recent example where the promoted “truth” is basically wrong relates to nutritional advice which some 200+ Canadian doctors have savage the guidelines.
This is a case where the “official” truth has always been out of kilter with the true facts due to deliberate commercial sponsoring of studies to blame fat and not sugar.
In so far as medicine is concerned, who should patients believe to be promoting the real truth on diet? The medical establishment that has been wrong before(Study329, Polderman, “six weeks strict bed rest” etc) or the so-called skeptics (Dr Barry Marshall and H. pylori, Dr Marcia Angel ( ISBN: 9780375760945), Prof. Goetzsche(ISBN: 9781846198847), Feinman R (World Turned Upside Down: , Kraft, R ISBN: 9781846198847, et al)?
Personally, I often find that official research and guidance are often inflating benefits and quietly ignoring the adverse results. Why else would research studies such as Starbridge B JAMA, July 26, 2000—Vol 284, No. 4
and BMJ 2016;353:i2139 doi: 10.1136/bmj.i2139 (Published 3 May 2016) be ignored?
These results are relevant to the UK. Essentially similar drugs and guidelines suggest pro-rata medical error deaths. I would much prefer that the medical establishment recognized these truths and instituted a rigorous safety policy to minimize these errors. After all I consider it axiomatic that humans make mistakes but hiding them does nothing to minimize them as seems to be the current situation
Competing interests: No competing interests