Photo: Alane Golden via FlickrWarriors Against Trauma poster from a past National Children’s Mental Health Awareness Day campaign
The American Psychological Association’s Psychological Services journal is preparing to announce its first call for papers in the field of “practice-based evidence,” a body of research about mental health treatments primarily derived from analyses of evidence-based practice but enlarged by what clinicians of color, in particular, are seeing in community-based and -informed clinical practice.
Greater attention to this area of study would be a significant shift from the “evidence-based research” and practices derived from clinical trials that now strongly influence everything from the types of mental health care that health insurers will pay for to the areas of mental health research that get funded. According to critics, over-reliance on more rigidly designed and conducted studies, which often end up recruiting a disproportionate number of white and middle-class trial participants, results in standards of care that don’t address the lived experience of communities of color, particularly in rural areas. Continue reading
Vaccines and vaccine hesitancy has been my primary micro-beat since I began working as a full-time health/science journalist, so it’s been interesting to watch how coverage of the topic has evolved over the past decade.
For far too long, false balance was the biggest problem plaguing media coverage of vaccination, a trend that only slowly began fading after The Lancet retracted Andrew Wakefield’s fraudulent study. Continue reading
It’s been 15 years since BMJ published the most rigorous type of study there is — a systematic review of randomized controlled trials — to assess the evidence for using a parachute to prevent death and major injury when jumping from a plane. RCTs are considered the gold standard in research, and systematic reviews claim the top spot of the evidence pyramid.
As those familiar with this now-famous study know, the authors of that 2003 Christmas issue study found no RCTs testing of the safety of jumping from an airplane with a parachute. Continue reading
At the American Academy of Pediatrics annual meeting last fall, I attended a talk by Kevin Powell, M.D., Ph.D., called “Evidence-Based Medicine in a World of Post-Truth and Alternative Facts.”
Despite the title’s allusions, however, the talk did not discuss problems in communicating science or medical findings in today’s media ecosystem. Rather, Powell argued that many of the problems we see in today’s problematic reporting and “fake news” have long existed in medical research — but there are ways to address those problems. Continue reading