From Bench to Bedside – Richard’s Medical Writing

Quakery to Quantification

14 February 2019 Interesting article in the Guardian yesterday about evidence based medicine and quack cures for cancer.

Here’s my take.

Some drugs are based on plant-derived molecules and are considered ‘evidence-based medicine’. Aspirin is the obvious example. For those with IGA Nephropathy, for example, there is evidence that Omega-3 Oils and their components docosahexaenoic acid and eicosapentaenoic acid can reduce kidney inflammation resulting in less blood and protein in the urine. BUT, always check the primary literature using Google Scholar and ignore anything that looks like an advert. Some people might be put off by reading a scientific paper but whether the compound is thought to work or not will be right there in the conclusions. Yes or no. Don’t just read one paper though, read them all (concentrating on those published in the last five years) and form a judgement. Then, talk to your consultant. It is imperative that they know what you are doing and what dose you are taking. That said, for things like cancer (DNA replication errors) it is an immensely complicated field involving some of the outer reaches of genomic research. Here, you just take your Consultant’s advice. This is a subject I am actively researching and posting on at Please note, I am not a medical doctor but I have been an active academic for over thirty years and my quality-of-evidence bar is set very high indeed.