On the Global Summit: do critiques of evidence hierarchies favour chiropractic?

The Global Summit systematic review claims that spinal manipulation therapy is not effective in preventing any non-musculoskeletal disorders. But a breakaway group has challenged their findings, in part based on my arguments regarding evidence hierarchies. Are they correct? Does my critique undermine the Global Summit review? If so, does the evidence base favour chiropractic?

Conversion Therapy: Evidence is Irrelevant

Pressure mounts upon equalities minister Kemi Badenoch to resign over the UK government’s failure to ban conversion therapies. Attention has focused on the government’s failure to publish research commissioned in 2018. But evidence about whether conversion therapy works is irrelevant: conversion therapy is not a medical intervention.

The True Causal Effect

Do medical scientists need philosophers of medicine like birds need ornithologists? A quotation often attributed to Richard Feynman claims that “philosophy of science is as useful to scientists as ornithology is to birds”. Feynman, never the intellectual slouch, acutely discounts the value of philosophy of science to him, without actually claiming that philosophers are useless, valueless, …

Pathognomy, Sine Qua Non and Constitutive Matching (Philosophy of Diagnosis, Part 2)

This series of philosophical papers unpacks six philosophical issues in diagnostics and develops a pluralistic model of diagnosis. This paper presents a set of minimal constraints which any theory of diagnostics must satisfy based on pathognomy and sine qua non relationships.

Random Reflections: Cochrane and the Origins of Hierarchies

In 1972, Archie Cochrane published Effectiveness and Efficiency: Random Reflections on Health Services. In a little under 86 pages, Cochrane offers a wide-ranged but succinct delivery of his experience and his philosophy of evidence in clinical practice. It’s a fascinating gallop through the concerns of one of the most influential figures …

A Ghost of Progress – How Hierarchies Become Fixtures

I have written extensively on hierarchies of evidence in evidence-based medicine. The origin story of hierarchies of evidence is a little contentious. Several sources in EBM cite Campbell and Stanley’s 1963 classic “Experimental and Quasi-experimental Designs for Research” as containing the first hierarchy, or at least the germ of the …

The Dismal Disease: Temozolomide and the Interaction of Evidence

“I think the challenge is really that we still, not only in glioblastoma, but in oncology at large, treat the majority of patients with a one-size-fits-all approach.” — Roger Stupp    Blockbuster drugs are rare. To be a blockbuster, a drug must shift over $1bn worth in one year. There …