Rigor Mortis

Rigor Mortis

How Sloppy Science Creates Worthless Cures, Crushes Hope, and Wastes Billions

Book - 2017
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"Biomedical science--the research that underlies our treatments and cures--is in deep crisis. Every year, American taxpayers spend more than $30 billion funding it. About half of that work, by some estimates, is wrong. As award-winning science journalist Richard Harris reveals in Rigor Mortis, this is not simply the result of trial and error, which is an essential part of the scientific process. The economic imperative for researchers to get and keep jobs and funding encourages dubious behavior, from poor experimental design to sloppy statistics and shoddy analysis. Add to that a bunch of mislabeled cell lines and mishandled ingredients, and what seems like a potential cure becomes an unreliable mess. Some 900 breast-cancer studies were conducted with cells that weren't breast-cancer cells at all, new "treatments" for ALS developed in rodent models failed when retested properly in mice, and only 1.2 percent of early papers in genomics stand the test of time. These problems aren't the exception. They are commonplace. This crisis of reproducibility--when studies done in one lab fail when another tries to reproduce their results--isn't just holding back scientific progress--it's a devastating blow for patients everywhere who are hoping that medical science will give them longer, healthier lives. Rigor Mortis explores these urgent issues through vivid anecdotes, personal stories, and interviews with the nation's top biomedical researchers, some of whom are now struggling to set things right. An unsparing investigation that lays bare the dysfunctions in our research system, this book represents the first step toward fixing it."--Jacket.
Publisher: New York : Basic Books, 2017
ISBN: 9780465097906
0465097901
9780465097913
Branch Call Number: 610.72 Ha
Characteristics: vii, 278 pages ; 22 cm

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alitecky
Sep 18, 2017

Important in that is exposes what the title states. Frustrating because the methodological errors are mentioned briefly, while the academic (and governmental) politics make up the bulk of the text. The larger question may be, how is correlation distinguished from causation?

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