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Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Science or what?

The buzz words in medicine at the moment are about "evidence based" and "controlled studies", we need to prove everything and research everything in a "controlled" way, to the extent of this paper here on the effectiveness of parachute in preventing death. Here is the summery of the paper, you can read the full paper on the BMJ.

BMJ 2003;327:1459-1461 (20 December), doi:10.1136/bmj.327.7429.1459

Hazardous journey

Parachute use to prevent death and major trauma related to gravitational challenge: systematic review of randomised controlled trials Gordon C S Smith, professor1, Jill P Pell, consultant2

1 Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, Cambridge University, Cambridge CB2 2QQ, 2 Department of Public Health, Greater Glasgow NHS Board, Glasgow G3 8YU

Correspondence to: G C S Smith gcss2@cam.ac.uk

Objectives To determine whether parachutes are effective in preventing major trauma related to gravitational challenge.

Design Systematic review of randomised controlled trials.

Data sources: Medline, Web of Science, Embase, and the Cochrane Library databases; appropriate internet sites and citation lists.

Study selection: Studies showing the effects of using a parachute during free fall.

Main outcome measure Death or major trauma, defined as an injury severity score > 15.

Results We were unable to identify any randomised controlled trials of parachute intervention.

Conclusions As with many interventions intended to prevent ill health, the effectiveness of parachutes has not been subjected to rigorous evaluation by using randomised controlled trials. Advocates of evidence based medicine have criticised the adoption of interventions evaluated by using only observational data. We think that everyone might benefit if the most radical protagonists of evidence based medicine organised and participated in a double blind, randomised, placebo controlled, crossover trial of the parachute

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