Precision (aka personalized) medicine (PM) describes prevention, diagnosis and treatment strategies that take into account the variability in genes, environment and lifestyle for each individual.  While PM having already made an impressive impact on some fields of medicine, particularly oncology, the epistemology of precision medicine and its relationship to evidence-based medicine (EBM) has not received much attention.

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This week Veli-Pekka Parkkinen and I are were observing the IARC-monographs meeting on benzene in Lyon. These meetings last eight days (and nights) and aim to evaluate the evidence for the claim that benzene causes cancer. Participants are world-leading experts in the relevant areas. During the meeting they build four subgroups: Exposure, cancer in humans, cancer in animals, mechanisms and other relevant data. After evaluating their respective evidence, they meet in plenary to come to an overall conclusion by aggregating their subgroup conclusions.

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Federica Russo – University of Amsterdam

Over the summer, while most of us were taking a break after a long academic year, in the Netherlands the Raad voor volksgezondheid en samenleving – the Council for health and society distributed a booklet on EBM. It is titled Zonder context geen bewijs. Over de illusie van evidence-based practice in de zorg – No evidence without context. On the illusion of evidence-based practice in health.

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The Reasoner is a monthly digest highlighting exciting new research on reasoning, inference and method broadly construed. It is interdisciplinary, covering research in, e.g., philosophy, logic, AI, statistics, cognitive science, law, psychology, mathematics and the sciences. Each month, there is a column on Evidence-Based Medicine. Here is this month’s column: Testing Surgical Interventions for Breast Cancer.

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