We could not be more excited to launch the first of our three EBM+ videos, ‘Why EBM Needs Mechanisms‘. Starring Dr. Brendan Clarke, this video discusses the limitations of clinical trials and why EBM needs evidence of mechanisms.
As our video attests, limitations of clinical trials like RCTs are due, in part, to the Thalidomide disaster.
For EBM+, the thalidomide case-study serves a useful dual-purpose. Firstly, the case demonstrates the devastating consequences that can arise, should researchers neglect the importance of evidence of mechanisms to support statistical evidence. And secondly, thalidomide helps to explain how trial methodologies concerning drug safety and regulation have evolved as a result.
The Science Museum has an interesting exhibition about Thalidomide, tracing from the drug’s conception to its lasting implications and potential for future treatments.
Indeed, Donald Gillies discusses thalidomide in his talk, ‘Discovering Cures in Medicine: the Thalidomide case‘. Mechanisms are thus not only essential to assess drug safety, but also in discovering a drug’s wider applicability as a potential cure for some previously untreatable conditions – e.g. Leprosy.
The video provides further reasons why trials might be flawed and how this can impact a practitioner’s decision. We believe that different types of evidence should be taken into account in order to paint a coherent causal picture that effectively explains why a drug works the way it does.
EBM+ members have written a number of papers and articles that outline the importance of mechanisms. Only with mechanisms can we understand whether one drug is better than another, and whether a drug is even suitable for use at all.
These videos will provide quick and clear snapshots of EBM+ and the work we do to bridge the philosophy of science/medicine with its practical applications.