Cancer cured…in mice. EXAGGERATION IN REPORTING MEDICAL ADVANCES

Apr 18, 2012

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100 years ago in JAMA— reprinted this week.

“The very difficulty of carrying into execution the simplest principles of their science teaches them a demeanor of conservatism and humility. But to the dilettante or amateur in hygiene nothing is impossible in sanitary science.” No human plague exists which cannot be scientifically eradicated if only the rules proposed by these neophytes are followed. Barton further points out that the public loses confidence in medical science, after finding that some of these heralded improvements accomplish far less than was promised. The thoroughly cultivated, scientific man is conservative concerning the significance of a new discovery. His experience has taught him to hesitate to make emphatic statements. He may not interest the public so much at the moment, but his wisdom and reputation will last longer.

How times change. This was before the University and Funders’ press offices were created.

Post by Jonathan Rees

Clinical academic and skin watcher at the University of Edinburgh

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