Ten articles on PainSci cite Ioannidis 2005: 1. The Complete Guide to IT Band Syndrome 2. Does Arnica Gel Work for Pain? 3. Does Hip Strengthening Work for IT Band Syndrome? 4. The “Impress Me” Test 5. Statistical Significance Abuse 6. Massage Does Not Reduce Inflammation 7. Does Fascia Matter? 8. Studying the Studies 9. Why So “Negative”?
PainSci commentary on Ioannidis 2005: ?This page is one of thousands in the PainScience.com bibliography. It is not a general article: it is focused on a single scientific paper, and it may provide only just enough context for the summary to make sense. Links to other papers and more general information are provided wherever possible.
This intensely intellectual paper — it’s completely, hopelessly nerdy — became one of the most downloaded articles in the history of the Public Library of Science and was described by the Boston Globe as an instant cult classic. Despite the title, the paper does not, in fact, say that “science is wrong,” but something much less sinister: that it should take rather a lot of good quality and convergent scientific evidence before we can be reasonably sure of something, and he presents good evidence that a lot of so-called conclusions are premature, not as “ready for prime time” as we would hope. This is not the least bit surprising to good scientists, who never claimed in the first place that their results are infallible or that their conclusions are “true.”
I go into much more detail here: Ioannidis: Making Medical Science Look Bad Since 2005.
~ Paul Ingraham
original abstract †Abstracts here may not perfectly match originals, for a variety of technical and practical reasons. Some abstacts are truncated for my purposes here, if they are particularly long-winded and unhelpful. I occasionally add clarifying notes. And I make some minor corrections.
There is increasing concern that most current published research findings are false. The probability that a research claim is true may depend on study power and bias, the number of other studies on the same question, and, importantly, the ratio of true to no relationships among the relationships probed in each scientific field. In this framework, a research finding is less likely to be true when the studies conducted in a field are smaller; when effect sizes are smaller; when there is a greater number and lesser preselection of tested relationships; where there is greater flexibility in designs, definitions, outcomes, and analytical modes; when there is greater financial and other interest and prejudice; and when more teams are involved in a scientific field in chase of statistical significance. Simulations show that for most study designs and settings, it is more likely for a research claim to be false than true. Moreover, for many current scientific fields, claimed research findings may often be simply accurate measures of the prevailing bias. In this essay, I discuss the implications of these problems for the conduct and interpretation of research.
- “Why most published research findings are false: author's reply to Goodman and Greenland,” John P A Ioannidis, PLoS Med, 2007.
Specifically regarding Ioannidis 2005:
- Ioannidis: Making Medical Science Look Bad Since 2005 — A famous and excellent scientific paper … with an alarmingly misleading title
- “Assessing the Unreliability of the Medical Literature: A Response to “Why Most Published Research Findings Are False”,” Steven Goodman and Sander Greenland, Johns Hopkins University, Dept. of Biostatistics Working Papers, 2007.
- Mini-bio for "Dr. John Ioannidis" on PainScience.com.
- “Are Most Medical Studies Wrong?,” Steven Novella, Neurologica.
- “Lies, Damned Lies, and Medical Science,” David Freedman, TheAtlantic.com.
This page is part of the PainScience BIBLIOGRAPHY, which contains plain language summaries of thousands of scientific papers & others sources. It’s like a highly specialized blog. A few highlights:
- No long-term effects after a three-week open-label placebo treatment for chronic low back pain: a three-year follow-up of a randomized controlled trial. Kleine-Borgmann 2022 Pain.
- Exercise and education versus saline injections for knee osteoarthritis: a randomised controlled equivalence trial. Bandak 2022 Ann Rheum Dis.
- Association of Lumbar MRI Findings with Current and Future Back Pain in a Population-based Cohort Study. Kasch 2022 Spine (Phila Pa 1976).
- A double-blinded randomised controlled study of the value of sequential intravenous and oral magnesium therapy in patients with chronic low back pain with a neuropathic component. Yousef 2013 Anaesthesia.
- Is Neck Posture Subgroup in Late Adolescence a Risk Factor for Persistent Neck Pain in Young Adults? A Prospective Study. Richards 2021 Phys Ther.