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Deep thought of the day: anecdotes really suck

 •  • by Paul Ingraham
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Weekly nuggets of pain science news and insight, usually 100-300 words, with the occasional longer post. The blog is the “director’s commentary” on the core content of a library of major articles and books about common painful problems and popular treatments. See the blog archives or updates for the whole site.

I wrote this one day while working on my article about delayed onset muscle soreness, discussing a duel between positive and negative anecdotes about treating DOMS with massage.

But then I went and wrote a whole article about that particularly interesting idea: that people have often believed in “treatments” that are actually hurting them, like drinking mercury, and several other famous historical examples. If people have told a lot of success stories about dangerous treatments … well, that says a lot about just how wrong anecdotal evidence can be.