How to interpret research findings

When reading about the evidence for proposed prevention therapies,
there are some important questions that you should keep in mind.

Are the conclusions consistently supported by multiple experiments?

One experiment is never definitive.

What kinds of experiments have been done?

Is there strong evidence from human research or is the evidence limited to experiments on animals or isolated cells?

What are the characteristics of those experiments?

Were they large and long-term or small and short-term?

Did the experiments test people who are similar to those who will use the drug for dementia prevention?

A drug can have different effects in women versus men, young versus old, healthy versus sick.

Was the study biased?

Bias can be difficult to detect, but if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.

Bias can surface when important details are missing or glossed-over.

For more information types of scientific evidence and how findings are often mis-represented by the media and companies, watch this TED Talk by Dr. Ben Goldacre. And to learn more about how unreported negative research results are impacting medicine, watch this TED Talk, also by Dr. Ben Goldacre.

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