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Testing Treatments Quiz

Snake oil salesman

Are you a good bullshit detector?

How much do you know about fair tests of treatments?

These questions test your knowledge of why it’s important to carry out fair tests of treatments – medical, surgical, complementary or any other kind – before routinely using them in practice.

Click “start quiz” to find out!

  • Dear Douglas, Iain, Amanda and Ben

    We are holding an afternoon workshop for consumers and parents at Westmead Hospital in Sydney, Australia on Saturday 13 June. If anyone has any friends or colleagues who may happen to be close by on that day, they are welcome to come along, free. Extracts from the flyer appear below. Please tell your friends in Australia. We’ll let you know how it goes!

    CLINICAL TRIALS ARE AMAZING !

    An Intelligent Person’s Guide to Fair Tests of Any Treatment

    Trials have transformed millions of lives and saved billions of dollars – by showing which treatments work and which treatments don’t. Over the last 30 years, the chances of healthy survival for premature babies – and for people with asthma, heart attacks, cancer and many other diseases – have dramatically improved, thanks to vital evidence from hundreds of trials.

    Yet, trials are usually an ‘optional extra’ – not part of routine care. Too often no trials are available for patients to join.

    AS A RESULT, LESS THAN 1 IN 20 PATIENTS TAKE PART.

    You can help change this at a free workshop at Westmead Hospital on Saturday afternoon, 13 June. It’s an entertaining introduction to the amazing world of clinical trials – see program.

    For background, see http://www.testingtreatments.org/

    To register visit page http://bit.ly/1S3RZoB

    or Google ‘Westmead International Update 2015’ and click on the link

    You can download the program at http://ctc.usyd.edu.au/wiu

    Tell your friends in Australia. We hope to see some of them there!

    All the best

    William Tarnow-Mordi
    WINNER Centre for Newborn Research
    NHMRC Clinical Trials Centre, University of Sydney

    • Douglas_Badenoch

      Hi William

      Thanks for letting us know. The event looks great and I hope it goes well.

      Some of your participants may be interested in Generation R, a UK network for involving young people in research: http://www.generationr.org.uk

      We’d be particularly keen to share any resources you have that others could use to improve public understanding of clinical trials.

      Keep us posted!

      cheers

      Douglas

  • hammy__hamster

    What does “The sample of patients can be referred to a known population” even mean ??

    • Douglas_Badenoch

      Hi Hammy

      It’s about whether the group of people who take part in a study (the sample) is representative of the wider population in whom the treatment would be used in real life.

      Check out the Jargon buster on the right for more info.

      But we’ll have a think about rephrasing that question in the light of your comment!

      cheers

      Douglas

      • hammy__hamster

        Thanks for the speedy and helpful response. I agree that your interpretation is the most plausible; that’s what I presumed, and was surprised to see the first offered answer marked incorrect.

        The problem is in the ambiguity in the question. If you want to leave the first answer as being incorrect, the question needs to state specifically that patients are allocated “…either to receive the new treatment or the comparison…” at random. In that case, the randomisation does indeed only deal with bias in allocation to the trial arms, and may suffer from generalisability issues, thus making the first answer incorrect.

        But as it stands, the question suggests randomisation has been applied to the RCT as a whole, including selection for participation as well as allocation to trial arm. Such randomisation is specifically designed to achieve generalisability to the wider population, making the first answer correct.

        Anyhow, thanks for a very entertain quiz. Am sure a lot of people will be surprised by some of the (undoubtedly) spot-on answers – like “don’t trust results just because they appear in a prestigious journal”.

    • Eero Teppo

      Good point. The problem seems to be the term “allocation” really. It’s easier to think it as assigning *exposures* to people at random, but you can think it as assigning people to exposures (other way around) (as in Jargon buster).

      Anyway, the standard usage is that “allocation” is not about sampling but what happens after that, and randomization *of sampling* is not that common terminology, I guess, either but randomization refers also only to exposures.