What's Good May be Bad??
Link to Yahoo! News story
I came across this story today on the news and all I could think is 'well, duh...' It seems people expect medicine to be perfect and science to be infallible all the time. Maybe they don't remember their high school science classes - everyone used to think the world was flat and that if one could jump high enough, she could reach the stars. Of course, this is giving the general public a very large compliment by assuming they actually made it to high school in the first place.
Science is fallible. We just finished what is probably the most scientifically prolific century the world has ever seen, and still what we know about mother nature is infinitesimal when compared to what we do not know. As we uncover new truths, we may find that what we currently believe is flawed and must be put aside. Medicine is no different, as it is interwoven intimately with scientific discovery. The more we learn about the human 'machine,' the more we find out there is to learn. That is why evidence based medicine has become so popular - for thousands of years, we have been practicing medicine by guessing at what might work and noticing the beneficial side-effects of other treatments (minoxidil for hair growth, for example). Finally, we are putting these treatments to rigorous scientific tests and finding that many of them are not effective at all; some, in fact, may be harmful.