‘Miracle cures’: beware of reports inspiring false hopes for serious injury and disability
Taking reports of ‘wonder drugs’ with a healthy pinch of salt, concerned partner and clinical negligence specialist Linda Levison recommends two great internet sources to help us put the scientific facts before the hype…
We regularly see stories in the media about new and wonderful cures for all sorts of conditions like cancer, brain and spinal injury. Drug and stem cell research is reported as providing potential miracle cures for people with such serious conditions and disabilities.
I have clients with maximum severity injuries who are inspired by headlines to pay huge sums privately for such treatments, often travelling abroad to do so.
New drugs and stem cells are being explored for a huge range of medical conditions but, as I understand it, many of the experiments have yet to reach the stage of being useful in a practical way for individuals. It’s bad enough that some treatments are expensive and useless, but what worries me most is that they could even be harmful.
When clients talk to me about such treatments, I strongly advise them to carry out lots of research behind the reports to find out more about the science involved. There are two websites that can provide a great start to such investigations by explaining scientific methodology, and what the truth may be behind the hype.
The first is an NHS website ‘Behind the Headlines’ which analyses and discusses such reports in a scientific way. The second is ‘Bad Science’, set up by Dr Ben Goldacre, which provides great information about how science reporting and advertising may not constitute the whole story.
They’re well worth a look…