Modern medicine and physical therapy should be predicated on the delivery of high-quality care based off of data from robust clinical trials. However, clinicians and patients are often deceived by the selective publication and reporting of trial data, known as publication bias. The Cochrane Handbook defines publication bias as “The publication or non-publication of research findings, depending on the nature and direction of the results” and is “one of the worst threats to the validity of scientific research.” This phenomenon was first described by Thomas Sterling in 1959 and nearly 60 years later, the problem of publication bias is still embarrassingly common across biomedical and social sciences.Read More
Evidence-based zealots, robotic clinicians, animated youtube videos of physical therapists turning patients away due to lack of support from randomized controlled trials — There are numerous examples, said in different ways, but ultimately the message is the same. Physical therapists, in hopes of being evidence-based, become handcuffed by research and in doing so lose their ability to empathize and stymy their flexibility in clinical reasoning.Read More
She sat there, leaning back in her recliner, listing off the numerous side effects she had been enduring since resuming her experimental chemotherapy agent. Nausea, fatigue, headache, poor appetite, wild swings in blood pressure, dizziness.
“It’s a really hard drug for me. It takes its toll. I stand up to go do things around the house and just getting up can wipe me out. Then, I realize ‘maybe I’m not as young as I want to be!’” she explains.Read More
I have previously tried to limit the impact of my personal preferences on my writing. I justified this choice as being useful to reach a larger number of professionals in my field, and ultimately, have a greater influence on clinical practice. Emphatic, assertive statements tend to garner massive support amongst those who already agree with you, but this also leads to quick dismissal from those who fall outside of that group. While this may be true, unspoken points of view also fail to impact beliefs just the same. Backfire effect aside, I am stepping onto a pedestal for a moment to tackle a large pet-peeve of mine that’s been circulating around social media.
In the United States, physical therapists aspire to fulfill a central and irreplaceable role in the musculoskeletal realm. Our profession seeks to “transform society” and “improve the human experience” through our care. An obstacle to occupying this prominent seat at the healthcare table has been our nebulous identity in the eyes of the public. Other medical professions have a clearly demarcated service to provide whereas we struggle to generate a consistent image.Read More
Science, to be at its best, needs to be a social process. The collaboration between individuals fosters the development of research ideas, allows for checks and balances of published findings, improves the dissemination of research and allows for valuable peer review. With the proliferation of social media, this social aspect of science is more rapid and accessible, opening the doors to individuals from wide and varied backgrounds to engage in and contribute to this process. We are fortunate to now exist in an environment that allows research to be shared, discussed and critiqued across a wide variety of mediums. There are several podcasts, blogs, discussion forums and forward thinking publication platforms that provide content, often free of charge, that exemplify science as a social process.Read More