Give priority to (good) research Medical writing

What progress in general and health in particulardepends on the research is the topic, so there is truth. But it is also a mantra, speech, aphorism or just sound of something motivated by a longed-for expectation, which, as a spell and by its simple pronunciation, will appease its real existence.

Thus, it is commonly said that the more resources a country devotes to research, the more progress its citizens will enjoy. Simplification that allows us through elementary comparisons of the share of GDP devoted to research and from some of the international human development indicators, to conclude that more research equals more progress, a discovery that makes us demand greater investment in them.

Without doubting the indicative value of this approach, it might be useful to supplement the argument by adding considerations on the quality of investigations which are performed both in the main field and in the applied clinic. Quality, which may be related to the relevance of the projects, the suitability of the procedures or the usefulness of the results, in the short, medium and long term, of course.

It’s been a long time since then potential research waste deserves attention from investors, administrations and even researchers. An issue to which the SESPAS Ethics Working Group and the Gryfols Foundation dedicated one of their annual meetings.

“A bad investigation loses a large amount of economic resources, estimated at between 730 million and almost eight billion pounds.”

A problem that is not limited to the development of projects that, due to the lack of originality, are unlikely to provide a significant increase in knowledge or practical innovation. As it is not uncommon for published studies, the design of which is particularly biased, as highlighted in a recent article by Stephanie Pirosca (of the University of Aberdeen) and collaborators, to the scandal of tolerating bad health research.

This is a selection of articles reviewed between May 2020 and April 2021. The data analyzed correspond to 1,659 projects from 84 countries, which were evaluated by 546 reviewers from 49 Cochrane Collaboration clinical review groups. The article emphasizes that of the 1,640 studies that provided information on the risk of bias, 1,013 – two thirds – they were at high risk of bias and in only 133 cases – 8% – the risk of bias was low. No clinical area has been highlighted – in particular – and no country has been exempted. Of the 29 Spanish projects included, 27 were, according to this criterion, bad.

In the best casebad research wastes a lot of financial resources, which the authors of this review estimate at between £ 730 million and almost £ 8 billion (850 to 9,500 million euros) and this does not compensate for the participation of hundreds of thousands of experimental subjects (220,000 of them recorded in bad projects) and this, moreover, can lead to hasty or wrong decisions, with the corresponding risk of iatrogenic generation .

So the challenge it is not just about increasing investment in research, but doing it well. As in many other areas of life, including disease prevention and / or the protection and promotion of community health.

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