Bromley wrote:Anecdote wrote:Do you want to know why Stratton, Sriram and David refer to "A small subset"? It is because of a need to actually get into print in the first place. David did a small study of local people he treated who he saw regularly:
Seven out of ten people responded to treatment, two out of ten were doubtful as to whether they even took the antibiotics. That is quite a large subset to my mind. It was about eighteen months ago.
The first quote strikes me as bad science - or at least not having the courage of your convictions. If the authors think that Cpn is the cause in all cases of MS - then say it.
The second quote is odd. Basically, if people don't respond to a treatment say that the people didn't follow the protocol. Would Biogen get away with this to explain why some had seen no benefit on a treatment trial?
With respect to the first quote, it may have nothing to do with "good vs. bad" science at all. In order to get a paper published, it usually has to pass through the peer review process. Since the study was so small, it may have been a requirement of one of the reviewers that the phrase "a small subset" be added to the paper. It may have nothing to do the original authors having "the courage of their convictions." Of course, there is always a choice and sometimes compromises must be made. For example, it could be that their choice was to add the "small subset" language or not publish at all. In times like these, where the authors disagree with the reviewers, they could potentially appeal to the journal’s editor but it’s unlikely they would get very far with such a small study.
With respect to the second quote, there could be another explanation. The study may have been placebo controlled and two of the patients reported that they could not tell if they were on placebo or the actual antibiotics. Another possibility is that they may have not noticed any perceptible differences in their physical condition while taking the antibiotics and therefore questioned whether they actually were on antibiotics at all.