Understanding Evidence

Choosing health care wisely when resources are scarce

This blog describes the first in a new series of Cochrane Special Collections which brings together examples of treatments and health care which - despite being costly and time-consuming - research suggests could be unhelpful to patients, or even harmful.

Personal experiences or anecdotes (stories) are an unreliable basis for assessing the effects of most treatments

This blog explains why personal experience, or a series of personal experiences, can be misleading. Just because an individual got better after using a treatment does not mean that other people who receive the same treatment will also improve, or that the treatment is responsible – ‘regression to the mean’ tells us that experiences such as pain may improve anyway without treatment.

Treatments can harm

This blog explores a number of cautionary examples, reminding that all treatments have potential harms. We should consider the evidence not just about whether a treatment works, but whether it is safe. This is the third blog of our special series on Evidently Cochrane: “Oh, really?” 12 things to help you question health advice.

Expert opinion is not always right

Expert advice isn’t always right or based on careful consideration of the best evidence. In the first blog of our new special series '“Oh, really?” 12 things to help you question health advice', Cochrane UK's Director, Professor Martin Burton, takes us from experts to evidence.

“Oh, really?” 12 things to help you question health advice

Introducing a new special series of blogs on Evidently Cochrane: “Oh, really?” Twelve things to help you question health advice. In 2020, we're publishing one blog each month, offering 12 things to help you question health advice. The series is based on a list of ‘Key Concepts’ developed by the Informed Health Choice project team.