Thursday, April 2, 2009

Another bad review

DoC has another post up at Left Brain Right Brain talking about the recent HBOT study. Unlike his prior review where he attempted to provide some real facts about the study this time he leaves that behind for the realm of pure conjecture.

I can see from the title that he intends this to be a balanced review (much like the title of this post):

Mild hyperbaric therapy for autism - Shh!…don’t say it’s expensive

His claims in the post seem to boil down to the following points:
  1. Simple O2 therapy raises the blood O2 level as much as HBOT does and is effective as HBOT.
  2. The authors had a disclosed financial conflict of interest therefore they have an interest in creating a long term revenue stream, possibly from insurance payments.
  3. Simple O2 therapy is much cheaper, equally effective treatment.
  4. And,  the most damning point, the lead author made the point that he did the study “Hoping to prove that it works.”
So there you go, more reasons why the study was no good.  

So lets start at the top, DoC asserts that simple O2 therapy is equally effective to HBOT.  I am sure being the the diligent person he is that he has a good source for that claim.  Lets see, he tags that claim with footnote 5 -
5 Hyperbarics and Hypotheses
Uhm, that would be something that he wrote on his blog.  Lets look at that page on his site, are there any references over there?  Nope.  So it is true because he says it is true.  


As an aside, who uses footnotes on a web page?  Most people will just throw in a link since that is more direct - especially for a reference to another site.  Methinks it is an attempt to appear more scientific.

The second point is that the authors have a financial interest in the outcomes of the study because they sell this sort of treatment.  That point is true and fair enough  - the authors do have and did disclose their financial conflict of interest.  And they do apparently make money from this treatment, so keep this in mind when reading it.

However, this criticism equally applies to almost every study of medical treatments out there.  Do you think if a drug company pays for a study on a drug they developed that they aren't looking for it to become a source of revenue? 

Next is the point that simple O2 is cheaper than HBOT.  The only source that he provides for this point is again footnote 5 - the reference back to his site.  Even still, this does seem like a fair statement.  However, since the part about O2 being as effective as HBOT remains in doubt this is point is irrelevant.

As for the last point about the authors trying to prove that it works, let me see how I can nicely put is...


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