General Question

flo's avatar

Can you imagine studying if patients of (fill in the group of people) live longer than another group?

Asked by flo (9914points) December 21st, 2016

What if it were Christian vs non Christian doctors or handicapped vs non handicapped doctors, etc.

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13 Answers

RedDeerGuy1's avatar

Honors in kindergarten as adults vs. Those who failed as adults , or didn’t take.

flo's avatar

@RedDeerGuy1 can you elaborate?
What do you think of the detail part?

RedDeerGuy1's avatar

Does having honors in kindergarten extend life expectancy. For your question its sounds ready to experiment.

Espiritus_Corvus's avatar

Did it all the time a medical research coordinator. What you describe does not happen in the States or most other contries. There are a thousand layers of ethical rules and researches are heavily policed by in-house ethics committee, regional ethics commissions, the feds from the time each study is designed until it is completed, the org or corporation contracting the study, the research group coordinating and conducting the study—and the principle investigator who will cover his or her ass in order not to lose their medical license.

Espiritus_Corvus's avatar

Sorry, I just got in from a long day. Yes, unethical and illegal practices are committed in States and other countries. It is extremely rare because of the oversight I described above and the massive fines and prison sentences a primary investigator and their licensed staff will suffer when caught. But there is always some idiot somewhere that will stray from the protocol. The motive is usually lack of motive, sloppiness and laziness in conducting the study properly, then, as a form of CYA, they will falsify results. These people are soon caught, lose their licenses, pay fines and often go to jail.

Experimenting on human biengs is serious business and skewing the result of say, a drug study, could harm a large population down the road. But most medical studies are spread to many labs throughout the country and even the world, so one lab falsifying results will show up as an anomaly in the grand scheme. This usually gets those results thrown out of the final configuration and the lab is investigated because all anomalies must be investigated—and that is how the culprits usually end up in the hands of the feds.

But it would be absolutely impossible to get a medical study design approved that is designed to harm people in any way. And if you can’t get it approved by the FDA and all the other official watchdogs out there, no licensed researcher will touch it with a ten foot pole, and if the study isn’t done by properly trained, licensed people who know how to correctly conduct a study, the results will never be taken seriously by anybody and will never make it into the all-important journals.

It’s a good, tough system, and except on very few occasions notable within the industry, it works very well.

zenvelo's avatar

There are some studies that have been done to compare one group of doctors versus another.

Here’s one on women doctors and cancer screening.

JLeslie's avatar

Groups are studied all the time. True, as mentioned above by @Espiritus_Corvus, there are ethical questions to be answered before conducting a study, but I don’t think there is any big ethical question when just deriving statistics from records of patients. Ethical questions come into play when practices and treatments are tampered with or treatments are being administered or not administered based on studying something specific. Practices and treatments in this case can be anything from how patients are evaluated, like diagnostic tests that are run, to medication, surgery, even dietary recommendation. @Espiritus_Corvus might have been making a different point than what I gathered here though. I might have misunderstood.

We group patients by gender, race, age, income level, all sorts of things that some people might find offensive.

Patient outcomes are looked at by doctor and hospital and other ways to group. I just write a Q recently about how some of the stats are manipulated at the hospital level, but if a study was done they could probably adjust for most of the manipulations and get a purer number. Or, better defined statistic anyway. I should mention that some people on the Q did not accept that hospitals do manipulate the numbers.

Espiritus_Corvus's avatar

^^Yes, the question is unclear as to the intent of a “what if” study. In my fatigue, I took it to mean if studies existed that were designed to do harm to a specific social group, such as the infamous Tuskeegee syphilis study conducted between 1932 and 1972 specifically on black Americans, and the studies conducted by Dr. Mengele that were actually impeccable in their protocols, but were atrocities just the same. Although the international medical estabishment has used the results of some of these studies, they take fire for it and their findings are put under rigorous re-examination..

I think the term “vs.” set me in that direction. We now have very strict national and international ethical rules, restrictions and laws that are heavily policed both within the research community and by governing authorities to prevent these atrocities from recurring and new laws and rules are being considered all the time.

Of course we have studies comparing various social groups. That’s how we learned that the Inuit people have a genetic propensity for extremely high blood cholesterol and that it wasn’t due to their local diet. We also discovered that black people, black children specifically, suffer from sickle-cell anemia more often than other ethnic groups —and why. We discovered that people of Gaelic decent, specifically, suffer from pulmonary fibrosis much more often and much earlier than other people. We also discovered that black Americans are more likely to suffer from hypertension much more often and much earlier than other Americans and that it goes beyond diet. The lastest studies show that it might be due to lifetime stressors the rest of us may not have.

These studies identify high risk factors which are futher used to develop medical methods of early interdiction and treatment.

But the approval of a study design is a rigorous process and someone better have a damn good rational and provable reason to study one specific social group to get such a study approved.

stanleybmanly's avatar

Another question worded to send the reader wrestling to understand it. My guess this time is that “if” should read “whether”

Yes I can imagine a situation in which my ability to study might be affected by the fact that one group of patients outlived another. I can imagine it, but what’s the point?

And such studies are done ad nauseum, because every agency from the CDC, Social Security, Administration, insurance companies, etc. compile reams of statistics and tables awaiting collation by the bulging surplus of post graduate candidates churned out from our overstimulated universities.

flo's avatar

What I mean is can you imagine if they studied whether or not the patients of Catholic doctors(whatever group you can think of) live longer and are better taken care of, compared to patioents of Protestant doctors(whatever group you can think of)
The group of people can be people who are below 4 feet vs. doctors who are over 6 feet or….any group. Of course it’s ridiculous. There was something on the news on Dec. 19?/2016 or so about a study like that. I’m searching for it.

zenvelo's avatar

@flo It isn’t ridiculous, there are studies like that all the time. You describe more extreme examples, but there are studies by gender of doctor and ethnicity/nationality of doctor.

flo's avatar

Look for a doctor who is left handed, and an accountant who is over 6 feet tall, those are the best ones?

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