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The efficacy of standard clinical trials in medicine

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The efficacy of standard clinical trials in medicine  [#permalink]

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New post 09 Dec 2018, 07:30
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The efficacy of standard clinical trials in medicine has recently become the subject of contentious debate between those practitioners who maintain that such trials, despite admitted shortcomings, still represent the best means we have for learning about the effects of pharmaceutical drugs on the human body, and those who maintain that the current system of collecting knowledge of such effects is but one possibility and most likely not the most efficacious one.

Gimley and Lebsmith, in their recent work, fall into the latter camp and indeed go further by challenging the idea that the standard medical trials can yield meaningful information on pharmacogenetics, or how a drug interacts with the human body. Gimley and Lebsmith’s foremost criticism is that the effect of a drug differs depending on a person’s physiology. To be sure, there are cohorts, or groups, that react to a drug in a specific manner, but clinical trials are unequipped to identify such groupings. The main reason is that clinical trials are allied to the notion that the larger the number of subjects in a study, the greater the validity of a drug, should it show any promise.

Therefore, even if a drug can exercise a marked effect on a subset of subjects within a trial, this information will be lost in the statistical noise. Another criticism of Gimley and Lebsmith concerns the very idea of validity. Pharmaceutical companies will run hundreds of trials on hundreds of different medications. Given the sheer number of trials, a few are likely to yield positive results, even if there is no demonstrable effect. Gimley and Lebsmith cite the fact that most pharmaceuticals that have exerted a positive effect in the first round of testing are likely to fail in the second round of testing.

Gimley and Lebsmith argue that a more effective approach is to identify groups who exhibit similar genetic subtypes. This very approach is currently in use in groups possessing a particular molecular subtype of breast cancer. Furthermore, these groups are not only trying one specific drug, but also a combination of such drugs, subbing them in and out to measure the effects on a subject, a procedure Gimley and Lebsmith endorse. Nonetheless, such an approach is often both time-consuming and costly. However, given the constraints of current medical trials, trials that target subtypes— even if they do not yield any significant advances— will encourage a culture of experimentation on how clinical trials are conducted in the first place.
What is the primary purpose of this passage?

A. To evaluate and survey diverse opinions on the current state of a field
B. To point out an oversight in the work of two scholars
C. To discuss a field of inquiry and several ways in which that field can be improved
D. To describe a current debate and the analysis of specific researchers
E. To assess the effect the work of two scholars has had in their field


Spoiler: :: OA
D



Which of the hypothetical trials best parallels a shortcoming in clinical trials as described by Gimley and Lebsmith?

A. A subset of patients displays a slightly negative reaction to a drug, but that outcome is masked by the majority of subjects’ responses, which are neither positive nor negative.
B. A drug exercises a strong negative effect on a subgroup but this effect is masked by the majority of subjects’ responses, which are neither positive nor negative.
C. The majority of patients in a trial exhibit a negative effect to a drug, yet the fact that a few subjects exhibited a positive effect diminishes the intensity of the negative effect.
D. A trial targeting a particular genetic subtype struggles to recruit enough subjects to establish that an observed effect of a drug would be valid across a larger population.
E. Several subjects in a trial exhibited positive effects from a drug used during an initial phase of an experiment, but once another drug was substituted for the drug used in the initial phase, those patients failed to exhibit any positive effects.


Spoiler: :: OA
B


It can be most reasonably inferred that those on the side of the debate endorsing standard medical trials are likely to believe which of the following?

A. Those favoring standard clinical trials believe that such trials represent the only means scientists have of studying pharmacogenetics.
B. The experimental methods espoused by Gimley and Lebsmith may ultimately come to displace those currently in use.
C. The most effective method of gathering information concerning pharmacogenetics will not be without flaws.
D. Clinical trials that focus on a specific genetic subtype will be better able to isolate the effects of a specific drug.
E. Many drugs exhibiting a positive effect on subjects in the first round of testing will fail to exhibit the same positive effect in subsequent tests.

Spoiler: :: OA
C


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Re: The efficacy of standard clinical trials in medicine  [#permalink]

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New post 09 Dec 2018, 19:57

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Re: The efficacy of standard clinical trials in medicine  [#permalink]

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New post 10 Dec 2018, 05:35
Could some experts please explain Q2:
Confuse between option
A and B.

Thanks.
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Re: The efficacy of standard clinical trials in medicine  [#permalink]

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New post 10 Dec 2018, 06:15
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Therefore, even if a drug can exercise a marked effect on a subset of subjects within a trial, this information will be lost in the statistical noise.

A talks about positive and negative effects in general. The passage cites that the scientists are concerned about positive and negative in the first round of the trials.

Hope this helps
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Re: The efficacy of standard clinical trials in medicine  [#permalink]

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New post 10 Dec 2018, 10:50
2
What is the primary purpose of this passage?

A. To evaluate and survey diverse opinions on the current state of a field - Inconsistent. There are no diverse options
B. To point out an oversight in the work of two scholars - Out of scope
C. To discuss a field of inquiry and several ways in which that field can be improved - Inconsistent. No several ways, only a way
D. To describe a current debate and the analysis of specific researchers - best summarizes the passage
E. To assess the effect the work of two scholars has had in their field - Inconsistent

Which of the hypothetical trials best parallels a shortcoming in clinical trials as described by Gimley and Lebsmith?

A. A subset of patients displays a slightly negative reaction to a drug, but that outcome is masked by the majority of subjects’ responses, which are neither positive nor negative. - Inconsistent
B. A drug exercises a strong negative effect on a subgroup but this effect is masked by the majority of subjects’ responses, which are neither positive nor negative. - "Therefore, even if a drug can exercise a marked effect on a subset of subjects within a trial, this information will be lost in the statistical noise." this line best expresses the answer choice
C. The majority of patients in a trial exhibit a negative effect to a drug, yet the fact that a few subjects exhibited a positive effect diminishes the intensity of the negative effect. - Inconsistent, It does diminishes anything
D. A trial targeting a particular genetic subtype struggles to recruit enough subjects to establish that an observed effect of a drug would be valid across a larger population. - Out of scope
E. Several subjects in a trial exhibited positive effects from a drug used during an initial phase of an experiment, but once another drug was substituted for the drug used in the initial phase, those patients failed to exhibit any positive effects. - Inconsistent

It can be most reasonably inferred that those on the side of the debate endorsing standard medical trials are likely to believe which of the following? - we have to see the answer that is not stated in the passage directly

A. Those favoring standard clinical trials believe that such trials represent the only means scientists have of studying pharmacogenetics. -Extreme
B. The experimental methods espoused by Gimley and Lebsmith may ultimately come to displace those currently in use. - Inconsistent
C. The most effective method of gathering information concerning pharmacogenetics will not be without flaws. - Opposite of " without flaws" is 100% correct. So, reading the whole passage gives the idea that the drug which will be used by the people may contain positive or negative effect. So, the info gathered in the first place is not 100% correct.
D. Clinical trials that focus on a specific genetic subtype will be better able to isolate the effects of a specific drug. - "even if they do not yield any significant advances". This line opposes that.
E. Many drugs exhibiting a positive effect on subjects in the first round of testing will fail to exhibit the same positive effect in subsequent tests. - Inconsistent - The line is directly stated in the passage. Cannot be correct.
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Re: The efficacy of standard clinical trials in medicine  [#permalink]

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New post 24 Dec 2018, 10:55
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Para 1- debate regarding the efficacy of standard clinical trials - 2 groups - For and against
Para 2- G&L(Group 2-against) - criticisms of standard clinical trials
Para 3- criticisms of standard clinical trials
Para 4- Gimley and Lebsmith propose a way

Took almost 8 mins, including 4 mins to read. All correct.

1. What is the primary purpose of this passage?
A. To evaluate and survey diverse opinions on the current state of a field - Incorrect
B. To point out an oversight in the work of two scholars - Incorrect - no oversight is mentioned
C. To discuss a field of inquiry and several ways in which that field can be improved - Incorrect - what we have here is more than discussion and only way to improve the standard method is suggested
D. To describe a current debate and the analysis of specific researchers - Correct - the debate on the efficacy of standard clinical trials and analysis of G&L
E. To assess the effect the work of two scholars has had in their field - Incorrect


2. Which of the hypothetical trials best parallels a shortcoming in clinical trials as described by Gimley and Lebsmith?

A. A subset of patients displays a slightly negative reaction to a drug, but that outcome is masked by the majority of subjects’ responses, which are neither positive nor negative. - Incorrect - slightly negative reaction makes this incorrect

even if a drug can exercise a marked effect on a subset of subjects within a trial, this information will be lost in the statistical noise.

B. A drug exercises a strong negative effect on a subgroup but this effect is masked by the majority of subjects’ responses, which are neither positive nor negative. - Correct
C. The majority of patients in a trial exhibit a negative effect to a drug, yet the fact that a few subjects exhibited a positive effect diminishes the intensity of the negative effect. - Incorrect - if majority exhibits negative effect , then we can't say that it's a noise
D. A trial targeting a particular genetic subtype struggles to recruit enough subjects to establish that an observed effect of a drug would be valid across a larger population. - Incorrect
E. Several subjects in a trial exhibited positive effects from a drug used during an initial phase of an experiment, but once another drug was substituted for the drug used in the initial phase, those patients failed to exhibit any positive effects. - Incorrect

Answer B


3. It can be most reasonably inferred that those on the side of the debate endorsing standard medical trials are likely to believe which of the following?
C. The most effective method of gathering information concerning pharmacogenetics will not be without flaws. - Correct

practitioners who maintain that such trials, despite admitted shortcomings, still represent the best means we have for learning about the effects of pharmaceutical drugs on the human body
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Re: The efficacy of standard clinical trials in medicine  [#permalink]

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New post 29 Dec 2018, 20:37
8:10 and 2/3. Messed up on Question 2 as choices B and C are nearly indentical but flipped. The shortcoming is a few negatives in the group will be largely ignored by the sheer number of positives or non-negative responses. C on the other hand says lots of negatives will lead to ignoring the few positives, which makes no sense and is just the reverse. READ CAREFULLY FOLKS.
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Re: The efficacy of standard clinical trials in medicine   [#permalink] 29 Dec 2018, 20:37
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