Misunderstandings, misperceptions, and mistakes

Sharon Straus*, Brian Haynes, Paul Glasziou, Kay Dickersin, Gordon Guyatt

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalComment/debate/opinionResearchpeer-review

24 Citations (Scopus)


Discussions about evidence-based medicine (EBM) have engendered both positive and negative reactions from clinicians, researchers, and policymakers since the term was first coined in the early 1990s. These discussions were brought to the forefront again in a recent commentary by Dr Bernadine Healy, former director of National Institutes of Health, in U.S. News & World Report. She raised several issues that EBM practitioners and teachers face when advocating this model of care. Firstly, she stated that EBM practitioners advocate using the “best” evidence which is mostly taken from randomised trials and cost benefit studies. Secondly, she raised the issues of the interpretation of evidence for screening mammography and prostate specific antigen as examples where EBM has failed because EBM proponents did not advocate for these tests based on the available evidence. Thirdly, she likened the practice of EBM to a “straitjacket” or a cookbook approach in which both clinician judgement and patient values and circumstances are ignored.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2-3
Number of pages2
JournalEvidence-Based Medicine
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2007
Externally publishedYes


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