Thursday, August 4, 2016

Flossing | Does it do any good?

by Marilyn Sidwell, Nutrition Pure and Simple
I caught a message on TV recently questioning the effectiveness of flossing - and it reminded me of an article by Alan Gaby, MD, published in the TOWNSEND LETTER for DOCTORS & PATIENTS -APRIL 2006.  With his permission, (and for your laugh-of-the-day) I share it with you.

Evidence-based medicine takes a fall     

To determine whether parachutes are effective in preventing major trauma related to gravitational challenge, a systematic review was performed of all studies examining the effects of using a parachute during free fall.  Data sources included Medline, Web of Science, Embase, and the Cochrane Library databases. The main outcome measure was death or major trauma, defined as an injury severity score >15. The authors were unable to identify any randomized controlled trials of parachute intervention.  They concluded that the effectiveness of parachutes has not been subjected to rigorous evaluation by randomized controlled trials.

Comment: Advocates of evidence-based medicine have criticized the acceptance of interventions that have been evaluated only by observational studies.  The use of parachutes during free fall is one such unproven intervention.  The authors of this report suggest that everyone might benefit if the most radical proponents of evidence-based medicine organized and participated in a double blind, randomized, placebo-controlled, crossover trial of the parachute.


Smith GCS, Pell JP. Parachute use to prevent death and major trauma related to gravitational challenge: systematic review of randomised controlled trials. BJM. 2003:327:1459-1461. | http://www.bmj.com/content/327/7429/1459

Question and Comment about the above by Dr Gaby:

  1. Question: Would any of the evidence-based ‘scientists’ participate in a study to test parachutes?
  2. We have to ask why, if the doctor tried a nutritional approach and it worked is that not valid evidence?
Dr Gaby's website: http://www.doctorgaby.com/ 

So, the next time you hear a report about a way to help a patient that uses a procedure or method that lacks a double blind, randomized, placebo-controlled, crossover study (and is therefore NOT VALID) - remember the 'parachute' challenge.

These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration.