Intended for healthcare professionals


The agonies of evidence

BMJ 2001; 323 doi: (Published 10 November 2001) Cite this as: BMJ 2001;323:0

John Maynard Keynes argued that politicians don't like evidence. It ties their hands. I once quoted this when introducing a government minister, who was opening a conference on research. “Balls,” she answered. But this week's BMJ illustrates how evidence can complicate the lives of politicians.

The arrival of a Cochrane review suggesting that mammography did not save lives but simply increased mastectomies must have been painful for those who have invested heavily in screening programmes (27 October, p 956. The British government doesn't accept the results of the …

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