News Details
11 September 2017

Why do we need evidence?

James Lind plaque

On 7 September 2017, the Unit held a seminar in Edinburgh entitled: Why Do We Need Evidence?

The purpose of the event, organised in collaboration with the Psychology Department, University of Edinburgh and addressed to the general public, was to honour James Lind, a Scottish physician who conducted the first controlled study, to treat scurvy, in 1747. The main focus of the event was to discuss why evidence matters in decisions about treatments, interventions, vaccinations, and prevention.

Sir Iain Chalmers

Research results should be easily accessible to people who need to make decisions about their own health. " Iain Chalmers quoting Alessandro Liberati

Presentations were given by Mr. Iain Milne, Sibbald Librarian at the Royal College of Physicians of Edinburgh: “James Lind’s biography – evidence versus conjecture”; Prof. Silvio Garattini, Director of the IRCCS Istituto di Ricerche Farmacologiche Mario Negri in Milan, Italy: “The early Italian attempts to carry out clinical trials”; and Sir Iain Chalmers, coordinator of the James Lind Initiative and co-founder of the Cochrane Collaboration: “Taking waste in biomedical research seriously – the contributions of Edinburgh and Bologna”.

The seminar, which was sponsored by The Italian Institute of Culture, Edinburgh, was attended by 115 people and chaired by Dr Miriam Brazzelli, HSRU, University of Aberdeen. The audience was a mix of lay people and academics from different disciplines.

Feedback indicated that participants greatly enjoyed the opportunity for reflecting on the importance of basing decisions about healthcare on quality evidence and for acknowledging the need for a good medical research practice as well as communication between health professionals and the public.


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