Lowest quality

Scientific evidence Strong Weak

Table 3 Folklore: separating fact from fiction

Scientific evidence Strong Weak g n ro lore Str kl


Fiction/ undetermined^

Emerging science3


aUnlikely to be a major threat ^Potential threat to public health convictions of both experimenters and study participants are falsely contributing to the results. Better evidence is needed before it can be stated with assurance that the folklore based on such observations is true.

Patient reports, case studies, and folklore Even weaker human evidence of cause and effect comes from single medical case reports and anecdotal evidence. These types of evidence are also biased since those who experience success from the treatment are much more likely to report their stories than those who do not.

Animal studies and laboratory experiments Nonhuman studies involving living animals (in vivo studies) or tissue cultures (in vitro studies) are useful in providing information on the possible biological plausibility, dose response, and action of a treatment. However, their ability to predict outcomes in humans is poor. Therefore, these studies are unconvincing and should be used only to support other types of evidence.

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