Busted!-Michelle G

In chapter 6 lot’s of information was thrown at us. At the beginning of the chapter Researchers at the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the National Institutes of Health (NIH) commenced a new test one that would help detect ovarian cancer in women. This ‘new test” made headlines and the researchers even made the TODAY show everyone was excited about a new possibility to save many women’s health and lives. The scientists later on discovered this way that everyone was fascinated about, it was that scientists could extract proteins from the blood and see any early stages of ovarian cancer.

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Scientists compared the results from 50 women with ovarian cancer and 50 healthy women. They tried to find “the patterns that they were reporting” (Pg.124) they looked at the results over and over for a few months but the patterns were no where to be found. Other scientists started to doubt this whole test. scientists dug from the very beginning and eventually found the problem. ” The samples from the women with ovarian cancer had been run on one day and the samples from the comparison group on another.” (Pg. 125) This was a red flag because there was a difference in how the mass spectrometer operated from one day to the next. This was an example of the “batch effect.” No one had considered this a problem for the test and when the scientist wanted to come clean to the media he wasn’t allowed to. He later on found out why…several other tests had also gone through the “batch effect.”

What really stood out to me the most was that scientists ignore the fact that something was wrong with their experiment but when confronted by the media they act like they have no clue what went wrong. ¬†” We noticed that when we confronted with a finding that was hard to believe, we were siding with our intuition instead of the science. We think that’s fundamentally wrong. You are supposed to change your belief based on the evidence. We were dismissing the evidence.” (Pg.139) Some scientists ignore the science like the quote says the evidence is dismissed and continue with their beliefs and lie to us. It makes me wonder …How many more experiments that we believe in today are fake?

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