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Old 08-08-2007, 03:55 PM   #1
Ken Mindoro
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I just finished reading one of Coach Glassman's old posts where he said that most exercise science falls into one of two categories: obscure and worthless or obvious and worthless. It made me think of an article published in the British Medical Journal a few years ago. Here is the abstract:


Parachute use to prevent death and major trauma related to gravitational challenge: systematic review of randomised controlled trials.Smith GC, Pell JP. BMJ. 2003 Dec 20;327(7429):1459-61.
Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, Cambridge University, Cambridge CB2 2QQ. gcss2@cam.ac.uk

OBJECTIVES: To determine whether parachutes are effective in preventing major trauma related to gravitational challenge. DESIGN: Systematic review of randomised controlled trials. DATA SOURCES: Medline, Web of Science, Embase, and the Cochrane Library databases; appropriate internet sites and citation lists. STUDY SELECTION: Studies showing the effects of using a parachute during free fall. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURE: Death or major trauma, defined as an injury severity score > 15. RESULTS: We were unable to identify any randomised controlled trials of parachute intervention. CONCLUSIONS: As with many interventions intended to prevent ill health, the effectiveness of parachutes has not been subjected to rigorous evaluation by using randomised controlled trials. Advocates of evidence based medicine have criticised the adoption of interventions evaluated by using only observational data. We think that everyone might benefit if the most radical protagonists of evidence based medicine organised and participated in a double blind, randomised, placebo controlled, crossover trial of the parachute.

PMID: 14684649 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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Old 08-08-2007, 04:07 PM   #2
Derek Maffett
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So ... are they saying that parachutes only might be good for preventing injury? Or did I get lost in the scientific jargon?
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Old 08-08-2007, 04:14 PM   #3
Arien Malec
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That's brilliant! I like the part about a crossover trial design...
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Old 08-09-2007, 07:54 AM   #4
David Wood
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Derek: I think it's satire.
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Old 08-09-2007, 08:29 AM   #5
Ken Mindoro
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The study is trying to find out the effectiveness of parachutes for preventing bodily harm when jumping out of a plane. They found that no trials had been done, hence there was no proof for the effectiveness of parachutes.

They go on to say that people who want more than just observational evidence that parachutes work need to go jump out of a plane without a parachute to try it out for themselves.
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Old 08-10-2007, 02:16 PM   #6
John Tuitele
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We think that everyone might benefit if the most radical protagonists of evidence based medicine organised and participated in a double blind, randomised, placebo controlled, crossover trial of the parachute.

Translation: Our suggestion is that the folks who insist that the evidence based medicine model is the optimal means for validating medical practice should be in the control group (i.e. no parachute) for a study of validation of parachute effectiveness. In other words, I wish these folks would do us all a favor and kill themselves.
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