It is the business of pharmacovigilance to evidence causal failure: when the effects of the drugs are unexpected. Simply knowing that a medicine can affect or interact with a particular biological mechanism is itself a valuable piece of causal information, argue Elena Rocca, Rani Lill Anjum and Stephen Mumford in a recent publication. Read more about this and the CauseHealth collaboration with Uppsala Monitoring Centre (UMC) in Uppsala Reports.
by Elena Rocca
In the early 19th century, the Hungarian physician Ignaz Semmelweis noticed from his clinical experience that antiseptic routines in healthcare reduced infections at childbirth. After carrying out some studies on the matter, he proposed that the practice of disinfecting hands in the obstetrician ward of the Vienna General Hospital, where he worked at the time, would have reduced the incidence of puerperal fever. However, for that time this seemed as an implausible suggestion. The germ theory of disease was still unheard of (Pasteur developed such theory only some decades later), and therefore there was no accepted understanding of how disease could be transmitted from one organism to the other. Semmelweis suggestion was therefore rejected by the medical community. Continue reading “DATA AND THEORY: NEW CAUSEHEALTH PAPER ABOUT THE PROBLEM OF WEIGHING COMPLEX EVIDENCE IN MEDICINE.”