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Looking for the Evidence in Medicine

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Science  05 Apr 1996:
Vol. 272, Issue 5258, pp. 22-24
DOI: 10.1126/science.272.5258.22


Medical treatments areThe advent of electronic often dictated by authority, personal experience, and habit, but a 2-year-old collaboration of several thousand doctors and other researchers is working to change that. Known as the Cochrane Collaboration, the British-led effort is literally hand searching the world's literature to find and review all of the randomized control trials ever done—as many as a million of them. Updated regularly, the Cochrane reviews should synthesize the latest knowledge about every therapy or intervention and give its implications for practice and research. The effort could transform the way doctors make treatment decisions, but some experts worry that the reviews will look more definitive than they are, giving rise to a new dogma.