By Brian Hughes in The Science Bit.
An invited, non-peer-reviewed guest editorial in the BMJ has claimed that behavioural interventions for “complex conditions” (such as ME or CFS) should not be judged using the customary criteria — and that the relevant studies should not be evaluated as though they were proper randomised controlled trials — because, among other things, “double blinding is impossible.”
I don’t think this makes sense. Not least because one of the editorial’s co-authors had previously argued that standard RCTs were, in fact, essential for this purpose.
This is what he said back then:
“Randomised controlled trials provide the best and only reliable evidence on safety and effectiveness of any intervention in any condition”
— February 2011
I couldn’t have put it better myself.
In my view, we should indeed judge such studies by the best available standards. A lack of blinding, together with the use of self-report, is a massive fail in research methodology terms. Any suggestion that we now downgrade the importance of blinding should be dismissed for the self-serving goalpost manipulation that it is.
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