This is an overstatement and is not the conclusion of the authors. The New
England Journal of Medicine website has the article (available only to
subscribers) and a subsequent exchange of letters with response from the
authors (available to all with web access) at
Briefly, a lot of the "research" examined was letters to the editor, and most
of the "pro" research was conducted by just 3 authors, so the comparison groups
were not real comparable. Also pro and con were not easy to classify well.
Everyone agreed, however, that there are very few studies on this subject and
that more needed to be done.
Personally I would agree that the absence of conflict-of-interest studies is in
itself suspicious. But conflicts of interest, even if well documented
and pervasive, would prove nothing about the validity or invalidity of
scientific method itself.
"When all else fails, read the directions."
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