Wikipedia talk:Identifying reliable sources (medicine)
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|Ideal sources for Wikipedia's health content are defined in the guideline Wikipedia:Identifying reliable sources (medicine) and are typically review articles. Here are links to possibly useful sources of information about Identifying reliable sources (medicine).|
|To discuss reliability of specific sources, please go to Wikipedia:Reliable sources/Noticeboard or to the talk pages of WikiProject Medicine or WikiProject Pharmacology.|
|Frequently asked questions (FAQ)|
These are some Frequently Asked Questions about Wikipedia's guidelines on sourcing for medical content, manual of style for medicine-related articles, and how the guidelines and policies apply to biomedical content.
Primary sources aren't completely banned, but they should only be used in rare situations. Whenever possible, you should cite a secondary source such as:
Primary sources might be useful in these common situations:
There are three possible situations:
In the first case, we cannot say that it does not work, but we can say that there is no evidence to determine whether it works. In the second, we can say that there is no evidence that it works. In the last, we should say that there is evidence that it has an effect.
After multiple, high-quality independent studies have been published, it is reasonable to understand "no evidence that it works" as "some evidence that it does not work". You should follow the lead of review articles and other secondary sources for determining when this threshold has been crossed.
Reports may conflict with each other. For example, a clinical trial may produce no evidence of an effect, but the treatment's manufacturer might produce testimonials claiming a positive effect. You should follow the lead of review articles and other secondary sources for determining how to balance these claims.
Note that paywalled articles are frequently pirated and made available on the open web. When linking to a journal article, care must be taken not to link to such a pirate copy, as such a link would be a copyright violating link in contravention of Wikipedia's policy. In general if you find such a copy and it is not accompanied by text explicitly stating that it is made available with the permission of the copyright holder, assume that it is potentially infringing, and do not link to it. This holds for all edits in Wikipedia, not just in article space.
Almost all medical articles are indexed by the PubMed search engine and have a Digital object identifier (DOI) assigned to them. All articles included in PubMed are assigned an eight-digit PubMed identifier (PMID). These identifiers can be used to refer to articles, which is preferred to URLs as it makes a reliable link which is resilient to changes beyond our control – i.e. the publisher being acquired by another publisher and it's "normal" web URLs changing as a consequence.
Once you have the PMID, there are a number of tools such as this one which you can use to generate a full citation automatically.
In article references, the "doi" and "pmid" parameters are preferred to the "url" parameter for such reasons.
On Talk pages, when referring to journal articles, is it good practice to make any link using these types of identifier also:
|This page is of interest to the following WikiProjects:|
System Still BrokenEdit
From seven months ago on this TALK page (now archived) 
This week the NEJM published a blinded placebo-controlled multicenter trial of the drug tafamidis, a putative small molecule treatment for ATTR cardiomyopathy. The trial found the drug cut mortality rates (p<.001) and hospitalizations and improved clinical outcomes. It is inductively supported by some work with tafamidis in the neuropathy of ATTR and also by basic biochemical studies showing how the drug works to stabilize ATTR so amyloid does not form from it. But there are not yet any confirming studies, and won't be for some years. So I put in a paragraph saying what the trial had found, but I didn't add what you can read in an NEJM editorial: Given the dearth of acceptable treatments for this disorder, these robust efficacy results, combined with a benign safety profile, suggest an important role for tafamidis in the treatment of transthyretin cardiomyopathy. (NEJM Sept 13, 2018, p. 1084).
Now, I care nothing about tafamidis. I have no horse in this race. But I'm interested in amyloids, so I added the study for what it found, and nothing more. My addition was then completely reverted by user:Jytdog here with the somewhat rude comment that we avoid primary sources, along with a comment on my talk page that I had formatted the references wrong.
Why should I work to get them right, if somebody is just going to remove rather than improve? That's why I stay away from the medical content of Wikipedia. From what I know of ATTR (including familial amyloid polyneuropathy) I would be willing to bet a large sum that this drug is active. I would also be willing to bet a lesser sum that, given the important nature of this study, somebody will succeed in adding some review of ATTR treatment that contains this study as centerpiece (but nothing more that confirms it), as a "secondary source" in WP, and it will "stick." Or more likely, the FDA will use the same study (or the same multicenter data) as basis to approve the drug for this use. THEN, WP will mention it. But the FDA's endorsement (with no more data) adds nothing epistemologically, either. NONE of it is better than just the primary source and editorial, no matter who else signs-on. The evidence is just as good (or bad) as it ever was. Meanwhile, you're just fooling yourselves. But you on WP will do that. Wait and see.
Fast forward to yesterday May 6, 2019  The FDA approved tafamidis for ATT-CR (cardiomyopathy) based on the single NEJM study above, and no other data. (Projected cost for patients is $225,000 a year. Two cheers)
Apparently I am clairvoyant, as this is exactly what I predicted would happen last September (see above). Alas, nobody took me up on my bet.
However, I was not allowed to enter the study upon which this drug was approved, into the article on amyloid polyneuropathy. Although it was in the NEJM, it was seen as a primary study, and thus not include-able in WP, despite being the best clinical study available (and thus actually not in violation of WP:MEDRS until there was some statement of it being an accepted treatment-- it would have to put as "experimental treatment." But I wasn't given that option either.) A fight in the WP:AN3 erupted with me being reported by user:Jytdog . This did nobody any good. A long discussion on this TALK page featured Jytdog giving a dissertation on how medical journals are corrupt and even NATURE has to withdraw articles, and THEREFORE this NEJM article could not be mentioned on WP. See the above reference-- I do not want to repeat it all here, but go and read. And it featured me saying this whole argument was ridiculous (see above) because the FDA was going to approve the drug anyway, based on this single study that we refuse to mention on WP. Which is just what happened.
Now that the drug is approved, the study I wanted to include has been made notable by the fact that the FDA used it as data to approve the drug. However, the study itself is still a primary source. Mentions in secondary reviews do not change that, as a review of one paper is not a review, but simply a mention by somebody else, with nothing to add. No new knowledge or reliability is added.
At the end of the discussion referenced above, I was asked what my solution was. I had none. I still have none. Against stupidity, the gods themselves contend in vain. WP's MEDRS edit-warring is really stupid. Common sense do I not see. Although I am able to predict the future, so there's that. SBHarris 01:29, 8 May 2019 (UTC)
- Well, I just found out that the editor Jytdog who blocked my inclusion of the NEJM article cite last September, and then took me to the 3RR noticeboard over it, was actually banned last December, a few months later, for some completely unrelated WP infraction, but which also involved total intractability over editing. Where there is smoke, there is fire. Where is my apology??? for the crap this editor and WP put me through on this single citation for this single drug-- the wikilawyering, and the bad faith, and the perverted process, and (finally) the poorer encyclopedia that came out of the process because not one of you stood up for my side of what was happening? 03:31, 23 July 2019 (UTC)
Wikipedia and the systematic obfuscation and denial of HomeopathyEdit
Hello I see the fundraising button on wiki. I would gladly donate but I have a few issues.
- I am a homeopath and the homeopathy page you have does not reflect the true nature of homeopathy
- I am a homeopath and your medical reference sections do not list anything about herbology or homeopathy, only allopathic treatment options
- I am a book writer and medical researcher and your human biology sections do not include anything about the wealth of information on herbal and homeopathic drugs that treat any of these conditions.
- I am a practitioner that works with children who have vaccine damage and no content about vaccines on Wiki talks about the damages that vaccines do.
- Because I am a homeopath and work with vaccine damage not only are my medical or research needs not met by wikipedia, I am cast out as a charlatan, liar, practicing pseudo- science, and criminally negligent for not being pro-vaccine. I remember when the internet was developed. The vision was for a vast vault of knowledge for a better world or free information. It appears that that is not possible when there is an agenda to censor and manipulate the information being presented. Homeopathy has been around for over 2000 years and Herbology is ancient. There needs to be more complete information on the internet to reflect and fulfill the quest humans have to know. A medically driven myopic view of the world is not helping anyone.
When wikipedia is able to support something other than the pharmaceutical driven medical agenda I would be happy to contribute.
Plus also the homeopathy page has been taken over by anit-homeopathy people. It is locked and there is not talk page. Until Wikipedia and all the volunteers who work the platform allow representative from the profession who understand the 200 year old practice of homeopathy, and are willing to discuss it in a descriptive rather than opinion based context I will stand by my 'I would donate but..' I can't support an organization that actively denies the reality of my life, practice and the patients who I see every day that are helped with homeopathy.
If you would please forward this on to people who might review this. There is money to be had in this world and money to shared for the good of humanity. I know I will not be sharing any of my money with wikipedia and it volunteer editors when they/it is bent on trying to destroy not only my financial livelihood, but that of 500,000's or more other homeopathic practitioners around the world and the 200 million people who utilize homeopathy worldwide and the multi-million dollar industry of homeopathic remedies. The action by wikipedia and its editors such as the likes of Ben Goldacre, taken against one sector of the GDP and the international practice and trade of homeopathic remedies and knowledge. Homeopathy would never had gotten to this level of econimic growth if it did not work.
This action taken by the editors on Wikipedia is worthy of antitrust legal action. I will need to be taking with my people on how to take steps along these lines.
- @Katebhom: To be perfectly blunt, homeopathy is considered to be a WP:FRINGE theory and therefore not worthy of any coverage in any capacity but that.--Jasper Deng (talk) 00:32, 12 July 2019 (UTC)
- Also, we do not take legal threats lightly; you may be blocked or banned if you continue to claim legal action. --Masem (t) 18:59, 7 August 2019 (UTC)
Homeopathy would never had gotten to this level of econimic [sic] growth if it did not work.So the huge size of the gambling industry shows that gambling works for those who engage in it? It's a ridiculous argument. Snake oil may have been discredited, but snake oil products abound, sadly. Peter coxhead (talk) 07:42, 9 August 2019 (UTC)
The use of blogsEdit
- As it says at the top, this page is "for discussing improvements to the Identifying reliable sources (medicine) page", not for general queries. If your question is whether blog posts can be reliable sources, the answer is yes. It depends on the precise use. The question should be asked at the article's talk page or (with a specific example as stipulated there) at WP:RS/N. Alexbrn (talk) 13:28, 2 August 2019 (UTC)
A question of applicability of MEDRSEdit
Due to several articles coming out in mainstream sources, I am looking to have a better article to cover the issues of "violence and video games" which is presently buried among the article Video game controversies. I am initially tackling this from a history standpoint, focusing only on when various govt actions and other key statements and actions were made. Not a MEDRS question yet.
However, I do feel that at some point we will need to include some cross section of studies - of which there have been numerous - that claim there's no connection between video games and violence, with a few that do make that assertion. This is where I ask: would MEDRS cover this side of the issue, if the nature of these studies that will be used should meet MEDRS? This does have to do with psychiatry and mental health, so I think it will just slip into MEDRS coverage for that.
Assuming this is the case, I suspect that I as I dig into politician responses, they are going to cite studies that do fail MEDRS. Assuming the politician's statement is appropriate and not UNDUE, is linking to the non-MEDRS study appropriate or not? Do we call this out as a bad source (I don't thnk we can).
(I do recognize there are other facts on the current Video game controversies page where there are medical claims being made - eg playing video games releasing endorphins-type stuff and that's going to need a better cleanup for MEDRS compliance, but I'm voicing on if a study suggesting video games lead to violence has to be handled by MEDRS sources?) --Masem (t) 23:08, 9 August 2019 (UTC)