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Controlled Scientific Studies versus Scientific Research
Published: February 16, 2016

You have probably heard many people promoting a new health product or technique being backed by scientific research. And yet, what does scientific research mean? It may mean nothing or it could be important as there are many levels of proof with scientific research. When trying to get someone to buy a new product, 'scientific research' sounds good as this could indicate the product has been tested with double-blind studies, but is it only theoretically supposed to work? Many products and services are advertised as being backed by scientific research, but that only means it theoretically does something but has not actually been shown to be effective in a patient.

The other end of the spectrum is a product that has been tested in a double-blind controlled study. In these studies, a drug or technique is used on a group of patients with the same condition, and a similar group of patients are not treated with the drug or technique; that's the double part. The researcher evaluating results does not know which patients received the drug or technique and neither do the participating the owners in animal medicine studies or people in human studies; that's the blind-controlled part. So the owner (or patient) and the doctor are blind as to whether or not the patient in question received the product being tested or a placebo that couldn't change anything. This is the best method to determine if a drug or technique is effective.

Many times people that promote new products or techniques without double-blind controlled studies say they are expensive and are not needed. However, the science they cite to promote their products is, in many cases, theoretical. So before you purchase a supplement for your animals, ask the company to see the published paper about their double-blind controlled studies. If none are available, it is only a guess if it is effective. Lastly, testimonials are useless in determining the efficacy of a product.

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