🔬 Is That Science? Understanding Clinical Trials & The Importance of Evidence

Hello, science lovers! Today, we’re unpacking the essentials of clinical trials and why relying on strong evidence is crucial in scientific claims,  especially in medical treatments. Let’s dive into some key concepts and debunk a common misconception with an expert lens!

What is a Clinical Trial?

A clinical trial is a research study designed to evaluate the effectiveness and safety of medications, devices, or treatment protocols on human participants. These trials are fundamental to medical advancement, as they help determine whether a new treatment is better or safer than existing options.

The Role of Randomization and Blinding

Randomization and blinding are two pillars of robust clinical trials:

  • Randomization refers to the process of assigning participants to different groups (experimental vs. control) randomly. This method helps eliminate selection bias, ensuring the results are due to the intervention and not pre-existing differences among participants.
  • Blinding keeps participants, and sometimes the researchers, unaware of who received the experimental treatment and who received a placebo. This prevents bias in treatment administration and data interpretation, promoting objective results.

The Importance of Peer Review

Peer review is a critical evaluation by other experts in the field before research is published. It ensures the research’s methods and conclusions are sound and replicable. This rigorous scrutiny helps maintain the integrity and credibility of scientific literature.

Analyzing Claims: Science or Not?

Consider the claim: “I treated half my face with Botox and the other half with Dysport. The Botox lasted longer ==> Botox lasts longer than Dysport. Fact.”

Is this science? No, it’s not, and here’s why

  • Lack of Control: The experiment has no control group, which is essential to compare the treatment against a baseline.
  • Single Subject: Scientific conclusions require results from a large group to ensure findings are not due to individual variances.
  • Absence of Blinding: Knowing which treatment was applied to which side of the face could introduce bias in observing results.
  • Not Peer Reviewed: Without review by other experts, there’s no verification of the methods used or the accuracy of the conclusions.


While personal experiments can be intriguing and lead to hypotheses, they do not substitute the rigorous, controlled, and peer-reviewed processes required in true scientific research. Always look for evidence from well-conducted clinical trials before accepting medical claims.

Your health decisions should be based on reliable, scientifically validated information. Stay informed and critical of the evidence presented!


Anthony S Russell, Alex R Russell