University of Minnesota
School of Physics & Astronomy

History of Science and Technology/Minnesota Center for Philosophy of Science Colloquium

Friday, September 23rd 2016
Speaker: Robyn Bluhm, Michigan State University
Subject: "How to Think About Mechanisms in Medicine"
Refreshments served at 3:15 p.m.

In this talk, I argue that the best way to think about knowledge of mechanisms in medical research and practice is to consider the relationship between knowledge of physiological mechanisms and knowledge gained from epidemiological methods, particularly clinical trials. The dominant view, rooted in evidence-based medicine, is that only clinical trials can establish treatment effectiveness, but not all such trials are equally useful. I draw on work by James Tabery and C. Kenneth Waters to show how knowledge of physiological mechanisms can improve the design and interpretation of clinical trials.

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