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1 researchok  Mon, Dec 19, 2011 1:06:12pm

I wonder how many shares of Pfizer were sold during that 2 day period between the PR blitz and the announcement the torcetrapib trials were being discontinued.

They probably made money going long and then again shorting the stock.

2 Locker  Mon, Dec 19, 2011 1:08:41pm

This isn’t science which is failing us.. it’s drug company marketing that’s failing.

3 Political Atheist  Mon, Dec 19, 2011 2:01:25pm

re: #2 Locker

This isn’t science which is failing us.. it’s drug company marketing that’s failing.

Try reading the article through. It’s not about zealous marketing.

4 Locker  Mon, Dec 19, 2011 2:35:00pm

It’s not about science failing either it’s about scientists failing by not using the right model. Why? Because the right model takes a whole lot longer. So why not use the longer method? Money. Marketing. Get approved, push the stock up.

5 Political Atheist  Mon, Dec 19, 2011 2:47:56pm

re: #4 Locker

It’s not about science failing either it’s about scientists failing by not using the right model. Why? Because the right model takes a whole lot longer. So why not use the longer method? Money. Marketing. Get approved, push the stock up.

Not really-

But here’s the bad news: The reliance on correlations has entered an age of diminishing returns. At least two major factors contribute to this trend. First, all of the easy causes have been found, which means that scientists are now forced to search for ever-subtler correlations, mining that mountain of facts for the tiniest of associations. Is that a new cause? Or just a statistical mistake? The line is getting finer; science is getting harder. Second—and this is the biggy—searching for correlations is a terrible way of dealing with the primary subject of much modern research: those complex networks at the center of life. While correlations help us track the relationship between independent measurements, such as the link between smoking and cancer, they are much less effective at making sense of systems in which the variables cannot be isolated. Such situations require that we understand every interaction before we can reliably understand any of them. Given the byzantine nature of biology, this can often be a daunting hurdle, requiring that researchers map not only the complete cholesterol pathway but also the ways in which it is plugged into other pathways. (The neglect of these secondary and even tertiary interactions begins to explain the failure of torcetrapib, which had unintended effects on blood pressure. It also helps explain the success of Lipitor, which seems to have a secondary effect of reducing inflammation.) Unfortunately, we often shrug off this dizzying intricacy, searching instead for the simplest of correlations. It’s the cognitive equivalent of bringing a knife to a gunfight.


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