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Concerning the “repression” of ω -3 polyunsaturated fatty acids by adepts of evidence-based medicine

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The subject of this article is the obvious crisis of evidence-based medicine in the 21st century. As a typical example of a contemporary “evidence-based study”, here we analyze in detail a text published in 2018 in the Cochrane Database Syst Rev journal under the code number “CD00317F. The authors claim that ω -3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) are not effective either for the prevention of cardiovascular mortality or for any other outcomes mentioned by the authors. A detailed analysis of this text, however, pointed to gross violations of data collection and processing. By using modern mathematical methods for big data analysis we were able to demonstrate clearly that the authors of the text CD003177 used clinically heterogeneous cohorts of patients. We then selected a subsample of 19 clinically homogeneous studies (total of 64771 patients) and conducted a meta-analysis of this data. According to the results, an increase in consumption of ω -3 PUFA -eicosapentaenoic (EPA) and docosahexaenoic (DHA) acids - by 1 g/day was associated with a significant decrease in the risk of mortality by an average of 5% (OR - 0.945, 95% CI - 0.907-1.008; P=0.054). This meta-analysis was based on the modified clinical, laboratory and anthropometric criteria in the selected studies. In addition, we used the most important characteristics of ω -3 PUFAs pharmaceutical forms and the modern statistical analysis of biomedical data. With the above modifications, we managed to select a homogeneous subsample of clinically relevant studies. We also applied methods of sentiment analysis to demonstrate a subjective approach used by the above authors regarding the role of PUFAs in the prevention of cardiovascular morbidity. Using the language of today social media, some adepts of evidence-based medicine implement propaganda techniques to literally “repress” ω -3 PUFAs.

About the Authors

I. Yu. Torshin
Federal Research Center “Informatics and Management”, Russian Academy of Sciences; Moscow State University
Russian Federation

Ivan Yu. Torshin - PhD, Senior Researcher, Federal Research Center “Informatics and Management”, RAS; MSU, Scopus Author ID: 7003300274; Author ID: 54104; WOS ID C-7683-2018

O. A. Gromova
Federal Research Center “Informatics and Management”, Russian Academy of Sciences; Moscow State University
Russian Federation

Olga A. Gromova - MD, PhD, Professor, Senior Researcher, Scientific Director of the Federal Research Center “Informatics and Management”, RAS; Leading Researcher, Center for Big Data Analysis, MSU. RISIN SPIN-code: 6317-9833; Author ID: 94901; Scopus Author ID: 7003589812; WOS ID: J-4946-2017

Zh. D. Kobalava
Peoples’ Friendship University of Russia
Russian Federation

Zhanna D. Kobalava - MD, PhD, Professor, Head of the Department of Internal Medicine, Cardiology and Clinical Pharmacology


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For citation:

Torshin I.Y., Gromova O.A., Kobalava Z.D. Concerning the “repression” of ω -3 polyunsaturated fatty acids by adepts of evidence-based medicine. FARMAKOEKONOMIKA. Modern Pharmacoeconomic and Pharmacoepidemiology. 2019;12(2):91-114. (In Russ.)

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