Thursday, August 21, 2014

Research turns theories upside down

I read Dr Susan Love's blog - she writes well and she knows her stuff - and I have heard her speak so I feel a connection. Recently she posted about some interesting new research which has some wide implications. While the research itself sounds interesting, I am more interested in Dr Love's comments about the research.

She makes the point:

"Two new papers have been published which are causing many to reevaluate their thinking about cancers and which cells are important.  Once again, our previous theories have been stood on their heads!"

So what was believed was wrong. We need to remember that. As research progresses and we learn more and more about things, we often find we were completely wrong. (The world used to be flat, wasn't it?)

We have to remember that when new research proves other research wrong, it doesn't mean it was anyone's fault. We didn't know there were options. We didn't have the technology to know then what we know now. Sometimes we have the tendency to say 'If I had that treatment, I would be so much better off.' But we can't beat ourselves up for that.

On the flip side, we have to remember as we learn more and more about cancer, those pesky five year statistics tables are based on old technology so they are outdated. And we can assume, rightly so, that our odds are better than those stupid tables.

And more research may disprove the latest breakthroughs in the future but we are doing as best we can in the interim. Meanwhile, back at the ranch, I am still waiting for that cure for cancer that Star Trek says they discovered in the 21st century.

1 comment:

Nancy's Point said...

You know, I hadn't really thought much about this, but your absolutely right. What we know grows, evolves and changes based on new technology and new discoveries and the like. A teacher of mine once said, "The more we know about anything, the less we know about everything." Or something like that. Made perfect sense. Still does. Anyway, that's what popped into my head when I read your post.