Concerning the “repression” of ω-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids by adepts of evidence-based medicine [О репрессиях ω-3 полиненасыщенных жирных кислот адептами доказательной медицины]

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 “CD003177”. 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. © 2019 Farmakoekonomika.

Torshin I.Yu.1, 2 , Gromova O.A. 1, 2 , Kobalava Zh.D. 3
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  • 1 Federal Research Center “Informatics and Management, Russian Academy of Sciences, Russian Federation
  • 2 Moscow State University, Russian Federation
  • 3 Peoples' Friendship University of Russia, Russian Federation
Big data analysis; Cardiology; Evidence-based medicine; Omega-3 PUFA; Pharmacology
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