Why RCTs? Part 4

To Fitbit or Not to Fitbit- Does It Make a Difference?

Wearable Fitness Trackers may make us lose less weight

fitbitimageA blasphemous claim, perhaps, considering how attached we can be to these devices. How could you not lose weight clocking more and more steps each day? Don’t Fitbits and other similar trackers give a point and meaning to our exercise or daily routine? What did we do before this technology, which seems beneficial yet all of sudden life-encompassing? (David Sedaris lamented the death of his Fitbit, “Walking twenty-five miles, or even running up the stairs and back, suddenly seemed pointless, since, without the steps being counted and registered, what use were they?”)

Why RCTs? Part 3

Why Randomized Controlled Trials (RCTs)?

Pt. 3: Scared Straight

This is Part 3 in a series called “Why RCTs?” which explores experiences with and without the benefit of randomized study across disciplines. You’ve read about robot babies and hormone replacement therapy.  We now bring you an example from the criminal justice system that will show you the possible consequences of implementing programs without knowledge of their effectiveness- even when we have a good gut feeling of how those programs should work.

Why RCTs? Part 2

Why Randomized Controlled Trials (RCTs)?

Pt. 2: Hormone Replacement Therapy

This is Part 2 in a series called “Why RCTs?” which explores experiences with and without the benefit of randomized study across disciplines. In case you weren’t shocked enough by the robot babies account from last week, this blog post explores another catastrophic outcome, this time in the medical field. This time, the RCT produced results drastically different from those in prior observational studies, causing the medical community to reconsider long-held beliefs about the benefits of a treatment for cancer patients.

Why RCTs? Part 1

Why Randomized Controlled Trials (RCTs)?

Pt. 1: Robot Babies

Welcome! This is the first post in a series called “Why Randomized Controlled Trials (RCTs)?” which will explore experiences across disciplines. Here we explain how RCTs have often turned commonly accepted beliefs on their heads and reveal how rigorous testing is needed even when, and perhaps especially when, we assume to know the best practices in a field.