Smart drugs and Nootropics are a niche which is particularly vulnerable to bad science.
Pubmed is standing up for science by now publishing conflicts of interest information on the study abstract page. Instead of burying it behind an academic paywall. That’s progress!
This resulted from 62 scientists and physicians, and five United States senators petitioning the National Library of Medicine & National Institutes of Health to make public the funding sources of studies. This makes me more optimistic about institutions and politicians — in the news, it seems that all we hear about is how corrupt and incompetent institutions and politicians are but sometimes they actually act in our best interests!
Like a lot of you, I listen to the Joe Rogan podcast and he frequently mentions the double-blind, placebo-controlled study that Onnit funded on their flagship product alpha BRAIN®. Since Joe Rogan himself admitted that this study is has a blatant conflict of interest because Onnit paid for it, I figured that the conflict of interest should show up on its abstract page but as you can see, it doesn’t.
A randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled, parallel group, efficacy study of alpha BRAIN…
Hum Psychopharmacol. 2016 Mar;31(2):135–43. doi: 10.1002/hup.2520. Epub 2016 Feb 15. Randomized Controlled Trial…
So if Pubmed’s conflict of interest function working? I cross-referenced conflicts of interest with Bayer — a pharmaceutical firm which has long been criticized for corrupting science and I found nearly 400 conflicts of interest — which is kind of what you would expect.
Bayer[Conflict of Interest Statements] — PubMed — NCBI
PubMed comprises more than 27 million citations for biomedical literature from MEDLINE, life science journals, and…
Why? Pubmed catalogs millions of scientific papers and studies and while researchers are required to disclose funding sources which could be a conflict of interest, a lot of times this information is hidden near the bottom of the paper near the citations or references. It’s not like Pubmed has thousands of employees who can go through mountains of studies to find the conflicts of interest.
Perhaps Aubrey Marcus will update the Pubmed abstract for the Alpha BRAIN® study with the relevant conflict of interest information but the, unfortunately, the financial incentives here are for researchers and publishers to obscure conflict of interests.
This lends much more credibility to recent scientific publications as with studies done years or decades ago it’s much easier to hide or lie about conflicts of interest. You may ask…
So are studies with conflicts of interest useless?
Not necessarily. Researchers and scientists are very concerned about their reputations.
This vindicates the research methodology I’ve been employing the past several years, which is to value the findings of recent studies above
Going forward I’m going to show particular preference to studies done after April of 2017 as they are a lot more likely to be upfront about conflicts of interest. I suggest you do the same.