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In the scientific realm, anecdotal evidence—the individual patient, the single result—tends to be shunned in favor of large, dense data sets and impersonal statistical analyses. Although that foundation must remain the core of solid research, examples and narratives should be invoked to round out the explanation of what the hard science says, Zachary Meisel, MD, MS, an assistant professor of Emergency Medicine and Jason Karlawish, MD, a professor of Medicine and Medical Ethics, contended in an essay published last week in JAMA. “Stories are an essential part of how individuals understand and use evidence,” they wrote. And they can have a powerful effect on public opinion and policy, say the authors, both of whom are senior fellows in the Leonard Davis Institute of Health Economics. The Scientific American “Observations” blog covered their piece, along with The Daily Beast, MedCity News, and Science 2.0.
Scientific American blog post
The Daily Beast blog post
MedCity News article
Science 20 article