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    A working party looking into the inclusion of placebos in surgical trials has led to a recommendation for greater use of the controversial method by the Royal College of Surgeons of England. Although placebo control groups are used in drug trials across the world, placebo-controlled surgical trials are extremely rare, with only 75 such trials published up to October last year. Often labelled with the misleading term ‘sham surgery’, it has long been argued that because placebo surgery is more invasive than placebo drugs it is difficult to justify its use. However a new paper resulting from the working party, ‘When should placebo surgery as a control […]
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    When Charles Frederick Thackray and Henry Scurrah Wainwright bought a Leeds retail pharmacy as a going concern in 1902, they could hardly have foreseen that their business would one day expand to employ more than 700 people, with markets all over the world. In less than a century, the corner shop was to grow into one of Britain’s principal medical companies, manufacturing drugs and instruments, and pioneering the hip replacement operation which has changed the lives of hundreds of thousands of people. The story begins with Charles Thackray’s predecessor, Samuel Taylor, who came to Leeds from York as a young […]
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    The late 1960s was a time of ideological confusion when the idea of social progress generally lost the association with science it had in the 1930s. The medical age of optimism began to seem an age of credulity. In 1971 Cochrane (Cochrane,  A.L., Effectiveness and efficiency,  London:  Nuffield Provincial Hospitals Trust, 1971.)  was the first of a series of authors presenting fundamental criticisms of the theory, practice and profession of contem­porary medicine in Britain and North America (Powles,  J.,   ‘On  the  limitations  of modern  medicine’, Science,Medicine and Man 1973; 1:1-30;  Fuchs, V.R., Who shall live?, New York: Basic Books, 1974;  Cochrane,   […]
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