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Brown to establish Center for Evidence-Based Medicine
Date:3/2/2012

nd mathematics into his work. "We also want to get into the broader areas of nearby disciplines such as decision analysis and economic analysis. At the same time we want to tackle applied problems, particularly in biomedicine, which is our forte, but also [expand into] other disciplines."

Evidence-based medicine and science

A central tenet of evidence-based medicine that doctors should base treatment decisions on what rigorous quantitative research has found to be the most likely outcome for patients is a simple one. Actually determining what the medical literature has to say about a treatment, not just in one study but in many, is a complex scientific endeavor that is still a growing area of study, said Terrie Fox Wetle, associate dean of medicine for public health. The new center will be based in Brown's Public Health Program.

Increased use of evidence-based medicine is a major emphasis of health care reform under the Affordable Care Act passed in 2010.

But much like many consumers puzzle over seemingly different but related studies about the supposed health benefits from a particular food or dietary supplement, doctors too are confronted with many studies about treatments. The research team develops the sophisticated analytical methods necessary to reconcile those individual findings so that doctors can draw a more definitive and reliable conclusion.

About 20 years ago, Lau wrote one of the first computer programs to aid in such "meta-analyses" of study data and co-authored a landmark set of papers in the New England Journal of Medicine and the Journal of the American Medical Association applying the techniques to studies of heart attack treatments.

Since then the group has continued to develop mathematical and computational methods for selecting and comparing studies, then synthesizing information from those studies to aid in medical and other decision making. They have also won grants
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Contact: David Orenstein
david_orenstein@brown.edu
401-863-1862
Brown University
Source:Eurekalert

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