Are We Not Worth It? OB/Gyn Decisions Driven by Consensus not Evidence

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A recent study by researchers at Columbia University uncovered what many women have suspected for years, that the clinical practice of obstetrics and gynecology (Ob/Gyn) is steeped in tradition and opinion but lacks data and evidence. The study, Scientific Evidence Underlying the American College of Obstetricians’ and Gynecologists’ Practice Guidelines authored by Dr. Jason D. Wright and colleagues found that only 30% of Ob/Gyn clinical practice guidelines were based on hard data or scientific evidence. Rather, the vast majority of practice guidelines (70%) were based on observational studies, consensus or expert opinion.  Perhaps this is why it takes 5-10 years to diagnose common Gyn conditions, why oral contraceptives are the first line of treatment for every women’s health conditions or why most pregnancy complications are still, in the 21st century, considered idiopathic.  Without data, it sure is difficult to sway expert opinion.  What do you think?
Link to the press release: Ob/gyn Guidelines Often Based Opinion Weak Data

Reference
Wright JD, et al. Scientific Evidence Underlying the American College of Obstetricians’ and Gynecologists’ Practice  Guidelines. Online in press version, September 2011, Obstetrics and Gynecology 118 (3).

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Chandler Marrs, PhD

Chandler Marrs MS, MA, PhD spent the last dozen years in women’s health research with a focus on steroid neuroendocrinology and mental health. She has published and presented several articles on her findings. As a graduate student, she founded and directed the UNLV Maternal Health Lab, mentoring dozens of students while directing clinical and Internet-based research. Post graduate, she continued at UNLV as an adjunct faculty member, teaching advanced undergraduate psychopharmacology and health psychology (stress endocrinology). Dr. Marrs received her BA in philosophy from the University of Redlands; MS in Clinical Psychology from California Lutheran University; and, MA and PhD in Experimental Psychology/ Neuroendocrinology from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas.

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