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2014-12-23 Happy holidays and the limits of double-blind trials

posted 23 Dec 2014, 02:18 by Cake Kidd   [ updated 11 Jan 2015, 06:20 ]

Heya everybody,

I have been quite busy recently, both in private life and at work … and am so enjoying the holidays now! ☺ I hope I manage to relax, get up to speed on all my other things and be social … we’ll see. 😏

But first of all, happy holidays to everybody who is reading this. I quite like Christmas, the festival of warmth, love and light in the midst of Winter. If we didn’t have it, we’d definitely have to invent something like it, but probably all cultures living in Northern latitudes have similar festivities anyway. The short days, the darkness, the cold and the weather can get to you, and it’s a great thing to light candles 🕯, to have some decorations and customs to mark the turn of the seasons. I’m a cultural protestant christian, and I do like the mix of traditions that is celebrated in so many lovely ways (christmas trees 🎄, christmas markets!). One tradition that made a big impression on me was the festival of Saint Lucy or Santa Lucia in Sweden. It’s so awesome and touching to hear the singing of a Santa Lucia procession, slowly walking out of the dark. In my home town, it is still tradition to hold a solstice celebration with a traditional torchlight procession and a bonfire, which I also find moving.

And now for something completely different – In August I wrote a short critique on a report criticising studies on the efficacy of sex reassignment surgery for not meeting the gold standard of evidence-based medicine, double-blind trials. Last week’s XKCD web comic summed up the problems with double-blind trials beautifully:

XKCD on blind trials

Any educated, rational person does support evidence-based medicine – after all, the aim of medicine is to help people, to improve people’s lives, and in order to make sure that’s happening, we need to check whether that’s happening (it seems so simple, why do so many people don’t get that?). This is of course also the objective of this website, collecting evidence regarding the nature of gender dysphoria and the treatments that help. But naturally, not all levels of evidence can be applied to all treatments.

Oh, and I added eight new studies today … summary to follow!

Peace and light ✨