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CrossFit Health is an investigation into the ills of modern medicine and the wilful abuse of the public’s trust in science. The lessons learned from the legal dismantling of fake science, a crooked journal, and perjuring scientists have given us a forensic view as to how everything might have gone so wrong. We’re calling the combination of runaway medical costs and disease rates–which many profit from but none combat effectively—“The Mess.”

Library of economics and liberty

"Marcia Angell of Harvard Medical School and the author of 'The Truth About the Drug Companies' talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about the impact of pharmaceutical companies on academic research, clinical trials and the political process. Angell argues that the large pharmaceutical companies produce little or no innovation and use their political power to exploit consumers and taxpayers."

Listen Angell on Big Pharma

The 2019 CrossFit Health Conference will take place July 31 at the Monona Terrace in Madison, Wisconsin. There, CrossFit Health will continue its annual tradition of bringing together world-class thinkers from the scientific and CrossFit communities to explore the devolution of science and the ills of modern medicine. This year, speakers will discuss three central themes — the war on cholesterol and fat, the metabolic effects of low-carb diets, and the widespread sacrifice of scientific truth on the altar of the pharmaceutical industry — all through the lens of their personal experiences with “The Mess.”

Read MoreThe 2019 CrossFit Health Conference

In 1993, Prof. Peter C. Gøtzsche co-founded the famous Cochrane Collaboration, an organization formed to conduct systematic reviews of medical research in the interest of promoting unbiased evidence-based science. During his tenure with Cochrane, Gøtzsche fought to uphold its original values. However, when Gøtzsche attempted to correct the path of consensus science or point to industry-related bias, Cochrane sought to censor him and eventually expelled him in 2018 after what he calls a Kafkaesque “show trial.” Here, Gøtzsche shares the research that led to his fallout with Cochrane as well as his firsthand experiences witnessing the organization’s moral collapse.

Watch Peter C. Gøtzsche: Death of a Whistleblower and Cochrane’s Moral Collapse

In this October 2018 editorial, Michael Hengartner and Martin Plöderl argue trials investigating the impact of antidepressants show statistically significant but not clinically significant effects, and even these meager effects may be eroded by known biases.

Read MoreStatistically Significant Antidepressant-Placebo Differences on Subjective Symptom-Rating Scales Do Not Prove that the Drugs Work: Effect Size and Method Bias Matter!

Dr. Glenn Begley, CEO of BioCurate and a respected hematologist and oncologist, is famous for producing a study in 2012 that demonstrated most preclinical research related to cancer drugs cannot be reproduced. In this lecture, he shares the criteria he used for evaluating the research and the methods he found researchers used to distort their data. He then presents his diagnosis of the problem inherent in the academic research cycle, which he claims fuels the desperation that produces such distortions.

Watch Dr. Glenn Begley: Perverse Incentives Promote Scientific Laziness, Exaggeration, and Desperation

Dr. Seamus O’Mahony began studying gastroenterology in the mid-1980s, a time he associates with the end of the “golden age of medicine,” which he claims began in the mid-1930s. In this 2019 Lancet editorial, O’Mahony contrasts the golden age with the present “age of disappointment,” arguing medical science has been corrupted by Big Pharma and bloated with research and data that fail to help patients; the medical industry has become more focused on the production, accumulation, and deployment of unreliable information than on helping people. As a result, O’Mahony argues, it is doing “more harm than good to the people it is supposed to serve.”

Read MoreAfter the Golden Age: What is Medicine for?

Professor Peter C. Gøtzsche discusses the first of the 10 myths of psychiatry that he outlines in his article “Psychiatry Gone Astray”: the myth that mental illness is caused by a chemical imbalance and can be fixed with drugs. Gøtzsche argues there is no evidence to support the myth and says psychiatric disorders should be treated with psychotherapy rather than medications. “Antipsychotics have no specific effects at all on psychosis,” he explains.

Read MoreThe Harmful Myth About the Chemical Imbalance Causing Psychiatric Disorders

These two papers, one from 2018 and one from 2019, analyze the effectiveness of measures Coca-Cola has taken in an apparent effort to ensure transparency regarding the scientific research it funds. The 2019 paper assesses contracts between Coca-Cola and multiple academic institutions and claims Coca-Cola’s stated principles geared toward preserving researcher independence are ultimately undermined by the fact that the company retains the ability to terminate a research program at any time. The 2018 paper evaluates Coca-Cola’s transparency lists and finds that the company fails to share a complete list of its research activities and researchers often fail to disclose Coke funding.

Read MoreTwo studies on Coca-Cola’s lack of transparency in commercial research funding

“Most people let their doctor make the decisions for them, but the evidence tells us that we should be cautious,” Professor Peter C. Gøtzsche explains. Gøtzsche, a specialist in internal medicine, also recommends avoiding medications whenever possible. “We live in a world that is so overdiagnosed and overtreated that in high-income countries, our medications are the third leading cause of death after heart disease and cancer,” he observes.

Read More”Trust me, I’m a doctor”

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