Monday, May 15, 2017

Understanding Research: An Autism Researcher Answers Your Questions

Consumers and patients are bombarded with information about medical research and autism treatments almost daily. Often these articles and social media posts include terms that can mean many different things. J. Kiely Law, research director and co-founder of the Interactive Autism Network (IAN), answers some common questions about what research really is – and isn't. Dr. Law is a physician, a researcher, and the mother of a young adult with autism spectrum disorder (ASD).

Interactive Autism Network: The terms "evidence-based medicine and treatment" or "science-based medicine" are used a lot. What do they mean?
Dr. Law: It means that an idea or treatment has been scientifically tested and, based on those test results, the idea is valid or, in the case of a treatment, the treatment works. The more times the test is repeated with the same result, the more evidence there is that the idea or treatment is valid. For example, cars go through a series of tests to make sure they are safe, and medical science does the same thing. Science uses a specific way of testing an idea, called a hypothesis. This way of testing is called the scientific method, and its purpose is to remove anything from the test that could bias or invalidate the results.

IAN: Sometimes providers or businesses publish patient testimonials about how a therapy or product works to treat autism. Is that similar to research?

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