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Why do ineffective treatments seem helpful? A brief review

Overview of attention for article published in Chiropractic & Osteopathy, October 2009
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About this Attention Score

  • In the top 5% of all research outputs scored by Altmetric
  • High Attention Score compared to outputs of the same age (99th percentile)

Mentioned by

news
1 news outlet
blogs
1 blog
twitter
365 tweeters
facebook
37 Facebook pages
googleplus
2 Google+ users
video
2 video uploaders

Citations

dimensions_citation
26 Dimensions

Readers on

mendeley
314 Mendeley
connotea
1 Connotea
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Title
Why do ineffective treatments seem helpful? A brief review
Published in
Chiropractic & Osteopathy, October 2009
DOI 10.1186/1746-1340-17-10
Pubmed ID
Authors

Steve E Hartman

Abstract

After any therapy, when symptoms improve, healthcare providers (and patients) are tempted to award credit to treatment. Over time, a particular treatment can seem so undeniably helpful that scientific verification of efficacy is judged an inconvenient waste of time and resources. Unfortunately, practitioners' accumulated, day-to-day, informal impressions of diagnostic reliability and clinical efficacy are of limited value. To help clarify why even treatments entirely lacking in direct effect can seem helpful, I will explain why real signs and symptoms often improve, independent of treatment. Then, I will detail quirks of human perception, interpretation, and memory that often make symptoms seem improved, when they are not. I conclude that healthcare will grow to full potential only when judgments of clinical efficacy routinely are based in properly scientific, placebo-controlled, outcome analysis.

Twitter Demographics

The data shown below were collected from the profiles of 365 tweeters who shared this research output. Click here to find out more about how the information was compiled.

Mendeley readers

The data shown below were compiled from readership statistics for 314 Mendeley readers of this research output. Click here to see the associated Mendeley record.

Geographical breakdown

Country Count As %
Brazil 3 <1%
France 2 <1%
Australia 2 <1%
Canada 2 <1%
United States 2 <1%
Italy 1 <1%
Japan 1 <1%
United Kingdom 1 <1%
Unknown 300 96%

Demographic breakdown

Readers by professional status Count As %
Other 61 19%
Student > Master 58 18%
Student > Bachelor 43 14%
Researcher 28 9%
Student > Postgraduate 23 7%
Other 61 19%
Unknown 40 13%
Readers by discipline Count As %
Medicine and Dentistry 130 41%
Nursing and Health Professions 76 24%
Sports and Recreations 24 8%
Neuroscience 11 4%
Psychology 8 3%
Other 14 4%
Unknown 51 16%

Attention Score in Context

This research output has an Altmetric Attention Score of 272. This is our high-level measure of the quality and quantity of online attention that it has received. This Attention Score, as well as the ranking and number of research outputs shown below, was calculated when the research output was last mentioned on 18 September 2021.
All research outputs
#79,473
of 19,180,943 outputs
Outputs from Chiropractic & Osteopathy
#1
of 81 outputs
Outputs of similar age
#289
of 134,859 outputs
Outputs of similar age from Chiropractic & Osteopathy
#1
of 1 outputs
Altmetric has tracked 19,180,943 research outputs across all sources so far. Compared to these this one has done particularly well and is in the 99th percentile: it's in the top 5% of all research outputs ever tracked by Altmetric.
So far Altmetric has tracked 81 research outputs from this source. They typically receive a lot more attention than average, with a mean Attention Score of 18.8. This one has done particularly well, scoring higher than 99% of its peers.
Older research outputs will score higher simply because they've had more time to accumulate mentions. To account for age we can compare this Altmetric Attention Score to the 134,859 tracked outputs that were published within six weeks on either side of this one in any source. This one has done particularly well, scoring higher than 99% of its contemporaries.
We're also able to compare this research output to 1 others from the same source and published within six weeks on either side of this one. This one has scored higher than all of them