Thursday, August 23, 2007

Evidence Based Medicine Takes a Dive

The problem with evidence based anything, much less medicine, is that in the absence of evidence we try to make up what we want or hope to see. I read on Malaysian Medical Resources that WoW or World of Warcraft is being used as a way to study infectious diseases. For those who are uninitiated a massively multiplayer game or MMORPG for short is where players travel around killing creatures or each other for some kind of reward. In short, it is an environment which appeals to a specific demographic (young, urban, male and living in parents basement) and it builds a certain way of thinking summed up by the phrase "hack and slash". It specifically is a world built so that people can vicariously pilot their alter-egos without fear of real consequences. If this is so, then how can it be a good way to study how people would react in case of an epidemic.

One cannot help but feel that these players need to get out more in order to have any chance of being part of an epidemic. Fortunately none of the players are taking the research seriously that we can tell. Unfortunately evidence based medicine is taking their behavior seriously.

No comments: