13 RandomizedControlledTrial | Summary and Q&A

July 31, 2020
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13 RandomizedControlledTrial


Randomized controlled trials (RCTs) are highly impactful and expensive studies used in medical research, but they have limitations and should be interpreted carefully.

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Key Insights

  • 😷 Randomized controlled trials (RCTs) are the most impactful and expensive type of study design in medical research.
  • 🇦🇶 RCTs address the issue of confounders by randomizing the exposure of interest, resulting in more reliable findings.
  • 😖 Observational studies can be misleading due to confounding variables, which RCTs aim to eliminate.
  • 🎮 Blinding and placebo controls are important elements of RCTs to ensure unbiased results.
  • 🧑‍🏭 The number needed to treat and loss to follow-up are important factors to consider when interpreting RCT results.
  • 😷 RCTs are not infallible and should be considered alongside other evidence in medical decision-making.


welcome back we have now entered the section of the course where we're going to talk about discrete types of medical research studies and we're starting with the the cream of the crop the gold standard the randomized controlled trial this is the most expensive and most highly impactful type of study design that we have in the medical sciences but i... Read More

Questions & Answers

Q: What makes a randomized controlled trial (RCT) special in medical research?

RCTs are considered the gold standard due to their ability to randomize the exposure of interest. This allows for the balancing of measured and unmeasured confounders, resulting in more accurate and reliable results.

Q: How can observational studies go wrong compared to RCTs?

Observational studies, such as the one mentioned in the content, can be affected by confounders, which are third factors that link the exposure and outcome without a causal relationship. RCTs address this issue by randomizing the exposure and minimizing confounding.

Q: What does it mean for a study to be double-blind, randomized, and placebo-controlled?

Double-blind means that neither the participants nor the investigators know who is receiving the active intervention or the placebo. Randomized refers to the random assignment of participants to the intervention groups. Placebo-controlled means that there is a control group that receives a placebo, which looks and tastes similar to the active intervention.

Q: What is the PICO acronym used in clinical trials?

PICO stands for Population, Intervention, Control, and Outcome. It helps in understanding and describing the elements of a clinical trial, such as the population being studied, the intervention, the control group, and the outcome being measured.

Summary & Key Takeaways

  • Randomized controlled trials (RCTs) are considered the gold standard in medical research and are highly impactful.

  • RCTs provide valuable evidence by randomizing the exposure of interest and balancing both measured and unmeasured confounders.

  • Observational studies, on the other hand, have limitations as they cannot establish causation without controlling for confounders.

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