gms | German Medical Science

GMS Journal for Medical Education

Gesellschaft für Medizinische Ausbildung (GMA)

ISSN 2366-5017

Imogen Evans, Hazel Thornton, Iain Chalmers, Paul Glasziou (Editor): Wo ist der Beweis?: Plädoyer für eine evidenzbasierte Medizin

book report medicine

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  • corresponding author Tobias Weberschock - J.W. Goethe-Universität, Institut für Allgemeinmedizin, Arbeitsgruppe Ebm, Frankfurt/Main, Deutschland; Klinikum der J.W. Goethe-Universität, Klinik für Dermatologie, Venerologie und Allergologie, Frankfurt/Main, Deutschland

GMS Z Med Ausbild 2013;30(4):Doc41

doi: 10.3205/zma000884, urn:nbn:de:0183-zma0008840

This is the English version of the article.
The German version can be found at:

Received: June 28, 2013
Revised: September 9, 2013
Accepted: September 10, 2013
Published: November 15, 2013

© 2013 Weberschock.
This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License ( You are free: to Share – to copy, distribute and transmit the work, provided the original author and source are credited.

Bibliographical details

Imogen Evans, Hazel Thornton, Iain Chalmers, Paul Glasziou

Wo ist der Beweis?: Plädoyer für eine evidenzbasierte Medizin

Huber-Verlag, Bern

Year of publication: 2013, page: 260, € 24,95

ISBN: 9783456852454


Warning: Using "Where is the proof?" may lead to critical thinking and doubts about the validity of medical information!

For students and physicians, the book is comprehensible and readable and advocates the use of evidence-based medicine. Clear and concise headlines guide the reader through the central arguments in each of the 13 chapters. On the basis of numerous specific examples, the authors explain step-by-step the absolute necessity of and the correct to approach to dealing with medical information. To achieve this, it is the authors' principal concern to explain the importance of learning to discriminate between knowledge and ignorance with regard to fair tests for all health interventions.

In the first few chapters, the authors describe important pitfalls that repeatedly lead to our acceptance of supposed knowledge and, although careful testing has shown the truth to be quite different, encourage us to act accordingly. The book then deals with the usefulness of screening programs and the damage they can cause, and for this reason goes on to explain how to deal with uncertainty in the treatment of patients.

The basics of fair testing and an explanation of how it enables us to correctly establish the effects of a specific therapy can be found in the middle of the book. Methods such as randomization, intention-to-treat and blinding, which enable us to avoid systematic errors when testing certain treatments, are explained in a clear and practice-related manner. Preventing random errors and the importance of significance are then explained step-by-step in the following chapter, and followed by an introduction to systematic reviews as the highest level of evidence, as well as their use in the specific care of patients and in research.

At a later stage in the book, (clinical) research undergoes close scrutiny. Regulations and limitations are critically reviewed. Examples of good, bad and superfluous research are described and analyzed.

And finally, at the end of the book, the authors describe how the direct involvement of patients helps to make research better and more patient-oriented. They show possible solutions and approaches toward integration that allow informed patients to participate both in the research and their own specific treatment.

As a teacher, I was particularly impressed by the sheer existence of a generally comprehensible book that describes important fundamentals for dealing with medical information, as well as old and new suggestions that I can use in my teaching. As a doctor, I was always curious to know more about the underlying evidence and its further development. While reading, both these factors incited me to conduct my own research in Medline and Cochrane in order to critically analyze studies and ultimately to gain new insights for my own clinical work.

The good news for students is that the contents of the German edition are available free of charge under .

Competing interests

The author declares that he has no competing interests. The author is member of the "Deutschen Netzwerk Evidenzbasierte Medizin e.V.".