Wednesday, April 4, 2012


In our modern world, the question of optimization is recurrent. A lot of the problems we are facing are linked to a non-optimization of the available resources. That is of course true if we take the example of health systems. But it is also true in the way we develop research. In both case, adequate design of strategies is a way to reach optimal results. If we consider doing an experimental research, taking some time to think seriously on the experimental design is always good. The more time we spend on it, the more likely the experiment is going to be good. Thinking about all the possible controls, the alternative hypothesis (and the way to rule them out) ... all that is not a waste of time. Rather, it insures that when you do the actual experiments, you need only to do "slight adaptations" in the process, and not fully rethink your whole experiments ! In health system too, good design of strategies can be valuable. In the last review on tinnitus (Guitton, Frontiers in Systems Neuroscience, 2012, see the Publication list for the pdf), I spend some time discussing some points on design of therapeutic strategies. Here too, we do have a lot of tools in modern medicine, but are we using them in the most appropriate and efficient way ? Are we orienting medical research in the optimal direction to insure reliable translational outcomes ? (I am using intentionally this "translational" word, since it is obviously a fashionable word now, if we look at the budget orientation of the funding agencies of Canada for the coming years ... and with some reasons actually, since, indeed, we are at a point where we do need to translate the results gathered in fundamental science into clinical applications). All in all, strategies are important, and thinking about which one we use is central if we want to successfully apply the knowledge we generate with our research.

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