Bias in Scientific Research and Medical

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Updated: May 16, 2022
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Bias issues have been one of the main concerns for public health and health personnel’s over the last few years. Bias exist for people of certain color, people of certain ethnic backgrounds, based on income status, societal status, level of education and now becoming apparent in scientific researches too. Although scientific research should be an objective phenomenon, studies have shown that some of these researches can be tainted with much subjectivity if it is privately funded. Also, these bias is beginning to affect health outcomes in our society.

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Both (Nestle, 2016) and (Elizabeth, 2014) stresses the effect that these bias are having on people and gives solutions on how to overcome these bias either on the scientific level or medical level.

In the article, “Corporate Funding of Foods and Nutrition Research,” the author seems to suggest that industry funding into research by way of gifts and grants, influences its outcome. Although these outcomes may not be intentional, their bias may end in some measure influencing their results. Since many of these researchers are funded by private organizations, it is believed that many of these researches will be towards presenting results that are favorable to their funders. In the article, we can see a clear case of bias where coca cola funded a research to disprove the notion that there was nothing wrong with their sugary soft drink, rather the inactivity of its consumers resulting in their obesity. Typically, studies that are founded independently find a correlation between sugary drink and poor health but coca cola doesn’t. Another example is that of Monsanto, a multinational agricultural corporation who recruited professors to write and testify to congress on their behalf. These researches will undoubtedly have a clear bias towards their financers who have funded these projects. Because of this, it is felt that many of these researchers have sold out to these industries.

Federal agencies have shifted their priorities from funding researches about food technology, nutrients and nutrients metabolism towards researches into obesity, genetics, chronic diseases etc. This has given rights to many non-governmental agencies allowing bias to seep into their research findings. These bias is as a result of the relationship existing between the financers, and the researchers whose business they depend on. Researchers are paid by these financers, therefore their results have to favor and align with their wishes. According to the author, he identified 76 researches that were industry funded. Out of the 76 researches, he found that 70 researches reported results that were favorable to the sponsor’s interest.

The second article titled: “Racial Discrimination Severely Undermines Black Women’s Health” sheds light on the discrimination and bias black women’s especially in the southern states encounter on a daily basis. These women’s are experiencing bias due to their lack of sexual and reproductive health education by their doctors. Over the last decades, there has been a huge disparity in sexual, reproductive and maternal health- mainly for Black Women living in the United States. Women are turning to their friends for help because they are met with stigmas about their sexual decision by health personnel. Many black women’s were actually lectured rather than receiving the help they needed. Some were met with stigma about not being able to make use of health information’s. The article shares the story of a black woman named Aaliyah who stated that her doctor had concluded that she could not use contraception effectively. One question that comes to mind is: Why black women’s? I will be answering this question shortly.

All these are as a result of racial and gender bias in health outcomes, mainly toward black women’s in the south and women in general. Social status, income, education etc. plays a very big role as to why these bias are happening. Higher income and higher social status are associated with good health. There seems to be a social construct around the idea that men tend to make more money than women. The greater the gap between income rates of men and women, the greater the differences in outcome would become. Lack of education also adds to why black women’s are victim of bias. Lack of education is linked with poor health. Doctors tend to take advantage of them by assuming they do not know how to use information or medications. According to the author, she suggested that these bias is as a result of political disinterest in helping the most vulnerable and unwillingness to address racial bias as a factor in health outcome. (Elizabeth, 2014).

In conclusion, bias is something our society tries to avoid. Just talking about these problems would not solve the problem, action needs to be taken. Both (Nestle, 2016) and (Elizabeth, 2014) addresses the issue of bias clouding the scientific field and the medical field. Both articles offers key actions that needs to be taken like governmental interventions, government agencies looking into areas of bias, requiring peer review for industry funded research, etc.

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Bias in Scientific Research and Medical. (2019, Mar 08). Retrieved from