Thursday, October 8, 2009

Aneurysms, simulations, and Rolling Stones

In a recent counterpoint to an opinion piece in the American Journal of Neuroradiology on imaging follow-up after coiling of intracranial aneurysms, intenventional neuroradiologist Jean Raymond speaks the words that every simulation jockey in our field dreads (or should dread) to hear:

"Good methodology and hard work may provide some answers to our questions, but contrary to what the Rolling Stones’ song says, time is a false friend in most research enterprises, particularly if it is retrospective (often badly planned and conducted in our young field) or when expediency is favored over accuracy, as exemplified by an expanding literature on computer simulations projecting speculations over the lifetime of individuals, to the detriment of prudent assembling of clinical evidence."

Ouch. It's unfortunate that Dr. Raymond paints with such a broad brush, but I can't say I completely disagree with his sentiments. There's good simulation work in the field of aneurysm research, but a bandwagon's a bandwagon, and it's to our detriment that some, er, less-than-good work gets published, for it only feeds clinical suspicion of all of our efforts. On the other hand, "you can't always get what you want; but if you try sometimes you just might find you get what you need."

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