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Beliefs, critical thinking and evidence-based medicine
  1. Haris Achilleos
  1. Correspondence to Dr Haris Achilleos, Department of Paediatrics, St Mary’s Hospital, Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust, London W2 1NY, UK; haris.achilleos{at}doctors.org.uk

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The field of evidence-based medicine (EBM) has evolved tremendously since the term was coined 25 years ago. There are improved tools for use in daily practice, helping clinicians and patients make informed decisions about treatment choices. The recently published ‘Evidence based medicine manifesto for better healthcare’,1 devised by the BMJ and the University of Oxford’s Centre for Evidence Based Medicine, has been read with great interest. Nonetheless, one can’t help but wonder: even when using the most up-to-date resources, how informed and unbiased are our clinical decisions, when we are subconsciously governed by our underlying beliefs, shaped by past experiences?

As humans, we carry perceptions that affect our daily decisions and actions. Studies in cognitive sciences have shown that our subconscious mind is constantly seeking evidence to support our pre-existing ideas, while any information challenging these notions is approached with psychological discomfort, scepticism and an unconscious …

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