The U.S. government is about to start a huge research effort to prove which are the best treatments for scores of ailments. Irregular heartbeat, prostate cancer, back pain and hearing loss lead the list of medical problems to be studied.
Choosing which treatment or test will work best for a given patient often is a guess _ there is very little good scientific evidence comparing them. As part of the economic stimulus package, Congress set aside $1.1 billion to start figuring that out, so patients don't waste time and money on poor choices.
The Institute of Medicine is delivering a blueprint Tuesday of the priorities to study first.