Learning from Case Studies
by Kamal Patel
Case studies offer an interesting perspective on scientific observations. They describe a unique or abnormal event, unlike trials that propose a hypothesis and have an experiment done to test it. There’s no sample size calculation or control group, just one lone, solitary person. So what does this mean when it comes to collecting evidence?
Due to the nature of a case study, it cannot be used as strong scientific evidence, even if it is indexed in PubMed.
Still, case studies can provide valuable insight into potential patterns that should be studied further. For example, more than ten case studies note marijuana usage about one hour before a heart attack or similar cardiovascular event. As it turns out, marijuana can increase heart rate and diastolic blood pressure. Examining this series of case studies could prompt a researcher to dig deeper into the relationship between marijuana and the cardiovascular system.