Frazier and Mosteller assert that medical research could be improved by a move toward larger, simpler clinical trials of medical treatments. Currently, researchers collect far more background information on patients than is strictly required for their trials—substantially more than hospitals collect—thereby escalating costs of data collection, storage, and analysis. Although limiting information collection could increase the risk that researchers will overlook facts relevant to a study, Frazier and Mosteller contend that such risk, never entirely eliminable from research, would still be small in most studies. Only in research on entirely new treatments are new and unexpected variables likely to arise.
Frazier and Mosteller propose not only that researchers limit data collection on individual patients but also that researchers enroll more patients in clinical trials, thereby obtaining a more representative sample of the total population with the disease under study. Often researchers restrict study participation to patients who have no ailments besides those being studied. A treatment judged successful under these ideal conditions can then be evaluated under normal conditions. Broadening the range of trial participants, Frazier and Mosteller suggest, would enable researchers to evaluate a treatment's efficacy for diverse patients under various conditions and to evaluate its effectiveness for different patient subgroups. For example, the value of a treatment for a progressive disease may vary according to a patient's stage of disease. Patients' ages may also affect a treatment's efficacy.
According to the passage, which of the following describes a result of the way in which researchers generally conduct clinical trials?
They expend resources on the storage of information likely to be irrelevant to the study they are conducting.
They sometimes compromise the accuracy of their findings by collecting and analyzing more information than is strictly required for their trials.
They avoid the risk of overlooking variables that might affect their findings, even though doing so raises their research costs.
Because they attempt to analyze too much information, they overlook facts that could emerge as relevant to their studies.
In order to approximate the conditions typical of medical treatment, they base their methods of information collection on those used by hospitals.