Why negative trials are just as important as the big game changers

SOMETIMES, the most important steps in medical research are the ones we ignore.

In April, a major study was published online in the New England Journal of Medicine. Aliskiren, a relatively new medication, was added to the commonly used blood pressure drug enalapril. The objective was to improve outcomes for heart failure patients. There were 7,000 participants. This was a big, relevant trial. So why didn’t you hear about it?

Well, the drug didn’t work. But that doesn’t mean the study wasn’t