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October 8, 2003

The Value of Diagnostic Tests for Low Back Pain—Reply

Author Affiliations

Letters Section Editor: Stephen J. Lurie, MD, PhD, Senior Editor.

JAMA. 2003;290(14):1851-1853. doi:10.1001/jama.290.14.1851-a

To the Editor: Dr Jarvik and colleagues1 found that among patients with lumbar pain, those who had plain radiographs had similar outcomes as those who underwent magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). I am uncertain of the logic of this trial because plain radiography and MRI are diagnostic tests, but the outcome measure was functional disability. Diagnostic tests should be contrasted for their ability to render accurate diagnoses.

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