Letters Section Editor: Stephen J. Lurie,
MD, PhD, Senior Editor.
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.
Caplan LR. The Value of Diagnostic Tests for Low Back Pain—Reply. JAMA. 2003;290(14):1851-1853. doi:10.1001/jama.290.14.1851-a