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Letters
February 25, 2004

Magnesium Sulfate for Preterm Neuroprotection

Author Affiliations
 

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

JAMA. 2004;291(8):940-941. doi:10.1001/jama.291.8.940-b

To the Editor: In their study of magnesium sulfate given for neuroprotection before preterm birth, Dr Crowther and colleagues1 concluded that "combined death or substantial gross motor dysfunction was significantly reduced in the magnesium group." Although composite outcomes can compensate for the low frequency of several individual outcomes, they are thus heterogeneous and sometimes difficult to interpret. We therefore question the definition and usefulness of this composite outcome. The individual components of these composite outcomes are vastly different from one another and do not share the same economical, social, or clinical value. Thus, it is difficult for clinicians to know how to counsel patients about the benefit(s) of this intervention.

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