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August 5, 1961

Amphetamine Sulfate and Performance-Reply

Author Affiliations


From the Department of Statistics, Harvard University (Prof. Cochran); and from the Anaesthesia Laboratory, Harvard Medical School at the Masschusetts General Hospital (Drs. Smith and Beecher).

JAMA. 1961;177(5):347-349. doi:10.1001/jama.1961.03040310065022

THE COMMENTS by Dr. Pierson, concerning our work with athletes (as cited previously), represent a remarkable demonstration of misunderstanding and misrepresentation of published findings. Most of his critique is devoted to the question of whether the data reported in the first of our 3 papers justify the conclusion that amphetamine improved the performance of the athletes we studied. His conclusion is that "none of the 6 experiments demonstrated differences between placebo and amphetamine performances which could not be attributed to chance, i.e., a probability of 0.01 or less. They [Smith and Beecher] have thus presented no evidence that a 'true' difference does exist, and conclusions to that effect are not justified by the data."

The facts are that 57 athletes were tested. They performed after receiving placebo and after receiving amphetamine sulfate (14 mg. per 70 kg. of body weight). Their scores are presented in the table. A plus score

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