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March 15, 1976

Ascorbic Acid and The Common Cold

Author Affiliations

University of Basle Switzerland

JAMA. 1976;235(11):1108. doi:10.1001/jama.1976.03260370018017

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To the Editor.—  I heartily endorse the views of your contributors Dykes and Meier (231:1073, 1975) that the use of double-blind randomized trials is especially essential in the evaluation of prophylaxis and therapy of the common cold, which relies largely on subjective reports from the patient and impressions of the investigator. I would, however, like to reassure them about the "blindness" and evaluation of the trial that I carried out 14 years ago, and which they cite in the Helvetica Medica Acta (28:63, 1961).The placebo was indistinguishable from the 1-gm ascorbic acid tablet. They were given to school children in two skiing courses. The children were randomly separated into two groups. Neither test subjects nor investigators knew whether the children got placebo or vitamin C. A questionnaire was completed daily by the camp physician for each of the 279 participants who were asked about the presence or absence of