November 1990

The Hypertension Prevention Trial

Author Affiliations

Poughkeepsie, NY

Arch Intern Med. 1990;150(11):2408. doi:10.1001/archinte.1990.00390220136032

To the Editor.— On a previous occasion, I have written to you complimenting you for the marked improvement in the overall quality of the Archives under your editorial tenure. I would reinforce that notion as a general appraisal.

Having given you the good news, let me now take license to raise a critical question about an article in the January 1990 issue, ie, The Hypertension Prevention Trial: Three-Year Effects of Dietary Changes on Blood Pressure.1 I make no pretense of statistical expertise, but, on a purely intuitive basis, I would look at the quoted figures of significant change of "diastolic pressure was 2.8 mm Hg and 1.8 mm Hg and systolic pressure, 5.8 mm Hg and 2.4 mm Hg at 6 months and 3 years, respectively" as meaningless. Given the inherent variability in an individual's blood pressure through the day and the variations of two different observers taking

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