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Drs Murphy and Ehrlich are appropriately concerned, as are we, by the possibility of self-selection into the runners group individuals who are resistant to the development of osteoarthritis. Our article reported an initial cross-sectional study—part of an ongoing eight-year prospective study of 961 runners and randomly selected community controls. This study, now in its second year, is designed to address this issue.Already, however, there are compelling reasons to suspect that little self-selection bias is present. If the purported self-selection were due to gradual dropouts of those developing osteoarthritis from running groups, then we should get different results when we count all runners of any distance, past or present, as runners, than when we include only avid club members. In fact, exactly the same findings hold. Moreover, the same results hold when we compare runners and nonrunners within the community control group, a population of subjects randomly selected
Fries JF, Bloch DA, Lane NE. The Relation of Running to Bone and Joint Disease-Reply. JAMA. 1986;256(6):715–716. doi:10.1001/jama.1986.03380060041018
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