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Dr Lee properly makes the point that risk assessment frequently rests on frail bases. Indeed, his letter reiterates the position stated in the article in question, that "such figures are approximate and may have been calculated using different assumptions." Dr Lee indeed then does provide another set of assumptions. Finally, it is important to recognize that such data have meaning only in relative terms. To place absolute credence on risk calculations is to ignore the aphorism regarding statistics and their similarity to bikini bathing suits—what they reveal is interesting, what they conceal may be crucial.
Dinman BD. Risk Assessment-Reply. JAMA. 1981;246(11):1197. doi:10.1001/jama.1981.03320110012014
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