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January 15, 1997

Studying a Study and Testing a Test: How to Read the Health Science Literature

Author Affiliations

Baycrest Centre for Geriatric Care University of Toronto Toronto, Ontario

JAMA. 1997;277(3):263. doi:10.1001/jama.1997.03540270089033

Medical literature is abundant. A MEDLINE search using the MeSH heading "clinical trials" identified over 10000 articles published in the past 5 years alone. In a health care environment in which evidence-based medicine is being actively promoted, practitioners are increasingly asked to evaluate this mass of medical publications as an aid to their clinical decision making. With expanded use of the Internet and easy access to MEDLINE, it is easy to obtain articles, but practitioners need to know more about how to critically evaluate these same articles.

To fill this gap, Richard Riegelman and Robert Hirsch, both from The George Washington University School of Medicine and Health Sciences, have written this book based on their years of experience teaching students how to read the medical literature. In a most enjoyable manner, the authors outline a practical step-by-step approach to help the uninitiated wade through the masses of published articles and