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December 1956

Interpreting Medical Data

Author Affiliations


AMA Arch Intern Med. 1956;98(6):767-773. doi:10.1001/archinte.1956.00250300085010

Both acceptance and interest in formal (planned) clinical research has grown rapidly in recent years. In consequence, the number of scientific publications has increased until it is practically impossible to keep abreast of medical literature in even a single field. The physician, therefore, reads selectively of necessity. Very often it is difficult to decide which articles to study and which ones to disregard. This presentation is intended to lend assistance in making such decisions.

From current medical journals, Ross1 analyzed 100 consecutive articles, dealing with a procedure or a type of therapy, to determine the basis upon which conclusions had been drawn. In 45% of these articles the investigators made no attempt to compare the results of the specific therapy described to those in an untreated control group, and in another 18% the control used was considered inadequate. Through this study, Ross has demonstrated the lack of a scientific

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