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October 1986

Swine Influenza Vaccine and Guillain-Barré Syndrome: Lies, Damn Lies, and...

Author Affiliations

Department of Pathology Neuropathology Laboratory (RJ-05) University of Washington School of Medicine Seattle, WA 98195

Arch Neurol. 1986;43(10):979. doi:10.1001/archneur.1986.00520100005002

To the Editor.  —With the increasing effort to apply the scientific method in Medicine, it was surprising to see a classic example of comparisons of apples and oranges in the recent articles on the Guillain-Barré syndrome (GBS) by Beghi et al1 and Kurland et al.2The unnumbered figure on page 10561 in Beghi and coworker's article shows what happens when the nationwide attributed risk for GBS following swine influenza vaccination as reported by Schonberger et al3 is compared with (1) the nationwide weekly incidence rate also reported by Schonberger et al,3 (2) the Michigan rate reported by Breman and Hayner,4 and (3) the Olmsted County, Minnesota, rate reported by Beghi et al.1Since one of the basic tenets of statistics maintains that the information concerning the "experimental" and "control" populations should be gathered simultaneously, preferably by blind observers unbiased toward the outcome, it

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